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meme time

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of you and me. It can be anything you want, good or bad. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people remember about you.

I prefer good memories to bad, but I'd rather have honest bad memories than made up memories. Please do comment, and if you post this in your journal I'll respond in kind. Thanks.


Jun. 11th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
I was always taking either you or your sister to the Emergency Room at Gorgas. It got so bad all of the doctors and nurses knew all of us by sight if not by name. The one time I took another kid from that scouting weekend affair to the ER, everybody asked me where Cathy and Derek were.

You were large but uncoordinated. Other kids picked on you until we put you in that ... was it karate? eikido? judo? ... class and you picked up some upper body strength and got your coordination together enough to knock out one of your tormentors.

Ah, yes, the joys of growing up in Panama ... .
Jun. 11th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Clutter
It's amusing how differently we remember things!

That "scouting weekend affair" was the five days we took to canoe the length of the Canal from Ft. Sherman on Limón Bay to the second Amador island in the Pacific. This particular incident was on the penultimate day, when we had to hike about 15 miles or so around Gaillard Cut and Miraflores Locks. One of the kids was hanging of the trailer the canoes were stowed on, fell, and hit his head on the pavement.

I was always and still am slightly, but not tremendously uncoordinated. Other kids did pick on me a lot, but not because I was uncoordinated and unathletic; they picked on me because I was socially clueless and did not conform to their ideas or normal, and because I was a nerd and they must have been intimidated by my interest in and aptitude for scholarly pursuits.

I only lasted in judo for about two or three weeks, so that did absolutely nothing except perhaps teach me how to fall and run in a circle. Certainly, nothing in judo would have developed upperbody strength, as all we did was run a lot, work on throws and falling, and spar. The throws involved the legs and hips almost exclusively, and the sparring was so unorthodox that it mostly involved me planting my fat ass on some little kid until the instructor paired me up with a kid who knew what he was doing who pinned me quickly. I didn't go back after that.

The kid I knocked out was not a tormentor. Garth was a friend of mine, and I forever regret what happened. Yes, what he was doing was pissing me off, but I was in a very bad mood after PE class and he probably had no idea what he was doing. He was simply walking and probably had no idea that the jacket in his arm kept brushing my backside in a very annoying way. I did ask him to stop, but in retrospect he probably didn't know what the "that" in "stop that" referred to. I knocked him out, not because of new strength and coordination (this was at least a year or two after those very few judo classes), but because I sucker-punched him. I swung around and clobbered him in the side of the face with a roundhouse, and he neither saw it coming nor had any reason to expect it. I tried several times to apologize to him throughout the year, but he wouldn't have anything further to do with me. If I remembered his last name or knew how to contact him, I would apologize to him again now.
Jun. 11th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Clutter
The biggest complaint you expressed in my presence about the judo class was that they were always making you do push-ups. Even just three weeks of that should have been enough to build up your shoulders ... hence upper body strength. And the knockout did end your being tormented (or your complaints about being tormented). Your teachers and the school administration were happy about what happened, although they couldn't officially commend you. You should have no regrets.
Jun. 11th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Clutter
We may very well have done pushups, and situps, but I doubt it. Judo isn't about strength. It's about discipline, control, leverage, and fitness. I remember we did an awful lot of running in a room with no ventilation which felt like a sauna. And a lot of calling out numbers in Japanese. And instruction on how to fall and on two or three basic throws. And some sparring.

I also remember how excited I was when, years later, in junior high, I finally was able to do a real pushup. I had always failed before then, but when I was with Troop 20 across from the PX I started training myself and got to the point where I could do 8 in a row, a huge accomplishment for me back then. I think I did it because someone bet I couldn't. I only did enough training over a one-week period to win my bet and then I stopped. That's not enough for a significant increase in upperbody strength.

And if you remembered a little more carefully, you'll recall that the incident with Garth happened in the 5th grade. Certainly you can't forget the incident in the 7th or 8th grade at Curundu JHS when I went around for a few days pretending to be part Vulcan, and incident which ended when an older kid kicked me in the chest with both feet at once to test my claim that I didn't feel pain. No, neither my being targeted nor whatever complaints I may have made ended with that punch.

And I should have every regret. Violence rarely solves anything, and in this case the violence was unwarranted and ended a friendship.
Jun. 11th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Clutter
I remember that it happened when you were in elementary school. My memory is highly flawed when it comes to pinning down actual dates for anything, though. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed Wolfe's Soldier in the Mist so much, though its hero didn't remember anything at all that he didn't write down on his diary scroll.

I guess, then, what happened was that reports of your persecution stopped reaching me after that punch. I never heard about the later kicking incident.

Probably the reason you kept complaining about having to do the push-ups was that they were difficult for you. But even making an honest attempt and failing would build up your shoulders. I'd say you got more out of that admittedly brief judo class than was apparent at the time.
Jun. 11th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Clutter
I never heard about the later kicking incident.

You simply don't remember it. You and Mom both sat with me in either the principal's or vice principal's (I don't remember which) office.

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