The Chronicles of “Peaking” VII: For the Love of the Game

When I was a boy, I rode on a pretty rough-and-tumble school bus. The forty-five minute route had two or three other stops, but the vast majority of the kids who rode it were dropped off in one place. There were almost daily battles at that trailer park bus stop, and the conversation on the ride to or from school was often punctuated with grotesque displays of vulgarity. I remember an older kid writing a song about graphic incest and then putting together a joyous sing-along that disturbed the kindly bus driver to the point of almost snapping. And while he wasn’t one of what some kindly referred to as “the trailer patch kids,” I still remember one dark passenger’s frequent boasts about his grandfather, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, as he and other kids bloodied one another in violent key fights.

I wanted you to understand the environment where this conversation happened, so you might note the context by which my answer may have been judged.

Bobbi Jo was a beauty. Technically speaking, she was my first girlfriend, but since we never even held hands, it was really just one of those playground things. Still, I was enamored with her, as was everyone else in the neighborhood. So, when she talked to you, you were usually trying to impress her. Certainly, that was where my head was when on the bus one day she turned to me and asked me, “What’s your favorite horror movie?”

That’s an easy one. Without hesitation, I replied, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

She squished up her face. “The original one with Jack Nicholson or the musical?”

“The musical.”

Shaking her head as though she had been force-fed lemons, Bobbi Jo said, “That’s not really a horror movie.”

“Yeah, it is.”

“No, it’s not. A horror movie is something like Chucky or Freddy or Jason.”

This, by the way, was the same school bus my brother and I later entertained on multiple occasions by singing “Weird Al” songs. Obviously, I was never meant for this world.

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