A Paid Advertisement from Your Good Friend “Wild Child Tony”
(Originally appeared on The Freedonian, May 7 2001)
Hey, fellow Bulldogs! W’sup?!
First of all, welcome back to high school! I do hope your summer was absolutely fantastic and that you had many interesting experiences! Mine was pretty good. I stayed right here in this building, just like I have for the past twenty-two years. Wasn’t bored, though. Learned how to type! And I finally finished that life-sized sculpture of myself that I’ve been working on forever and ever! If you’re interested in seeing it, it’s sitting next to the radiator in the art room. Wouldn’t touch it for a few days, though. Especially the lower half of the torso. The papier-mache is still a tad moist . . .
Anyway, if it’s all right with you, I’d like to begin with a little “history lesson,” if only for the benefit of all of you incoming freshmen. Bear with me if you’ve heard this before, sophomores, juniors and seniors! This won’t take long, I promise! Here goes:
My name is Wild Child Tony. On June 6, 1984, on prom night, my mother (class of ’85) gave birth to a baby boy (me!) in the back of the gymnasium. I was then abandoned. Sad, right? Not really! I was discovered by an overnight janitor who kindly raised and looked after me, but he soon died, leaving me to fend for myself within this very school. Sad again, right? No! Actually, yes, it’s a little sad, but I can’t complain. I really do love it here! I love to roam the hallways during the day, getting into many wonderful “adventures,” most of which involve you! I love to return to my special lair come evening, where, exhausted but content with a day well spent, I relax on my large, comfy nest of discarded pom-poms and “spirit flags” and teach myself your “civilized language,” mostly by watching old film-strips on human sexuality and leafing through yellowing copies of Ranger Rick magazine. What I’m saying, fellow Bulldogs, is that I do not ask for your pity!
And yet . . . to see some of your faces in the halls recently, to see the occasional uneasy glances from some of you as I pass by, upsets me greatly. True, I may not smell as “nice” as most of you. I may not even own a “comb,” or a “toothbrush,” or a freshly laundered pair of “socks,” or even a bottle of “antibiotics.” Sure, I’ve made more than a few people over the years “gag” and “retch” and, in one infamous case, yes, I did make a home economics teacher who now lives in a state far, far away “suffer a near fatal heart attack” with my ferocious body “stench” and unbelievable “odor” that smells vaguely like the couch in the teacher’s lounge.
I’ll admit it: I may not be “presentable” in the “traditional” sense. And I may not act entirely “normal” when confronted with a “simple” question or a “reasonable” request. I may “loiter” for hours on end near your lockers, “fondling” or “licking” or “rubbing up against” your “personal items.” Sure, I’ll be the first to confess that I may not be the “easiest” person in the world to live with, especially in light of my tendency to “attack” those teenage “missionaries” who feel it their moral duty to “de-savage” me through their generic offerings of “clothing.” But who among us here is “perfect”?
Certainly not me. Okay, I may “act out” more than I am able to consciously “control.” I may “panic” in certain situations and curl myself into a “ball” so tight that others can only “pity” me. I may have, at one time or another, been threatened with “arrest” and I may have even “barricaded” myself in the ESL classroom by using “extreme force.” And, yes, it is also true that I once threatened the school’s security guard with a “musk” that shoots out of a “secret” gland that no other human seems to “possess” and that the school nurse has been unable for years to “locate.” This security guard may have even become permanently “blinded” and may have even gone slightly “mad.” Fine.
My point is that we’re not so different, you and I! Granted, I do tend to walk around the school in nothing except for a “loin cloth” fashioned out of the front and back sections of the newspaper that you’re now holding in your hands, our very own Winston Churchill High School’s monthly Observer. And admittedly, this “loin cloth” occasionally will “slip.” And, yes, when this does happen, I do have a tendency to become a tad “defensive” and I might even “growl” or “hiss” or “snarl,” or maybe even “scream at the top of my lungs and rear up my ass like a baboon in heat.” I may “violently” shake my food-encrusted mane of unwashed hair in your faces and “sniff” your necks with my “outrageously large” nostrils and then “stomp my feet as if I’m performing an exotic dance” and then make a “BM” on the ground just before I “charge.” But am I really that bad?
Oh, it hurts me to write this, but I’m a little disappointed with you all! Just by listening to some of your comments as I scuttle past on all “fours, and at times a fifth,” I can only come away with the impression that I am nothing but a “freak” and a “living nightmare,” all wrapped up in a “hairy” and “fantastically grotesque package.” That I’m nothing more than a “contemporary Elephant Man” who “inconveniences” students and faculty alike by “obnoxiously” banging on my bass drum as you attempt to take your “final exams” or when you receive your “special” student counseling to “deal” with a “grown wild child” living inside your school. That, at best, I’m a “blight” on “the learning process” and, at worst, a “killer,” who accidentally “ran over” your former mascot “Billy the Bulldog” on a homemade go-kart made out of wood “stolen” from the shop class on the first floor, wood that was going to be used for the construction of a memorial to a “now dead, but much beloved” teacher, whom I also happened to “carelessly” run over with another go-kart.
Correct me if I’m wrong, fellow Bulldogs. Please tell me that I’m not the man who “embarrassed” you in front of the “entire world” when I posed for that Washington Post photographer as he happily took hundreds of “inappropriate” photographs of me “sponge bathing” in the cafeteria’s sink. That I’m not the same man who creates an “unhealthy” atmosphere by “encouraging” the local townspeople to protest outside our school at all hours of the day and night with “pitchforks” and “fired-tipped torches” and “large cardboard signs,” some of which may read “The Devil Lives Here,” “Baal: God of Hellfire!” and “Go Back to the Otherworld, Unsightly Monster!”
Am I that man? The man who you whisper about, the one who dug the “too-large hole” in front of Judy Becker’s locker with his “razor-sharp, monkey-like toenails”? The man who is frequently the subject of your “instant messages,” the one who “STEALS CELL PHONES” and “LAPTOP COMPUTERS” and “IPODS” and then “BURIES THEM IN THE GIANT HOLE IN FRONT OF JUDY’S LOCKER” and then “SELLS THEM BACK TO US AT INFLATED PRICES,” so “HIDE THEM NOW, HURRY!!!”?
I mean, have I not done anything to contribute in a positive manner to your young lives? Just off the top of my head, can you not remember me . . .
. . . swinging from ceiling-tile to ceiling-tile, with the sophomore Jack Bellow in my arms, so that Mr. Bellow would arrive for his Algebra II quiz with plenty of time to spare?
True, Mr. Bellow did not actually request this “special ride” and was subsequently dropped on his “tailbone” and now has difficulty “walking,” even with the fanciest and most expensive of canes, but it was quite enjoyable while it lasted, at least before the “screaming” and the “sirens” and the “confusion” and the “sadness” and the “heartbreak,” no?
There is no need to answer all of these questions, fellow Bulldogs. Due to a “legal loophole” too long and “confusing” to go into now, please understand that I’m not “leaving” this school anytime soon. Thus, for the time being, I only ask that you respectfully honor my different “ways,” and “customs,” and “astonishingly weird habits,” more than a few of which are currently being talked about around the world, most recently in the May issue of National Geographic.
Friends, neighbors, fellow Bulldogs . . . this is my home. Welcome me.
Class of Forever!!!
Please stop by the band room in Hallway B
and ask for “Wild Child Tony,”
or “the grown man who lives beneath the tympanis.”