The flavor of the previous few stories seems to be "early Otter history," so allow me to share my first experience with these kooky characters. I was a sophomore at GMHS, my mullet and Anthrax t-shirts serving as pathetic representations of whatever clique I thought I was part of. (Truth is, I never really fit in anywhere... but doesn't everyone think that in high school?)

I had never, to this point, heard the word "Otter" in the context that we now all know so well. There was that weird kid Jason in my Spanish class, who would do things like change my chalkboard "Metallica" to "Meatballica" for no better reason than because it was there, and there were the plays that I attended exactly long enough to get extra credit in English class before I bailed... but that was the extent of my exposure. So one day, in conjunction with the aforementioned Spanish class, we were preparing for a field trip to... someplace in DC. (I want to say the National Zoo, but that doesn't seem very Spanish. Usually I'm very good at remembering these things.)

In any event, I remember getting in the bus, securing a seat by myself and waiting for the day to end. I remember Mrs. Kebaugh doing the head count: once, twice, three times... is there an extra kid on the bus?? Turns out there was -- Little guy had smuggled Data on to the bus in hopes of bringing him along for a day of extracurricular frolicking. Mind you, to this point, he was just that other weird kid Mike who wore trenchcoats to school and drank coffee. (What 16 year old did these things??)

Anyway, Data was just sitting there like all the other kids, making no real attempt to hide or look inconspicuous. "The balls on these guys!" I remember thinking as Data exited the bus with his administrative escort, still grinning at the fact that he'd almost made it. It was that day that I swore to get to know these brave and silly people better, and it really worked out for them, because I had a line on quite a lot of free liquor in those days. But that's another (much less interesting) story.


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