I noticed quickly as a child that the other kids around me were doing more than just going to the community pool in the summertime. They were going to Florida.
It wasn’t like they were going on a fancy vacation. No. They were just going to Panama City Beach. So, my parents decided to do the same. As a parent now, I know what a huge pain in the ass all of this is, now. To be honest, I could barely swim, so I would just get on a raft and run into the waves.
We did this every year until I became a teenager. I think my parents came up with the idea for me to bring a friend. My friend, who has the same name as I, came along, so we thought it was a great way to meet girls.
Girls. Girls has now topped my interest in baseball cards and had consumed me. We met lots of girls. But something happened. I figured out that we weren’t cool. We had terrible haircuts. We listened to terrible music. These girls were not into metal. There were arguing over the lyrics to "End of the World As We Know It." I had never heard R.E.M. or the song before and here were these very cute girls arguing over the lyrics to this manic crazy song. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why guys would want to listen to "Boys Don’t Cry" by The Cure over and over again on the beach. It was because the girls were in charge of the music. I kissed girls. Girls were kissing us. We would never see each other again. I lost my mom’s class ring. Maybe in the ocean. I kissed a girl that smoked cigarettes. She smelled funny and had tattoos.
When we got back home, we found out that my friend’s grandmother had passed away while we were gone. They just decided to wait to tell him when we got back.
My parents and I never went on that vacation again. I grew up in one summer really quick. At some point, I got a hair cut and went out and bought every R.E.M. and Cure cassette. The jury is still out if I’m cool. And maybe that girl with the tattoos has my mom’s class ring.