This is a story about a secret.
It is a secret that I have somehow inadvertently managed to keep hidden from everyone in my life since last century.
It's not really that important of a secret and I didn't mean to intentionally hide it from everyone in the way that I did. But I did, somehow, and it wasn't until today when I was driving to work that I realize that I have successfully kept this part of my life hidden from everyone for god how long... almost 20 years now.
And, because it's me, this isn't just a story about a secret either. It's also a story about high school, about college, about missed opportunities and mistakes. It's also about a girl and also about David Letterman and a family of ducks.
Before publishing this, I told me wife. She was the first person I ever told. She didn't really say anything, but I can tell that she was disappointed at me.
This might be a long one.
Ok. Here goes.
It was 1994, the summer before my senior year of high school, and my drama group was traveling to Muncie, Indiana to take part in the annual National Thespian Convention.
It's a very serious affair in which only the most SERIOUS of high school thesbians travel far far away to watch some of the greatest high school plays done over the past year. They also go and take important and lengthy classes on how to be a better actor, taught by some of the greatest teachers and actors in the world.
Most importantly, and the reason why most people go to this darn thing, is that it's an opportunity to audition in front of the most important colleges in America. It's a chance to get scholarships, a chance to earn full rides to big name colleges like Yale and Harvard and places like that. See, THAT is the reason why most people go. And my drama teacher was forcing everyone to audition for the big colleges. You HAD TO if you wanted to go. But it's not like you have to be forced to audition. I mean, pretty much everyone was there to addition for colleges in the first place. That was the ONLY reason why any SANE person would go to this thing!
Of course, I'm not a sane person.
I did NOT go to this thing to audition for colleges. Screw that!
I went for a vacation!
Yeah. The only reasons why I went to the National Thespian Convention was because it was happening in Indiana and I have never been there before. The college seemed like it was going to be a nice place. I had heard that David Letterman graduated from there and I wanted to visit the place that he would consider to going to. I also heard that they were some really nice bookstores and comic book stores and pizza places near the college.
And I was right. There was a role playing game store and in the basement they had some nice old pinball machines. And the pizza? Fell in love. In fact, I successfully only went to ONE DAMN CLASS. Latex makeup. Made a bullet wound. Don't remember a thing I learned.
I went there for a vacation. I went to meet people. I went to people watch. I certainly didn't go to take some dumb classes from super serious thesbians and I certainly didn't go to audition for colleges.
But like I said, the drama teacher was forcing everyone to, so I HAD to audition. BUT I didn't want to do it and I didn't particularly care what college would actually be crazy enough to allow me to go there.
In retrospect, this may have been a mistake.
I just always figured that I would go to whatever college was near the house that I lived in at the time. I didn't wanna leave my family so I didn't care about auditions.
But I had to audition. So I did.
My drama teacher tried to force me to audition with Shakespeare, a stupid monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream that I didn't care for, but I didn't want to do it.
And at the last second I did a switcharoo and did something else.
And I'm glad I didn't because everybody was bringing their boringly serious guns. All drama. A whole bunch of Shakespeare. A ton of monologues from stupid movies that I never cared about. A LOT of Breakfast Club (even though this was the mid nineties). YAWN!
Because I didn't care, I audition with a hyper active monologue that I did in speech and debate called "Go to church camp, learn to kiss." It was overly hyper active, the opposite of the dead drama everyone else did. I was running around the stage. I was screaming. I was pretending to make out with myself. I almost fell of a table. I was insame. I was very hyper active and stupid, but I was feeling pretty much like myself. I didn't feel the need to be serious for any big 10 schools since I didn't care.
I was just myself.
I got the worst tongue lashing in the world from my teacher but I did end up getting a few calls back from a few colleges in tiny places I never heard of. I didn't care about it. In retrospect, I should have. I guess I was taking some sort of lame stand. I should have cared.
But I did get to talk with one major college recruiter from one pretty major college.
The recruiter said that I was crazy and unpolished but that there might be something special about me.
So he went and offered me a full ride scholarship.
Specifically, the way he said it was very un-caring, like "Uhh, weeeeeell, I might as well give you a full ride scholarship" like he didn't give a shit, you know? Like he didnt believe that I'd last but he'd give me a chance to try. But still, I was actually offered a full ride scholarship to a major college.
Pepperdine fucking university.
So here's the thing...
I told the recruitment man that I would need some time to think it over and I would get back to him in a few days after talking to my parents.
I did not talk to my parents.
I didn't tell my drama teacher about it.
I didn't tell my friends who had gone to the trip with me about it.
