Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the basketball diaries

i hated eighth grade. i was really on the fringes of a moderately upwardly social but felt like an outsider. they all lived the opposite direction from me- i lived on the poor side of town. i can't tell you how many miles i put on my orgill brothers bike. i would ride to meet them at different department stores or places to eat. i would have to order the cheapest thing on the menu and water, but i got to socialize. i just barely fit in with them.

during these travels, i made an amazing life-changing discovery.

i accidently found out where the cute phys ed teacher lived. the one who looked like a better-looking tom selleck- a.k.a. magnum, p.i. mustache, tan, sunglasses and i think he wore gym shorts brief enough that they were made by speedo. he caught me one of the sixty million times i stalked him rode past his house and waved at me. i waved back and tried to remain calm. HE WAVED AT ME!

the next time i saw him, he was with the other phys ed teachers- the COOL jj evans/dyn-o-mite dude who had a big afro and wore an afro with a big-black-plastic-fist-o-solidarity afro pick sticking out of the top. they waved me over. i pedaled over and saw that they were hiding a joint. i just walked up to him, took it out of his hand and took a huge toke. big stuff for a 14 year-old girl to do! they all laughed and mr. afro-pete-said, "dang, she's cool!"

we spent the rest of the summer getting high together, me and the two teachers. we would play basketball and they coached me on how to REALLY put some fire in my game. i wasn't afraid to ride my bike for snacks when i was high. pete's car tended to break down and hank- mr. magnum crotch bulge- didn't have a car. his wife worked at a school that held summer school so she worked year round. during the school year, he got the car and she took a bus. during the summer, he was stranded. they would give me $20 and i would ride to kroger to get fritos and cans of bean dip, cans of lipton lemon iced tea we'd stick in the freezer so it would be icy after we finished playing basketball. i never told. no one ever found out. this is the first time i have ever told this story.
so i spent 8 weeks getting stoned with two of my teachers, playing basketball and watching soap opera. i made myself useful by always having papers and a lighter. i helped hank fold the laundry. i was amazed at how small her panties and clothing were. hank actually had leopard print underwear smaller than his gym shorts. eventually after the 3rd week of folded and out away laundry, she would leave twenty bucks with hank to give me, with instructions to call "the laundry fairy" to catch up her laundry. i always tried to give it back to him but he refused. and i never had to buy dope. because of the fairy reference, they called me tinkerbell or tink. i was cool before my time!

school started and i'd see hank and pete in the hall. they'd kid with me, pat me on the back, rub my head and mess up my hair.

it got me noticed by some of the coolest kids. i knew that being cool with hank and pete was a million tiers above being cool to them, so i kind of threw a cold shoulder to all the girls who had tromped my ego in eighth grade. i was so casual in my jordache jeans, striped cowl neck sweater and famolare roller coasters. forgive me, it was 1979. i was trying to dress like mackenzie phillips, minus the mounds of cocaine and heroin.

i still folded his laundry every saturday. hank and his wife would sit in their robes, lounging on their imitation leather pit group and read the paper. after i finished the laundry, she'd pay me and then she'd go take a shower. hank and i got high out in the garage while she was soaking in the tub.

there was another bonus- every time we had a mandatory meeting or prgram during school hours, pete and hank would get me out of going to the assembly to grade papers. then once the papers were finished, i'd head out over the fence behind the school and they'd pick me up in from of a certain house on the next block so we could go to hank's place and burn a couple.*

we still got stoned as often as possible. with their help, i made it on the basketball team. i was fast and good. they came to all the games and cheered me on. we made it to the next to the last tier and then we lost. sometimes we'd meet in a local park and race-walk, three abreast and pass a joint back and forth. i was the monkey in the middle, so i got to smoke twice as much.

they were my protectors, my fake daddies who got me high. these were the most positive influemces i had during 9th grade. if it were today, i would say they helped me develop self-esteem. back then, we called it courage.

it's a sad state when two middle-aged dopers are the best male influences i had. my mom never came to any of my games, they were at every one. they would even take me out to eat pizza sometimes. i know know that we looked like a bad blind date, two middle aged men, black/white, taking out a little white girl. i'm sure we raised a few eyebrows.

we parted ways when school ended that year. hank's wife got a better job in connecticutt and they were moving there. as a going-away present, she gave me a hundred dollar bill inside a brand new gucci bag. hank added 4 ounces of killer pot. i brought them a tin of chocolate slice-n-bake cookies i made myself.

pete got a job at a sporting goods store and brought me pairs of sneaks sometimes. or socks and t-shirts. my grandmother never questioned him coming by. then he moved away.

and the 3 were down to 1.

they were never inappropriate with me, other than getting high with me. but i would have been out somewhere unsafe doing the same thing.

i miss hank and pete.


  1. That is an incredible story - I can see it as part of a memoir. Have you ever thought of writing one? You are a terrific writer.

  2. thanks, lidian! i have thought about it. maybe if i get enough entries, i can get motivated.


Show me some love!