You guys have no idea how EXCITED and FLATTERED I was to have been invited to participate in the madcap and mayhem that was filming an Otter Production! My parents were less than thrilled by Squeaky's hasty exit through the screen door, but other than that I'd have to say the filming went well, wouldn't you? I'm pretty sure that my role in "Aerosol Nights" sealed my fate as an actress, as in..."Jesus, she SUCKS and has NO future in Hollywood!" (Hollywood MARYLAND, maybe...)
Anyway, my most memorable scene has to be the kiss with Jason at the very end...sweetie, I don't know WHY I was so weird about that...I should have just let you lay it on me like a real actress and friend. You know, I secretly had crushes on pretty much ALL of you at one point or another and regret the lack of sucking face that was my teenage career! I have a million more stories to share...A million thanks, Data, for leading me here!
Hugs from the Hot White Chick!
It was a Tuesday like any other Tuesday. Everyone knows everything happens on a Tuesday. I was sitting in Ms. Wiznieski's (sp)english class. It could have been her drama class, but I digress. I was just sitting there minding my own business, when some guy rushes up to the kid sitting next me. The guy looked sharp, his hair was perfect, and I mean perfect like stealing four years worth of hair gel perfect. He introduced himself as Roman, and the kid turned out to be Little Guy. Anyway, I sat there quietly until Roman looked up at me and excitedly said "Data!" That moment my life changed course forever. Although for while it only took me as far as Roman's yard where I received $5.00 for cutting his grass; $7.00 if I trimmed the hedges.
So we were filming The Goat in the Grey Fedora and Roman Hood at the same time. Between Mark and Data's filming schedules I was working very hard at becoming an alcoholic and succeeding to no small degree. We had a shot to do for the Bounty film in a pawn shop. I'd been drinking vodka pretty steadily for most of the day and I imagine I was a real treat to work with. My nose was a bright red and I couldn't walk straight. Mark filmed the scene anyway and it actually worked out for the most part. Only if one is really looking is the slight wobble in my step noticed. The funny thing is, after the filming I asked Carrie to marry me. Even funnier, she said yes. I was the one drinking that day, right?
The Night Club Down Under was as fascinating a place as you could get for the basement of a pizza joint. As the door man, I believe no one was better. Thanks to me no matter how crowded the place got, I made sure that Matt Boswell cleared a consistent twelve dollars a night. At four bucks a head, he was doing fine. For whatever reason, Matt was out of town, and several of us had a meeting of the minds (with a lot of peach schnapps, if I recall) and headed to the club. In the DJ booth (read stock room) Steve Fedasz sat with a particularly hot Italian chick by the name of Nicole... Tight black skirt, high heels, the works. Well, I pulled up a seat on the couch next to her and in my slick Data style babbled pretty much incoherintly about nothing. Then, I very smoothly slid my hand down to her shoes, took them off until there was just her sheer stockings separately my hand from her feet... And then I proceeded to play "This little piggie went to market." I can still hear Steve laughing to this day. Anyway, Nicole walked to a table and we spent the better part of coulple hours talking about how there was no romance left in the world. The next night she called me at the club, and we talked some more (sober though; strange experience). That sealed it. Steve got a letter about what an ass he was, and I got Nicole. It was a great four weeks... Until I got a letter about what an ass I was and how sweet Mark was.
It's 3 am. Im bored. I want a fistful of worthless junk... and a park bench. There was a time and a place where all of this wouldn't have been a problem. A little more than a decade ago in the tragically boring town of Lexington Park (Funny how a town so bereft of recreational activity played host to so many misadventures) Roman, Mark Weihl and I spotted something odd on our evening drive home. We passed the local strip mall (7 or 8 stores that made up the entire Downtown shopping experience) and noticed that the Peoples Drug store still had merchandise out to sell. You may have noticed that retail stores often put a table of clearance items outside the front door to attract customers and clear out their overstock, but the time was roughly 11:30 at night and the store had been closed for some time. Roman pulled is car into the parking lot and we strolled up to the table to browse. The next thing I knew we had all grabbed some random item and dashed back into Romans car quickly fleeing the scene of the crime!
The next evening I got a call from Roman around 10 PM. "We're going shopping," he said and hung up. Sometime close to midnight he, along with ...umm...I forget who else was there...LG? Data maybe? Anyway we all went back to the shopping center to find the clearance tables still outside and unguarded. This time Roman was prepared. He brought bags. He stocked up on about 5 years worth of hair gel and other vanity products that I was not familiar with. I picked out a loose knit red, white & blue scarf which I quickly dubbed my "Party Scarf." After our shopping spree ended, we again sped away with tires squealing.
