The Life of a Rob: Part 8

Welcome back to Part 8 of my life’s story! I havent written since last week. My Grandma passed away, so I havent been in the mood lately. But I’m feeling better. I think I usually deal with death pretty good. But this time, this one put me in the dumps worse than I actually let on to anyone. But time goes on & I endure as always. Lets start off going back a bit to cover some things that I missed as I wrote the whole Middle School saga, maybe ramble a little on other things, & then ill get back to the story…

Somewhere around the 7th grade there was another nerdy white kid named Chris D. We became friends for a little bit. I even spent the night at his house a few times. I think his Sega Genesis was the first one I really spent much time on. He had Sonic & a few other games. I once vigorously played Sonic all night trying to beat it. Not many of my friends cared much for Sonic, but I actually liked it a lot. Chris got picked on something terrible in school, especially by this one bully named Victor C. Well one day out of the blue, I guess Chris decided to try to look cool or redeem himself & try to bully me. I don’t remember exactly what all he did, but he was talking trash, & even pushed me or something. Well my first thought was that I felt betrayed. Then I thought, there was no way I can let this kid punk me out. Id be the biggest pussy & target in the school if I did.

So I kinda flew off the deep end. He was walking down some stairs in front of me. I put my foot up to his back & used my leg to shove him hard down the stairs. He crash pretty hard & almost immediately started crying. I then jumped on his back with all of my weight seriously trying to do damage. I ripped the straps off of his backpack & threw his shit all over the place. I was going to proceed to beat his ass, but he was crying & a teacher was already coming after my ass. I almost got suspended for it & we weren’t really friends anymore after that. Not enemies, but not friends either. Whenever I would get into altercations like that, I would usually lose a lot of control of myself. I had a lot of anger & pain that I had stuffed inside & held back. Then it would come out all at once. I had a problem with this for a long time.

(Update: In December of 2017, I was told Chris D. had later become a surgeon. I also found out that he had committed a murder-suicide. This kid that I use to consider my friend, tragically shot his 2 children with a shotgun before shooting & killing himself. Makes you wonder if it would have made if difference if we had stayed friends & if he would’ve had someone else to lean on. I was in shock when I heard the news. Another strange fact is I was told by a female friend of mine that I had just met a few weeks or so before the incident. She lives more or less across the street from Chris, who I had no clue was living there at the time. Life is sometimes tragic, cruel, & strange. My heart goes out to his family.)

Even further back, I got into a fight with a kid in the alley behind Billy house. I kinda blacked out. I don’t remember much, but they said I split the kids head open with a rock & was trying to dig my fingers in the wound to peel the kids skin back/off. It could have just been kids making stuff up or exaggerating. I’m not sure, I don’t remember the fight. I used to get picked on by a few neighborhood kids too. I remember one of them telling me that they were going to kill me. I was actually scared of it for a bit, before I realized it was bullshit. One of Eric’s cousins was always trying to bully me & fight me. One kid named Juan that I knew thought I did something to his goat & chased me about a block before I ran into my yard. I didn’t do shit to his goat. I was confused. Speaking of goats. Billy’s Dad had a few goats. We would kinda get close to them & mess with them a little bit. I got head butted by one. It wasnt fun & we stopped. I remember Billy’s Dad slaughtering one that we had played with, right in front of us. He cooked it up. I didn’t really care for the taste of goat…

My Mom could clearly see that I was getting beat up & picked on so she enrolled me into free Karate classes that Diamond Hill School offered. It was only on the weekends. I went for about a year. I have always liked Martial Arts. I liked the classes. I really can’t remember why I stopped going. I was told that I was one of the best students. Maybe because I enjoyed it. I think some of the other kids were just dropped off so their parents could get rid of them for the day. It was fun & boosted my confidence a little. There was a food truck that would come to the school. It was the first food truck I ever ate from. I liked it. On occasion, after taking the classes, I would practice at home by myself.

