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i once saw where a guy was working to recollect one moment from each year of his life to see if anything could be discovered by the exercise. not having many original ideas myself i figured i would try it myself. and as per usual i figured what's the point of doing it if i don't share it to the world. so feel free to step into various points in my life, for what it's worth.
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1994
marty's brother was getting married in Pennsylvania. this would be the brother who is very close in age to me. this would also be the brother who on the same week i excitedly announced i upgraded my postgraduate job from unloading trucks to being a part time teller at a bank that he announced he had been invited to switzerland to present the results of genetic research he conducted at American University to some consortium of international smart guys. my news came on the tail of his, unbeknownst to me, and everyone in the room smiled kindly at me with averted eyes.

in route to the ceremony, i traveled to Pennsylvania with another of marty's brothers who is not very close in age to me. he's the older cooler, funnier and manlier brother and i was sweating a redeye flight and subsequent four hour car ride with him. i know, what's to be nervous about? i mean he's only a doctor. respected. athletic. successful and able to whelp me with a flash of his hairy knuckled hand and i just the pasty guy with the concave chest dating his younger sister. eager to get him excited about traveling with me i tried several of my surefire conversations and/or self-deprecating tales. no sale. after settling into our seats on the plane i saw that we were both looking at this attractivish redhead forcing luggage in the overhead about ten rows in front of us. i leaned into mike nudged him with my elbow and softly said "you know what they say about redheads?" no what. "red on top, fire in the hole?" he was unable to contain himself.

this was one of the crassest things i ever heard in college. it came from a hardcore southern accented guy named dusty (i assure you, i'm not smart enough to make this up). anyway, dusty would say this whenever he saw a redheaded girl. he loved the phrase so much, he mastered directing conversations to this point even when there wasn't a magenta-headed female in the room.

so i pulled this singsongy gem from my bag of quips and it killed. i knew because after big brother had calmed down and a few minutes passed he leaned into me and whispered "you know what they say about redheads?" no what? "red on top, fire in the hole." each time he started laughing before finishing the line. and so it went. we had our very own knock knock joke, and like a couple of 7th-graders who just discovered the word shit or asshole we entertained one another with it for the duration of the flight. upon landing, a somberness met us. our private game had come to an end, probably never to resurface again. as we reveled in our special moment a shadow overtook us as the woman in the row in front of us stood to deplane. we looked up at this ominous figure, this ominous blazing redheaded figure and our faces soured. she glared down at us with the contempt of a thousand and one burning suns. we looked down, properly scolded. we felt and knew our shame. and then she heavily gestapoed down the aisle and only when we were sure this school-marmy type was totally gone we laughed our asses off. and still to this day my relationship with older brother is lighter and tighter than before we unknowingly assaulted mrs. angry red head but i'm sure we can all know, benefitting from another's momentary discomfort is long-storied american pastime.



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