I am going to spend the next few weeks writing blogs about 3 of the most important people in my life's history. However, today I'm going to write about the statement that completely shaped almost all aspects of my future from that point forward. There isn't a day that goes by that isn't touched by the path that was set fourth when I made this statement. If I had never uttered this phrase, there is no doubt in my mind that my life would be completely different. Friends, experiences, future decisions, careers, every aspect of my being stems from one four word answer.
Now, to reach the point in my life where I made this life changing event, we need to talk about something I had when I was in grade school, a brother (VIP #3) who was in high school. When you have an older brother in high school, they tend to start changing their wants. They have things they will have bought on impulsive whims, but later decide they want money for it. This happened quite a few times, and I would always end up buying things from him, with my mothers help of course as I was 11. One of the things I bought from him was a large keyboard. We had had a 17 key one made by Casio for years, but this one was much larger then that. I always wanted to learn how to play piano as a result of it. In the 5th grade my Elementary School had a band. I went to the audition or try out or interest meeting, whatever it was, and asked if I could play piano. They said they don't do piano but the instructor gave me the number of a woman that teaches piano. Nothing ever came of it.
The next year I entered Middle School. We were given a choice of what music class to take, band or choir. I once again wanted to sign up for band in hopes of learning piano. My grandmother (VIP #1) asked, "well what if they don't teach piano like in grade school?" We had an instrument sitting on the top shelf of the closet in the living room that had been played in school by my mom, my aunt, and my brother. So, not realizing what I was about to do to my life I said something.
At that moment, 2 new realities were created. In one I said, "I guess I'll do choir then." I was in choir for 3 years of middle school, had no friends the day my social structure came tumbling down, had no where to fit in once I got to high school, never made any new friends, became a complete and total loner and ended up committing an act of violence that wouldn't even be overshadowed by the horrible massacre that occurred a few years later in the same state of Colorado... I am of course just taking wild and dramatic guesses as to what happened in that reality, because it's not the one we live in. All of this of course is only believed if you accept Einsteins theory of multiple realities caused by every decision made. I do because I've watched "Sliders".
No, my response to the question was, "Then I'll play Clarinet". This didn't really do anything major to my life until the second year of middle school, but we'll get to that in a moment. First we have to talk about the aforementioned crumbling of my social structure, as that really did happen in this reality. My best friend growing up was a kid that lived on the corner of my block. We hung out a lot at school and sometimes outside of school. It was really a friendship of convenience. When we got in the first grade, 2 sets of twins moved into our neighborhood and started riding our bus. We all ended up becoming friends. By the fourth grade, the two twins I was more friendly with ended up moving to Florida. The remaining twins ended up becoming close friends with a kid I really didn't get along to well with. I didn't know that things were starting to change.
I had always been kind of an outsider. I was a painfully shy child and didn't talk to much until I got to know people, I still do that. Since I got glasses in Kindergarten, everyone assumed I was some kind of book worm. Actually that couldn't be further from the truth. I hated homework, and never really cared about school work. I was always an average student because I just really didn't care...I'm really getting side tracked here. Where was I? Ah yes, the day the Angry Birds hit the Pig fortress that was my social structure. One day at lunch during my first year of Middle School I walked up to my "friends" at recess. As I approached them, they all turned to me and said in unison, "Shawn, Fuck off". I questioned what they meant, they told me to get away from them, followed by the kid I didn't get along with mocking me. OK, so how does a sensitive shy 12 year old process this? By briefly trying to attack the kid, then running to a teacher in tears. This was actually the second time I had run to a teacher in tears as the first time involved a little incident.
It's actually kind of hard to explain but what it basically boils down to is my "friends" were spitting on this other guy for whatever reason, I don't know cause I came to the party late. Then I walked away from them because I really didn't want anything to do with it. It was at this point that the kid ran up to me, grabbed me, and spit directly in my face. Again, tears, run, teacher, dean. That's probably what made them not like me anymore.
