Memory and The Joey O Predicament

The world changes and as it does; suddenly the familiar things become strange like some small detail we’ve seen a million times before, but yet, we never seemed to take notice of until are eyes were able to see things from a different perspective.

I sat across from a detective once. Meanwhile, my life was about to alter and all I could notice was the loose thread and a stain inside the collar of his shirt. I knew something bad was about to happen —and yet still, I just kept eyeing the lose thread and the stain on his collar as if to signify that he, himself was just some guy in the world; and while I was on one side of the table, he was on the other. It was strange though. I was sitting across from an interrogation and trying to field questions; unsuccessfully, I might add, and all I could do was suffer my own fate, and wonder if this guy had a wife that knew his shirt was dirty.

It’s strange the things we notice while undergoing devastation. It’s strange what we remember. Like my first real break-up for example. This was my first real girlfriend but not my first love.
I was in her apartment and listening to the worst kind of insults. And I say this was the worst kind because they were simply honest and calmly delivered statements —they were shallow and cruel, yes, but she wasn’t yelling or saying anything aggressively.

In short, all she was saying is that I had no direction; however, her words were less kind. Instead, she told me that I would never be able to afford the lifestyle she wanted, that she would have to work if we stayed together, and that she didn’t want to work because she wanted to be taken care off. basically, whatever I had to offer was just not enough.

I remember the stillness of the room and her words reverberating in my mind. I remember looking around the living room and noticing the cheap shag carpeting and how the apartment smelled from cigarette smoke.
She had my stereo set too. And I liked that set but she had it set up in the corner, which meant either I took it that day or I would have to come back another time.
Meanwhile, she was bashing me with passive insults and all I could do was look around the room and pick out the odd fixtures in her apartment.
She kept the stereo, by the way. She gave me $700 for it, which was fine for me, even though she saw the money as charity. But me, I saw it as a sad form of revenge.

I swear that memory is such a strange and inaccurate thing. Memory is a liar that is based on our interpretations of factual events.

I was on a ride called the Gravitron when the L.S.D. began to take effect. I was at a small amusement park called Adventure Land as a wingman for a friend trying to score points with his date.
The only problem was his date’s friend, a girl that was less than good looking, annoyed that she was with me, and perhaps tragically insecure as well. We had separated from the other two. This I remember. However, I am unsure about much after the ride on the Gravitron.

To explain, the Gravitron was a ride which spins around. Inside, the room was dark with crazy lighting that flashed around. The ride spun around, which caused the ride’s centrifugal force to keep the body flung up against the inside walls of the ride. My ride, however, was about to take off on an entirely different level.

The poor girl literally had to babysit me. And it was worse when we walked into the house of mirrors, which was like a maze —or maybe it wasn’t a maze at all, and instead, I was just mesmerized by the entire journey of me walking into glass mirrors.

I was longhaired and drooling; my eyes watering and my pupils like big black moons. I jumped on little kiddie rides and small carousels. I believe I jumped in the tiny kiddie Ferris wheel, screaming out the window of some small helicopter shaped contraption and shouting from the little window like some drooling idiot.
Then we went through haunted house ride. This is when I climbed all over the girl and shoved my tongue in her mouth. I remember her apologizing to people about me. I remember her talking to me like I were a child, almost like I was some bratty little kid she had to babysit, and hours went by like this with her pushing and pulling me away from things. it went like this until we were reconnected with my friend and his date.

As soon as we saw them, my girl ran off with the other girl and said “WE NEED TO TALK!” and I was close enough to hear her complain about me.
She went on about what I had just put her through, which, I grant her it must have been a challenge. Meanwhile, my friend laughed. Meanwhile, I sat there laughing and talking to myself, drooling as I shouted, “Oh well, I guess a blowjob is out of the question.”

This is my memory and how I saw it. I wonder though
I wonder if  A) the girl I met even remembers me and B) if she does, I wonder if her recollection is anywhere close to mine.

And take my good friend Matt for example.
(God love hi because I know I do)
He and I grew up together. We are old friends, Matt and me. And I have this small memory of a song, which I was listening to while high (of course) and in class. The name of the band was Motley Crue.
The name of the song was God Bless the Children of the Beast, which, if listened to say like, midway through an 8-hour psychedelic trip, I found the song to be somewhat evil and yet someone at the same time.

Now, I was never much of a fan of this band. I was more into faster and more aggressive music; either that, or I only listened to traditional metal bands or better yet, I was more a fan of classic rock bands —such as The Pink Floyd, of course, The Who as well, The Dead and the Doors —I liked a little Clapton and Jethro Tull. I was never much for The Rolling Stones, but I did like the song, Loving Cup. But publicly, however, and while out with my crowd, as much as we claimed to be individuals, we all dressed the same way and listened to the same bands, over and over, because we couldn’t veer from the path or step out and be different.

Matt though, he was a real person. Matt was always him and never tried to be anyone else. I always admired him. Matt also liked the band Motley Crue, which is where this short little eighth grade memory comes from.
I am not sure how (You’d have to ask Matt) but the album came into conversation. My memory is a hazy one on this. I was high and embarrassed as ever when discussing the song. However, high as could be, I defended my position when I said God Bless the Children of the Beast was the sickest song on that album.

Something happened here and I remember a feeling of paranoid insecurity. Decades later, Matt and I were reminiscing about the old days. I told him about this tiny window of memory I had regarding this song from Motley Crue album called shout at the Devil. Oddly enough Matt remembered the conversation. He also explained that I only remember a very small portion of what was said and how I rambled on about it. strange to see how different memories recall things

But which one is fact?
Or is there such a thing as fact when it comes to memory?

