Monday, October 1, 2012

Back to the Future + Junior Dance Club = BAD

Note: This story originally ran in Angelo State University's Ramdiculous Page in November 2011.

I was your typical twelve-year-old geek in junior high, a veritable fountain of useless trivia and poor social skills. The Adderall didn't help, but let's not stray from the topic at hand.

Back in those days, Internet usage was a damn hard thing to come by. We didn't get Internet access in the Parsons household until 2001, so most of my 'net usage came from my grandfather, my aunt, or my parents’ workplace.

So there I was one day, perusing Back to the Future fansites for no good reason other than Back to the Future is the best movie trilogy EVER. I firmly believed it then, I firmly believe it now.

That particular day, I found an interesting bit of trivia about Part I. As it happens, Doc doesn't throw away Marty's letter after ripping it up! It's a quick sleight-of-hand, but Christopher Lloyd puts the torn letter fragments in his coat pocket! That's how Doc was able to keep the note, tape it back up, and survive the terrorists' gunfire!

OOOOOH! This was HUGE news to Young Bryce. I absolutely had to share this fascinating movie trivia with EVERYONE. And what a cowinkydink, Junior Dance Club's big fancy dance was that evening.

First off, let me apologize for what comes next in our story. Understand that I was still twelve, and VERY much still a bright-eyed, fascinated kid. Still am, actually, but back THEN I had even worse social skills than I have now. Which is saying something.

For you see, I told EVERY SINGLE GIRL I DANCED WITH ABOUT DOC'S LETTER. Even the ones who hadn't seen BTTF. And I think that later on in the evening, I realized how much of a dork I'd been. Facepalm.

But OHHH, it gets better.

Several years went by. Junior Dance Club became a distant memory in my Central High School years, and the little BTTF faux pas became nothing more than an embarrassing memory. I was counting on being safely forgotten by the girls from other junior highs that came to Central, and I was nearly positive that the Glenn JHS girls had forgotten about it completely.

And I made it to my senior year without anyone bringing it up. So yes, it was in the back of my mind, and I figured I'd never hear about it again.

One day in Ms. McKinney's English class, before class started, a girl I liked named Christie Smith beckoned me over to where she was sitting with a group of female classmates.

"Hey Bryce," she said, giving me a curious look. "Were you in Junior Dance Club?"

I immediately didn't like where this was going. "Yes," I said nervously.

"Were you that guy that told me the secret to Back to the Future?"

Oh sweet, merciful God, no.

"He told me all about how Doc saved this note," she told the girls. "I hadn't seen that movie then, but I've seen it since," she added.

Seeing what must have been a truly horrified look on my face, she quickly added, "But it's okay, it's totally cool!"

That did it, then. A girl I crushed on in high school knew my geeky secret and shared it with people who probably would forget it a day later. Fortunately, I was able to laugh it off, and she even mentioned it in my senior yearbook when she signed it.

Christie Smith. Haven't kept up with her. I should look her up sometime.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Family Reunions: A Breakdown

Family reunions absolutely fascinate me.

This past weekend, I attended one in Fredericksburg, Texas. And I think that it was the first time that I paid any attention to the recurring themes.

There's always some kind of set structure for a family reunion; a proper protocol for organizing things. Without fail, a typical annual family reunion has its own tropes that it follows.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My BBC World Service experience

Real life is full of bizarre incidents.

They don't happen unless you make them happen. It's like what Doctor Who might tell you: you don't just cross paths with the bizarre unless you take a chance or two.

For a moment, consider the BBC World Service, probably the best that international journalism has to offer. Of all the paths I thought I might cross, I never thought I'd cross paths with them in my professional career. They are the cream of the crop, the best of the best.

So what happened when I did? The short answer: something bizarre.