After awhile my Moms car was acting funny but she didn’t have the money to fix it. I can’t remember exactly what the problem was, but I remember that it wasnt even anything very serious. But she didn’t want to drive it. She parked it in the back yard & there it sat & decayed for many years. A tree limb fell on it, smashing the front windshield. The car was fine at first, but her paranoia eventually destroyed it. She would never own another vehicle. After that, we relied on the city bus to get around. We would even take a bus from Fort Worth to Decatur on occasion. But after a while that bus run was terminated. After my Moms car broke down, the trips to my Grandparents house were less frequent & I would see my cousin less. Every now & then, my Grandma or Grandpa would come get me so I could visit.

I also remember getting bad ingrown toenails on both of my big toes. They had to operate on them to destroy the root so they would stop growing on the sides, Well the first operation was a failure, so I had to endure it once again. As I got a little older, I would have these strange mental episodes that would last anywhere from 1-2 weeks or so. I will try to explain. Reality & all of my senses would become a blur. To the point that I couldn’t really tell if life was real or a dream. I couldn’t think straight. I would be very tired all the time & I was very anti-social. I had anxiety about having to do anything. I didn’t even have the desire to play games a lot of times. I just wanted to stay in bed & wait it out.

After it finally passed, I couldn’t remember much of what had happened while I was “messed up”. Its pretty hard to explain. Later I was diagnosed with a type of depression. I didn’t know what it was for years. It was a relief to finally just identify it. For awhile I took some pills that I didn’t like. They made me dehydrated & feel funny so I stopped taking them. I still don’t take anything for it to this day. I still get it maybe once a year on average. It used to be about 3 times a year. But that was also back when I was more stressed & experimented with drugs & drank a lot (which ill get into later). I think this depression sickness might have formed from severe stress at an early age. But who knows? On a positive note, I have never been suicidal.

Through the years, I have learned how to deal with the depression/illness & function a bit better when its active. I’ve lost jobs because of it. I have also endured through it, & kept going to work, to keep jobs. It seems to be triggered by big changes such as moving, or new jobs, ect. I think it has also been triggered by getting wasted on various things. By the way, im 100% drug free nowadays. Even when I did, I didn’t really let myself get addicted. I havent done any hard illegal drugs in over 15 years. Nor do I desire to do any. More so than that, I suppose I’ve become anti-drug myself. When I was doing them, I somewhat hid it from Jason because I knew how he felt about drugs. Some of his family struggled with drugs. My wife Nanci was also very anti-drug & helped keep me on the right path. I still like to drink casually though! I will also partake in marijuana whenever it finally becomes legal in Texas. It helps calm my mind & helps me sleep. Sometimes it takes me hours to fall asleep. I’m a light sleeper. I usually wake up easily. But again, I’m getting way ahead of myself…

Ok. Back to the story. 1993/1994… Yup, still in the ghetto… But there was Mortal Kombat 2! My parents & Grandparents took notice of the troubles ive had in school in recent years. I was now coming into High School age, where problems begin to get more serious. Things such as gangs, violence, pregnancy, & ect were even more of a problem in the High Schools. My Grandma & mom decided to try home schooling, for my own safety. I LOVED the idea. I hated school in these days. School was nothing but stress & danger. At this point, these terrible schools could impact my future more negatively than positively. So Jason first went on to Lake Worth High in ’94 & then North Side High School the following year.

My Grandparents payed for the course. I got to spend even more time at my Grandparents house now. Every day, either my Grandma or my Mom would make me sit down & do whatever school work needed to be done. They put good effort into “schoolin” me. They did a good job at enforcing rules while trying to home school me. Although, I did test the boundaries of what I could get away with. When it came to taking tests, I would just look the answers up in my books when they weren’t looking. Even then, I knew that I shouldnt get 100 on every test or someone would catch on. So I would miss some questions here & there on purpose. I don’t think I actually learned much though during this time.

