- What If? scenarios are great. Maybe I think that because
I was a history major, or maybe b/c I was a comic book nerd, or maybe because
I fail at my attempts to deal with reality. I'm a constant daydreamer.
Marvel Comics used to put out What If? series of comics -- "What if the
Punisher's family wasn't killed by the Mob?" "What if Uncle Ben hadn't
been killed?" Shit like that.
So what if National Health Labs hadn't transferred my dad out to San Diego? In early 1984, I was a fairly happy kid living in Houston. I had friends in school, great friends in my neighborhood, and I was just reaching puberty. Then one day my mom dropped me off from school and I saw a Century 21 sign in front of our house. Again. This was to be the (1...2...3...) seventh time I would have moved before my 11th birthday. And this time I was fed up -- I finally had a life (well, a little kid's life) and I was going to lose it again b/c we were moving to another new city. The only time I'd been to San Diego before was the previous Christmas on vacation (when we also went to Phoenix). My parents fought a lot every fucking day of the San Diego leg. So I didn't have good memories of the place.
Anyhow, I ran in the house crying, ran into my parents' big closet, and I buried myself in a heap of shoes and cried and cried and cried. Six months later our house was sold and I was in San Diego.
What If we hadn't? We were all happy in Houston (relatively -- this
is my family after all), and so if National Health sent some other guy
rather than my dad, we could have continued living in Houston. Maybe
I could have gone on to a better existence...
(Note: If the tense of this entry shifts from the past to the passive, then I'm sorry, but I got sick of proofreading something I'm not getting graded on).
Tri and Nhan (two brothers from across the street) were my best friends. Tri, Nhan and I continued our martial arts fighting ways, until Tri gradually grew out of it, since he was about three years older. Nhan and I remained friends, and in 1986, I asked my parents to send me to Klein Intermediate, rather than keeping going to the same boring private school. I wanted to hang with Nhan and my other friends rather than the same old thirty classmates I saw every year at my old private school. None of the girls there were turning out to be very hot, anyway.
So as you can guess around that time, my hormones began to kick it into overdrive. My neighbor Kay, who I used to watch TV and play street tennis with, started spending more time at my house. Rather than being something resulting from an Asian fetish (I hadn't developed it, yet), Kay and I naturally cling to each other. We have our first kiss down near the bayou. (The Gulf Coast are full of bayous, which I remember being big smelly rivers where alligators supposedly lived and the Houston cops dumped dead criminals). Naturally my immaturity got in the way, and in a few months Kay and I aren't speaking to each other. I fell into a depression, sitting around the house watching football and cartoons and loading up on my grandmother's homemade deli sandwiches. I start to get fat.
My dental problems do not reach the critical stage they are at now. After my dentist died of AIDS, my mom instead takes me to another dentist and sues for malpractice against the estate of my previous dentist. By the 9th grade, I have implants and corrected teeth. I continue to date, prowling the local Asian-American girlies at Klein as I struggle to lose weight. Rather than role-playing games and comic books, my increased bulk and lack of (relative) geekiness mixes in with Texas culture. I evolve into a natural linebacker and by the 10th grade I'm starting on the Varsity team for Eisenhower High. I become a jock.
Things didn't go well at home, though. When did they ever? Both of my parents' drinking intensified. The death of several of my mom's co-workers at the hospital from AIDS rattles her further and makes her question her life. So Mom and Dad divorce in 1990. My dad takes a job in Phoenix, but my mom kept the house.
As an escape from all of that, I focused on school, on football, and on another Texas tradition (no, not wearing dinner plate-sized belt buckles) -- drinking. I start drinking a lot.
With The memories of my relationship with Kay sticking in my mind (I get pretty hung up about that sort of thing), I developed yellow fever. I find another girl to deal with me, and we spend a lot of our time drinking. I like her b/c she's cute and smart, and she likes me b/c I play football. And I get some.
But we split up when it came time to go to school. Sex and alcohol and high school memories do not a lasting relationship make...With a wealth of schools in Texas for me to choose from, I decided on the University of Houston b/c I could a) keep my car b/c it's hella cheap, b) live close enough to my mom without being too close -- UH was in Downtown, and c) think about walking on under coach Jenkins.
Plus there were more luscious honeys in Houston than anywhere else in the state. (Houston has the third largest percentage of Vietnamese of any city in the US, behind Westminster and San Jose -- that's a little known fact). Gotta consider the babe factor.
So I try English, and History, and Hotel Management, but mostly I enjoy Beer Studies and Marijuana Engineering. I'd lost most of my friends since High School like Tri and Duc, and became enamored with the hedonists around me. The Oilers choked every year in the playoffs, the Cougars went south, and like a total sap I let my affinity for my football, both playing it and watching it, drag me down. It would drag down any woman I get interested in, I stopped dating and started smoking up even more.
I'm way too embarrassed to consider going to therapy. I'm unrecognizable from the person I was when I graduated from high school a few years earlier. I gave up on going to church (didn't have to go with my grandmother anymore...), so I drank and toked and ate BBQ all I wanted. What fun.
I managed to limp through school -- UH isn't that tough and History is a lot easier for an alcoholic bastard to slug through than English or Hotel Management -- but I'm totally miserable. I move back home after I graduate, alone, depressed, and fat after not having gotten any in a couple of years. I sleep through a stupid office job with the Oshman's regional office. I own a handgun. I vote Republican (not that there's anything wrong with that...).
of all, I listen to country music.
Good god, those last three sentences make me sound like Winston! Sorry buddy if you're out there, no offense. But I realize that for all the shit I've put myself through, I have been fortunate enough to maintain something of a social support network, as frayed as it may be at the moment. If I had continued on with my life in Texas like I had wanted to when I was 11, who knows what could have befallen me, and if would even have the chance to climb back out? I got to do in this little scenario a few things I would have liked to have done but didn't when I was younger -- play high school football, date, continue my friendships from back in the day...but I very likely would have messed things up just as bad as I have in my actual life, and there's no guarantee I would have been able crawl out of that hole. Hey, there's no guarantee I'll make it out of this one.
There are no guarantees; I might have been killed on Antoine Blvd. along with my mom in some horrible car crash. I might have had a cancer develop and kill me. I might have gotten some girl pregnant. I might have won the lotto. But these would all have been pretty brief entries, so I decided to expand on one possible but not wild scenario. And boy, did it suck.