I used to have a Teddy Ruxpin when I was little. I’d found him in the trash, I guess because he smelled funky, and the bit of plastic that held his batteries in his butt was missing. But, you don’t pass up a free Teddy Ruxpin. I didn’t have any Teddy Ruxpin tapes, though, so instead I put Mexican love ballad tapes in him and watched the way his eyelids moved real slow, like he was really singing to me.
I told Ted about this, because I’m sitting at home, high on medicinal weed, and his name is Ted. So, he clearly wanted to hear about my Teddy Ruxpin. Ted’s got some decent insights into things I’ve never thought much about. Do you know anyone like that? The sort of person whose follow up questions take a memory you’ve had since you were four and add a perfect detail? Well, Ted’s that guy. And his follow up to the Teddy Ruxpin bit was to point out that it was kind of bizarre that I had Mexican love ballad tapes.
The thing is, I spent a good deal of time hitting the free boxes at rummage sales. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I spent a ton of time wandering around alone when I was a kid. It creeps me out how often I was alone, and I’m pretty convinced my parents were just trying to get me kidnapped. I’d wander around Harvard, Illinois when I was 4, 5, 6 years old, completely alone. And frequently I would hit up rummage sales and raid the free boxes.
This meant I owned a lot of very weird stuff. Mexican love ballad cassette tapes were the least of it. I remember giving out funeral sympathy cards in 1st grade instead of valentines. I had a bunch of broken toys, dried up markers, automotive magazines. If I knew it was going to be someone’s birthday at school, I’d gift them one of my free box items, and think I was pretty clever for doing it.
I remember this one time, my sister got a bunch of foil flowers from the free box. They were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, dark red, shining, with sturdy pipe cleaner stems. I coveted those flowers, and she just left them in the closet in a cardboard box.
Once, when I was hanging out at the park by myself, (again, wtf parents????) I started to talk to this old guy who was sitting on a bench. He was really shakey and he had a giant, bumpy nose. He told me he used to fight in a war. I didn’t know what a war was, but I knew that when I fought with my sister things were pretty rough. I told him about that, thinking it would help bond us.
I asked him where he lived, and he told me he lived right there, on that bench. That freaked me right out. What about when it rains? What about when you’re changing your clothes? What about when you didn’t want anyone to talk to you? Living on a bench just seemed like a terrible thing.
So, I went back to our apartment and I looked around for something that might make bench life less of a drag. I decided that I had nothing of value, but those red foil flowers were perfect. And my sister wasn’t even using them, so she wouldn’t notice. I took a bouquet to the bench man with the big nose and he sat there, smiling.
Later that day, my sister saw that the flowers were missing and I confessed what had happened. She ratted me out to my step parents, and I tried to explain to them that the guy on the bench had been really happy to have the flowers, and I was sorry. They made me get in the car, and they drove me to the park. Then those jerks sat in the car and made me go get back the flowers from the man.
I remember his fingers, how they looked like Chick-o-Sticks, and they were holding those pipe cleaner stems so tightly. I had to say that I was sorry, that the flowers weren’t mine, that I had to take them back. And he was crying old guy tears and whimpering about how I’d given them to him. But I had to pry them out of his hands and run back to the car.
Man, did I ever feel like an ass for that. I thought about how you can be sitting there, living on a bench, having a rotten time of it, and then, even the small bit of happiness that life can hand you is actually just going to turn into something that makes your day even worse than it was already.
Thinking about things like that make being high a whole lot less fun, because it’s those things that can make me feel like this whole world is nothing but shit. It just about breaks my head sometimes, because I get stuck under it, a huge semi-truck of pointless misery sitting on my chest.
So, it’s time to watch some Jerry Springer videos and give myself the giggles for a bit.
Hah. That lady just said to the other lady who’s sleeping with her husband, “I oughta kick the both of yous outta my trailer”.
Why is this woman in her underwear?