I did miss some of my friends from school, but I would still get to see Jason, Jose, & Cody after school. Jason would keep me posted on people who transferred from Middle School to North Side High School. He would tell me of the horrors of it. As boring as it got sometimes, & as weird as it was having my Grandma & Mom for a “teacher”… I still loved this home school arrangement MUCH better than going to public school. School was a nightmare. I would spend maybe 4-6 hours a day of actual school work & pay video games the rest of the day. It was a strange life change, but I had never known such relief. Yeah we still lived in a shit bucket of a house, & yeah my step Dad was still a huge dick, but this was the life!

1994 was a great year, a vacation even. I wore my SNES out! It was the year of Mortal Kombat 2, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy 3, Killer Instinct, Blackthorne, Maximum Carnage, Earthworm Jim, Joe & Mac, Super Punch Out, Primal Rage, Samurai Showdown, & more! What an EPIC year for gaming, never to be repeated. It was a great year for music also! Music such as Warren G, The Offspring, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Soundgarden, & more. A great year for movies even! Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Forrest Gump, Dumb & Dumber, The Crow, Interview with the Vampire, Ace Ventura, Time Cop, & more! 1994 was the year I finally got to unwind from the stresses of previous years. I was getting more submerssed in video games than ever before. I had more free time to do so. Hell, it was really the only thing to do while the other kids were in school. Also around this time, for the first time ever, my step Dad got & held an actual job!

My step Dad Frank had tried being a Security Guard, tried being a trash man, & a few other jobs. I guess he couldn’t cut it with those jobs. At least he was trying? Security required report writing (which my Mom had to do for him) & crazy hours. I remember all 3 of us sitting in the car, in the parking lot of a Childrens Palace toy store overnight for about a week. I’m not sure why they needed parking lot Security. They would be open when we first got there. I loved looking around inside. When they closed for the night, I got very bored. I would wonder the parking lot & stare at the midnight sky. We would eat junk or fast food & I would sleep in the back seat.

We had to live like car dwellers at a few of his posts. At first I actually thought it was kinda cool & interesting. It was new life experience. After awhile, I grew tired of sleeping in the damn car & being cooped up in it with my parents. Sometimes they would bicker & argue. One night at Childrens Palace, I found a magic kit. I really wanted it. I figured that I could learn magic tricks to pass the time. I asked my Mom to buy it, but it was too expensive. For some reason, I made the comment that maybe I could make money appear for us with the magic kit! Well that comment set my step Dad off. Being the raging man-child that he was, he yelled at me for a bit. He mightve even grounded me. I can’t remember. He would ground me for stupid stuff a lot, that a kid should not get grounded for.

One day Frank got mad at me & Jason for some reason. Frank went to bitching & spouted off the line… “…And tell Jason to stop callin!” Me & Jason just busted out laughing because we hadn’t had a phone in years. We weren’t even mad. It was some off the wall crazy gibberish that stunned & confused us. After some trial & error, Frank landed on a dishwashing job at Panchos for minimum wage. This is what we lived on. We were slightly better off, but not by much. I got sick of Panchos food for awhile. We might still be hungry sometimes, but at least Frank would have a lot more football stuff for himself. A year or so later he would slip & fall, hurt himself, & collect workmans comp & disability from it… 

Around this time & for years after, I spent the night at Jason’s house a lot. Maybe several times a week. I remember nights of me, Jason, & his big Uncle George playing games like Clay Fighter & Super Metroid. George would get drunk, but he was a fun drunk. Made for some funny nights. Jason’s Dad would also show at random sometimes, late night, half drunk. Jasons Dad was a fun drunk also. I would stare in awkward amazement as they would wrestle playfully in the street. In his drunkenness, Jasons Dad would ramble on about all of us up & leaving to go on a road trip. I remember being actually nervous because I didn’t think my Mom would approve!

But Jason’s Dad wasnt always drunk. He would often show up sober also & take us to do fun stuff. He took us to ride Go Carts, & rent games, & out to eat. Sometimes we would spend the night at his house. He was with an older lady, but she had some kind of super cable TV. I’m not sure if it was satellite or what, but there were a ton of crazy channels that I had never seen before. Id stay up longer than anyone else in the house & watch foreign cartoons & weird shit all night. Years later Jason’s Dad passed away. I’ll always remember how generous he was & the fun times we had. 




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