Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Brothers Jensen

My brother John and I have been working on stories about growing up in our household of Five hyper boys. Here are some notes I made when putting together story ideas. They're fairly entertaining I think.

Edward caught up with me as I walked home with my report card pinned to my shirt. He informed me that only kindergarten babies had their report cards pinned to their shirts. I was in first grade at the time. I’ll forever appreciate the humiliation I was spared.

We boys were home alone when a stranger showed up at the door. “Hi. I’m your Uncle Herb. I just came from the hills. Can I have a beer.” We had never seen this man before, so of course we let him in and gave him a beer. He did turn out to be our actual Uncle, thankfully.

Gene-Gene the dancing machine would come on the TV’s The Gong Show and all five Jensen brothers and the Jensen dad would jump to their feet and dance in their best Gene-Gene shuffle. The only guest that excited us more was the one and only Unknown comic.

While playing street hockey, my brother Erick announces that the losers will have to kiss the winners asses. I’ve never played as hard at any sport in my life. I was less afraid of kissing an ass than thrilled at the promise of humiliating the poor bastards who’d line up to kiss mine. Turns out is was just a figure of speech. This was the first of many of life’s great disappointments.

My brothers and I would spend hours in the garage, boom boxes blaring an exciting new music called rap as we practiced our break dancing moves, including intricate routines and formations that we’d do together.

I took my little brother’s favorite toy truck and buried it in the backyard. I then handed him a shovel and a map and let him spend quite a span of time digging many holes before my mother happened upon the scene and forced me to return the truck from it’s shallow grave.

We dug a hole in the backyard. We all worked together, just to do it and dug a whole deep enough for even the tallest of us to disappear completely in while standing. It was so narrow that only one of us could fit in it, standing, at a time, and I required assistance getting in or out. Mom made us bury it once she discovered it.

I didn’t know why the Mexican men hid when I yelled La Migra. I only knew that I, a mere kid, could make grown men leap into bushes and with this came feelings of great power.

Tortures I endured:
Three older brothers standing around the toilet crying. “What’s the matter” I’d ask.
“Mom fell in” they’d answer tearfully. “And when she tried to climb out she accidentally flushed.”

I tell Edward and Erick of a poor dog that I saw out in the rain. They run outside and Edward swings a shovel at whatever is behind the garbage cans while Erick makes yelping noises. They were only putting the poor dog out its misery they explained.

I try to go vegetarian for animal rights reasons. My brother John decides to be uncharacteristically generous and buy the whole family Ice Cream, for the express purpose of excluding me as he explains that it has gelatin in it and so isn’t vegetarian.

After I was accepted in the GATE program my three older brothers stood shoulder blocking the entrance to the kitchen in their interpretative dance depiction of a Rusty GATE, my new nickname.

To get to the school in Norco that housed the GATE program I rode on a short bus with six mentally retarded kids who were taking advantage of the school’s other programs. “Yeah Keith, their parents tell them that they go to a special school because they’re smart too.” John taunted me. To this day I harbor a deep psychological fear that he may have been right

Erick and Edward, fine actor’s they were, would speculate over who was the toughest kid in third grade. I’d of course have to beat up whoever they named in order to defend my title. But there was always another kid that they figured might be tougher. It finally ended after I beat up Steve, the sweet, heavy set bookworm who taught me how to play chess.

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