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March 07, 2002 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-07

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* 9

4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, March 7, 2002

Pocket rocket ripoff
By Dejah Thoris Rubel

The Michigan Daily - Weekeid MagaziI
By Jonathan Lutz

black and white
four different heads
one AA battery
open off on
four inches long
three brass bumps

woman's best friend
turn it on
hear it hum
the sound of pleasure
thrilling the life-force within
better than any man.

Photo Illustration by EMMA FOSDICK/Daily

The following students will be among those recognized during the Honors Convocation program on Sunday, March 17, 2002. These individuals have demonstrated the highest
level of undergraduate academic success by achieving seven or more consecutive terms of all A's and earning the designation of Angell Scholar. The University of Michigan
congratulates these students on their superior scholastic achievement and wishes them continued success.

Isat on the edge o~fthe big leather sofa,
leaning on the armrest, and peering
into the glowing tank. The fish were
bright as the ripest oranges, with black-
and-white splotches that extended all the
way into their pectoral fins and tails. I sat
still in the deep red-leather, watching
them swim aimlessly and without much
grace through the crystalline water a
world between six glass walls.
Suspended and free from any danger,
except not being fed, they opened and
closed their mouths pointlessly, I
When my friend Brian came bound-
ing down the stairs, the water trembled
briefly, but the fish didn t seem to notice.
Ready to go, Chris?
We started across the athletic field
behind his house, toward the elementary
school we d just graduated from. I
kicked dandelions with the toes of my
old basketball shoes. The late August sun
was beating down and I was glad Id
worn shorts, though I was dying to wear
the new jeans Id gotten to start seventh
grade with. Our first day of junior high
was only three days away.
Folger called. He said there 11 be
some eighth grade chicks there today.
Oh yeah? I said, only half hearing
Like, it sucks that we have to go back
to school and all, but its going to be so
much more fun.
I looked up and saw a bell tower in the
distance. It was nestled in green leaves
above the roofline of Clarence Center
Elementary. Yeah, its going to be dif-
ferent, I guess.
I think my moms gonna to take me
to the mall again tomorrow to get the
new Nike Air-Maxs. I had gotten the
same shoes a week ago. They were still
in the box at home, waiting for junior
high. Their price tag read: $120.00.
Traffic was busy on Clarence Center
Road, which we crossed and headed
west towards the fire station. This dis-
tance from the school to the station
had been described to me as a quarter
of a mile, and I have compared every
similar distance to it ever since. As we
walked, I kicked some stones and won-
dered if I could kick a single stone a full
quarter of a mile. I lost interest as we
crossed Goodrich Road and turned left
down a path toward the fairgrounds'
behind the old brick fire station. Familiar
sounds could be heard from quite a dis-
tance the electric whir of the shoddy-
looking carnival equipment and the bark
of a VFW man reading off bingo num-
bers. Tall bur oaks grew along the path
between two pavilions that were being
used to barbeque chicken, and the spicy
smoke swirled beneath the canopy.
To our right several booths were sell-
ing crappy-looking jewelry and knockoff
designer sunglasses. Some kids from
school were crowded around the booths.
These dirty kids thats what we
called them at school wore sweats
and oversized T-shirts, and their sneakers
weren t the coolest.

A few of them rode my bus. Casey
Jamison and Kevin Cofta they lived
in shitty-looking houses outside of town.
Through the bus window I saw junk cars
in their small, gravel driveways and
garbage in their yards. Behind Casey s
house was a chain-link cage full of dogs
that were always barking. From behind
the glass I watched Casey and Kevin dis-
appear in the distance as the bus pulled
away. Id never talked to them. Now they
glared at me as Brian and I pretended
they weren t there and headed onto the
small midway of the annual Labor Day
The grass was all matted down in the
outfield of the diamond where we played
little league ball. in the summer. The
crews had been busy overnight hauling
in the games and putting up the rides that
would entertain us into our last night of
summer. Trailers were open on the side
and the carnival workers beckoned us to
shoot targets or toss rings around bottle
necks. The faces of the men and women
were sullen, and some pocked with years
of acne scars, and many had deep purple
circles under their eyes. Their sinister
voices tried to reach into our pockets and
pull out all the single dollar bills we d
saved to buy peel-off lottery cards and
tickets for the rides.
As we wandered by the games, Brian
and I could probably have been mistaken
for brothers. Our strides were even and
confident, except when I stopped to
whallop another dandelion with my toe;
our faces and forearms were tan from a
summer of riding our bikes to far-off
lakes to go fishing and jump off lime-
stone cliffs. We wore our Gus Macker T-
shirts and fitted baseball caps Indiana
Hoosiers and the Boston Red Sox. The
one difference is I wore the all-red Sox
cap backwards, looking a bit younger
and more defiant, but really just because
it was molded to my head from being
worn that way a thousand times.
Win your mini-basketballs here,
boys, a man called. His mouth was
small and black, and I could see he was
missing two front teeth in the upper row.
We kept walking.
Lets get some tear-off cards, Brian
said, ignoring the toothless mans offer.
Brian s voice was phlegmy, like his nose
was stuffed-up, probably from the aller-
gies he suffered in the summertime.
Yeah, good idea. These games all
suck anyways. Really I just wanted to
get away from the shouts of the gamers.
The ground around the lottery booth
was littered with thousands of tear-off
cards. They fluttered like fallen leaves
around the feet of about a dozen people
standing around talking and tearing off
little strips trying to match five
lemons, five stars, or five yellow birds.
At the next booth over, a fat guy and a
few younger kids were bending way over
the counter tossing ping pong balls into
mini fish bowls, trying to win those pet-
for-a-day goldfish and I watched them
struggle with the weightless balls while
Brian paid for our cards. We each got
three for five bucks, hoping to win back



