The Lost Sid Straw Columns - Michael Kun

By Patricia Hunter,2014-07-11 14:41
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The Lost Sid Straw Columns - Michael Kun ...

    The Bear Facts

    People Who’ve Beaten Me Up


     My nose has been broken 28 times. I swear that I’m not making that up -- 28 times. An x-ray of my nasal area looks like kind of a jigsaw puzzle,

    although my doctor says it reminds him of Hiroshima. You see, I used to

    get into a lot of fights. My dad says it was because I was a wise-ass. My

    mom said it was because all of the other kids were jealous of me. My mom

    is a really nice lady. I like her.

     The following is a partial list of people who have done physical

    damage to me (most of these encounters resulted in me having two cotton

    balls stuck up my nostrils for an extended period of time):

    1. Jeff Hill

     Jeff was a good friend of mine in grade school, but he was terminally

    hyperactive. We used to sit next to each other in Mrs. Converse’s social

    studies course, and when Mrs. Converse would leave the room to readjust

    her slip, Jeff would belt me over the head with his binder. The one

    pleasure which I took in Jeff’s hyperactivity was that he always managed to

    hurt himself. Once in the third grade, he broke his arm on a field trip to

    Newport, R.I. He slept over at my house later that week, and when I

    wouldn’t let him eat my new Avengers comic book, he bashed me in the

    face with his cast. I stopped breathing for about a week.

    2. Tom Barry

     Tom was a neighbor in Rhode Island. We stopped being friends

    when he drew a moustache on my Tom Seaver baseball card. Well, I got

    really angry and put his best frog under the tire of his mom’s car. When he

    found out, he came over to my house and gave me a really bad Indian rub

    on my right wrist and tried to shove my turtle in my mouth. Then, he put

    dog manure in my Red Sox batting helmet, but I didn’t find out about that

    until later.

    3. Mr. Barry

     Mr. Barry was Tom’s dad, and he had a really disgusting scar on his face which resembled Lake Champlain. He was really mad because he had

    bought that frog for Tom (I thought everyone got their frogs over at

Dubner’s Pond). Then he had the nerve to accuse me of setting fire to their

    dog Pepper (which I did but wasn’t about to admit). Anyhow, he chased

    me around for a while on his riding lawnmower before he rubbed my face

    against his stucco house.

    4. Todd Foxx

     I called Todd a queer because he was staring at everyone in the

    shower after gym, and he took it personally. He followed me home from

    school on his moped and broke my arm with his baseball bat. Then I

    punched him in the mouth and broke his jaw which was a really stupid

    thing to do since it just made him angrier and he broke my nose. It was

    even stupider since Mr. Foxx was my soccer coach and made me sit on the

    bench all season.

    5. Doody Gumpis

     Doody had the gall to tell me that Nancy O’Hare, my junior high dream girl, had a goldfish-shaped mole on her left breast. Attempting to

    defend her honor, I got my ribs beat up pretty good. Even worse, Doody

    ended up taking Nancy to the graduation dance, and, while doing the Latin

    hustle, he ripped off her dress to reveal the mole. It was shaped more like

    a wide-mouth bass than a goldfish, though.

    6. The Ridgewood Braves basketball team

     Sometimes I get pretty excited when I’m in a close game. Sometimes I go a bit overboard. Anyhow, this time we were up by four points with a

    minute to go, so they fouled me just to stop the clock. Their center grabbed

    me around the neck and threw me down. So, I jumped up and yelled,

    “C’mon, I’ll take you all on.” They accepted.

    7. Scott Hilmer

     I told everyone that I went out with Scott’s sister when I really didn’t. She was so embarrassed that she made her whole family move to another

    state. Scott got mad because he wanted to stay.

    8. Debbie Kastern

     I would rather not talk about this one, okay?

    9. Mr. Carlson.

     Mr. Carlson was my homeroom teacher in fifth grade. I once ran into

    him at a drugstore on a day when I had stayed home even though I was

    supposed to give an oral report on the history of Dutch housing. He said

    that he was glad to see that I was feeling better. Then he ran into me with

    his car.

    10. Mrs. Hallowell

     Mrs. Hallowell was our next door neighbor in Walnut Creek,

    California. She got very upset when I spit in the sterno during her Labor

    Day party and all the Swedish meatballs got cold. She hit me over the head

    with some Corningware.

    11. Two big guys who must be in a frat

     I tried to give them beer from the “waste bucket” at a college party. I

    learned that this was a mistake.


    The Bear Facts

    Amazing Folks, Amazing Feats


     Though I complain about it a lot, my life has been pretty exciting. I

    have met some of the most interesting people in the world and have been

    present to witness some of the most fascinating events in history. The

    following are brief summaries of some of the most incredible events ever

    encountered. I swear that all of these actually occurred, and I assure you

    that all of them have been verified by Mr. Willie C. Neville, a notary public

    who works in the stock room at K-Mart.

    Mark Grondel

     Mark sat next to me in sixth-grade homeroom. During recess, he

    would put a marble in one of his nostrils and then blow it out the other one.

