“What 17-year-old boy doesn’t want to spend his summer shooting machine guns and rocket launchers?” Private First Class Joe Lazzerini says excitedly. When I laugh he adds, “Hey, I’m gay but I’m still a boy. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘It shouldn’t matter if you’re straight, only if you can shoot straight.'”
Since we’re performing at night, our days are empty. Unless we want to blow stacks of cash and our dignity at Dollywood, there’s not much to do. If we get bored, I think, maybe we could go get pedicures together! It’d be so fun! Every city has at least one salon, and nails are like math — the same in any language. “Would you ever get a pedicure?” I ask him.
I see the small pumpkins at the supermarket and cradle them like pumpkin babies, cooing and pinching their bumps and curves. I see a full-grown one carved to look like the old man from ‘UP!’ and I feel compelled to BBM a million pictures of it to everyone I know with a dippy caption like, “UP-MPKIN! Get it?! So cute, omg.”
The gaming started in my school’s computer class. My private elementary school had a whole room full of thick, gray monitors: the kind that went blue with white robot text when they stopped working. The room was a narrow sliver off to the side of the library and we all sat in tiny chairs back to back, facing our screens.
My best friends have always changed over time. There was Madison in second grade. I helped her plaster her bedroom walls in ‘Teen Beat’ Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters. She and I lost touch when I changed schools. Then, there was Matthew in fourth grade.
Did you know if you put your ATM password in backwards it alerts the police that you’re being robbed? Did you know that sugar causes cancer? Did you know that dialing *677 tells you if the unmarked police car trying to pull you over is actually a rapist?
This week marks another Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, and lately, I keep thinking about the overtness of that swastika-spray-painting hate crime. Most of the ignorance I’ve faced for being Jewish since then has been driven more by the power of words than by violent or disturbing deeds.
A local as-yet-unrecognized child prodigy, 8, cried herself to death after her parents wouldn’t let her have just one more packet of Gushers before bed. She loved Nancy Drew books, the movie Harriet the Spy, and her unicorn wallpaper.
You’re at your desk, but then suddenly you’re at the vending machine. How did you get there? Did you float? Oh. Is there a tiny unicorn for sale in the vending machine?! It’s waving at you from E7. Its tail is multi-colored streamers. Its hooves are Oreo cookies. No, wait. You’re blinking. Your eyes were closed. How long have your eyes been closed? Where did that unicorn/cookie go?
When I heard there was going to be a Green Day musical a while back, I was ecstatic. My days as a teenage RENT-head had left me hungry for another kick-ass rock opera and at heart, I wanted to believe I was still that eighth-grader writing the lyrics to “Minority” on her trapper-keeper in white-out pen…