Monday, September 26, 2011

The Lost Journal Series: Part VI

I'm back with some more entries from 1996. Everything in [brackets] is tonight's commentary.

May 20, 1996 (age 12):

We are practicing for Romeo and Juliet. In the play I 'm Benvolio and Sam is Romeo. I think we are pretty good. I'm sure that we are probably the best of all of the sixth grade classes. I'm in soccer with all of my friends. We always lose. But I think we will win in a couple of weeks. [I had no plausible basis for believing this. Part of our losing streak was due to my teammates and I occasionally sitting down on the field mid-game].

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lost Journal Series: Part V

Welcome back. Enjoy Part V tonight. Again, anything in [brackets] is tonight's commentary.

February 19, 1996 (age 11):

Today was President's day so we didn't have school so we could celebrate all of the presidents. Except my dad said that we don't celebrate the bad ones like Bil Klinton. [Bob has never been one to hide his feelings about politics]. I was going to play football today but it kept raining and I didn't want to get hurt because Jr. Jazz.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lost Journal Series: Part IV

Tonight I bring you Part IV in my ongoing series. Tonight's entries take you through the end of 1995 and into 1996 with additional commentary in [brackets].

[Before I start on the journal entries tonight, I would like to first mention that at the top of every single page up through page 49, the word "dog" is written in pencil. The reason for this is that sometime in early 1996 I imagined that the best way to get Bob and Cathie to allow a dog in the house was to convince them that I longed for one so badly that it was on my mind literally every single day of my young life. This, I believed, would tug at the heart strings of any loving parent (and I believed Bob and Cathie fit the bill) and would encourage, nay, force them to grant me my wishes. I also operated under the delusion that my parents would likely pick up my journal at one point and read it (because, as you have seen, I was writing some pretty important things at this time that they undoubtedly would have been dying to read) and so I assumed that they would see that "dog" had been written at the top of every page and this would necessarily cause them to believe that the only humane thing to do was to get a dog to appease the wishes of the boy who wanted it badly enough that he actually took the effort to note it briefly on a regular basis in the same place he shared his most intimate thoughts. The problem(s) with this? While I hoped it would appear to be the case, I did not actually write "dog" at the top of the page each time I wrote an entry. Rather, I took a pencil, went back to page one, and flipped through the journal, writing the word on each page, well beyond any entry up to that point (I thought it would be more efficient to do it this way). So, while each entry is done in a different pen color and with ever rapidly evolving child-handwriting, the word "dog" is consistently written in the same rushed sloppy manner, (getting ever so sloppier as my hand started to hurt during the later pages) and with the same faint pencil. And it was written beyond the pages I had actually used up to that point].

November 28, 1995 (age 11):

Christmas is coming and I'm really excited!!! Christmas comes every single year. [Glad we cleared that up]. A little while ago I was on an airplane ride with my uncle, Jared, and another kid my uncle took. [My uncle is a pilot, fyi]. First we learned about planes, then we went flying and Jared almost threw up. [I'm positive this isn't true but it's clear that in 1995 I was looking for any reason to criticize Jared in my journal]. I will probably be a pilot when I'm older unless I decide to be a lawyer, like in the court rooms instead. I think I could get the judge to do whatever I tell him because I could just explain to him what is right all the time and he would have to listen. And I would ask people questions and they would all say the right things. [I have since learned that things don't exactly work this way]. We're going on a field trip tomorrow and my mom gets to go. I hope she doesn't try to kiss me on the cheek! [For the record, this was a valid concern. Cathie's cheek-kissing only happened in public, was done solely for embarrassment purposes, and continued to take place with some regularity through at least 2007]. I started Jr. Jazz today! This is my second year! I can tell that I'm going to be a lot better this year. [Sadly, still no, kid].

