(Originally appeared on danieljhogan.com)
There comes a time when one needs to just Get Rid of Stuff.
Or, in my case, Destroy the Evidence of Youthful Indiscretions. Such a time came recently, as I decided to go through an embarrassment of boxes that has followed me around Michigan like a cardboard wagon train.
Stephanie was over, as she sought a distraction-free zone to fill out some paperwork. Like the villain with the golden grail at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, her choice of my apartment was a poor one.
“Do you want a copy of Maxim featuring Lara Flynn Boyle?” I held up the magazine in question. Ms. Boyle was, of course, scantily clad and flashing a smoldering pout.
Stephanie halted the assault on the ream of forms requiring signatures in triplicate. “What? She hasn’t been relevant since 1999.” Her pen resumed its work. The dotting of her ‘i’s tapped out a loud SOS.
I inspected the cover. The date read, December 1999.
The rest of the box contained more Maxim back issues, and they served as a time capsule from my final high school years. I decided to keep the Flynn Boyle Maxim, ¹ not because of the pictures, but rather because of the interview with NHL tough guy, and former Detroit Red Wing, the late Bob Probert.²
The rest, however, were put in the Recycle pile with issues of Game Informer and Nintendo Power.³ These magazines summed up my high school years: hormones, sarcastic humor and video games. †
The real gems, however, were to be found in a binder full of my high school era writings. “Oh boy, my screenplay,” I said.
Stephanie made the pen-equivalent of a record scratch. “WHAT?”
I held up the beat up red binder, stuff with a thousand sheets of loose leaf paper, of which about twenty featured my hieroglyphic writing. I flipped through a few pages, “Well, screenplays, to be exact. Handwritten, even.”
Stephanie’s eyes narrowed, as she calculated how long it would take her to reach the door. “What are they about?”
I read the summary for the first screenplay, Summertime Blues. Two recent high school grads go on one last road trip before starting college. Stephanie shook her head, “I feel like that has been made a million times already.” Then I read the character descriptions. Stephanie raised her hand halfway through the description Fred “Fatty” McStew, the chubby sidekick. “If his parents are Scottish immigrants, and he was born in Michigan, why does he have a Scottish accent?”
“Probably because I saw Rushmore the week before writing this.” Summertime Blues lasted about five pages or so. Then, my second attempt at a screenplay began. “’Workin’ the Stand,’” I read aloud. “This was based on my job working a concession stand at a movie theater,” I flipped through a few pages. “And apparently, my attempt at a Kevin Smith movie.” What I had written was pretty much Clerks in a movie theater. Highlights include a running gag about Snow Caps and filling napkin dispensers with napkins stolen from the donut shop next door, ‘Jim Gordon’s’ (a Batman AND a Tim Hortons joke in one? Gold!).
Rounding out the rest of my high school oeuvre, were (too) many dark, terrible poems I must have wrote after A) Listening to the Misfits for six hours straight, B) Banging my head against the wall, or C) Both.
(I still happily listen to the Misfits, because according to the cover of my binder, they rule)
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¹ I also set aside the infamous issue in which Melissa Joan Hart posed (clothed), because…well. I don’t have a defense for this one.
² I went to Steve Yzerman’s retirement ceremony, and when Bob Probert walked out on to the ice, Joe Louis Arena SHOOK with cheering and applause.
³ I did keep my Nintendo Power issues from the ‘80s. If’n I need to know how to beat Dragon Warrior or Megaman 2, I know where to look.
† OK, my twenties as well. And thus far, my early thirties.