So anyway, the next day when walking home with my "best friend" of 6 years (he was sick the day before) I got the strong impression that he was taking their side of it. So it was at that moment I was left with no one. I spent the rest of the year eating lunch by myself, and trying to ninja my way into groups I really didn't fit into. I got along with the popular kids and would sit at their tables sometimes, but I was never really part of the group. I was truly alone. Cut to the first day of the seventh grade. I got on the bus and there was a new kid who had just moved from Greece. He had a Fido Dido (remember him) backpack and a Clarinet. I started talking to him and we hit it off pretty good. We sat next to each other in band and eventually I ended up sitting at lunch with the other friends he had made. They were D&D players and were major outcasts. I really didn't feel like I fit in all that well with them as they had a made up god named "Horde Slayer" that they, well, didn't really worship, but they liked. (That is a pretty cool name though now that I think about it. I think I have my next City of Villains character.)
Finally it came to the end of eight grade. The band teacher from the High School came in and talked to us about the band program. It sounded like fun so I signed up. The first half of the year for High School band is devoted to the state marching band competition and various parades. I spent a lot of time dealing with that and getting to know new people. The biggest change though happened one day at lunch. I would eat lunch in the West cafeteria (known as the snootier of the 2) with the popular kids from my Middle School. One day as I was heading there I ran into a band guy (Jon Parker) that I had gotten to know for reasons that aren't important. (Editing for time, figured I should start). He asked where I was going, then said I should go to the other cafateria with him. I did, we sat at a table of other band kids, then did something I didn't know you could do, we went to the band room. It appeared that everyday band kids just went there to eat lunch. In the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth grade, you got to choose where your locker is. 95% of the band kids had their locker right outside the band room so it really was like a clubhouse. It was on that day that I met another guy, Fred Garlington. We started talking and really made each other laugh and liked a lot of the same things, most importantly he was a gamer. He quickly became my best friend. I finally found a place that I fit in.
Now, cut to the beginning of tenth grade. I walked into my first class, World History, and noticed a guy I had seen in band. I sat down next to him, found out his name (Chris Horan) and we started talking about the Simpsons and various other things. Two periods later I walked into Bio-Physical Science, and there he was again. Having two classes sitting next to the same person really bonds you together. So finally I had four close real friends, and a place I belonged, and it was all because I chose to play Clarinet.
Now, lets fast forward out of High School (Someday I may tell some stories from then, but that's really not the point of this blog...I know, "What is?"). Fred and Jon went off to College, and Chris and I spent the summer not sure what our futures held. It was really at this point that he took the title of my bestest best friend. He got a job at Blockbuster Video during the summer. I started working at the Cherry Hills country club answering the phones on the weekend. I hated that job though because it was a lot of pressure. Dealing with people who are paying over $100,000 a year to be a member was a little more then I could take. Plus it was only 2 days a week. I went and applied at Sam Goody, and got the run around with them until finally they said they hired 8 new people and didn't really tell me. I was pissed so I went to Blockbuster to vent. While there, the assistant manager overheard me and asked if I'd like to apply there. I did and about a week later I started my new job. This was in 1999. About a year and a half later, I was an assistant manager myself. It is at this point that I need to put the story on hold, for you see in 2000 a girl started working there that would eventually become VIP #2, so I will have to save it for 2 blogs from now when I get to her.
Needless to say, if not for making my life changing statement, I never would have been in band in High School, thus I never would have met Chris, thus I never would have worked at Blockbuster, thus I never would have met her. You will see how all of this resonates in my everyday existence once I get to her story, but for now I am done with part one of this loose four part blog ark that will culminate in a re-posting of a blog I wrote on February 6th, 2005 on MySpace. It will be an emotional end to this series.
Anyway, next time we will discuss Betty McDonald, my grandmother and VIP #1 in my 3 person VIP bloggy tribute. So until then...Um...I'm gonna go work on a sign off.
P.S. In High School there was a class called Piano Lab, which it never really dawned on me to take. I kind of regret that now what with Rock Band 3 and all.