Oh man…. This is definitely on my “mean things I did” list. So this post is kind of a humorous story AND a confession of sorts.
The year was somewhere around 1990, and I was about a 10th grader in high school. I had dropped out of TJ and returned to my original school district, with a relatively clean social slate compared to before I left.
Me, around the same age, flicking off Dad as he camcorded me while picking me up from work at the now-defunct Weis Markets #125 of Lake Ridge, Woodbridge, VA.
So while walking around Woodbridge High School one day, I randomly found a lost object. It was this guy’s organizer. And it wasn’t just any organizer… It was SUPER-DUPER organized, and TOTALLY OCD beyond any levels I had seen.
Imagine this, but color-coded in every color visible to the human eye
Basically, this guy who I didn’t know (2,000 person school) had gone out of his way to REALLY organize his organizer. He had a key in the back, explaining his acronyms:
M. = Monday
T. = Tuesday
W. = Wednesday
Th. = Thursday
F. = Friday
S. = Saturday
S. = Sunday
Yes. He’d written this out by hand! He also had a box that he drew on the edge of EVERY page, where he inserted various meta information, such as “restriction ends in 45 days”, “restriction ends in 35 days”, “don’t lose organizer”.
He had a ridiculous amount of organizing. Me and my friend — I want to say Sam W, but I’m not positive — went through it, laughing at him a lot. He had put sooo much work into this organizer, but it was mostly pointless work, like color-code-highlighting his events. Orange=church, yellow=school, etc, etc.
The whole thing kind of offended me. Now don’t get me wrong — I hate people that are disorganized and can’t get their shit together — but as a 10th grader, there wasn’t a strong need for that. I didn’t become organized until the reward to effort ratio became much higher with the internet, and great tools such as Google Calendar. But the “organization” he was doing was more akin to Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain just to have it fall down again. It was pointless work.
Hell, the proof was in his “don’t lose organizer” comment! You can write it down as much as you want, but it’s a waste of effort. If you don’t want to do something — take precautions against doing so. Thinking that writing something down repeatedly is something a poor teacher makes a bad student do. It doesn’t actually work as a deterrent, even when voluntary. Nor does singing hymns make you a better person; mindless repetition is meaningless. Critical thought is what counts.
My 'organizer' next to the phone - held my phone numbers prior to moving to computer file around 1988, a file that I still keep my numbers in today, 22 years later. I DON'T LOSE MY SHIT. I still have every number that was hand-written in this 'organizer'!
It was decided that we would use my phone (pictured above, actual room and phone) to call him. There was no caller id back then. You could *69, but all it did is give you the number. You had no way of doing a reverse lookup to find out who’s number it was. It was the wild west of prank call days; we prank called all the time. I’d even prank called the operator, and even called 911 (tho I did not prank them, only hung up on them. And yes, they called back.)
So we could probably call without impunity. But me and Sam played guitar together… a LOT:
What?! This must be before I switched to the *blue* Dunlop (turtle) picks. Crazy. I always use blue now - just like Kim Deale of The Pixies. Green is simply too bendy for speedmetal chords. It's better suited to acoustic strumming.
We decided to use my a pitch-shifter pedal that I had bought for my guitar. It looked kinda like this, but it was blue:
It had echo, reverb, and pitch shift. I would pitch shift an octave lower, and play along with the bass for a song. Or pitch shift an octave up, and make “music box-sounding” guitar. It was great fun. But it was even more fun when plugged into a microphone! We pitch-shifted our voice at least an octave lower, and called the kid’s number from his lost organizer. It was an answering machine.
I don’t remember his name, so let’s just call him Dwight Schruite. Anyway, we left a message, in our pitch-shifted lower-than-humanly possible voices. “Dwwwwiiiight Shcruuiiiiiiiitte….. We have your organizerrrrrrrrr!!! We have your organizerrrr, and you’re never going to get it back! We’re going to burrrrn it! Ahhh HAHAH HAHHH HAHAHHH [demonic evil laughter goes on for awhile]”
Yeah... That was a little evil of me.
[SIDE TANGENT PARAGRAPH] We also called people on the last day before Christmas, yelling “Merry Fucking Christmas!” into the speaker-phone before hanging up. Dad actually figured that one out from upstairs, based on his supernatural ability to discern events happening in other floors. One time I bounced a rubber-band ball 1 foot on my bookshelf at 12:30AM, after going to bed, and dad came down… “It sounded like something hitting wood down here!” But I was expected to somehow not hear my parents doing their business above my bed. This is why I sleep with music. Things like someone bouncing a rubber ball 12 inches on a different floor won’t bother me because it won’t be hearable over the sound of the music. If only Mark I would listen to that advice, he wouldn’t have to bring a goddamned white noise machine into his tent to sleep in a tent 100 ft away from ocean waves (which basicallymake white noise). [/TANGENT]
But I digress. It was a pretty mean thing to do. To “Dwight Shcruite”, whoever and whereever you are: I’m sorry about your organizer. I know the feeling of loss that must have caused, because I’ve lost things I’ve put a lot of work into more times than I want to remember. But it was just too laughable for me to care. So in a sense, I judged you, and punished you for being wanting. I suppose I have some negative karma from that, but fortunately for me I don’t believe in karma as a disembodied force.
It would be pretty funny to hear back from him via this blog, but I really doubt he’s going to be googling about an organizer he lost 20 years ago. And I would have trouble believing it to be him, even if a comment was left to that effect.
Sam? He eventually cut his hair:
My friend Sam, who had super-long hair, then got it cut off in the EPIC HAIRCUT OF ALL TIME:
And that pitch-shifter pedal? It went on to Virginia Tech with me. When Dan C brought his PA to his dorm room, we hooked my pitch shifter pedal up to the microphone, and yelled into the Pritchard Hall pit. At one point, our RA was even talking to us about, “Yeah, some guy has a PA, and we’d really like to catch him”. Good times.
The pedal eventually broke, and I threw it away. Had I known about the restorative properties of contact cleaner, maybe I could have saved it. But hey, it was $80, used, from another kid at the school. It was a $270 pedal. I ran my computer’s sound through it, making the game Syndicate sound MUCH cooler with an echo. I used it for guitar, microphone, computer, and I’m sure I ran my television through it at some point for shits-n-giggles too. I miss that pedal.
“I like stories.” (more…)