Honor Society

Twelfth grade was going ok. I was busy with college applications, I had a girlfriend at White Station, and we were having a winning soccer season! Everything was great… except for one thing.

Art class.

I walked into the art room and quickly found my way to my desk. The art room tables were situated in a circle that filled the entire room and it afforded us the opportunity to talk and observe each other’s work. Normally this would be a fun and stimulating atmosphere to be a part of. Normally.

Hey Chink,” a voice from my left side slid in to interrupt my peaceful thoughts. I knew the voice all too well. This same asshat had been tormenting me since the beginning of the school year and was determined to get under my skin. You know how adults love to claim that “if you just ignore it, it will stop?” That’s bullshit. It never stops, particularly when you are an Asian going to an 85% black school in Memphis Tennessee. From my experience in life, you’d better buckle up because it is going to be a bumpy 13 years.

“Why do Asians wear sunglasses? Aren’t your eyes tight enough to act like natural shades? Damn you’re ugly.”

“Why the fuck are you checking me out for? Isn’t your little friend there cute enough for you, dickhead?” I snapped back finally losing my patience and cool.

“Ohhhhhh watch out! The little chink is mad!” He and his friend began chanting.

As I got up to deal with my daily nemesis, the fire alarm suddenly started going off and put a temporary end to our squabble. It was only temporary and as soon as we got outside it began again. It escalated.

By the time the fire drill had ended we were both angry enough to kill one another. We continued to verbally spar as we walked back in, I’m no bitch and gave as good as I got. But I was also alone, the only Asian fighting a racial war.

As we walked back into the art room I barely saw the fist that was headed straight for me. My world exploded and I saw Chinese fireworks before my eye.

This motherfucker just hit me! I thought to myself as my body reacted on its own. I felt my own fist wind back and I strike out blindly where his nose should have been. I felt his face squish with a satisfying connection and blood gushed from his nostrils. Suddenly I was jerked backwards and found myself face to face with my soccer coach who had followed us after seeing what was going on and had yanked me back out of the fight. I was dazed and just happy the bright lights had stopped.

We were both rushed to the office for judgement and punishment. We were equally guilty in the eyes of my educators and because of that we were both handed board suspensions.

I lost my senior year national honor society because of my suspension. I then lost all my scholarship offers as well, all except one – in state UTK, and that is where I ended up going. I guess I hadn’t needed to fill out all those fucking applications after all.

I remember one day after the fight, while I was serving out my board suspension at home. My mom walked into my room with a card. She knew I had been having a hard time… even if I hadn’t shared my daily details with her. Why would I? At 17 years old you begin to realize that life just sucks sometimes… and parents are for comfort. They can’t fix everything.

I opened the card and my eyes began to water. It said –

You will always be in my honor society. I love you.

I thanked her with more than just my words. I thanked her with my heart and I felt the weight lessen slightly.

You see she got it… she did understand.

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman

44.1

@smokendust

Abuse

10/28/2017

Today I went to Walmart to prep for the party none of you are invited to…

When I’m walking out I see this guy violently slam his passenger door, there wasn’t anyone in it, and then stormed around to the front. I assume it was the front, he was a short man. When I say “violently slammed” he literally shut it three times. I don’t know how, maybe his door is broken, but it happened and I thought it was strange.

I kept walking.

His car, a white Crown Vic like an undercover cop car, sped down to the end of the parking lot where it stopped suddenly by a girl. He hopped out and started yelling and she yelled back.

I put my stuff in the trunk and shut it. Looked around and saw some people watching.

The guy put his hands on her shoulders in a firm shake.

I looked at the people around me and asked “anyone gonna call the cops?”

“Not unless he hits her,” a woman replied with a firmness in her voice from my right, she was standing by her concerned husband.

A dude walked by me and we talked.

“It’s too early for all that yelling,” I said to him.

“Sure is.” He said shaking his head, but smiling at my comment.

“I’d go down and stop him if he hit her, but he hasn’t.” I said to him as I turned back to my car. “You take care man.”

“You too man.”

I got in my car and drove down to the end of the parking lot so I was only eight parking spaces away, there was another truck parked as well with someone concerned inside.

I watched as they argued some more and then she got in the car.

She decided to get back in.

I shook my head.

The guy was about to get in his car when he noticed his audience finally, finally noticed his shouts and her yells had been heard by half the parking lot in Flatirons.

“What bro? You want to record me too?” he yelled in my direction.

My window was cracked and I’ll admit a few thoughts ran through my head. I am a father and I don’t know what this guy has on him. I know that all I witnessed was a loud argument and no physical violence. Yes, shaking someone is assault, but hard to prove unless it leaves bruises and there are cameras with witnesses. Besides what it really all boiled down to was this… she got back in the car on her own free will.

I drove away.

Jason C. Cushman

-Opinionated Man

44.1

@smokendust

Note: There are many things I could and sometimes want to write on this topic, but most of it has been shared. This was a random Saturday morning. I thought I’d share it. Some may criticize me for what I did or did not do.

