Friday, January 11, 2008

On To High School

There were still a few weeks left of summer vacation when I returned home from Camp de Mar. I spent them catching up with Brett and Charlie, before heading to Leigh High School as an incoming freshman to try out for the football team.

I loved football. Even though the long hair extending out the back of my helmet attracted some good-natured ribbing from the coaches, I loved nothing more than suiting up and hitting the practice field. In large part, football allowed me exhibit my pent up rage in a sanctioned and controlled way. Playing football also gave me time away from Brett and Charlie, neither of whom played. We still smoked pot together before class everyday, but we weren't with each other all the time.

After football season, came wrestling season. Once wrestling season ended, however, the three of us were back at it full time. It was around this time -- the end of 1979 or the beginning of 1980 -- that Brett made a new friend: a young kid who couldn't have been more than 10 years old. This kid had regular access (apparently stolen from his folks) to the best weed we'd ever seen or smoked. He was willing to give us our fill for the "privilege" of hanging out with us older boys.

We were so giddy at our good fortune that it never occurred to any of us how fucked up the situation was. Then one night, in the throws of the munchies, Brett, Charlie, the kid, and I walked over to the local McDonald's for burgers. As fate would have it, my mom also stopped there on the way home from work. She took one look at us, saw the kid, saw we were all stoned, and that was it.

Within a week I was shipped off to my dad's house across town, where I'd live for the rest of my high school years. I'm sure at some level it tortured my mom to send me away, but it was the best move she could have made. I continued to attend Leigh High School, but getting there meant long bus rides to and from downtown San Jose, which in turn meant that I had little time to hang with the guys. On top of that, I was afraid of my dad. He was a cop. I was afraid of what might happen if he found out that I was smoking pot. As a result, I immediately stopped my smoking habit almost entirely.

With that significant break in my routine, I completed my freshman year at Leigh and moved into my sophomore year with a little more clarity of mind and purpose. I really hungered for some recognition from my peers -- boys and girls -- and figured that by excelling on the playing field, I might get that recognition. I didn't.

1 comment:

Did Enjoy Doing Cartwheels said...

I lived in a flat with about 5 guys. They did a similar thing. This 14 year old kid would come over with weed he had stolen from his grandma and that was how he got accepted into the group. When he couldn't get any he would make deals like cleaning the fridge for a share in there joint. Me and the other female living there found it really disturbing and decided to ban him from the house until this stopped. Even though I smoked copious amounts of weed when I was 14 I didn't want to see it encouraged in someone so young. It is such an important time for development.