A few nights later Data and I had been out and decided to stop at our favorite Otter late night store for some freebies, however when we arrived we found the tables were gone. (Either Peoples Drug had gotten wise to our midnight looting or Roman had simply wiped the place clean.) In their place was a wooden park bench with wrought iron sides. No more hair gel. No more Party Scarves. No more tables full of useless trinkets. Just a bench for weary shoppers to relax and breathe some fresh air before continuing with their day. So we stole that instead.
During our later years in Lexington Park we played a lot of board games. Let's face it, there just wasn't that much to do aside from drink, play music, and have sex. Sometimes all of these with only Mark present. But I digress. We played all night Risk matches, Data's "Drunken Irish Hoard" against my "Evil Black Empire". Rooms thick with cigar smoke and the tension of world domination. These were tough matches to be sure, but nothing matched Pictionary.
Erik introduced on the "make your own card" cards a series of Mark Cards. These varied from Mark's anatomy to acts which Mark might perform. It was always a real treat when Mark pulled a Mark card. "Okay, I'm touching myself. My retina. I'm shaving a goat." These were good times. Erik and I would occasionally cheat. Instead of drawing the picture, one of us would just write whatever the clue was. Our win percent was pretty good though.
Now, as most folks know, I would drink just a bit during these matches. As the games progressed so did my drinking. My poor partners would have to deal with not only my inability to coherently speak and guess clues, but would be the brunt of a line of insults that would make a prison inmate uncomfortable when they failed to guess what my series of unconnected lines was supposed to be. One night Data had had enough. Carrie and Mark were a team and Data and I were their opponents. I believe the item which I was drawing for Data was boiling water, but I'm not sure. Data didn't get the clue. I'm not sure what came out of my mouth, but the next thing I know Data flies across the table like Eliot Ness and proceeds to strangle me.
I was pretty sure that wasn't in the rules, but I had it coming. I'm not positive, but I think the "International Symbol for Mark" has made it into the Pictionary Expansion Set.
During my senior year at GMHS, I felt rather like Luke Skywalker. Not only was I a whiny, seemingly useless guy from a barely civilized outpost that no one had ever heard of, but I was also the last of my kind. I was the final representative of a proud and powerful tradition that stretched back well before the mysterious "Clone Wars." (Or in my case, the tradition stretched back into the equally mysterious "1980s.") Okay, so maybe that tradition was little more than being the resident creative weirdo at this particular high school, but I took that responsibility pretty seriously. And I was certain that I would be the final chapter in this saga. Sure, I had found lots of interesting people — we always seem to attract those — but no one that I would call "Otter worthy." So the line ends with me. So be it.
Only, as in Star Wars there was another — a previously disregarded sibling. Certainly not my younger brother, who had his moments of strangeness, but for the most part tried much too hard to conform. Not Data's sister, who I understand was quite the looker. (Hey, that's just what I heard.) I'm talking, of course, about Adam.
Somehow, we never really thought about Adam, though once the subject came up, there was never any resistance. He was the obvious choice to carry on the legacy — and he had the added advantage of having been present for more Otter history than perhaps any one of the rest of us (except maybe Mark).
Shortly following my graduation, I found myself bringing Adam to Pennsylvania with me for a summer visit. It was during that car trip that I realized our future was in safe hands. In just over three hours, this tiny 14 year old displayed an expert knowledge of every obscure geek thing I could throw at him. He indulged in random silliness for its own sake, such as the 24 hours or so when he pretended the letter "A" had been removed from the English language. Adam, Mark and I spent many an evening staying up till dawn, playing the Star Wars roleplaying game, shooting the never-seen "Young Bounty Chronicles," planning the never-filmed "Zak McCracken," and, perhaps most importantly of all, pissing off Steve.
Not long after that, upon my return to Maryland, I discovered that Adam had almost literally experienced puberty overnight. His height had doubled, he sported those wonderful random scraggly chin hairs and his voice had lowered an octave or two. He also had a regular entourage with him at all times — not just the couple of regular friends he'd hung with since early childhood, but a sampling of Great Mills' prettiest and most bizarre. A gathering of cool and interesting people in the Darin basement on a regular basis, only Mark was still out-of-state. When he left me, he had been but the learner... now he was the master.
Now he's just some guy who hasn't posted on this board yet. I saw him out in California only two months ago, so I know he's still alive. Previous experience suggests he's doubled his height again and reached a new plane of social and creative awareness. Maybe he's this "Yao" we've been hearing so much about.
It's 1990. Roman and Erik have shipped off to cross the equator, leaving Data, Littleguy and Mark to keep the home fires burning. I'm still a year or more from Otter maturity — I still have a mullet, and I still spend my Friday nights alone.