December 15, 1995 (age 11):

I went to school today. It was o.k. I'm really excited for Christmas. We have a train and a vilige [village] under the Christmas tree. It hasn't snowed yet and I want it to. [That's it. This journal does not belong to me]. I went to piano lessons today also. I didn't do very good. [Is it because you didn't practice? Yes]. I [and the journal entry ends here after that one lone word. Although there is a drawing at the bottom of the page that appears to be a bed that has been scribbled out. No explanation for this].

January 10, 1996 (age 11):

Last week it was Utah's birthday! It turned 100. We had a big assembly at school and we sang a song about Utah. [My close friends know that if you catch me on a good day, I am usually willing to perform this song with the hand actions in their entirety. Most people who were children in Utah in 1996 still seem to remember at least fragments of the song which has since become the official state song). As a preview to hold you over until you next see me in person, I'll just tell you that it involves marching, enthusiastic swaying, big hand gestures, and contains lines such as: "Utah! People working together! Utah! What a great place to be!" and "This is the PLACE!" I remember spending an embarrassing amount of time in school learning the choreography to this. (Ours didn't look exactly like this, but you get the idea)]. I'm reading a book called "My Brother Sam is Dead." It's a really good book. I have over 350 rubber bands tied together. [This thing went everywhere with me for the better part of one year until it was mysteriously lost. I still have my suspicions that Bob and Cathie had something to do with its disappearance. Maybe it ended up "running away" like Gigi (my baby blanket) did in 1991. I'm not sure whether I should be more embarrassed that I believed that story or that Bob and Cathie actually had to make it up because I was still carrying my baby blanket around at age 7]. I'm almost done with my life. [I read this several times before figuring out what I was talking about. And no, this isn't a suicide note. Life was a goal/level/state-of-being(?) in Boy Scouts and apparently in 1996, I had almost achieved it].

That's all for tonight folks. Tune in next time for more insights into my 11 year old mind, including the continuation of the dog story.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Lost Journal Series: Part III

Tonight I bring you part III of my childhood journal entries, full of adventure and enlightenment. Everything in [brackets] is commentary from tonight.

August 15, 1995 (age 11):

School started yesterday and I am in sixth grade. I have a nice teacher named Mrs. Southwick and she has to take care of her new baby. [Again with the babies . . .]. I hope her baby behaves itself soon so she can come back.

August 31, 1995 (age 11):

Today I played with Sam and we played in his backyard. I can ride my bike without using my hands. I think I'm pretty good at riding my bike but I have to be careful because I'm also really good at soccer [false] and basketball [even more false] and if I get hurt it will be really hard for me to continue to compete how I know I should. [Getting hurt and removing me from these sports might have been the best thing that could have happened to me and my reputation for competency]. Paul [not totally sure who this is] grabbed a 5th graders arm and started pinching and scratching it. [No further explanation about this or why it made it into the journal]. We had a firedrill at school today while my class was in COMPUTER!!! [No?!? That's crazy!]. Doug has been soo bad that Mrs. [illegible] kicked him out of the class and made him go to Mr. Pullin's room for ONE WEEK!!!

September 5, 1995 (age 11):

Mrs. Southwick came back today. She moved people and I'm not even sitting by Sam or Tim anymore! She gives more homework than the substitute!!! And I thought she was a nice lady at first! I guess I was wrong!

September 6, 1995 (age 11):

Today I got so much homework. I did a maze with chalk on the sidewalk. My sister went to a dance. I walk home from school with my friends. Some people said mean things when we were walking home today but we didn't listen to them and I bet they stopped because I bet they felt really gilty [guilty] for the things they said when they saw they weren't listening to us. I bet they are all thinking about what they said and wishing that they were better. [I'm sure that's exactly what was happening. My 11 year apathy to the "mean" comments, whatever they were, led immediately to regret and self-reflection].

