To quote a Denzel Washington movie I really shouldn't have watched or even know about, "I want to tell you about the time I almost died."
It was in high school, so of course it involves a nerd. But not just any nerd. As someone famous once said, "Some people are born nerds, some acheive nerdhood, and others have nerdiness thrust upon them." Chris Mclean was born clutching a pocket protector. He was a king among nerds. He had the uncontrollable acne, the mad scientist hair, and wore the same two pairs of pants (one white, one blue) every day for the entire four years of high school.
To top it off, he was insanely smart. His IQ was out there in Einstein land. Don't get me wrong, I was a nerd in high school, that's why Mclean and I ended up together in the "gifted program". But I was an amateur nerd compared to him. If my sources are correct he's now Dr. Mclean, Professor of Physics at McMaster University. If Canada ever runs a Manhattan Project, I'm sure he'll be the first scientist they call.
But back then we were just goofy teenagers with no idea in hell about anything in the real world. Chris and I, we lived in our heads. He lived in a world of particles and waves, I lived in a world of language and drama. So of course, in order to draw attention away from my own nerdiness, I bullied him mercilessly. Sad really, but what can I say, I was an idiot back then.
One of my favorite pastimes was throwing his gymbag out the window. He had this huge blue gymbag with a metric ton of books in it, so it made a very satisfying dent in the grass when it landed, especially when tossed from the second floor. Not only would he explode in a spectacularly entertaining way, but if I was lucky, some teacher on a lower floor would notice and call the Principal's office, starting an investigation that would eat up at least half an hour of boring "learning" time. If I was tremendously lucky, I would become the center of attention for the rest of the day, sitting in a desk in the hallway or outside the Principal's office, gleefully explaining why I was there to every passerby, the story growing wierder and crazier with each telling. Ahh... high school.
Anyway I was going to tell you about the time I almost died. Once at the end of the day, Chris Mclean, Rob Williams, Chris Traini and I happened to leave by the same door at the same time. Rob and Mclean were buddies and Chris T. (as we called him, I'm sure you can see the pun there) wanted to see if Mclean was going to lose it, since I'd been harrassing him all day. Of course, Chris T. kept to a minimum safe distance.
Mclean loudly declared, "Fuhringer! Get lost right now, I am not up to dealing with you." Everyone stopped to see what I would do. I walked up to Mclean and shouted, "Gee-chee!" while poking him in the belly. High comedy. He turned purple. "Fuhringer! If you touch me again, I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!" Chris T and Rob started backing away and giggling nervously.
There was no way I could resist. I very slowly and gently poked him in the belly and quietly asked, "Gee-chee?"
Unlike Captain Kirk's "KHAAAN!" shout, Mclean's scream could in fact be heard in space. His face twisted into a rictus, he dropped his gymbag and he charged. What choice did I have? I ran. With Rob shouting, "RUN!" and Chris T. lauhghing his guts out at my imnpending doom, Mclean hurled himself after me across the field, his fists flailing inches behind my head. He caught the back of my shirt and started reeling me in. I was dead meat.
Until he slipped on a patch of wet grass and fell. I am alive today to tell this story only because of bit of moisture and some bad sneaker tread.
And because I kept running.
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