    No one could figure out how he did it (a reasonable guess is that he put

    another marble exactly the same as the first in his other nostril before he

    came to school). Anyhow, the trick lost a great deal of its appeal during the

    flu and cold season.

My Dad

     I once saw my dad carry an entire 500-pound air conditioner all by

    himself. The only reason I was there to witness it, and the only reason he

    did it by himself, is that I let go of my half of it.

The First Baseman for the Indian Hills Braves

     With the score tied three to three in the last inning, this guy hit a

    baseball further than anyone in the history of the world. I know -- I threw

    the pitch and had to hear about it for two years.

    Wally Evers

     Wally swiped dog biscuits from the A&P supermarket and then

    proceeded to eat the entire box of them, 120 in all. There are two

    interesting facts to this story. First, Wally was 18 years old when he did

    this. Second, his teeth actually became whiter.

Bunny Siegler

     Bunny was the co-captain of our high school’s gymnastic team, and she performed some fairly incredible feats with her supple body in the

    back of Kevin Greene’s Country Estate wagon. Okay, I didn’t actually see

    it myself, but the way Kevin tells a story, it was like I was there the whole


Michelle O’Hara

     Once when we were in our “minnows” class at the YMCA, Michelle

    held her breath underwater for three minutes and 21 seconds. Her older

    brother Doug, who was a “flying fish,” held her head down. I watched the


    My Aunt Dot and Uncle Bob

     Actually, they’re not my real aunt and uncle, just my godparents.

    Anyhow, their major feat deals with their son Kurt, the most super colossal

    bonehead ever to set foot on the planet (including Don Knotts). Well, using

    the proper combination of connections, money and spineless begging, Aunt

    Dot and Uncle Bob managed to get this brainless half-wolf, half-man into

    Princeton University.

My Cousin Kurt

     My cousin Kurt flunked out of Princeton after three and a half days.

Rick Donally

     On a dare, Rick kissed Debbie “Horselips” Morowitz. I’ll show you

    her picture in my high school yearbook if you don’t think this is a big deal.

My Dad

     Once, about two years ago, when he was painting the shutters of our

    house, I saw my dad fall from the top of a 20-foot ladder and survive. The

    reason I was there to see this feat was that I was the one who backed my sister’s Mustang into the ladder.

Jeff Walsh

     He once ate 264 individually-wrapped slices of American cheese,

    with the wrappers still on. Another time he drank a whole glass of

gasoline and threatened to blow himself up by eating hot peppers.

    Kevin Greene

     My good friend Kevin met Goldie Hawn at a big party at the

    University of Pittsburgh, took her back to his apartment, and spent the

    night with her. Granted, I wasn’t actually there to watch this, but Kevin

    has never lied to me before and he did provide me with a lot of details.

Jeannie Solomon

     On the rollercoaster at Great Adventure, the one with the loop,

    Jeannie threw up and it hit her on the top of the head. It makes sense if you

    think about it.

Alex Weintraub

     He was a neighbor of ours in California, and the only person I’ve ever seen ride a bicycle with no hands. Now, you might think that’s

    nothing, but when I say that he had no hands, I mean that physically he

    had no hands. Anyhow, Alex could always be seen riding up and down

    the block until the incident with the speeding moving van.

My younger brother Tom

     Our dad is 6'4" tall and weighs about 220 pounds. Well, once Tom

    called him “the biggest shitheel on the continent,” and told him to “take the

    boot out of your butt and act like a normal human being for a change.”

    (These, I assure you, are direct quotes.) Well, what made this amazing was

    that my dad didn’t slap Tom silly for saying this. Come to think of it, the

    neck brace and truss which Dad acquired from the air conditioner and

    ladder adventures might have saved Tom’s life.


    The Bear Facts

    What My Little Brother Eats


     My little brother Tom is basically a good kid except for one irritating

quirk -- he doesn’t lose his temper. You can yell at him all you want, and

    he won’t argue back. You can step on his fingers with workboots and pull

    those little hairs out of his arms and belt him really hard, and he won’t

    fight back. I know -- I’ve tried all of these.

     This isn’t to say that he doesn’t get even because he does. You see,

    instead of fighting, Tom waits until whoever has angered him is asleep,

    away, or merely unsuspecting. Then he eats one of that person’s

    possessions. It’s a perfect crime since, unless an item doesn’t sit well in his

    stomach, there is no evidence.

     What follows is a partial list of items which I know for a fact that he

    has consumed. It does not include those household items which have been

    missing but cannot be traced to him.

     Malibu Barbie (and assorted pieces of her wardrobe): My sister

    Amy said that his new haircut made him look like Helen Reddy. He

    retaliated by downing her favorite doll, the one that tans if you stick it

    under a lamp. The best part of this was that he left one of the severed

    limbs floating in the bathtub. I swear it was just like Jaws, especially when

    Amy screamed when she found it.

     $95.17: After Tom struck out with the bases loaded in a Little League

    game, my dad smacked him with a wrench and made him cut the lawn

    even though it was dark already. Tom waited for him to take a shower and

    then ate all of the money that he had left on his bureau. He ate his Exxon

    card the next day, but only because Dad had the nerve to accuse him of

    stealing the money.

