August 08, 2013

An Origins Tale

No, not that Origins, as we were more of a Gen-Con group growing up... naturally enough, since it was (metaphorically) just up the road in Kenosha.  THIS origins tale will be something a little more prosaic.  Those few of you who didn't sear the post out of your memory will recall a little passage in the latest Eva 1.11 post, about how longtime friend Vaucaunson's Duck ran me down with his bicycle and ground my youthful face into the brick street.  Ah, those wacky hijinks!

As with most good fiction, some bad fiction, and the occasional bit of writing you'll see here on The Pond, there is a germ of truth behind the story.  In this case, while Vauc didn't actually run me over, he did have a bicycle, like many kids our age, and by "our age," I mean 12, which would be approximately three years after we first met.  I was already infamous at Q.S. Trotter Grade School for having been the first student demoted from third grade to second in the middle of a school year.  Of course, this naturally meant that I was as dumb as a box of hair, when the truth was somewhat more... strange.

See, my education up until my family migrated to Duckford was... um... well, I was part of an alternative schooling program known as the "Free School Movement."  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the short version is that, instead of having a schedule of classes that I had to take, I learned what I felt like learning.  I believe I attended the Free School for three years, from the ages of 5 through 8, until the Great Migration in '76.  Now, I want you to imagine being five years old, and you're being told that you can learn whatever you feel like learning, and you don't have to learn what you don't want to.  EVER.  As it worked out, I was reading at a high school level when we moved to Duckford and I began attending QS Trotter... but I couldn't math my way out of a paper bag.  The thing is, nobody had any idea where to put me when I got to conventional school.  So I was placed into third grade... and within a month or so, everybody discovered that I didn't have a single freakin' idea of how to school, either.  I never turned in a piece of homework, ever.  Don't get me wrong, I did it all... but I just left it in my desk.  That's what I did before, after all, how was I supposed to know any different?

In a lot of ways, the whole Free School thing was both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, I still love to read, and writing?  Well, there's eight years of crap here at The Pond to look back on.  On the other hand, though, I still can't math worth a damn and I have no interest in learning to.  So that's how I came to be infamous at QS Trotter...

...anyway.  Met Vauc sometime afterwards, became friends, and somewhere along the way, he had a 10-speed bicycle; guess that would have been around 1980.  I, on the other hand, had a somewhat clunky three-speed bike, painted a truly lovely shade of brown, and by "lovely," I mean something completely not lovely at all.  I do mean "brown," however.  I'm not denying that brown can be an appealing color, though it makes me look like a pile of dog poo with a pile of red hair on top, I'm just saying that my bicycle was nothing special to look at.  Or ride, come to think of it.

In any case, I don't remember which of us came up with the nickname "Tenspeed and Brown Bike."  Probably Vauc.  Maybe you, earnestly bored reader, remember the short-lived Steven J Cannell show, "Tenspeed and Brown Shoe," starring Ben Vereen and Jeff Goldblum?  I will admit to not remembering it at all, save for that it gave us the nickname that I remember so clearly, despite it being 33 years old... and judging from the response to a text I sent a few hours ago, Vauc remembers not at all.

Well, that's the way these things go.  What my brain remembers as important are not the same as Vauc's, surely.  I'm sure he has vivid memories of... I dunno, playing MAATAC in the Game Room, for example, that I don't have any recollection of. 

In any case, that's the long-form explanation of the "bicycle over the face" gag.  Pointless, wasn't it?

(I still remember modifying the rules to MAATAC to allow OGREs... good times, good times...)

Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:26 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Memory is a tricky thing.  I have vivid memories of riding around the neighborhood with you on our bikes, but not that.  And true, I got a ten-speed before you did, but it was a Sears Free Spirit upright ten speed, without those ridiculous bent-over handlebars that were so popular.  And more importantly, it didn't have one of those tiny seats that threatened to split larger riders in half.
But I remember that you got a mountain bike long before I got one. One of the first mountain bikes I'd seen.  Replaced your brown bike, I think.
Hadn't thought about MAATAC for a while.  Dang. Those microgames were great.  But for me, nothing stands out in my memories like FITS.  And your group of Sopwith pilots, the Snoopies.

Posted by: Vaucanson's Duck at August 10, 2013 02:34 PM (OFJiW)

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