But I've begun to make contact. At the most recent GMHS bomb threat (an incident that cleared the entire school into the stadium bleachers at least twice a year), I respond correctly to LG and Data's shouts of "albatross!" (It's a Monty Python bit, but you knew that.) And I occasionally sneak out of my Journalism class into the Newspaper room to eavesdrop on the creative hilarity that occurs there regularly. I dare not participate, as I am incapable of doing so without making a complete ass of myself... but I can watch. And I do.
So it's pretty obvious that I'm a wannabe. Plus (and this is a very important plus), my parents own a successful bar in the county. Any keen mind configured for manipulation and self-interest (in other words, an Otter mind) that observes this combination should see the obvious: free liquor!
So I became the Liquor God. Rather than hang outside liquor stores and propositioning strangers of legal age, they now had a direct line to the intoxicating spirits that fuelled any great Otter gathering. And they knew exactly how to make me cooperate, too — like the time they sent Lisa Peretto and Venusia Davis to my house to pick up the loot. Bear in mind, I'm 15 at the time — and a very young 15. I've never even held hands with a girl, much less anything else. Now, suddenly, there were two gorgrous blondes, both of which had appeared in a fantasy or six of mine, in my house. And I had something they wanted. They hugged me when I gave it to them! I felt their bodies pressed against mine (albeit briefly and in a completely socially acceptable manner), smelled their hair... hey, I was 15. That kept me going for weeks.
I found out later that Lisa was rushed to the hospital that night (the night of the infamous "cigars" cast party Mark spoke of earlier) for alcohol poisoning. I believe they had to pump her stomach, due to the .20 BAC level that I had helped her achieve.
But none of that mattered. I was the Liquor God. My teen angst bullshit may have had a body count, but I had finally discovered the road to popularity! Wasn't high school grand?
I consider Fish Week to be one of the first major milestones in Otter history. Where the idea for Fish Week originated, I cannot be entirely sure. I assume that it was born of pure boredom and weirdness. The premise was simply this: "Its Fish Week! Bring in all of your dead fish!" I think it was originally conceived as a parody of High School spirit week stunts. I had Xeroxed a handful of flyers and posted them in the places you might expect to find student announcements. The idea was that students would see this posting and some would be amused at the parody while others (the type with no sense of humor) would just sneer and not "get" the whole thing. I never expected that anyone would actually bring dead fish to school.
The following morning, as I exited the bus and made my way into the halls of Great Mills High, the first thing I noticed was Roman. He was running. And screaming. And holding a 3 foot blue fish as far from his body as possible. I knew then that the unthinkable had happened. They had brought fish. Lots of fish. Students from every class level were regularly bringing us fish of all sizes and smells! At lunch, we were treated to an assortment of goldfish, some frozen in icecube trays, others were alive in plastic bags.(Which for some odd reason, people started swallowing live!)
The reason I consider this event such a milestone is that these contributors were not just other Otters and close friends, these were students, many of who we'd never met, representing several different social groups! Members of Student Government, Geeks, Jocks, Loners, Stoners...it was quite an eclectic unification over quite a silly cause! This is the first time I realized exactly how much influence we had! After that, going out on a limb in the name of strangeness became much easier and led to many more outrageous stunts that became synonymous the word "Otter." Without Fish Week, I never could have achieved "I Bet That'd Feel Good In My Pants Week!"
I was small boy of 8 years... or maybe 12… or, more likely, neither of those. I find it difficult to believe that, despite what ALL of my memories tell me, everything that ever happened to me in my youth occurred while I was either 8 or 12.
I was young. Roman was in my house. He was engaged in an intense combat simulation on the Commodore 64, known as Stellar 7. As I remember, Stellar 7 was an impressive 3 dimensional space tank battle simulator. I see now, however, that it was nothing more than a handful of unfilled polygons and lines, some of which loosely resembled a vehicle or a cube.
Regardless, Roman was clearly the captain of his unfilled polygon. I was at first just a spectator, watching in awe as Roman piloted through the complex obstacle course of cubes and lines. I realized soon that I had become part of Romans crew. Roman had assigned me the role of Wesley. I can only assume I was given this almost insulting role because of my youth. Although, as far back as I can remember, he has always insisted that I was in my 40s, 50s, and occasionally about 80. I was eventually informed that Wesley's primary task was to fetch the captain beverages. Next Generation was fairly new and I hadn't watched much of it at the time. Roman always seemed to know a great deal about what he was talking about, so I didn't feel I had any grounds to argue.
I knew my role wasn't the most admirable or respectable, but the important thing was that I was, for the first time, in Roman's crew. And boy did that suck.