     An autographed picture of Christie Brinkley: Too painful to talk

    about (and this pain is not the least bit reduced by the knowledge that I

    forged the whole thing myself).

     The Altamore’s rec room: Tommy Altamore refused to pay Tom for doing his paper route while he was on vacation in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

    Tom broke into their rec room (that’s what you call it when you put wood

    paneling up in your basement) and ate their ping pong net, part of Mr.

    Altamore’s workbench, a cushion to one of their sofas that’s supposed to

    look like it’s Polynesian or something but doesn’t look like much of

    anything now that it’s missing a cushion, and a whole bunch of other neat stuff.

     A sweater: My sister Amy called him a “big doodyhead” in front of

    all his friends, so he ate the sweater my parents gave her for her First

Communion. He denies doing it, but I caught him throwing up sequins in

    the middle of the night. No kidding.

     Recipes: Mom wouldn’t let him shoot off bottle rockets in the

    backyard. Tom ate her Betty Crocker recipe file. It’s all pretty simple.

     A catcher’s mitt: Me again. I was playing golf, didn’t notice him walk up behind me, and accidentally took a divot out of his left cheek. He

    was such a baby about the whole thing. And he really didn’t have to eat

    my glove since I got grounded anyway.

     Women’s underwear, size 8: You know, I don’t think anyone even

    did anything to him this time. We were at Macy’s once, and all of a sudden he started shoving a bunch of those panties with the days of the week on

    them into his mouth. He got a Sunday, a Friday, and two Mondays before

    a saleslady tossed us out.


The Bear Facts

    Summaries of Good Books That I’ve Read


     I think I figured out why hardly anyone here takes English courses

    unless they’re English majors -- there’s tons of reading to do. Some of these

    books are actually fun to read, but reading a book a week is kind of a pain,

    and after three weeks there’s no way you’re gonna stay in the course.

     So, to ease your reading load, I’ve written up short summaries of

    some books you might be asked to read. Hopefully, these will be enough

    to get you through class if you don’t have enough time to read every page.

    You can thank me later.

     The Scarlet Letter: This lady has a baby even though she’s not

    married, which is fairly common where I come from but evidently not so

    common back then. Anyway, she had to wear this red “A” on her chest all the time and felt real bad about it, but if she hadn’t moped around all the

    time everyone probably would have figured out it was her initial or

    something like on those preppy sweaters.

     The Red Badge of Courage: I didn’t read this one, but I saw it when it was on TV and the guy who played John-Boy Walton was in it. John-Boy

    got beat up pretty good before I got bored and switched on Rhoda, but if it’s

    like the rest of the war movies I’ve seen, I’m sure he winds up dead or

    blind or something, and his family cries a lot.

     Moby Dick: Sorry, but I didn’t read it. It was too big, and even the

    Monarch Notes were like 150 pages. It was about a whale and a guy with a

    wooden leg, if that’s any help.

     The Gift of the Magi: This lady cuts off all of her hair and sells it so

    she can buy her husband a chain for his pocket watch. The guy sells his

    pocket watch to buy a comb for his wife. This is a good example of the lack

    of communication that plagues married couples. What’s worse is that

    we’re supposed to believe that there are guys who walk the streets trying

    to buy people’s hair. C’mon, give me a break.

     Catcher in the Rye: This guy gets thrown out of school, so he does a

    lot of really strange things that’ll make you stop feeling as weird about the

    things you do. He also uses the “f-word” about a zillion times, so if you

    ever discuss the book in class use the “f-word” as often as you want. When the teacher gives you a dirty look, just say you were referring to a passage.

    It’s funny. Try it. It almost worked in high school.

     1984: Good book. This guy Orwell wrote it about 30 or so years ago,

    and everybody’s pretty stupid and does whatever they’re told. So I guess

    what he’s saying is that in the future it’s going to be like everyone’s in

    community college or something.

     The Bible: In this book, half the time God’s really nice and half the

    time he’s really mean. Like once he almost made this guy kill his own kid.

    Personally, I liked him better when he was nice. Well, then there’s this guy

    who does a lot of really neat things with blind people and fish. He dies,

    and then he pushed this rock after he’s dead. That was my favorite part. Oh yeah, there are a whole bunch of people with Jewish names in it, so it has

    something for everyone.

     Greek and Roman Mythology: There’s a guy with three heads, another guy with one eye, and a woman with snakes on her head, a guy

    that’s got a horse’s body, hundreds of people with wings, a lady who could

    kill you with her voice, and a whole bunch of monsters who scare the hell

    out of practically everybody. Basically, it’s the makings of a great comic

    book, but you’ll feel pretty stupid writing a term paper about it.

     Romeo and Juliet: This boy and this girl kill themselves, and it’s

    really depressing because they were in love and everything. What’s even

    more depressing is that I don’t think they even got to fool around first or, if

    they did, it was so bad that neither of them wanted to talk about it through

    the whole play.


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