He taught me so much, and I don’t even know his name. All I remember is that it was a sunny, hot afternoon at Heritage Square. H- and I had been pounding the pavement and riding the rides all morning. It was time for a break. We headed to the grill area.
There happened to be a vintage motorcycle show on the same grounds as the theme park that day. As expected, there were plenty of leather vests, bandannas, and unkempt beards. Wearing a black leather vest over a black t-shirt and sporting a very unkempt beard, my average sized soon-to-be mentor was even missing a tooth. I can still see the gap now. Yellow, yellow, yellow, black, yellow, yellow, yellow. I also remember that the remaining teeth on his mandible were strikingly tall and thin for some reason.
But what really made him stand out was the rather long sentence that was typed in white font on his black shirt. As usual, I noticed “fuck” before any of the other words. I became simultaneously terrified and curious. What kind of randomly long t-shirt slogan contained the eff bomb? His vest, which cut off the first and last letters of each of the three rows, did not make the task any easier. Attempting not to stare, after several volleys, I finally made out: “Off is the general direction in which I wish you would fuck.”
“So, H-, what would you like for lunch? They have grilled cheese. Do you want grilled cheese?” I queried, the shrinking line forcing the discussion.
“I don’t want a grilled cheese. I want a hot dog.”
“We’re having hot dogs tonight, so it’s gotta be a grilled cheese. Well, I guess there is also chicken fingers, or a corn dog.”
“Yeah, it’s a hot dog wrapped in corn bread. Is that what you want?” I asked, devastated that she found a loophole to my no-hot-dog reasoning.
“I think I want a corn dog. No, I want a grilled cheese.”
Only one more customer to go, I noticed that they had some beer bottles on display, in addition to the typical beverages I’d come to expect. Not just beer, they also had three flavors of delicious Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Debating for longer than I’d like to admit, I decided to stick with soda. I really wanted a Mike’s, and figured just one wouldn’t be weird or inappropriate on a nice afternoon of riding roller coasters with my daughter, but I couldn’t do it. I genuinely feared what the biker behind me was going to think of me for buying a Mike’s. Not knowing anything more than any of us about the guy, I was afraid because I knew that if I was him, I would loose a smart-ass comment on the strange man in front of me whose t-shirt didn’t have the eff-bomb on it and then bought a Mike’s. So I stuck with the combo meal that came with a soft drink.
Even knowing that there was only one line was not enough to prevent me from nearly breaking my neck as I turned to confirm what my ears reported next.
“Will that be all?” I heard the cashier say, as I saw her hand the biker a Mike’s Hard Lemonade.