Carrie Mentioned Something the Other

Monday, July 01 2002

Carrie mentioned something the other day as I was relating the story of a crazy English teacher I had in junior high. She said “Michael, you need to write fiction, you obsess about interesting people, and it’s obvious that you enjoy talking about the characters you meet in life.”

I think I could probably write fiction, but it wouldn’t be something that would come with ease. Like anything, it would take practice. It would take failures and successes and repetition to get good. I prefer instant results. Let’s see how good I can do using my “Instant Results” method.


Bruce was a five year old plumber. It wasn’t obvious to most, but I knew. It was most most obvious that Bruce was a plumber when his twin brother Lloyd would practice his wrestling moves on other children. The half nelson was, not suprisingly, half as painful as the full nelson. Lloyd was a garbage man.

Lloyd and Bruce had a game they’d play against the unwitting. It was called the “Digging for Gophers” game. Lloyd would execute a half nelson that would advance into a genuine full nelson on a sandy blonde kid wearing a striped Izod Polo, orange courduroys, and blue Vans slip ons. While the kid was secured, Bruce would begin to dig with fervor at a gopher hole in the schoolyard. One might mistake Bruce as an in-ground pool installer, but it was obvious he was a plumber. Bruce wore stiff blue demin jeans, and shirts too small for his larger than normal five year old chubby body. Bruce didn’t wear underpants. In the midst of Bruce’s digging fervor, it was obvious that Bruce was a plumber.

Being forced to view Bruce’s plumber’s crack wasn’t as terrible as what Bruce was trying to produce. Bruce knew how to make gophers come out of their mysterious hidden dens underneath the kickball field. To a certain segment of the kindergarten population, gophers were terribly ferocious beasts, that if left unguarded, would gnaw your eyeballs out or chew your ears off. Their buck teeth and digging claws were implements of horror. Gophers were concentrated death and destruction in rodent form, and their stories of terror and gore were reported with clockwork regularity.

Bruce would dig and collapse their evil lairs until they’d have no choice but to face and fight whatever was destroying their well laid plans of kickball field domination. The scorned gophers would scatter from the dust storm and stand with teeth borne and claws at the ready. At this crucial moment, garbage man Lloyd would make full use of the motivational qualities of the full nelson to present his capture to the ready-to-fight gophers.

There is nothing more terrifying in this world than a gang of gophers who have just been foiled. Full nelsons have no power over a child facing the most terrifying things in the world. Hulk Hogan would have done well to channel his thoughts and think of gophers when dueling Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Lloyd wasn’t as big as his brother, in fact, Lloyd was pretty standard in size. Lloyd lost the lock, and the sandy blonde kid lost his fists in Lloyd’s face. Not one to underdo things, the sandy blond kid employed his favorite wrestling move, the head lock with the taboo crotch grab. He began dragging Lloyd away from the Terrible Place, towards a place more suitable for inflicting punishment. Bruce objected of course, and made a threatening motion, at which the sandy haired blonde kid reemployed the taboo crotch grab with extra intensity. This motived Lloyd to scream at Bruce to go get a teacher.

Not one to leave things unfinished, the sandy blonde kid dragged Lloyd to the trash can, kicked the can over, and while squeezing even harder on both the headlock and taboo crotch grab, yelled “Get in filthy friend of gophers!”

Lloyd shamefully got in, and with a kick from the sandy blonde hair kid to the can, rolled away into first and second grader territory, where he was promptly captured and used as the newest victim in their Punch You Hard game.


Too bad it’s not exactly fiction. The only fictional part is Lloyd rolling away in a trash can. He was

turned over to first and second grader territory where he was pummeled. Bruce got in trouble for making me cry, and I got in trouble for grabbing Lloyds crotch. It was a move I learned from having an older brother who had no other weakness when it came to wrestling. I’m still not too happy about gophers to this day. I don’t like walking through a field with obvious gopher activity, for fear of stepping in a weak part and breaking my ankle, and for fear of just seeing one of the terrible beats.