Memorial weekend 2008, was busy as hell. On Saturday, my son, and I went to Atomic Cycles in Van Nuys, met up with an old friend I went to Columbus Junior High with, Linda “Ziggy” Daniels. If you were in Los Angeles, San Francisco or England in the ‘80’s, chances are you ran into her. It had been about twenty-five years since I last saw her, and I mentioned her a couple times in the “Mike Check” column, and low and behold we reconnected on the internet (not the eHarmony type connected). One of the few people I know that was involved in some capacity or another in every aspect of the punk scene.
On Sunday, darn near 50 to 100 people gathered for my mother’s 60th Birthday. An incredible turnout, relatives showed up that I haven’t seen in a decade or so, and friends of my brother that he went to kindergarten with, kids that at one point or another my mom helped raise or was room-mother to. How does this tie-in to a punk column, well, here’s the story: Everyone is making small talk, and getting reacquainted with, and midway through the afternoon, a guy named Todd comes over smiling, and starts with “Remember when you were a crazy punk rocker in high school?” He says this in the same tone as Bill Murray in Stripes, when he launched into that story “Remember when you and your friend stole that cow, and you were going to try and make it with that cow?”
To Todd’s question, I replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “Well, Gerald is here, and we were remembering how you went to Mulholland to beat his ass.” What a way to celebrate my mother’s birthday, discussing previous thug-like behaviors.
Well, the story goes like this, when I entered into 11th grade, my brother was coming into Junior High. He was a relatively small guy, that summer he’d have a growth spurt and become bigger than me, but until then everyday some clown would bully him, try to rob him or try to beat him up. So, I went over to his school one afternoon, and as I was going through the driveway of my High School to his Junior High, people started coming up to me and asking about where I was going, I explained that there were two antagonists that I was going to talk to (wink, wink) named John and Gerald at my brothers school. I was, usually, pretty calm and well-liked, so once I explained that I was helping my “Little brother” people started volunteering to do the fighting for me. I was the Pied Piper of ass kicking. By the time I got to my brother’s school, I had about twenty guys with me. I received very scared looks from the Junior High kids, leather jacket, and Sid Vicious hairdo; people were jogging out of my way left and right. I found John and Gerald in the lunch area, and headed towards them; Gerald had his bike with him, and took off before any of us could get to him. So, I went to John and explained that he shouldn’t ever look sideways at my brother, and every time John would start to say something, this guy Frank, who followed us over would punch John and quietly tell John to “shut-up and pay attention.” We were out of there inside of 15 minutes. But as I was halfway out of the school, this short little black guy who had been standing off to the side during all of this, chuckling came up to me and introduced himself as the assistant principal. As soon as he approached, I waved the other guys along, they dispersed and the assistant principal and I talked for a minute, he tells, “Well, that was something else. Care to explain what just happened?” Real briefly, I told him these guys, had hit and robbed my brother. He says, “You need 20 guys to handle John?” I tell him no, they were volunteers. He laughs a bit and says I’m going to need to call your parents and straighten this out. I say OK, my dad will be home tomorrow morning. I skip my morning class and take the call, I am the dad. Around 9:30 am the Assistant Principal calls and explains what “my boys” got themselves into. I feign anger, and ask if he doesn’t mind, I would like to handle the discipline myself. That if he would refrain from any suspensions I would make sure they wouldn’t leave the house, except for school for the next six months, surprisingly he agreed. He felt I was a good parent and could see this was strictly an isolated incident.
You got to love stories like this and get together.