In the third grade, we were assigned a "long" project informally called "ABC Books," wherein we were instructed to choose a subject, such as the boll weevil, and write twenty-six different illustrated pages about it, each ostensibly corresponding to a letter in the alphabet. "A is for Aardvark. Aardvark is a cool animal that is not the boll weevil. B is for Boll Weevil. C is for cool. The boll weevil is a cool animal." Etc. I have never been one to be satisfied with the plebian requests of some 3rd-grade battleax, so I decided to abandon the whole alphabet structure and write about what was and still is my favorite subject matter: myself. I thereby now give you annotated excerpts from my autobiography as an eight-year-old: ME, ME & MORE ME.
Click on each thumbnail for the full effect. LEFT, for example, you can plumb the depths of my artistic consciousness and explore the various elements that made such a prodigious genius tick–the crisscrossing mulitcolored lightning bolts of my inner turmoil, if you will. You’ll notice I copyrighted this, so when I write my actual autobiography I can re-use this ingenious title.
RIGHT: I DIDN’T MEAN to draw my mother as a big giant fattie here–she’s actually very slim; the thing was, I drew her first and then realized that I wouldn’t have enough room to finish the whole fam if I continued at that clip. I should also point out that we drew the pictures and then scrawled the text on a separate paper and the Baker Elementary School secretary typed them out on a typewriter (for you kids out there, a "typewriter" is a magical invention used in approximately the middle ages for much of what we use a computer for now, except without so much pornography.)
LEFT: SADLY, I often still don’t brush my hair before leaving the house. Notice the redundancy here–I explain that I didn’t brush my hair in the text; then I also draw myself with unbrushed hair (which, at the time, was "are you a girl or a boy?" short), then I have some little fuck kid informing me of the obvious. I must have really had some hair problems that day. Now people just assume it is intentional because I am TOTALLY PUNK ROCK!!!!
RIGHT: Third grade was when I became obsessed being the next Mary Lou Retton–I had seen the recent 1984 Olympics and, having no concept of what good gymnastics actually was (read: Russian), I wanted to be just like her. Therefore I spent three afternoons a week at the Salem YMCA scrambling around in a leotard and displaying little to no natural talent (which, unfortuantely, did not dissuade me from continuing gymnastics at the competitive level until I was 15). Here you see I complain about the strenuous 90-minute workout; three years later I would be training five hours a day.
LEFT: A LOT OF Germanists spend their entire careers on Märchen, which is the German word for "fairy tales," because the original Brothers Grimm works are all super gory works of literature employing an acutely self-aware use of the pastoral metaphor…or something. This page is my favorite because it demonstrates that I have been cynical since a very early age. Happy endings are bullshit and I knew it even back then! Also I seem to have an inherent distrust for Aryan princesses and wussyboys.
RIGHT: THIS ROBBE-GRILLETesque depiction of my 1985 flu bout is pretty accurate…I had never been sick before, so I guess my body was trying to make up for eight years of relative health with two weeks of absolute hell. I remember my mom staying up all night with me and forcing down Tylenol when I had a 105 fever…I didn’t want to take it but she kept threatening I would go into convulsions. My parents were all worried that everyone would have to skip my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party in Chicago, but were relieved when my fever got "down" to 102 and I was deemed "well enough" to fly. However, they hadn’t bet on my brother catching it and yarfing all over the plane. I can’t believe I didn’t write about that on another page.