Shannon A. Dubenion-Smith*

School of Music


Rahul Gandotra
Jill Ann Romanski*

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
School of Education
U-M Dearborn


Matthew Alan Bright
Xiaoyan Cao
Hiu Ying Chen
Michael Thomas Dalton
Kevin Patrick Egan
Ann Christine Haas
Carolyn Beth Jacobs
Mark Haig Khachaturian*
Jason Christopher Lewis*
Ursula Carroll McTaggart
Gregory Alan Messinger
Amy Louise Morrow*
Mark Edmund Outslay
David Aaron Rosen
David Michael Roth
Jennifer Constance Tinney
Wendy Nicole Wiesend

Joelle Suzanne Busman*
Steven J. Ostrowski*
Philip Adam Rubin*
Andrew Sanusi*
Sara Mae Smith*

School of Business Administration
School of Management
U-M Flint
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
College of Engineering
School of Nursing

College of Engineering
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
College of Engineering
College of Engineering
Residential College
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
College of Engineering
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Residential College
College of Engineering
School of Natural Resources and Environment
College of Engineering
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
School of Music
College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
U-M Dearborn
College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters
U-M Dearborn

enough cash to recycle into another
round. Brians first tear yielded five
lemons a top prize of twenty dollars.
I came up fruitless on all three and
tossed them to the ground where their
strips caught and grabbed the dozens of
other losers people had dropped
Brian collected his prize money
amongst a cheer of onlookers, and I
turned again to the goldfish booth,
where an old man was now helping his
grandson throw the ping pong balls
across the red vinyl counter towards the
little bowls filled with cellophane. The
man and the boy got one in, and the
attendant handed them a plastic bag,
rubber-banded at the top and bloated
with air, a little faded goldfish suspend-
ed within.
I decided it was time to buy our tick-
ets, so we could get the rides over with
before the demolition derby and so Brian
would shut the hell up about his twenty
bucks. We decided to buy bracelets that
would allow us to ride all the rides as
many times as we wanted before the
derby started. The guy snapped a green
one on Brians wrist, and I protested
when he gave me one that was pink and
yellow. He just sat back in his booth,
retreating into a shadow so I could only
see his chin jutting out in the light of the
window; it looked like a bright evil grin
hanging in the dark.
I caught up to Brian just as he got in
line for the Egg Roll a Ferris wheel
with enclosed compartments. Each
egg spun its occupants in a counter
direction while the main wheel circulat-
ed in time with the rock n roll that blared

from a loudspeaker. We waited about ten
minutes, and I wiped the sweat away
from my face with the back of my wrist,
leaving a wet streak across the skin.
Waiting in line sucked. The heat made
me tired and I was covered in carnival
dust. I felt like going home and taking a
shower, but that would mean missing the
derby. A boy ran by dangling a goldfish
bag from his fist and I followed it until
he disappeared into the crowd. My head
was beginning to hurt from standing by
fthe Egg Rolls giant speaker.
What the hell is this music? I asked
Brian, but he didn t hear me. He was dis-
Hey, did you see those girls over
there? They re eighth graders. That one
with the curly hair is Becky Davis. Did
you see her tits? He was shouting in my
ear and making my head hurt more.
Uh huh.
I was yawned and thought about that
goldfish the kid and his grandfather
won, how it must be wandering around
the fair with its captors, getting set on the
table sideways while they eat their bar-
beque with barely an inch of water to
swim around in.
When we finally got on the ride it took
us up and down and tumbled us as if we
were in a washing machine. A cross bar
in front of us with a steel ring welded to
it allowed any rider to spin his compart-
ment either forwards or back. Brian took
the control and, as the ride progressed, he
cluwg to the ring and pulled back and
forth on it like a zoo-kept monkeythats
stuck in a repetitious trance. I looked
ahead, shocked by the feeling that must
met ther.forwards or back. B ianto

* Denotes graduates

Li '1

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