I started to write when I was 14 years old. At the time my life evolved around death metal, nintendo, and masturbating to Callahans' pool scene in Police Academy III. I had zero interest in reading anything that wasn't a lyric sheet, and even less interest in writing. My best friend Tom and I spent a lot of time just hanging around his house watching movies and doing all kinds of stupid shit before we got into skateboarding. That particular summer, our thing was prank calling. The phone was right there, so was the phonebook, and we were pricks. We pulled some incredible pranks, too many to mention (ask me about them some time). But there was one in particular, the grand finale, one that changed my life.
It had to do with a combination of teenage boredom, Full Metal Jacket, and a guy named Dufour. One day after randomly dialing numbers, we ended up on an answering machine for a hair salon. The guy on the recording sounded, shall we say, not so manly. Being dumb teenagers from a small town, we figured all male hairdressers were gay, and having just seen that movie, we quoted the entire 'steers and queers' scene til the tape ran out. We continued that process throughout summer, sometimes even when someone answered the line. Soon enough "Dufour" became our joke slur of the summer.
The joke ended rather abruptly when the cops showed up at Toms house. Turns out good ol' Dufour had kept every single one of those tapes, had the number traced, and took the evidence to the cops. Turns out Mr. Dufour was actually gay. Turns out Mr. Dufour had problems with nasty phone calls in the past, including several death threats. I guess the cops were a little surprised when they found a couple of bored kids in tie dye Metallia shirts instead of the murderous gangsters they had hard-ons for. We had to go into the police station and speak to an officer, one by one. He pulled the good cop, bad cop routine, except there was no good cop. He tried to bully us and wouldn't believe that we had no idea that Dufour was actually gay. He was convinced we knew him, were purposely harassing him with finely crafted movie quotes, and may have been connected to the death threats.
Once the copper finally realized we were just a couple of stupid kids, he got Dufour to drop the charges, on two conditions: we were to pay for all the tapes and phone tracing equipment he bought (it was like 20 bucks, which is a fucking lot when you're a kid). And, he wanted a face-to-face apology. And that, my friends, was the worst one. Tom's mom drove us to Dufour's Hair Salon, and we went in to greet the thin, bleached blonde man who looked a little bit like the guy from Scooter. We stared at the floor and apologized. He had a talk with Tom's mom and mentioned that we had said some 'very naughty things'. He then looked over at us, uncomfortably hiding in a corner, and said 'I'm sure I don't have to repeat them'. Please, sir. Don't. I just wanna go home and catch the Simpsons. Well he didn't, which doesn't help he story much, but props, Mr. Dufour.
So that was it for hanging out at Tom's place. The rest of summer, I was on my own. Apparently I was considered a 'bad influence' to parents and I guess my mullet and Megadeth shirts weren't helping my cause. One day I was reading some kind of magazine that was available in schools nationwide or something, and it had an ad for pen pals. It sounded pretty lame, but I had no friends and no life. I placed an ad, and pretty soon the letters were flooding in. I asked all of them for pics and then replied to all the hot ones. Score! You're probably laughing at me right now, which is kind of the idea, but I'd still like to point out that this was all before the internet existed, and that I was a metalhead. That means I hung out with scumbags and girls didn't talk to us.
I got bored with all of this letter business pretty quick, but there was this one girl that I liked. I kept writing to her, and the letters kept getting longer. Through all of that penpalling I learned to express my thoughts in writing, and I've been doing so ever since. I guess I should mention that my teenage thoughts were often focused entirely on boobs. She had a huge rack, and she didn't mind me talking about it or wanting to know everything else that every boy in his puberty wanted to ask a girl, but never could. Well I could. It was awesome. Eventually I started to hang out with my friends again, and after a year or two, we lost contact. We tried to start it up a few times, but we were too old. I never did end up meeting her, and I think she ended up joining the army or something weird. But she was great. She is the reason I write, she's the reason I did a zine, she's the reason I could bullshit my way through my college papers, and she's the reason I'm writing this story. Well... her, Mr. Dufour, the cop, and Lee Ermey. Thank you.