November 6, 1995 (age 11):

For Halloween my friends and I went Trick or Treating. We got more candy than you would even believe. Me, Sam, Tim, and Jared got a jar and we each wrote a note and we didn't tell what we wrote then we stuck it in the jar and burried it in the jar [wait, so was it in the jar?] and burried it on the side of Jared's house. From the big rock its 2 steps and there's a stick. Seven more steps and then there's the jar! We will probably dig it up in like 20 years. Or maybe sooner. [Update: we dug it up less than 6 months later. It was a miracle we found it using the directions I provided. I have no idea why we thought measuring steps from an unspecified rock and a stick lying on the ground would be helpful in 20 years. Fortunately I drew a very detailed map of the location on this page of my journal, marking the exact spot. Unfortunately when we did dig it up, the jar was full of ridiculously useless notes that had nothing to do with anything that could ever matter to anyone. If my memory is correct, the notes talked about how old we were and what we had done that day, including fragments of knock-knock jokes we had made up on the spot. We also each chose to bury an object in the jar but the objects were mostly just small broken toys we had found 10 minutes before in Jared's garage. So all-in-all, not an incredibly successful time capsule experience]. I axadentally broke the back of Sam's little car but he can glue it back on, I hope.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Lost Journal Series: Part II

I now present for you part II of The Lost Journal Series. Again, these are exact passages from my childhood journal. Anything in [brackets] is my current commentary and explanation. Enjoy.

December 20, 1994 (age 10):

Yo. I'm Eli W. McCann. I'm in Jr. Jazz and my team is cooooooooooooool. Sometimes I get the ball [unfortunately for the rest of the team. Jr. Jazz was not my calling in life. Even after playing for 4 or so years]. I think if I keep shooting, I'm going to score points for the team [nope]. I bet I will be on the Jazz one day. I will never play for another team because the other teams are mean. But I heard that the Jazz are nice. I was sick today.

[Below this entry is a picture of a garbage can with two feet sticking out of the top. There is a caption bubble coming out of the garbage can that says, "Help. It's me. Jared." Clearly my relationship with my next door neighbor and close friend was waning at this time.]

January 5, 1995 (age 10):

Kebacboleda! [???]. Yesterday was Micalyne's birthday! [Nope. Her birthday is January 3rd].

February 10, 1995 (age 10):

Tim J. is my best friend. Jared is NOT my best friend. Jared probably thinks he is my best friend but he is not! Maybe some other time Jared can be my best friend again [I so wish I had taken the time to actually explain what was happening between us. I'm positive that it had something to do with my jealousy that he had recently turned 11 and I was still 10. Because when you are a kid, your age is about the only thing you have to be proud of]. I have brocatous [bronchitis]. I like to talk about things that are important [still true today]. Some kids don't like to talk about important stuff but they just talk about stuff that isn't important like pickles and stuff [because, you know, kids are always talking about pickles]. I talk about things like electistry [electricity. I talked about it, but apparently couldn't spell it. I would really like to know what I had to say on the subject] and like how many people there are in the world [both very important topics].

May 21, 1995 (age 11):

School is almost out and I am excited. My sister made up a dome club [dumb club] called the Safety Kids Club. So you can always remember your helmets. [To her credit, she was only 8 at the time and was already making up much more practical clubs than I was. Just off the top of my head, by this date I had formed the following clubs with my friends: a club that looked for alien artifacts, a pretend fight club with daily performances in front yards that always came with a special after-school-special-like message, multiple bike gangs, and one club that took place on the front porch of a very elderly woman down the street who took off her prosthetic leg for us if we sang her a number of songs (this was very similar to every episode of Barney and Friends you've ever seen except it got really freaky when the leg came off)]. I passed off my swimming merrit badge yesterday [this must be a sham because I still can't swim for the life of me]. 

[Below this entry I wrote my name 7 times.]

~It Just Gets Stranger 

The Lost Journal Series: Part I

Recently I rediscovered my childhood after finding a very entertaining pile of journals. After staying up late for a couple of nights in a row to read entry after entry, occasionally looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody was around because of how mortified I was about some of the things I wrote in said journals, I knew there were only two things I could do: 1) bury/burn/hide the journals and desperately attempt to forget about them, or 2) share them with the world. The second option sounded more exciting. So I now present for you the first of a series that will take place over the next several days called "The Lost Journal Series." I will type these exactly as written, mistakes and all. Anything found in [brackets] is my contemporary commentary and explanation. Enjoy.

