Dude, I’m huge in Columbus
I’m very slightly more Zaphod Beeblebrox-y today, as Columbus, OH-based rock and roll band DB3 has released a new album featuring my badass six-year-old bigwheel-riding self.
The good news: This helps me convey that crazy, madcap, laugh-in-the-face-of-death persona that keeps the Naderites at bay. Feet off the pedals! Badass at six years old! Hey, maybe the resolution on the cover art is low enough that you can’t see the expression of abject terror on my face.
The bad news: The hammy expression may be mine, but the photo is very much my mom’s, and I gave permission for DB3 to use it thinking it would be part of a big-wheel collage, and all of half-an-inch across. Not the band’s fault, I gave them the imprimatur as a knee-jerk response. My mom, who is a Real Photographer, won’t be amused. Mea culpa, chere maman!
The first time I got unintentional overexposure was at the Hill School Computer Camp, when I was just a couple of years older than in the bigwheel photo. My fashion sense ran to short khakhi shorts with many zippers and clip rings, excruciatingly tall “ringer” calf socks, and — get this — a Doctor Who hat with a pedometer clipped to the back. Channel Ten news came by to do a story on this crazy new “techie kid” phenomenon, and I really really really wanted to be on TV. So I walk up to local reporter Cheri Banks, and say, all casual like from under the bill of my “Doctor Who” hat:
“Say, we don’t get newspapers here. Can you tell me what’s happening in the Falkland Islands?”
Yeah, smooth, right? I’m sure my story would have been more convincing if there wasn’t a TV RIGHT BEHIND ME WITH THE NEWS ON. Anyhow, maybe it was the socks, but skip forward a week, and I’m sitting anxiously in front of the TV, watching the nightly news teaser: “Kids who know more about computers than adults do, ha ha! More after this break.” The longest commercial break in history, then:
“At first glance, John Young is a typical kid at a typical summer camp…” [shot of me in the pool, waving through the dive coach’s underwater viewing window at the camera GOOD GOD THIS WHOLE STORY IS ABOUT ME! OH DEAR LORD LOOK AT THOSE GOGGLES]
“But this is a special kind of summer camp… a computer camp!” [shot of me walking to class carrying a white ring binder with my Pascal notes OH MY GOD THOSE SOCKS! IS THAT WHAT MY SHORTS LOOK LIKE! OH NO OH NO I’M A NERD! A NERD!]
“At the Hill School Computer Camp…” [shot of me fitting a new reel of tape onto a VAX system]
“blah blah blah blah of the future, ha ha ha!” [staged interchange between me and Cheri; Cheri is sitting at a computer pretending to try and fail to do something; I’m shaking my head knowledgeably and pretending to explain what she’s doing wrong, CAUSING MY DOCTOR WHO PEDOMETER TO GO CLICK CLICK CLICK OH SWEET JESUS NNNNNNOOOOOOOOO!
Oh, man, that was traumatic — a window into a future filled with wedgie after wedgie after wedgie; a future where I only wore stupid clothes and acted excruciatingly, horrifyingly embarassing and never, ever got a girl to like me (I was eleven; I was starting to change my mind on the whole girl subject.) The Doctor Who hat went straight into the closet, and I vowed never, ever to embarass myself in public again.
Of course, I got over that.