I never went back to talk to the recruitment guy. I actually blew off Pepperdine university.
And I had successfully manage to not tell anyone of any importance to me in my life that I got a full ride scholarship to Pepperdine university. This is my big secret.
Why the fuck did I do that?
I suppose I should feel bad about it, but here's the thing: I remember not knowing anything about that damn university at the time. I still don't. I knew that a lot of the other kids who went to the convention wanted to get into that college. But where was it? What's so special about it? I didn't even know where it was!
So I blew it off. Fuck a free ride to a major college, I apparently thought.
I didn't care.
I SHOULD have cared. But I didn't.
That trip to Muncie, tho, wasn't the bad memory for me despite the fact that I blew off a major university. It was a really fun time. I saw some great plays. I successfully avoided going to any classes. I remember eating a lotta pizza and making new friends and going to Barnes and Noble a lot. There were some wonderful stores and places there. I could see why David Letterman picked it.
I actually thought of going there for a while. In fact, I probably would have gone they're had it not been for the humidity. Seriously, the summer humidity in Muncie, Indiana is absolutely horrible. Once you exit the airplane and step foot in this state of Indiana, the summer humidity punches you right in the balls. It's horrible. But I had a lot of fun.
I met a girl there, too.
She was my Muncie love and ended up over the next decade becoming one of the major x's of my life.
We met and fell madly in love in Indiana, despite the fact that we only lived about 22 minutes away from each other in Phoenix. I considered that a sign way back when I still believed in such things.
She was my five foot tall manic pixie dream girl. She was wild and funny ancd spontaneous and free, all the things I wasn't. It was love at first sight and, before things went bad and we hated each other's gutsn ours was a pretty good relationship. We ended up dating and then broke up and then dated and then broke up and then dated and got serious. We lived with each other and were engaged for a while. Then things went to shit and nowadays she refuses to talk to me.
But she's good. Nowadays she's living in Brooklyn and doing one woman plays and singing and traveling to far off places and doing all of those spontaneous things that I could never do for her. Things ended bad between us. But back then we were still young and we immediately after we met we fell for each other. We really fell in love. And that is what I got out that trip to Muncie, not a scholarship to some college.
I don't regret the relationship and I don't regret breaking up with her. I use to regret a lot of things in life. In fact, I have a blog call "Esteban Galindo's Stupid Blog" where for a while I was writing a post for each of the stupid things that I did in my life that I regret. I don't do that anymore because I try not to regret things in my life.
The way I see it every stupid and horrible thing that I did in my life has led me to the wonderful life that I have now with the wife that loves me and 3 wonderful children. If I had done anything differently in my life in the past then I probably wouldn't have this wonderful life. I would have something different but I wouldn't have Maxwell or Emerald or Isabela. It would be different.
So if anything, I thank the mistakes I've made and the stupid things I did and the crimes I did and the hearts I broke and the women who destroyed me. I look back at them with happiness because they let me, like a giant living Choose Your Own Adventure book, to the wonderful life that I have now.
There are one or two major x's my life that I have maintained a friendship with but this one hates me, hates the ground I walk on, and blames me for ruining our relationship. I'm thankful, and this might seem a little mean spirited but only because it IS really mean, I am thankful that she had not aged well. I have some ex girlfriends that look absolutely gorgeous but man, my Muncie went from being a 5 foot tall manic pixie dream girl with big boobs into this hideous Brooklyn troll and that makes me feel pretty good about myself. See, men age differently than women so I'm turning into this strikingly handsome mexican Jack from "30 Rock" type of guy and she's just turning into this monster and that's pretty awesome for me.
But back in Muncie it was different. We spent almost all of our time together after we met. We spent each day avoiding classes and checking out little stores nearby and learning about each other. Most of the time we spent together was by a small river, more like a stream, a tiny stream by our dorm rooms and there was a tiny wooden bridge there and a small family of ducks and we held hands and talked and listened to The Cure and fell in love.
I'd rather have a fleeting love and a family of ducks than a scholarship to Pepperdine.
And speaking of ducks, you should really check out the massive amount of tags on this blog. Have you seen them? There's a massive column running along the left side of this blog. It's crazy. One of these days you should do yourself a favor and read all of them.
Some of them are whatever came to my mind at the time. Some of them are deeply offensive. Some of them are just stupid tags meant to entice readers. Some of them are deeply personal. Some of them are sad. Some of them are mean.
But of all the people I know there is only one other person who would understand the one tag I will use for this post. But now you read this and now YOU are one of the few who understands.