they retired our jerseys rookie year December 27, 2008Posted by doug in important developments, radiant nostalgia.
this christmas — like many before it — was knee-deep in sweaters and pubescence. after presents and before dinner, i ducked out to walk the neighborhood; see who had moved, painted their house, planted a tree. i found no evidence for any, but took immediate notice of the sidewalk slab pictured above. i’d completely forgotten how, shortly after moving to town (1996?), my brother and i happened upon a wet cement square surrounded by a makeshift barrier of plastic tape and metal rods. naturally, i was immediately bent on defacing it. for some reason, ken wrote first. in the fading autumn light, he scrawled a respectable KB. when it was my turn, i took a more specific (and generally egocentric) approach: DJB.
but no, even with an extra initial, it wasn’t personal enough. if i was to take credit for this reckless act years down the line, it would have to be my full christian name. heady with excitement, nervousness or a combination of the two, i botched my first DOUG attempt, the O resembling a lowercase A and tightly crowding the U. i scrambled for a more suitable writing stone, sure nearby homeowners would soon catch us in the act — gray-handed, as it were. in the waning moments before fleeing the scene i carved a legible DOUG onto the extreme border and set off with my brother in a flurry of giggles self-satisfied grins. only weeks in the neighborhood, and we were already immortalized.
but seeing it a decade later, i’m left with the feeling that there must be some latent significant in that unsightly walkway. what does it say about my brother’s personality and of my own? a study of industrious efficiency versus haphazard trial-and-error? does it cross mature handiwork with infantile pretense? maybe it’s just a quality versus quantity issue. this was ’96 after all; precious few years before my father would indelibly dub me a ‘bullshit artist.’