Oh, and did I ever tell you the story about Joey O? He was a kid in my seventh grade class. It was the beginning of the school year. I was small and weak at best. Joey was small too and equally weak.

There has always been a thing about the two toughest kids on the block. Eventually, these two will have to fight so they can know who the toughest really is.
Well, in the case of me and Joey O, we were the two weakest. So in the same regard, I suppose Joey and I had to follow the same rules. We were the two weakest in the seventh grade. Eventually, we had to find out which one was the weakest.

We fought in the hallways for a good minute, or maybe it could have been a minute and a half. To be honest, it could have been 20 seconds before the teachers broke it up but to me, the fight seemed like it went on for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

The overall decision seemed to be a 50/50 split. Some say Joey won the fight. Some say I won. Naturally, I felt I won the fight.
Later that day, however, I saw Joey O when I was going to pick up my newspapers to deliver on my newspaper route. I used to pick my papers up with a shopping cart. Joey’s father used to drive him there to pick up his.

When I walked up with my cart, there he was Joey O in all his glory. He was alone and I decided that I wanted another shot. This time I wanted to beat him without leaving any decision up to the judges.
I started punching Joey, throwing hooks at him with my best Rocky Balboa impersonation.  Truthfully though, I am sure I was nowhere near as devastating as I wanted to be.
The fight went on for a short amount of time until Joey O’s father came out to find us swinging at each other. And I say it this way because while my memory preserves me as punching and landing good shots with devastating blows and hooks to the ribs, to the outside eye, I probably swatted like a limp-wristed little girl (no offense meant, by the way)

When Joey’s father tried to break us up, he pulled his son to the side. I stood still because a parent was involved and I was still at the age of an “oooooh, I’m telling,” mindset.
The father, however, must have either seen me as a threat to come at his son or maybe he was angry that he came out to find me trying to punch his boy as many times as I could. Either way, the father stiff-armed me in the face, fattening my lip, and then he shouted at me to get away, which I did.

My paper route was close-by. Coincidentally, so was my home. And furthermore, so was my big brother. I went in to tell him what happened. I told my brother about the fight at school and then the fight when I went to pick up my papers.
At first, my brother wasn’t interested. But then I told him about Joey O’s father hitting me in the face. See, at the time, I interrupted my brother’s workout. Upon my arrival, my big brother was punching the wall with 30lb dumbbells and growling like a young lunatic at the same time.

Maybe he was sticking up for his little brother. Or maybe he smelled blood in the water. Maybe he was all pumped up and looking to punch someone’s face instead of hitting the wall and all he needed was a reason. Well, he found one. Hearing that someone else hit his kid brother in the face was all it took.

My brother told me to get in his car. He then took me over to the newspaper distributor so he could get Joey O’s address but the manager informed my brother that such information cannot be shared. However, the manager changed his mind on this when my brother offered to beat him until he bleeds.

My memory of this is small —but, I do remember the manager changing his opinion very quickly and becoming very helpful as to inform exactly which house on the block belonged to Joey.  We left the distributor and on the way to Joey’s we saw one of my brother’s friends who I will only name as Lenny.

Lenny was a very large, bodybuilder type man. He was young and crazy like my brother and he was also equally eager to draw someone else’s blood.

Big brother pulls up in front of Joey’s house, rings the bell, and out comes Joey Sr. who was slightly unsure why some muscle-headed. high school senior was standing on Joey O’s front stoop.

“Can I help you,” asked Joey’s father.
And then he saw me there, standing off to the side. I was told to stand out of sight purposefully because if seen, perhaps no one would answer the door. Needles to say, my brother’s plan worked. When he came out onto the stoop, Joey O’s father looked as if were about to wet his pants.

“You hit my brother!”

“No I didn’t,” defended Joey’s dad.

(In comes Lenny with an eager smile and muscles bursting from his ripped up tank-top.)

“I don’t know about that buddy. We heard differently.” explained Lenny

Joey’s father sunk down to the top stoop. He sat with head in hands, nearly weeping, and shaking his head. Meanwhile, my big brother reminded Joey O and his father that someone has to apologize or someone else will get hit. Only this time, someone will get hit in a more deliberate fashion, which my brother guaranteed as loudly as possible.

The next day, Joey O apologized for him, his father, his mother, his grandmother that lived downstairs, and for anyone else in his family and so on and so forth . . .

See, the thing is this story has different versions. There is mine. There is joey O’s. There is joey O’s father. And then there is the manager at the newspaper dispatch. And of course, there is my brother and Lenny. Naturally, my memory, my brother’s and Lenny’s memory of this is perhaps the more comical one. I suppose it’s not so much for the others involved.

But ego changes our version of memory. Times change and life changes and as we grow, the world changes, and the way we see things continuously evolves.

I am thinking now about my early memories. I am thinking about how they shaped me as well as my insecurities. I am thinking about how we shed our skin as we grow; and as we mature, as we grow older, we change our ways.
Our tastes evolve as we mature. Our choices are different. Everything changes from the way we play to the music we listen to. We evolve, but our memory somehow stays like it was as kids, which is why we hold so many of our old fears because of old past experiences. Meanwhile, our memories are usually an inaccurate source of information but yet we base our feelings upon them as if they were cold hard fact.

Still though . . .
I wonder how Joey O remembers all of this. It would get a kick out of hearing his side of it.
Well, not really. I mean, even after all these years, the childish side of me still feels as if I won the fight—

See what I mean?

We evolve, but we only evolve so much



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