Thursday, February 21

ORIGINS: The Mouse

I used to have a yellow Schwinn bicycle that looked similar to the one in the picture. However, my banana seat was hotter, yellow with a black border. HaHa. I kept my prize possession clean. I remember riding it around the new neighborhood my family had just moved to when I was almost eight years old. One day while resting on the side of the road, I see a real small kid riding a bike with the weirdest handlebars. I vaguely recall if his bike frame was faded blue or light green. However, I do exactly remember the long handle bars that extended up like mine but then looped over like a 10-speed bike's handle bars. (Man, I wish I had a picture of it. I called it the ram-bike, like the horns of a ram. It was one of a kind.) While he was riding around, I believe I asked him if it was hard to steer with those weird handle bars. He said no, and kept riding around. Jerk! Ha.

The following week, I caught up with this little kid again while he was riding around. We started racing around our block. I didn't think this little shrimp would keep up with me, but he did. Then we agreed to explore the other streets and blocks we had never been to. This time it seemed OK to explore further out since we were going to ride through it together. After, circling the newly explored blocks a few times, we ended up at my house to get a much needed drink. I was hungry as well. I wanted to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but there was no bread in the house. Then he came up with an idea. He would go get bread from his house, if I would let him use my bike to get it. He was really motivated and enthusiastic to try my bike and I was very hungry. I agreed. I trusted that he would come through with the bread and not damage my prize possession. He came through; lots of bread and no damage to my bike. Surprisingly, this energetic kid who I was about twice the size as, was the same age as me. It turns out his name was Jerry, so 'Jerry-Mouse' was an an obvious nickname.
Jerry and I became good friends quickly. We basically met all the other kids and neighbors together the next few years. We usually partnered up on any game that required a partner or team. One crazy idea for a game Jerry came up with was based from the movie, Rollerball. This game was a futuristic roller derby where two teams had motorbikes to tow their team's roller-skaters. Skaters would knock each other down to stop the other team from scoring. With some imagination, the neighborhood kids used bicycles and skateboards instead. I used my bike to tow Jerry on his skateboard. He would hold on to the back of the bike seat. Up and down the street we knocked out the other kids. This was all in good fun, but it was so funny if you saw the scene of kids slapping each other on skateboards. No one was able to keep up with us. We made a formidable duo. I'm surprised no one got seriously injured!
We also would tag-team torture and play fight with the younger and smaller kids on the block like, Phat Pat. (Refer to previous January post, Origins: The Guru). Another one of Jerry's ideas was reenacting the Karate Kid scene, when Cobra Kai in skeleton costumes beat up Daniel. Like the movie, I would shout holding Phat Pat almost crying, "He's had enough!". Jerry would shout back (as Johnny), "I say when he's had enough!" and continue to pounce on Phat Pat. There were so many hilarious one-sided play fights that Jerry mimicked moves from wrestling WWF (now WWE) or Kung-Fu movies. He loved doing slow motion fight sequences and making up sound effects with the smaller kids. He was always the comedian. He would make fun of the kids before, during, and after any session. When it was play time, Jerry was always full speed ahead.
To this day, when Jerry gets on one his comedic rolls, it so hilarious to me. Mixed in with his hyper activity and restlessness, there is no other. Like the energizer bunny many have said. He keeps going with optimistic enthusiasm. I hope to find the old videos of him on one of his sugar rushes and comic rolls. So many adventures that started as Jerry's idea. That would be a separate category all on its own. However, for now I'll stick with this post's purpose to introduce untold origins of the unique characters and friends I know.
Jerry has moved across the country over seven years ago and is now married with a son. His unyielding ambition has landed him positions at high profile companies like, Microsoft. We remain the closest of friends and continue to keep in touch even though we only see each other about twice a year. He was just here visiting last week, thus this subject for my second Origins post!
We are now organizing a 30 year reunion weekend with all our ex-neighbors; families and children from the old block we grew up in. There are over 30 families planning to go across the nation. A challenging three year plan to prepare for this coming August in L.A.. And guess who's idea that was? Jerry's! He came through with the bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, why should I start doubting him now? Peanut butter and Jelly isn't quite as good without the bread...

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