ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
The artistic ability I seem to have inherited from my dad is put to good use at school where I sit in the back of class, entertaining my pals with lovingly-rendered, pornographic drawings of our teachers. One day, a semi-friend of mine, Skip, rips a drawing I’m working on from my notebook, and he runs it up to our English teacher, Mr. Mitchell, who peers at the drawing, then asks, sternly, “Who drew this?” Skip identifies me. Mr Mitchell glares at me, says, “See me after class, Rembrandt.”
After everyone has filed out of class, I cower in the front row, sweating bullets as my teacher gazes at the drawing for what feels like hours. My drawing depicts Mr. Mitchell with an enormous penis, having sex with one of his female students. Finally, Mr. Mitchell looks up from the drawing, and says to me, “I must say, this is really quite good.” I always liked Mr. Mitchell.
Mr. Mitchell also coaches our school football team, and I am the quarterback. Being QB of the football team means everything to me. It means girls pay attention to me, boys kiss my ass, and I can get away with more shit than ever. It means middle-school stardom. For me, the football field is the happiest place on earth.
The only drawback is that my dad attends the games while visibly drunk. On the sidelines, he argues with other parents, falls down, and makes more than one ugly scene. This is profoundly embarrassing to me. I tell dad he doesn’t really need to attend games, but he insists. I can’t figure out how a guy who pretty much ignored me my whole life now never misses my football games. After struggling with this difficult dilemma, I finally make the incredibly painful decision that I have to quit the team. It’s beyond crushing for me to do this, but I just can’t bear the ugly scenes dad makes in front of the kids at school. I tell Coach Mitchell that I hurt my foot badly, and can no longer be on the team. Mitchell is skeptical, figures it has something to do with my dad. Still, the coach seems pissed at me; any coach hates losing his QB. In the end, I lose my only claim to fame, one of my few adult allies, and to top it off, I have to fake a limp at school for the rest of the year.