I can’t stand when people brag about their kids. It’s annoying. But I’m in awe of my son. He’s too good to be true. This morning I had to wake him up for school. Normally, he’s up and dressed before me. He was so pissed at being woken up, that tonight he DEMANDED to go to bed early, so that I wouldn’t have to wake him up in the morning. Where did this kid come from?
Lately we’ve been playing Galaga together. In 8th grade, Galaga nearly hijacked my life:
Dad was trying to piece his life back together. He had suffered a bunch of heart attacks, losing his job in the process. With bills mounting, he managed to land a job in Oklahoma City. Early in my summer of 8th grade, Dad flew down to OK City to scope out housing options. It didn’t go well. He wound up back in a hospital, where he underwent triple-bypass surgery. So…I spent the summer in OK City.
That’s when I met Jon Matlock. He was two years younger than me, but he was one bad mofo. The same week we started hanging out, an arcade opened nearby. By the end of the week, we had both blown our life savings playing Ms. Pac-man, Centipede, Frogger, and the greatest game ever – Galaga. We got desperate. An addiction, physical or psychological will make people do unfortunate things.
The local grocery store had a can-recycling program. They paid $0.17/pound. Jon and I spent two hours collecting cans. That big bag-o-cans netted us a measly $3.25. 13 video games later, we were re-broke.
The next day we were back out there collecting cans. The plan: Emptying trash bags in apartment complex dumpsters. Yeah. You read that right. We took turns going inside dumpsters. On the way home we stumbled upon several cans full of mud. In the bag they went. They were cans, we reasoned. The same bag weighed more this time. $4.50.
Another day, another mission. This time WE supplied the mud in the cans. That same bag netted $8.00. Keep in mind that the people weighing these dirty cans were college-age girls who showed little interest in sifting though the contents of our bag.
The next day, we were back at the grocery store, getting weighed. Those girls HATED weighing our cans. They never seemed to know how to work the machine. So we helped them. We turned the dial to a more favorable payout of $0.83/pound. $28.
It took a few days, but we again found ourselves quarterless. After several hours of scavenging, and making mud cans, we were off to the scales. We were greeted by the store manager. He spent several minutes going through our bag, throwing out the mud cans. He didn’t appear to need much help working the machine. Our take: $2.50. That was the last time I’ve ever collected cans.
We didn’t move to Oklahoma City. Thank God. If I had continued hanging out with that psycho, I’d probably be writing this from jail.