Writing

I read a picture of your pain and it felt the same to me. Your words tickled inside of me until I knew they were a part of me. Writing your pain without shame of the world. You strengthen hearts without a thought and allow someone else to finally sigh. You blog your soul and never care to be whole. Sharing simply to share, so the world knows we were here.

-OM

44.1

@smokendust

Why I hate baseball

“Hey Jason! Go play right outfield!”

Ok coach!

I don’t know how long baseball games last, but I can tell you how long I imagined they lasted as a child. I had to play baseball because I was growing up in Tennessee and all my friends were.

I learned some things though.

Outfield is a lonely field. It is a awful place they send the guys not fast enough for first and not cool enough to pitch. You only got to catch if you were friends with the pitcher, which made sense really… there was like a structure here. I didn’t fit in again.

There were things to do in the field though, like finding four leaf clovers! That’s not a bad usuage of your time and they bring you luck and an opportunity to brag to Caleb on the bench about how you found one and are now luckier than him. There were cars passing by, I can see them now, because we played on a single field in the neighborhood by our school. There weren’t fancy sports complexes yet for us midtown boys, but we’d all heard the rumors about the sportsplex being built in Germantown. Those burb boys always have the best stuff.

But what more do you need than a brown patch of dirty, some gloves, a ball… did you bring the ball Tim?

Good.

And the bat which never seems to be your turn enough…

We’d spend days broiling because it is the humid south, but that never stopped us from playing. When we graduated to the need to use a cup I was done. It is bad enough you want me to bake in the sun, but now I felt like my nuts were broiling too. I hated it.

I stopped playing baseball in elementary school. All I have now are memories of hot days and getting hit in the face with the ball once. That’s one of those memories you never lose.

-Opinionated Man

Jason

44.1

@smokendust

 

100

I whispered past the need for me. Pushing my words to finally reach a distance close to a finish line, any finish line will do. I draw circles until they form words, at least they are words to me. I find meaning and I write the words I see.

I sometimes wonder what other people think. What is everyone surrounding me wondering about, worried about, what is on their mind? When I walk past a person I wonder if our thoughts collide or if they walk easily by because they are not burdened like me. Often thinking more moves ahead than are needed in life, I walk my chess moves as easily as I read them from my hand. I wonder if others do the same.

How long before my teeth start to fail or fall out.

If all we want is more when is more ever enough. And yet I get it and I love that drive in her. It pushes me to be as great as I can be. I don’t want the world. I want my world.

I’ll never apologize for what others do. I don’t care if they have a penis or not. If I didn’t do the action why am I apologizing for them? Call them out? Sure… where do you want me to stand? But this knee jerk reaction by those not in fault, take from the needed spotlight for those IN fault. Let them fall on their own sword, as it should be. As it should be.

Ever wonder what your kids will see or read of you when you die? What will you leave behind? Will I leave a twinkle in the eye… or a long fucking sighhhhhhhhh…

I don’t know why you’ve been so difficult lately, but it isn’t really lately is it… we’ve been here for awhile. I have so much over here going on that I can no longer allow you to monopolize my thoughts and fears. I’m not going to sit around anymore wondering if you are upset and why. If that means the future plots a few separate paths so be it. So be it.

So the South has a way to neutralize the northern front in case NK starts popping off, but the system that will be used hasn’t been tested yet because it can’t really be tested… but don’t worry! The parachutes will work! They just haven’t been tested yet. Just jump.

I read somewhere that the biggest scandal to the worker was when the concept of a salary was introduced because we devalue ourselves for a whole number. That’s only partially true and we still have to push to make the “hourly” part worth it. I should have pushed for more probably. Oh well.

I got a flu shot last Thursday and now I am sick. So a “free shot” gave me a “free disease” that cost me cold medicine, lots of Kleenex, a night on the couch, and a ton of bad thoughts. I knew I shouldn’t of taken it. Did everyone else have to bend over for theirs?

A handle in four days. That’s not good Jason.

-Opinionated Man

44.1

@smokendust

Confession

I’ve never been a huge fan of confession and a lot of that has to do with my upbringing. Growing up in the Orthodox Church you learn about confession and you are expected to participate in this sacrament. Particularly when your father is one of the priests of the church…

Confession today is a lot different than the church originally performed it. In the older than old days people would stand in front of the whole congregation and pretty much proclaim their sins to the world.

That’s some raw confession.

Count me out.

I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that must have been particularly since I was brought up with the notion that “to think a sin is to do a sin.” I would have had a permanent spot on that stage.

It was a little bit uncomfortable for me as a child having my father as one of the church priests because I wasn’t ever certain how much they shared. “They” were still adults and adults were still the enemy in times of punishment and getting caught. They would continuous remind the children that confessions were between you and God and that the Priest simply represents “the church” and isn’t really The Priest at that time.

I get it, I truly do. I’ve been Orthodox since I was 3, so I understand why the church believes what it does.

I also understand what I believe now and I often find amusement when I catch myself chasing a random thought that leads me to my past.

I wonder what I’d confess today…

-OM

44.1

@smokendust