Every person in this world has a story. Ya
know, those things you’ve been through in life that made you the person you are
today; the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny stuff that makes you cringe to THIS day when
you think about what a complete idiot you were when you did THAT thing you did. Maybe
the first time your friend in grade school told the whole class about that one girl you
liked, or the time you spilled A drink all over your pants in JUST the right place
to make you want to crawl in a hole the rest of the day. Come on… You know that’s happened
to all of you. Please! My point? You all remember those things because
they stood out. Everybody has those stories. We all do. Or, like me, you have so many of
those crazy stories that some might even say you’re making this stuff up.
Well, beliiieeeeve me. You can NOT make stuff like this up!
This is MY story, the story about a kid who grew up in Cicero, Illinois in the eighties
and nineties, right outside of Chicago. Yeah, THAT Cicero. Al Capone’s base of operations;
ya know Joe Mantegna, the actor? He graduated from the same high school I did. And let’s
not forget about our mayor in the early nineties, Betty Loren-Maltese, the ex-wife of a city
politician gone crime boss who despite what people say, cleaned up this town more than
anybody else, only to get sent to the big house. You go girl! Maybe Saul Goodman could’a represented her, because yep, good old Jimmy McGill is also from Cicero. MY Cicero.
But unlike Mr. Goodman’s tales of scams and mischief, mine are true!
This is my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!
Let’s start from the beginning, WAAYY back in the day, back to my earliest childhood
memory. It was seventy-nine and there I was, three
years old, layin’ in a plastic bubble. Yep. You heard me. A big, plastic bubble, with
this noise that sounded like someone stuffed me in a suitcase and threw me under a plane!
Talk about wakin’ up to a nightmare; this was a dream right out of Elm Street! There
was this strange thing wavin’ to me on the other side, lookin’ through the plastic, all
distorted and wavy. Looked like an alien, but back then, I didn’t know what an alien
was! So to me, it was a monster, flapping it’s arms, tentacles, big flip-floppy things,
because back then, if you didn’t look like mom, grandma or uncle, then yeah, you were
a monster. That’s all we knew when we were three; people, monsters and pets. That was no
giant dog looking at me, not with those limbs! Turns out, I was in an oxygen tent. Also turns
out, that’s why my mom to this day calls me Bubble, or used more precisely, “You’re
such a bubble”. See, back then, I had asthma. REALLY bad asthma. The kind of asthma where
you’re either in the E.R. or at the doctor’s office every other week, but we’ll get to
that another time. I was in the hospital with a bad case of it,
so bad that I had to live in this plastic bubble tent thing for a couple of days with
this giant fan blowin’ air into it. When you’re three, and you wake up in a plastic bubble,
believe me, you would freak out, too, because that’s exactly what I did.
“Ah, Mommy! Mommy!” Yep. I was all over the place. But then, ahhhhh, I was saved by
who else? Mommy, because Mommy did this magic trick to open the bubble, and THAT was the
day I discovered… the Zipper. Man, did I love that thing! Some may say that I was easily
amused as a kid. Heck, some say I’m easily amused now, because when nobody was lookin’,
I zipped and unzipped that thing like there was no tomorrow. Poor mommy.
See, as a kid, I’m thinkin’, “Wow, this is fun” but poor mommy was thinkin’, “I
can’t afford to pay for this if he breaks it!” Too bad, so sad. NOT my problem mommy,
because I don’t know why you’re freakin’ out, but it’s funny as hell to see you freakin’
out, so I’ll just keep doin’ it! I eventually got to go home. Such is life.
That would be one of MANY trips to that hospital, where, not only do I have the same doctor
now that I had when I first met her, as a resident in the E.R., but where my grandmother
worked in the laundry room, for a long, long time until she retired from there. See, we
all lived with her, me, my mom, my sister and my grandmother, in the same house, that
she still lives in today, in good old Cicero, Illinois, where I lived until I was… twenty-nine.
SO? It’s a thing now. You know that guy that you made fun of because he was livin’
in Grandma’s basement? Yup, that was me. Oh, and do I have stories about THAT! Enough
said. Sorry Saul, but I got more stories about Cicero
then you’ll ever have about Heisenberg, and that’s only the first twenty years of
my life. Just wait until I get to where I hit 21. Man, oh man, did that go south fast!
Nerdy computer geek kid gone Latin club hoppin’, salsa dancin’ white boy madman!
And then there was the glow sticks…. Yeeeahhhhh….. This is the story of a geeky, bullied kid
from Cicero who turned out all right, who in the end, got the girl, got the house, got
the cars, and eh, ya’ know, lost the girl, lost the cars, lost the house, just to get
the girl again, get the cars again and get the house again. Yeah. We’re gonna go through
all that. But let’s not forget, becomes the CEO of an indie Hip-Hop record label.
All true, so help me Mommy! So to all you bullied kids out there, trust
me, you’re gonna be all right, my friends. This is just one of many stories, so stick
around. You might learn a thing or two. Most likely, things you never even cared to learn
or know, but hey, ya’ never know. That’s MY story, and I’m stickin’ to