September 8, 1994 (age 10):

Today I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. I got ready for school and Jamie and Easten came to walk to school with us. They walk to school with us everday. We walk so fast. We are friends. I like summer. Math time is not fun. What is that? [???] My teachers name is Ms. Daniels. We have a prymantis [Praying Mantis] at home and she layed eggs. We found another one and put them in the same box. They started to fight. One of them ate the other. [This may be the source of my fear of all living things]. I would never eat one, especially if I was one. [I still feel this way, btw]. I bet that prymantis we put in the box with the mom doesn't even have any friends. [Because he keeps eating them?]. On our street we always play games. Now we are having races on our bikes. My sister has a job. Micalyne did something to her elbow. She has a cast. I want a cast [for attention].

September 19, 1994 (age 10):

Today when we went to school there was grafity everywhere. There were no swearwords but there were mean things. At school Tyler told me some [here I proceed, nonsensically, to write the entire alphabet in cursive]. I used to think Tyler was mean but now he's really nice. [This observation would fluctuate throughout the remainder of my childhood. But in retrospect, he was mean]. We went to a park today.

September 23, 1994 (age 10):

All of my friends like me. I think they like me the most. [This part of my personality has remained mostly unchanged in the last 17 years]. But I'm not sure. Maybe they like other friends a lot. There should be a test to find out who is best friends. But I can jump really far. [Relevant?]. We made stuff for our teacher at school because she had a baby or something. [Or something? Like, she had something and it might have been a baby?]. I hope she comes back soon but I do think she should raise her baby right now. [Opinionated, already at age 10. And here comes the very strange insight into child-rearing]. Unless there is a daddy at home to raise it. Then she should come back to school and the dad should be responsible for it. Because he is a parent to not just the mom. They just need to decide what they are going to do with there baby. But they shoudnt give it to an orfinage. Unless it's a nice one and they can live there to and keep raising there baby. Because they could help take care of other babies to that got lost and have to live there right now. I'm 10. I heard that when babies are small, they need to be held like all day or else they will probably grow up to be mean. On my baptism my friends were all there. [My baptism took place more than 2 years before this entry. I think this was in response to a recent lesson in church about writing down details about important events]. Most of my relatives came. I should eat a snack.

[Below the entry is a drawing of a person sliding down a water slide. There is absolutely no explanation for this. And the drawing is terrible].

September 27, 1994 (age 10):

Today at school we started SAT tests. There really easy tests that take about one hour. At lunch my friend Sam always spills his drink all over me. [I'm positive this never happened more than one time]. Today he spilt MY drink all over me. After school me and Jared played. We can't figure out if aliens visited our backyards. [Is 10 too old for this? Please tell me this is normal 10 year old behavior]. But we found this metal piece and we are pretty sure it came from a UFO. [This was based on absolutely nothing logical, if I remember correctly. I believe we found it when we were about 7 years old and we held onto it for years]. But we are going to keep looking for more pieces. [Strangely we never found any]. My aunt Barbara played a board game with me. She is really nice. For Halloween I'm going to be a neard. Jared keeps changing his mind first he said he was going to be a skelatin then half man half woman then an old lady then a Tales from the cript Keeper. I don't know what he will say next. I'm 10.

September 28, 1994 (age 10):

Today I decided I don't want to be a neard for Halloween. Torie kept going daaaaaaa[the "a's" continue for the remainder of the page] all day! [This was a game we played well into middle school where we each took turns yelling in class until one of us got into trouble. My friendship with Torie was responsible for the vast majority of days I had to spend sitting at Ms. Painter's desk in the third grade].

