I unearthed one of my high school's literary magazines from way back in 1989, and realized I had apparently been writing humor-- or at least what passed for it among my peers-- for a very, very long time.
This story appeared in that magazine as it appears now. While it certainly presses the boundaries of the word "literary," I thought you folks might get a kick out of seeing my 17-year-old self's fledgling attempt at humor story-telling. I've broken this into two parts because it's a bit long for one post.
"Do you remember me?" asked Aunt Lydia with a broad, toothy smile Crazy Glued to her face. "The last time I saw you, you were one month old."
"No," I mumbled. "I don't remember back that far. That was seven years ago."
A plump hand the size of a catcher's mitt reached toward me and repeatedly wrenched the side of my face. "Oh, you are just soooo cute, Robby! Where did you get those dimples?"
"I don't know," I said, but thought they were probably due to so many of my relatives tweaking my cheeks.
And then it happened. Uncle Ray posed the one question I dreaded to hear. "And what do you want to be when you grow up, li'l feller?"
"I don't know," I repeated. I knew I couldn't tell them what I really wanted to be. They'd just smile and laugh like they always did and tell me, "Looks like ya got big plans, Son."
I was serious. I wanted to be a doctor so I could save people's lives. I want to be a cowboy so I could get to ride a horse. I wanted to be an astronaut so I could walk in space. I wanted to be a great movie star like Pee-Wee Herman and have my own Saturday morning TV show. Most of all, I wanted to be old enough so people wouldn't ask me such stupid things.
It was bad enough that my relatives had come to visit for a few days, but there was a boa constrictor wrapped around my neck. It was squeezing tighter... tighter.... tighter... and I pulled at it, attempting to pry it from my throat. That made the serpent angry, and the angrier the boa constrictor became, the less I was able to breathe. I gasped for air.
"Leave your tie on," said Mom. "You look nice, Dear."
"I don't want to look nice, Mom. Uncle Ray and Aunt Lydia are here. Can I take this off now?"
"No. Wait until your father comes home." She adjusted the boa constrictor. I gasped again. "And stop making those disgusting wheezing noises, Robby! One would think you were choking to death."
"We brought your birthday present for you, Sweetie," gushed Aunt Lydia. She rooted through an enormous shopping bag.
Birthday present? I knew what it was! My heart soared. Things were looking up. It was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Slimeblaster that Santa forgot to bring me for Christmas. He didn't bring it because he knew Aunt Lydia and Uncle Ray had gotten it for me. Good old Santa! I knew he wouldn't let me down!
A box! Aunt Lydia handed me a box! I could hardly wait. The ribbons, card, and paper were quickly shredded and tossed onto the floor. I mean, I shredded that giftwrap faster than Ollie North ever could have. I moved the box's lid to reveal...
"It's a lovely shirt and tie, isn't it, Robby?" asked Mom.
"Yeah," I said.
Mom turned and smiled at Aunt Lydia who was sitting on the couch, causing it to groan and beg for mercy. There was no room for Uncle Ray; he sat on a chair. "Robby looks so nice in puce, too," commented Mom as she eyed my birthday present. "And what do you say to Aunt Lydia and Uncle Ray, Robby?"
What could I say? It's ugly? I hate it? Exactly what is "puce"? "Thank you, Aunt Lydia and Uncle Ray," I said.
My 16-year-old sister slammed the front door with the usual amount of force to announce her return from high school. She entered the living room and plunked down her books. "Hi, Aunt Lydia! Hello, Uncle Ray!"
With some difficulty, my aunt rose from our sofa. It sighed the biggest sigh of relief. Aunt Lydia's body enveloped my sister in a hug. I laughed. My sister peered over Lydia's shoulder and gave me a dirty look.
"Look what Aunt Lydia gave Robby for his birthday, Brenda!" said Mom, holding up the present that was not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Slimeblaster.
"Oh yeah! That's a real cool outfit!" She eyed me maliciously. "Exactly what would you call that color?"
"I believe it's puce, Brenda," replied Mom.
"Awesome shade! And Robby just looks soooo good in it! Why don't you wear it to school tomorrow, Robby?" My sister was a creep.
"Good idea," agreed Mom.
"And those orange polka dots on the tie really enhance the brilliance of those fluorescent green stripes in the shirt, don't you think, Robby?" asked The Creep.
"Guess so," I said.
"I'm so glad you like it." Aunt Lydia smiled again. She smiled more than Jimmy Carter...
Question for today: Have you ever gotten a chance to go back and read things you wrote as a kid? And how did it hold up?