The Eighth Page

Bowl-Cutted Freak

Tiny droplets of salty sweat pour down my back and thighs like the tears of an orphaned Romanian child on a cold city street. The girl next to me hyperventilates violently, heightening my nervousness. The proctor at the front of the row eyes me sumptuously, undressing me, it seems, with her eyes. And none of these aid me in my quest to conquer the giant, howling, rabid beast that is the SAT. I did not fare well that day, as my results on the SAT were meager at best. My combined score of 800 – yes, that’s a combined score – drastically limited my future prospects in terms of education and career options. According to the good people of the College Board, my score qualified me for the following professions: rhinoceros tamer; snorkeller; flag salesman; shoemaker; stay-at-home husband; humor writer for a high school newspaper; hamburglar; spinster; and race car driver. What would I do now? With such a limited number of career options, it seemed that my life was over. And, in fact, I was right. This was only the first in a long line of blatant displays of my inarguable ignorance, and what follows is a precise record of the other events of utter stupidity that have occurred around me in my life, performed both by myself and others. November 29, 1986: I was born. This, more so than anything, was stupid. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad, look what you’ve done now. What were you thinking? April 15, 1991: In the great, oppressive pressure of the first grade social scene, I, a slave to my insecurities, became a casualty of the great mistake that was the Bowl Cut. I walked into that barber’s office a shaggy-haired, fresh-faced first-grader; I walked out a violated, bowl-haired freak. It took years for my hair to grow out normally, and even now, on a clear day, you can see the faint traces of a bowl cut in my long, flowing mane. November 9, 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall. Khrushchev was right. You East Germans didn’t know how good you had it with Communism! You’ll be rebuilding that wall in no time, just to seal yourself off from capitalism. Man, what a stupid thing to do. Though I had nothing to do with this event, I thought I’d include it anyway. September 20, 1996: I was picked last in dodgeball. I had just started fourth grade and I thought I had finally become one of the ‘cool kids’ in my class. At recess, Timmy Prescalante suggested that we all play dodgeball. I was eager to join in, but my heart filled with dread when I learned that they would be choosing teams. Slowly but surely, my classmates were chosen, and the pool of unpicked dwindled down. Even Gretchen, the albino, legally-blind girl, and Prescott, the kid with nine toes, were picked before I. Finally, there were no other children remaining, and I was sure that my humiliation would soon cease; neither team, however, wanted me. After a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to determine who had to take me, I trudged shamefully to the side of the loser. I was embarrassed further when Gretchen, throwing on instinct, hit me in the face with the ball, causing both a bloody nose and a sprained ankle from the fall. Picking me last was a stupid thing for all of those mindless, cruel fourth graders to do because I wrote down each of their names and addresses, vowing one day to exact my merciless revenge on each and every one of them. I’m coming, Prescott…how’d you like to have eight toes instead of nine? February 14, 2003 and December 9, 2003: “Daredevil” and “Gigli.” Oh, Ben, will you never learn? Though it may seem that, like with that silly Berlin Wall incident, I have nothing to do with these two epic mistakes, it is not so. Last year, Ben Affleck called me, saying, “Christian, I’ve always respected you, on a professional level and a personal level. I’m thinking about these two movies…what should I do?” To which I replied, “Ben, if you do these movies, we’re through!” Well, he did them, and, despite his pleas, we haven’t spoken since. [Ben, if you’re reading this, yes, I got the flowers, and yes, they’re lovely, but please stop calling and sending gifts. I’m serious.] April 26, 2004: Writing this article. The premise seemed funny at first, but now, upon the article’s completion, I realize that it really was a bad idea. Oh well, too late now!