~It Just Gets Stranger

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apartment Hunting

It’s been an interesting few weeks of change here in SLC since I’ve returned and recovered from Euro-trip 2011 (screenplay coming). Since returning home I have moved into a new apartment downtown (where all the hipsters live) in which I have started setting up life, because I’m a grown-up now (they should change the voting age to 27). The apartment search didn’t last too long but it was full of enough terrifying glimpses into a potential lifeless future to scare me into the place my friend and I ultimately found. As it turns out, finding an apartment in SLC can be a bit daunting, especially at the end of the summer when all 6 million students move back into the city for the new school year. Our search began on one end of town in a place that I think I’ve seen on the news and then eventually made it to the other end of town with bird-house lady. Bird-house lady was nice enough, but the 30-40 pastel-colored bird-houses draped with 1985 lace and fake twigs strewn decoratively about her apartment and common-stairwell were already enough for me to want to high-tail it out of there. But being the polite boys that we were (or should I say “men” now), we went with her to the potential living-quarters and graciously thanked her and laughed when she pointed out that the entire apartment was Pepto-Bismol pink. I thought this was a bit of an inaccurate description because there were several places that were colors other than pink. For example, many spots on the walls, counter-tops, and carpets were suspiciously stained brown or blood-red. Also the bath-tub and bathroom tile were a nice light greenish-bluish-barfish. So there was that. While walking around the place she lectured us about how no parties were allowed and that she expected us to quietly respect the neighbors (who I think were all geriatrics, ages 75 and older). During this escapade, I had the distinct impression that I may never be happy again. It wasn’t even a temporary or potential feeling, like “oh I just need to get out of here” or “I would not be happy living here.” It was more like, “walking into this apartment may forever prevent me from feeling happiness again no matter what happens with the rest of my life.” This by itself was a good enough indicator that we hadn’t found the right place, so we told her we would think about it and got the heck out of there.

Finally we came across an incredible place just two blocks away from where both of us work. Perhaps we liked it better than we would have on a normal day due to our new perspective thanks to a depressing morning of apartment shopping in Shadyville, but it’s a great place nonetheless. Of course when I told Bob and Cathie where I was moving, Cathie immediately informed me that that is the building “where all the shootings happen.” (Cathie is one of the persons from whom I inherited the worrying gene. It’s dominant but manifests itself a bit differently in each possessor. One way it manifests itself for her is that it provokes an automatic chemical reaction in her brain that causes her to envision a bad gang scene from West Side Story any time one of her children mentions the word “downtown.” Bob’s worrying gene makes him think that any time one of his children leaves the country, there is a 200% chance they will be killed in a terrorist attack (this, ironically, is up from 150% since Osama was killed). Mine caused me to drive back to Uncle Will’s house three times last night to make sure I had turned the stove off and shut the garage. I have wondered whether two of my sisters are adopted because they seem to have escaped the effects of bad genetics. But Krisanda and I beautifully carry on the family tradition of curiously-optimistic expectation of certain death at every corner). Fortunately Cathie warmed up to the place when she came to visit and saw that it most definitely is not the “shootings” place (which may or may not actually exist) she has seen on the news.

I don’t begin my job until next Monday so I’ve been living the life of a stay-at-home-single-guy (which I think is less rewarding than being a stay-at-home-parent or spouse). While I have become quite domestic over the last 10 days, I am pretty ready to head on to work and do something lawyerly for the first time in several months. But until then, I’ll keep decorating, cooking, and “gabbing” with all of my friends on the phone all day. Fortunately the domesticism and decorating have been greatly aided by so many wonderful friends who have come out of the wood-work with incredible furniture for our entire previously unfurnished apartment. Biggest thanks goes to Uncle Will and our good friend Andrea from whom I feel that I just won the show-case showdown on The Price is Right thanks to their basements full of great tables, chairs, lamps, and art. After moving things in and hanging all of my art that I’ve collected from foreign countries over the years and never done anything with, Krishelle glanced around and informed me that “it looks like a grown-up’s apartment.” So there’s that.

Well I better go. Nothing awaits me.

~It Just Gets Stranger