Friday, April 19, 2019

A Cinematic Life

When I was a kid, which some people—I won’t say who—say I still am, I liked to view my life as a movie.

Complete with soundtrack, special effects...oh, and of course, an audience.

Somewhere, out there, perhaps in a galaxy far, far away sat a rapt audience hanging on my every move.

Of course, since my daily, real life was kind of average, at best, and boring, at worst, it was important to create alternate scenarios, all of which involved some sort of secret agent work.

I mean, what better cover could there be for the world’s greatest covert hero than a suburban 5th grade Catholic school kid?

Maybe a nun; especially since they could conceal any manner of weapons under those big, baggy outfits they wore, back then.

You’d be amazed at the sheer number of items they could whip out of their sleeves, alone.

Tissues, erasers, rulers, cans of beer....

Okay, I made that part up.

There wasn’t any beer. It was mostly small bottles of scotch and vodka.

Still, pretty impressive.

Anyway, I was happy with my student super spy persona and considered the nuns to be a worthy adversary...unless they brought in cupcakes—a rarity—whereupon, I was willing to let their nefarious behavior slide.

I mean, it was cupcakes; national security could keep for a while.

For the most part, baked treats aside, I was on high alert, not only when it came to nuns, but also my fellow classmates, some of whom I suspected were participating in a movie of their own.

Especially, the smarter kids—the ones who understood fractions—usually girls, who acted as if they knew everything about everything...but AH, HA...not my top secret mission to basically save the world.

If not me…who?

Really, who?

An average school day—or what passed for an average school day— usually began with the secret sector chief—aka, my mom—commencing a highly effective re-energizing technique designed to terminate my overnight replenishment protocol in order to initiate my next mission at 100% efficiency.

This took the form of the secret sector chief bellowing up the stairs, “GET OUT OF THAT BED; YOU’RE GONNA BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!”

Which, in most cases, was all I needed, except on those occasions when the previous day’s heroics were a bit more on the taxing side—like having to take a geography test—part two of the highly effective re-energizing procedure might need to be deployed, which concealed itself as my Dad, ripping the covers off my bed and dragging me by my ankles into the “operations preparations area”, sometimes referred to as the bathroom.

There, my senses now heightened by the increased blood flow to my brain, due to the inverted ankle transport, I applied the secret mouth elixir, which formed a re-enforced, protective barrier around my entire jaw.

I then donned my ultra- sleek spy-uni, which consisted of a non-descript, navy blue blazer, cornflower blue tie, white shirt and charcoal grey pants, ingenious in its ability to all but render my countenance invisible among the sea of other students.

Plus, it was bullet proof…of course.

Yep, the agency had thought of everything...except how to obtain a positive, outcome from a substandard, hallway water fountain without sharing an unimaginable number of deadly microbes with 40 parched ne'er-do-wels waiting behind you, on line, knowing this might be the only opportunity to hydrate, all afternoon.

Once outfitted for the day, it was then onto mission transport, disguised as the ruby red, back seat of our standard issue, Black and White 57 Chevy. There, the day’s objectives were telepathically fed into my brain, disguised as the inane babel of a middle-aged record jockey using the cover Herb Oscar Anderson.

Then, the real work began as I was surreptitiously inserted into the school playground, which was really the church parking lot, built “kid safe” with a hard concrete surface painted green, which, I suppose, was intended to fool us into thinking it was grass. Of course, the bloody knees, chipped teeth and concussions, kind of gave it away, at least by the 3rd grade.

Now, fully assimilated into the general population, or gen pop, I was able to observe the plethora of foreign agents plotting havoc and governmental disruption, while they participated in certain heinous activities such as poison ball, kick ball, hop scotch and jump rope, in the final minutes before the universal neutralizer was activated.

Yes, you heard me…or read me… the universal neutralizer.

There was no end to the insidiousness of these holy operatives.

Cleverly disguised as a single, hand held school bell, the universal neutralizer, was surreptitiously passed around, on a daily basis, from nun to nun in order to avoid detection and nullification; a carefully thought out, treacherous plan that was carried out to perfection.

Once dispersed into the atmosphere, this piercing, ringing tone instantly overtook the clamoring sounds of five hundred Coco Puffed, Fruit Looped, Captain Crunched, sugar hyped school kids, rendering them instantly silent and immobile.

Frozen in mid kick, jump, throw and or run, these positions were maintained, by the helpless, for what seemed like hours, until the secondary, de-neutralizing blast was emitted, releasing our muscles and freeing us from one sinister captivity, only to be led into another…which was where the real focus of my intelligence gathering began.

Marched in a series of double lines, arranged by class, alphabet and or height we were deposited into our assigned, so called “learning centers”, where the brain washing began in earnest, but only for the unsuspecting, of which I was not...unless they were showing a movie about dinosaurs.

With my personal theme music circling my head, I settled in to pass what appeared to be another seemingly innocuous day of world saving.

But I knew better….

That kid in the second row, third seat, eyes forward, feel flat on the floor, hands neatly folded on the edge of their desk, was up to something…and I meant to find out what.

Hey somebody had to do it.

Still does.
So far so good….


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  1. ..."genpop." I love it. I was never in a movie. But radio was another matter. Specifically, "Orphan Annie." You needed a code pin to discover what was going to happen next. I was in the middle of de-coding when my dad unexpectedly appeared, demanding I make up all the time I had missed prac ticing piano. It was 45 minutes per day, and I was behind by 3 days. Oh woe. I will never forget how furious I was to have to go downstairs right in the middle of the de-coding.

  2. I think this may need to be reported to the authorities. Have you caught up on your lessons, yet?

  3. Ah, sweet memories. Didn't know you were counter servalance......interesting.....

    1. the theme music didn't give it away....

  4. As for black holes, I am delighted that Einstein invented them. Just think: that young man who says: "All you need to do is point" and stuff disappears. So that is what happened to the code pin (Vladimir, don't you wish!), the 1930s comic books, the hated stamp collection, pictures of Tyrone Power, the ring my first admirer gave me ("I wouldn't give it to you if it was worth anything."), the mummified pig embryo (my first pet -- only kidding), and movie mags with fake news all about the Joans (Blondell, Bennett, and Crawford before Mommie Dearest. Hey, those were the days.


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