Scumbag Dan


This entry won’t be about football. Surprised? Me too.

That’s all for disclaimers. I’m not exactly sure where to start.

I’m freewriting, trying to net my butterfly thoughts on paper before they drift away again. I’ll begin by stating a simple, dark, fact about myself.

I am a scumbag.

That was easy. It’s a bit harsh to call myself that, but the brutal truth (more times than not), brutally set you free. It’s not a secret. Daniel Park? A scumbag? Indeed, a well-known fact. They know. I’m aware. I’m aware that they know.

This post isn’t an outcry for pity, nor am I seeking the world’s attention. I’m in a room, alone, updating an unpopular blog that has collected dust for quite some time. If you can relate, great. Welcome aboard.

As much as I want to believe that I’ve flown under the radar, such is not the case. My actions of brash stupidity and boneheadedness since high school are still being discussed. Yes, I peed in my gas tank because I lacked discernment. Yes, a girl’s homecoming night was ruined due to her hair falling into my mouth and my Winterfresh gum having a mind of its own. Yes, I argued with my mother for an hour before scootering (#razor) 55 minutes to a girlfriend’s house in the snow with a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates. Yes, I pushed, kicked and coasted back home after she said she couldn’t come outside to see me. Yes, I did unconditionally like a girl for six, seven, eight, nine years and told my friends and her friends because I couldn’t contain my emotions. Yes, I screwed up in a relationship that I shouldn’t have been in because I couldn’t control my emotions. Yes, I did miss four straight days of school after my first girlfriend in college and I broke up. Yes, I gambled paychecks away and owed heaps of money to people and credit companies. Yes, I roamed the streets with my band and performed at open mics. Yes, I worked at seven restaurants and was fired by five of them because 1) I violated a strict “No Cell Phone” policy that nobody else obeyed, 2) came late even though I called the power-deprived, dictator, I mean, manager, 3) said that I had church on Sunday mornings 4) scheduling conflict with school and 5) because I told my friend (and co-worker) not to serve the appetizers after the entrees.

Yes, and there’s more. I don’t think this blank WordPress box could support the amount of scum that I’ve left to scrape off.

Rumors generated by the cowards who are confident in their amazing storytelling skills slander others  — because they’re too afraid to talk about themselves. Their lives aren’t eventful enough. For those who’ve questioned my actions after listening to exaggerated renditions, well here you go, from the primary source. Thanks for judging me for so long, it meant a lot to me. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

My mother is a religious beast. When I was younger, she dragged me out of bed and took me to early morning service at our home church. There I sat with the pastor of the Children’s Ministry, listening to him rant about how Jesus forgave others until his dying breath. Reverend Ahn would preach about turning the other cheek. I was drowsy, but I can still recall those precious moments.

So right — if I’ve ever told you the story about the day that I was punched in the forehead by a kid because I didn’t want to be “it”, the message on forgiveness literally blared in my ears. If you don’t know this embarassing narrative, well uh – when I was 10 years old, the kids in my neighborhood would play a friendly game of hide-and-seek every evening after dinner. One day, Aaron annointed me to be “it” and I kindly declined the posiiton. We argued back and forth before his fist flew out of nowhere (cheap shot) and the legendary story was born. I cried like a girl counting to 60.

In fifth grade, I’m speedwalking to catch the newest episode of Pokemon and there he appears from behind a tree with a nine-inch blade, threatening to stab me to death. This kid, I realize, enjoyed playing violent games such as Doom and Resident Evil. No worries. I trolled him and said “there’s someone behind you” before sprinting home. Mrs. Dunnigan asks me the next day about the incident. I denied that anything happened. She said there was a witness, assuaging my fears and assuring me that it was okay to confide in her. We both are called over to the dreaded Principal’s office. He’s expelled an hour later.

When I got to middle school, the bullies were worse. Some toolbag pulled out my Charizard out of the case ($150  Pokemon card at the time) and slid it under his bus seat, never to be seen again. A week later, Jason Tastaca and Henoch Hailu (I forgive y’all) came over to “check out my Pokemon card collection” but one stole my rare holigraphics while the other distracted me. I mean, at least it wasn’t a Rolex.

Three strikes and you’re what? Out. We move to VA. It’s not much different.

I’m plugged into a church (KCPC) and I’m an outlier among outliers. The cool thing to do here is something that I ballistically suck at: basketball. Now that I think about it, I should’ve tried harder to make friends. Then again, at that age it wasn’t easy finding the right clique. They call those “fraternities” now.

So when Kevin and his family flew from California and moved close to my apartment complex, it was definitely a life-changer. This short dude could ball. He and I grew close, he let me study his And 1 mixtapes (which never helped), but once he started tearing up the court and destroying ankles at church, the others took notice. Thanks to our friendship, others treated me as if I … belonged. Thanks to Kevin, I’d be called “Mexican” for the next five years. Because my dark skin reminded him of the Mexicans in California.

His family moved back, and our family moved out. We relocated to Springfield. Again I’m on the hunt for new friends. Again it’s hard. This time it’s not because of my lack of basketball talent, nor is it because I’m weird. It’s because I own a large head and a lisp. There’s nothing funnier than to ask the guy with a oversized dome AND can’t pronounce his S words to: 1) read aloud in class, or 2) show him Sweet and Sour packets, or 3) gift wrap a pack of sour skittles for his birthday, or 4) tell him to say Starbursts, or 5) tell him to rap the words of the Thong Song (Sisqo).

Covering it up by “awws” or “how cutes”. Damn. Should’ve just kept my mouth shut, hm?

This is where I learn to channel my stress (or th-treth for the matter) through music. Composing piano songs helped relax the nonsensical ish that I had to go through. I’m actually getting pretty depressed writing about this.

White flag, I surrender. This story isn’t getting anywhere. I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I graduated, and all my 25-year-old peers are balling on their budgets, driving Audis and going out every weekend. I’m not trying to live that lifestyle. I believe there’s something more to this life than going ham-zo 52 times a year. There are a few people that I trust, and even that’s not saying much. They’ve been 100 percent with me, which I’ll appreciate and cherish until I’m lying in some fancy casket with my eyes closed.

Got into an argument with my mother three days ago.

No scrubby man-made monument can compare to the bond that she and I share. But one could axe down a red oak tree if he or she wants to see it tilt over. What once was a sweet suggestion is now a chiefly command. Seminary. I told her I’d consider it. After shaking me up again for the umpteenth time, the pressure finally blew the cap off.

I packed my bags and ran away. I don’t regret the gesture — my mother wants me to succeed and I will go out and make it happen, God willing.

I do regret one thing though … I left a few good pairs of shoes at home.

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