Updated: Aug 19, 2021
A question was posed the other day when a friend asked me, somewhat out of the blue, "if you got to go back at any point in your life and right a wrong, what would that be?" Most of the time we'd all sit there and contemplate... Maybe we took the $200 off the street that was laying on the ground next to the car that was clearly belonging to the owner of that car because as you sorta "hung out" in cafe that looked over said car, and you witnessed a frantic sole looking aimlessly for that $200. All you had to do was go over to the person and say, "hey! you looking for something?" Of which that person likely would have answered, "YES! I just lost $200 that probably fell out of my hands as I was fiddling with other things..." and the case would have been closed. You'd just return the $200 and be the hero. But no... that wasn't righting the wrong. And of course, that was just a fictitious scenario and was nothing close to being an actual case.
My response was immediate—almost to the point where my friend didn't finish the sentence. Steve. Steve from sixth grade. Covington Elementary. It was a mild day, otherwise epic sunny, late morning in the dewy, fog-just-lifted, pre-Silicon Valley South Bay. I don't remember Steve's last name and I don't care. If I had the chance to hunt him down I'd do it right now, as I sit here typing this thing.
Steve was supposedly a friend. So much so that I invited him to my fourth grade birthday party. We were in the old Ford LTD station wagon with the fake wood paneling on the sides. A bunch of kids piled in the back. Some kid—I believe to this day it was Richard Mason, a kid my mom forced me to invite because his mom knew my mom from something that I have no idea of what or whom it was—made fun of Steve because he made funny squishy sounds with his mouth and thought Steve was a loser because of it. It was this sort of puffy cheeks thing where you fill the mouth with air and then you just force it out through the front of your teeth and it makes this weird, squishy sound. I didn't care for it, either but not enough to make fun of the kid. So I stuck up for him. I told Richard Mason that Steve was a cool guy and that so what if he made squishy sounds with his mouth and looked really stupid doing it? Who cares?! People are starving in this world and you happen upon making fun of Steve for making squishy sounds with his mouth? What sort of animal are you, Richard Mason?
So yeah, I went to bat for this kid. I thought I had earned enough collateral so as to think we'd be friends at least until we got to Egan Junior High. But no... In the sixth grade, Steve turned ugly on me. We were out on the soccer field in the back of the school, where the field abuts the Catholic School that was St Simon's. The school where we'd make fun of the students from that school because we could wear our shorts and OP shirts and they'd be stuck wearing the lame uniform. There were some near fights that would ensure but the sisters would come running out to gather their flock and we'd laugh at all of them for being such pussies. Of course we weren't entirely sure we could really 'take them" — especially as it related to the one very tall kid who never spoke. he just stood there and looked as if he were taking notes on each and everyone of us—databasing our faces so that when the time came, he'd kill us all in when we least expected it.
So we were playing a good game of soccer during recess. Running around, having a good time. there was Renee Lave, and Chuck Swami, and Terry Westmoreland and Frog, and Danny Tamada, and Scott Norris, and Eric Olson... and Steve. Oh.... STEVE.
Someone kicked the ball and I ran towards it. I was steaming along at full speed, wanting to get that ball and taking it back to pass to whoever at wherever. I noticed Steve also vying for the ball. He too was steaming along at full speed—just not nearly as savvy and fluid as I. I was running like a pronghorn on steroids. Unfortunately for me, Steve figured out I was going to get to that ball before him, so instead of running towards the ball, he cut towards me and with one flailing leg, he stuck it out and tripped me in full stride. I can still feel the impact of that fall as I slammed the hard turf of Covington, spinning and cartwheeling and flailing out of control—it was like a F16 had been shot out of the sky and fallen to earth, tearing into a remote, dense forest. My limbs all contorted in different directions and all I could see was tossing and turning — like someone had stuffed me in the washer as laundry and pressed "FAST" load.
Once I came to a stop I just looked up at the blue sky. I could barely move. my right shoulder burned with pain. I couldn't move it.
Danny Tamada came over and helped sit me up. I couldn't lift that shoulder even a little. I still cried. Danny Tamada was awesome. He helped me back to class as the school bell rang out. Steve... Steve just walked off, laughing. That shoulder hurt for two fucking weeks. I couldn't even go to swim practice for a few days and usually nothing kept me from going to swim practice. I had Shelly Stevenson to thank for that. She was my love muffin in those days, although she didn't know that.
So if I were to wrong a right? I'd say I'd go back to that day and really fuck up that Steve kid. I wish I knew his last name. To this day I want to hunt him down and fuck that guy up. Maybe throw a ball at his face. Maybe ask him to race me in a 100 meter dash and then trip that shit up! hey, Steve— how that feel, motherfucker?! Or even at the Safeway... Aisle 9 with the dairy. Say he gets some eggs and is taking those eggs back to his cart. I come strumming in and trip that shit up. Eggs everywhere. All over Steve, who lies there, all fat and bald, with egg shit all over his face and that best shirt. How you like it now, bitch! Not even a question just a rhetorically "fuck you!' And then that'd be it... My Steve demons would be properly exorcised and I could move on with life. better watch your back, Steve. Even if I don't remember your last name... all I know is, Steve Goin' Down!
The scene of the crime—now it's just dirt, no field. It was still really hard though!