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they retired our jerseys rookie year December 27, 2008

Posted by doug in important developments, radiant nostalgia.
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sidewalk

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.’

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1. laurenfrohne - December 27, 2008

Yesterday, I walked around the neighborhood I grew up in for the first time in about 8 years – checking out who had changed their landscaping, who had painted their houses, who had moved. It really wasn’t any different than I had left it. I could still see my childhood-best-friend’s house through the fall leaves of the house a quarter mile from my parents’, I could point out where my 1st-grade teacher lives, where one of my friends from 2nd grade lived.

Except, I didn’t have any evidence of my ever living there.
You are lucky. The only evidence that I ever spent my childhood in the place I actually spent my childhood is a gate through the woods my my parents’ backyard that leads to the backyard of another childhood best friend’s yard, now occupied by some other young family.

Your legacy is branded in the sidewalk, immortalized, immature or not; mine, in a removable piece of wood.
That is significant.

Bullshit artist is better than no artist at all.

(I’m drunk and I subscribe to your blog).

2. bradley - December 29, 2008

“i knew he was an artist. a bullshit artist. we can smell our own breed.”


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