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Declaration of Dysfunction: Article 1

October 24, 2011

In the early seventies, my Dad, who worked for a major airline got transferred to the Land of Oz, Orange County, So Cal USA.the 'ol dysu

That’s where the dysfunction really sets in so I thought we’d start there and ignore much of my early almost “Leave it to Beaver” childhood.

Now I’m not sayin’ that the numerous concussion I had when I was little (pre-move) or that I was never ostracized, or beat up , or mocked by my own family prior to this…

What I’m sayin is when I think back, first I don’t remember much about those earliest Unit days, n second my Lil Dog assures me this is the best place to start…oh it is to laugh.

Leave it to Unit!

I’m gonna do my best to lay it out chronologically when possible, without too much detail (long) and emotion(boring).

It will take more than one blog so I’m planning to mix them in with my other crap, but I think it will help explain and tie a lot together.

Before we start, I want you all to remember that now I try to thank God daily for every blessing and challenge set before me in my shabby fifty one (now 54) years. Even the things you’re about to read.

Our first year in So Cal would’a been ’71. I was 12  starting 7th grade in a new school and after a few months I started gettin my ass kicked; pretty much every day.

Westmont Elementary, set on the seedy edge of our new comfortable middle class neighborhood was as far from where we’d just relocated from in the quaint and wholesome 60’s upper Midwest, culturally as well as geographically.

There were low riders  showing a couple of inches of their boxer shorts, surfers, skinny blonde and tan, jocks and rockers,gearheads and geeks.

Kids were regularly smoking weed, drinking, popping pills, sniffing glue.

Where I had come from (Viking’s country)  a kid smoking cigarettes was considered a bad seed. (I guess perhaps looking back, it was only in my mind that things there were so innocent and sweet).

I was, (like Dorfman and Pinto in Animal House) assigned to the “loser squad”, and I was the lowest among the low.

My quickly assigned nickname was “Pugsly” after the kid on the Addams family (whom, at the time I must admit I did resemble).

Really, I looked a lot like this at 11!

Really, I looked a lot like this at 12!

The teachers were no better.

Our gym teacher, a Vietnam vet, carried a baseball bat with the roundness shaved away so that it became a long handled, long bladed paddle.

He had drilled holes in his homemade paddle to increase velocity.  I believe he also enjoyed the vicious whistle the pattern of ½ inch holes made as he brought it into action; as well as the panic such whistling caused in the paddlee.

And don’t even get me started on the practice of “gopher holing”.

Anyone who complained of the spankings got gopher-holed.

You might think I’m making this up, but those that were there will remember.

I don’t remember the gym teachers name.

But I do remember Mr. Bevernick, the survivor of the holocaust now math teacher.

When asked what he considered a dumb question Mr. B would thunder out “Why on top of the Roof young man (woman)!” as a nonsensical answer, drawing out the R-r-r-r in his thick German accent.

Just another tormentor who joined with kids my own age in pointing out my increasing “separateness”

Okay all this B.S. is taking too long and you must remember that above all it’s presented as reference point only. You will find as we journey together that I do indeed feel truly lucky and blessed to be who, what and where I am.

Without everything that happened to me (us) I (we) would not be me (us).

Puffin n' ponderin!

Puffin n’ ponderin!.

Get it, got it good.

See, I mean, I am not who I was, but who I’ve become.

Okay you can go back and read that one again if you need too, but don’t worry I definitely will get back to it in a future blog.

So it was near the end of this first school year in So Cal that I snapped the first time.

I beat up a kid a rung or two up the social ladder. I only remember his nickname “Pollock”.

This kid was a lot bigger than me, but I beat hm up pretty good. All the mixed up tormenting self rage  that had me constantly on the verge of suicide at this point (remember I was only 12) turned outward on this Kid, who had sometimes allowed me to play with him.

I believe now that all he said was “Hey Pugsly!”

It was the wrong morning to say that to me I guess.

I was suspended for a couple days. That was the most hilarious part and a real ah-ha moment fer me, the increasingly dysfunctional little Unit.

I was being suspended.

I who had gotten beaten up nearly everyday fer a year, who was stealing money from my family to pay off the bullies (or hire my own, as I tried once).

I who ran from class to class between periods.

And yes I had tried to tell an adult many adults.

My Mom of course visiting the school to complain about bullying only made things worse (see above gym teacher and  the term gopher holing).

Oh it is to laugh, they suspended me.

Anyway, when I came back a couple of the toughest kids, kids who had been at the top of the list when it came to “kids to avoid”patted me on the back  and basically said “Hey you ain’t such a bad Unit after all.”

By not being “bad” they meant I wasn’t a goody-good pussy.

 It was one of three important events that occurred within the first years after arriving in So Cal.

I’ll go into the other two as time goes on. Understanding the foundation of my dysfunction will hopefully not only help clarify, but support an understanding of my particular view of our increasingly dysfunctional world.

dysu Oct. 21, 633:pm

4 Responses to “Declaration of Dysfunction: Article 1”


  1. […] about behaviors that I should have learned but didn’t…you can read more of this concept here, and uh…here…but the deal is, that’s part of what I am talking about when I talk […]


  2. […] my own poetry voice…mmm…tryin to figure out how to say this quickly…weird-o kid, dreamer, good fer nuthin, had a bad(?) family/home life, left home ran the streets, into weirdo […]


  3. Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!


  4. Reblogged this on disfuctionalunit and commented:

    Hey cats & kittens,
    Here’s one of my first posts from a few years ago now…
    I thought with all my new visitors it might be a good time to re-visit this series of posts which may help shed some light on je how I got started on the road to dysfunction…
    I hope ya’ll enjoy.


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