Yes, at last! After months of speculation, I've decided to finally let all of you out there see for yourselves A REAL-LIFE PHOTOGRAPH OF MYSELF.

It was worth the wait, wasn't it? I told you I wouldn't let ya down....

This is me again. To the right is my mother and even though I can't remember this moment at all, I'm pretty sure she was saying "What are you doing? Don't take a picture of him NOW." There could have been only one photographer: my dad. Yup, he saw the beauty in the unbeauty. Like that dead rat he caught in the mousetrap one day. I have 5 photos of that rat.

Everyone always said (and still says) that my mom was pretty. It's nothing I would have picked up on...for one thing she's my mom, and another....early 80's fashion uglified everyone. That's not her true hair color either. She had it dyed and permed so many times, I still don't know what her real color is.

There are no Super 8's of me...I was videotaped from the moment of my birth (I could only watch THAT tape once...) Camcorders were still too expensive back then, so Dad rented them until he bought one. He loved VCR technology. And when he got his own VCR, he pretty much married it and forgot about Mom. His behavior only got stranger from there. My parents left each other when I was 4.
This guy with the big hands is Chris, my #1 influence of all time and probably the main reason why this site exists. As my uncle's son, he was my cousin and showed up a lot. My uncle was endlessly hilarious, and Chris was even more endlessly hilarious. I idolized Chris. Every time he came over I acted like I was around a movie star, and I made it my early life's mission to emulate him in every manner. He walked around in socks, so I walked around in socks. Chris used a lot of humor, so I tried to be funny too (and failed). I could never beat him in anything. He repeatedly trounced me in checkers, wrestling and wit. But I was convinced that if I wanted to live the good life, I had to be Chris. So I kept copying him...and I grew up, and I'm not wearing shoes right now and I'm writing humor for a living...I did indeed turn into Chris. For every action there's an opposite reaction, though...and oddly, Chris turned into ME.
Stephanie was Chris's gen-X older sister. Sometimes she would read to me from Grandma's books. "How Fletcher Was Hatched!" is the story of a dog who witnesses chicks hatching from eggs and gets envious. He builds himself a paper-mache egg, and the entire neighborhood comes over to watch him break out of it, and he does and everyone parties. Yep, that's the book.
The Talking Turnip, however, I remember nothing about. Chris is in the red, I'm in the blue.
Very funny, you guys.
And the woman here is Aunt Fuzzy. Okay, her real name is Cheryl, but.....the truth is, she used to own a really furry bathrobe and walk around with this gigantic curly 80's perm. Every time Chris came over to Grandma's, ever the smartaleck, he would embrace Cheryl and cry, "IT'S FUZZY!! HI, FUZZY!!" Chris quit referring to her as "Fuzzy" by age 7, but I, who was emulating Chris, did not. Much to her chagrin, I ended up calling her Fuzzy well into my teen years. Well, it just stuck...she looks more like a "Fuzzy" than a "Cheryl" to me anyway.
The grandma on my dad's side ended up donating us this piano. She figured I would grow up to be a musician and need it. Boy, was she ever off....

It's still in my dad's house, where I haven't been in years, along with every home video he ever made. Apparently he taped all those memories just so he could stuff the film downstairs forever and torture me by burying the shelf behind mountains of garbage bags, then repeatedly claiming he has no time to clear the bags away. I'd run over there and drag them out myself, but he hasn't done a single thing to spruce up that house of his since me and my mother moved out in 1987. That dead rat has probably come back to life somewhere in there.

I was scribbling on my Magna-Doodle one day when my mom came in and gushed, "OH, WHAT A PRETTY BIRD!" She showed my dad and they marveled at how talented their son must be to render the figure of a bird so accurately at so young an age; and I got my picture with the bird and everything. The only problem was, it wasn't a bird. It was just a random scribble that happened to LOOK like a bird. But I played along with the commotion anyway, because I liked getting attention. I still do. Pay attention to me.
There was NO commotion, however, whenever I read aloud newspapers and pamphlets and books of mine at high school speed. Because I was always doing that. Mom constantly read to me at an early age, and it didn't take long for me to catch on. I started reading at age 2 and I don't remember not being able to read. And I can remember pretty far back.

By age six I had read practically every good book in the library. I don't read books anymore, because they don't make the kind of books I want to read. They did when I was a kid, but not for adults. Call me when Tom Clancy writes a novel about some guy who has to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days to win a motorcycle.

Some of my earliest memories of TV include "The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera," something I was plunked down to watch every weekend. Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons were both on there, as well as some weird thing called "Paw-Paws" about tribal teddy bears. I also remember Cap'n Crunch finally getting captured by the Soggies in a massive campaign, a large bear named Wally shucking Honey Smacks instead of "Dig 'Em," and Foghorn Leghorn promoting Kentucky Fried Chicken (what was he thinking?) PLUS, the Honey Comb ad starring Andre the Giant. No matter how young you were when you saw THAT, it was burned into your brain.

SEE THE HONEYCOMB AD! 1 mb...It's not small!

Other memories are of just sitting lazily in the living room (which was always a mess) while my parents watched the 5:00 local news. Portland was having a big problem with gangs back then--every single newscast opened up with a "GANGS" headline. It led me to be wary of "GANGS," but this was a problem in the 80's when every group of cartoon characters called themselves a "gang." Yes, I seriously thought they were all lawbreakers. I never did trust Montgomery Moose that well....

Soon after, my mom moved out and took me along, and we got an apartment. It was in the only complex for miles that allowed children, so there were about 80,000 kids there and I ended up having a pretty healthy social childhood. I only wound up in the state I am TODAY because we moved again when I was 10. I was told, "Don't worry, you'll make plenty of new friends now," like parents always say. It never happened--there were no other kids around our house, and everyone at school hated my guts. But for now, life was a blissful ignorant paradise, with no knowledge of the Cold War or the MX program. Those late 80's years in the apartment will probably always be the most peaceful years of my life, with toys in abundance, cool breezes through open screen doors, hours and hours of "Pinwheel," and munching PB&J sandwiches for lunch while Gloria Estefan songs would sourly play on our crummy radio. I've since later found out that the problem wasn't the radio--the problem was 1980's synthesizers, which every music company used back then.You know what I'm talking about....

Hear Gloria on the crummy radio! WOW!

Meanwhile, I saw my dad once a weekend. He was still at his VCR, taping every single thing. I wonder if he even realized Mom was gone. Dad would play with me, sure, or we'd get to go somewhere....but not if there was something he couldn't set the timer for. This weird obsessive-compulsive disorder lasted for several more years, and he's now got shelves and shelves of videotapes....I swear, my dad has the entire 1980's on tape.
.............................................................................Wait a minute......HE'S RICH!!!! THE ENTIRE 1980'S!!! Maybe it wasn't such a bad plan after all...

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