I recall an episode of The Big Theory where genius physicist Sheldon Cooper decides to go through all of his journals from his childhood to see if he already made a Nobel Prize-winning discovery. I have to imagine this is what my mom is going through right now as she cleans out her garage and sorts through the many boxes of stuff and things that were saved from my childhood. Now that I’m a published author, is it possible that at some point in my past I created a work of value? Some piece of home-brewed literature created by a younger more innocent me that hints at the man I’d eventually become?
The answer is, without a doubt, yes! I am proud to present you with two short stories I wrote just days apart in the year 1986. I was 9 years old at the time and clearly I was destined for great things, as evidenced by my literary stylings.
First up is Gene and I Discovered Muscle Men – An epic tale of two brothers who travel across the globe to Africa. On the way, they discover a swamp with rubber floating on top of the water. Compelling? Of course it is! Read the full story below or download the PDF to read the actual scanned document.
Gene and I Discovered Muscle Men
On a cold windy day my brother Gene and I went on a journey. We went up and down mountains, through swamps, and through sand storms in the desert. While we were walking on the mountains we saw a big hole filled with water and food.
In the swamps we found rubber on the top of the water, and in the desert we found blue, red, purple, and skin color paint. Once we got to Africa we formed the rubber into little men with big muscles. We painted them with the pink paint. Then we decided to make muscle men part 2. We painted them pink, blue, purple and red.
And that is how we discovered Muscle men part I and part II. THE END
What I find the most compelling about this story is not even the story itself, but my obvious concern for copyright infringement and my foresight to start a publishing company twenty years before I’d publish my first piece of content for public consumption!
When this was written, my step-brother Gene (seven-years older than me) was living with us. We used to ride our bikes up to Independence Mall in Hamilton, NJ to a store called Murphy’s. One day, we came across Muscle Men. They were very inexpensive and apparently I was quite taken with them. Most of them were caucasian flesh-tone but they also came in several bright colors.
The next story was written just two days later. When you’re on a creative roll, you need to go with it! This story is called The 5 Rich, Talented, and Smart Kids and features the suspense-filled adventures of five best friends as they embark on a mission to get away from their parents to buy castles in Canada and get karate lessons. Read the full story below or download the PDF to read the actual scanned document.
The 5 Rich, Talented, and Smart Kids
One day, 5 kids got mad at their parents. They were Marc S., Mark B., robert R., Cris G., Dylon N. Mark B got his fathers car. Marc S brought food. They went to Canada. Chris said oh No my brother is right behind us. Marc S. got his boozooka. Cris said we blew him to smitherines. Then we stopped at the bank. Dylan N. stole his mothers MAC card. He got 999,999 dollars he split it up with everyone. We stopped at a army store and a music store. At the army store we bought rocket launchers, M-16 Rifles, M-60’s, shotgun, handgun, ninja suits, chinese stars, camoflauge face makeup, grenades, and nunchucks. When we stopped at the music store, we bought lead guitars, bass guitars, tremolo bars, drums, saxophones, and keyboards. We decided to join a band. We made double the money that Dylon got and it was for each of us. We each bought our selves a porsche. When we got to canada we each bought a castle. We had room service for ever. We each got karate lessons. We lived happily ever after with out our parents and made lots more money. THE END
Transformative, no? So apparently, you don’t want to mess with five kids from Jersey who have their sites set on Canada!
A Parenting Lesson
I wanted to share this with you primarily because I thought it was funny. Kind of reminds me of the story of Axe Cop. I imagine we all wrote stuff like this when we were kids, but there’s also a personal lesson to be had. Not necessarily for you, but for me. As a first-time parent, I have to say that I might be a little concerned if my nine-year old was writing things like, “I will kill you!” one day only to follow that up with a detailed description of a million dollar theft and subsequent purchase of very specific weaponry! Not to mention how hurt I’d be if he ever based an entire story around living without his parents. Thinking back, I had a great childhood. There was no shortage of love in my home and all of my needs were met. But in a child’s rebellious mind, parents suck….even when they don’t.
And how about the violence? At the time, I was very much into G.I. Joe and anything related to ninjas and karate. Yes, I glorified violence as a child. But to clarify we’re talking about a child’s interpretation of violence where a bullet to the face is shrugged off because a fist fight just broke out between Scarlet and Lady Jane. My concept of violence at the time was about as innocent as it gets. By today’s standards, a nervous parent might very well subject their child to counseling for writing stories such as these. Did my mom think it was odd? Hell no! She was too busy working her ass off every day to put food on our table and toys under our tree at Christmas.
As a modern parent who can’t help but be affected by the 24-hour news cycle and the constant inundation of bad news and skewed information, this was a bit of a wakeup call for me. While I certainly feel it’s a parents job to observe their children in hopes of identifying areas where we might guide them through life’s journey, I don’t believe in helicopter parenting. And as Mateo gets older, I’m going to keep my early writings in mind as I try to process exactly what’s going on in his little head. I suppose if I were also torturing neighborhood cats and lighting things on fire, my mom might have had something to worry about. But that pre-pubescent “violent” mind eventually evolved into a mostly mentally stable son, husband, and father. I guess the fact that my mom didn’t have the time or luxury of reading too far into her 9-year old’s ramblings worked in her favor. As someone who tends to over-think everything, I can see that this is just on more area where mamma knows best.