Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Golden Age (Part II of III)

Read this first: The Golden Age (Part I of III)

That summer in 2000 was one of the best three-month periods of my life. We had no responsibility and the freedom to do whatever we wanted. HollaAtYoBoy and I chilled together every day and played a lot of Super Tennis on Super Nintendo. “Who else should we recruit to be in the Super Tennis Club?” we joked. Other popular activities included watching Half Baked and searching for pictures of Mandy Moore’s butt. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

Life was so easy-going that when the game Perfect Dark released, my friend Infinicuralier and I played it 11 consecutive hours, with a short dinner break. I was sixteen without a care in the world, except how to seduce Orange without having to talk.

My family vacationed to Israel. Our flight from Washington, D.C., to Toronto was delayed four hours. When we took off from Toronto to Israel it was already midnight. An hour into the flight, the captain said one of the computers was down and we would turn around and dump fuel in the air. We touched back down in Toronto at 3 a.m., where we waited in chairs another three hours, and then a hotel for the next three. We were supposed to depart again at 11 a.m., but were delayed several more hours.

We sat on the plane waiting, not knowing if we were staying or going. My brother JD and I played "Survivor" by observing who from our area of the plane could stay in his seat the longest without using the restroom, returning to the terminal, or losing his mind. We arrived in Israel 21 hours late.

We met the rest of our tour group in Jerusalem, which included the goalie for the Olympic Development Program soccer team and a really hot Jewish girl. On Shabbat we went to the Western Wall and watched hundreds of Jewish men in black top hats davening. It was my most religious experience. The next night we walked up and down Ben Yehuda Street with all the shops and bars. I bought a white t-shirt with the Superman shield wearing a black top hat and Hasidic sideburns. It read “Super-Jew”.

All the kids avoided Israeli food and ate McDonald’s or Pizza Hut when we could. Israel is littered with stray cats. None of the food, even the Big Mac, tasted normal and we joked that we were eating cat burgers.

I tried alcohol for my first time. JD and the others bought a bottle of vodka and took long, eight-second swigs. It looked so easy that I didn’t use a chaser. I grabbed the bottle, gulped, then stared blankly across the room at the hot Jew for a second before coughing wildly. “That shit burns!”

My parents thought Israel's drinking water came from waste water treatment facilities, so they supplied us with two-liter bottles of water. But rebellious JD chose to drink the sewer water instead, pretending to love it.

The Dead Sea has so much salt that you float. Word of advice: after you get diarrhea, which you unquestionably will if you eat cat burgers, don’t try to sit and float in the Dead Sea.

On one of the last nights we played soccer where I, instead of the junior Olympian, played goalie because of my pain. “When we get home I’ll see the doctor and get it fixed,” I told the group. “It’s probably just a stress fracture.” I later told them through instant messenger that it was cancer.

The trip was awesome. We joked, pulled pranks and spoke in surfer lingo. The hot Jew recorded some of our adventures, though we lost touch and I never saw the video.

At the end of the summer I took an SAT prep course with SuperSoccerStar, who was my friend’s cousin. We had always snuck him onto our house soccer team as a ringer. Through the prep course we became pretty good friends, and after the last session we played video games at his house. I developed terrible cramps, probably from the cat lingering in my gut, and quickly left because I didn’t want to destroy his bathroom. That was the last time I saw him before I was well into my chemo regimen.

Keep reading: The Golden Age (Part III of III)

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

You idiots! Your first experience with alcohol and you avoid falafel and schwarma, the two greatest drunk-munchies foods in the world? For shame!