Friday, June 5, 2009

Mullet Boy

Tomorrow my old roommates Beth and Amanda are coming to town and we're going to hit up the Grand Rapids Art Festival with our cameras in tow. I am very excited about this because I've wanted to go for years and always have something else going on that weekend.

Now everyone knows that where there's a crowd, there are mullets. So in honor of my possible mullet sightings tomorrow, here's a story that I first published in part on my Xanga blog. I had meant to publish it in two parts because of its length, and I never did part II. JEss, I remember you asking me for part II, so this post is for YOU! :)

Mullet Boy
(January 2003)

I saw a classic mullet last Saturday at the hockey game. JB and I were running late for the game because we had dinner with Nathan at Rio Bravo’s. We slipped in right near the end of the first period—just in time to settle down and get used to the score, which was 3-0, Spartans, by the end of that period.

The break came and I gave JB a dollar to get a raffle ticket—he likes it, and I have fun imagining in my head all the fun things we could do with the money. Actually it would be JB’s money because it’s his ticket, but I’m sure I could persuade him to buy me a thing or two—or at least contribute to the wedding fund.

So I’m sitting by myself when I see this short pudgy body hunker down the steps to my left. Just as he moves by JB slides in next to me and he notices it too: the mullet. “Hey, there’s a mullet for you,” says JB. But I had already spotted it and was recording it in my mind. The mullet was riding the head of a little boy of about six. JB later said he was only four or five, but kids that young aren’t that BIG. He had black hair with the bangs in front and a rat-tail growing down his back. But it wasn’t even a well-kept mullet—I could see the split ends from my seat in the stands five rows up. He was wearing a white t-shirt that just fit his chub inside, and some sort of unimpressive pants. No coat, though it was freezing outside. No hat. Just a big box of popcorn and that rat-tail that lay stick straight.

He had no parents or any other guardians with him. And there was no way he was in his assigned seat, because he plopped down right in the front row behind the penalty box—the rich people seats. He was holding that big box of popcorn, and from the moment I laid eyes on him, he hadn’t stopped his steady, monotonous hand-into-the-box-then-to-the-mouth movement. He kept his eyes on the ice and all activities on it, with a curious look on his face, but he never really cracked a grin—not that one should have expected him to, because he had his mouth full the whole time. Hand in box, lift popcorn to mouth, chew, chew, hand in box…

This continued through the entire second period. I could hardly watch the movement on the ice because I was mesmerized by the mullet’s movement. Fortunately, there was a perfect opening in the seats between him and me, so I had an excellent view. I bet every 30 seconds I would exclaim, “He’s STILL eating!!!” JB would laugh. I was convinced that somehow the mullet boy had gotten his hands on the one magical box of popcorn ever made—a bottomless box.

Then came the second period break. Though I kept an eye on my little friend, I paid attention enough to console JB on his raffle ticket loss. Rats!

But soon I was back to observing. For one short moment, I thought he had stopped eating. I didn’t see his arm moving. But then he shifted his weight and I noticed that it was because he had been holding the box right up to his mouth and was systematically shoveling the popcorn in with his wrist only. But this must have been tiring because he gave way to his original method, without losing his rhythm once.

Then came the entertainers. The women’s hockey club or something sent out its most talented skaters in an attempt to launch free t-shirts to the best candidates in the audience. Basically, if you were cute enough and loud enough, you got a toss in your direction. As I nonchalantly watched them slide around and make wimpy throws to the crowd, JB leaned over and said, “Hey, the mullet got a free shirt!” I looked, and sure enough, he had gotten one. It was probably because he was the only one within a 30 foot radius of where the thing had landed. I forgot to mention that there was NO ONE sitting even remotely near this kid.

Now any normal kid, heck, even a normal adult, when honored with a free t-shirt, would let out a small shout and hold the shirt up high. Then he/she would open it up and take a look and be all happy, even if momentarily. But the boy just picked it up and tucked it under his arm, careful not to lose his popcorn-eating rhythm. And on went his life of eating and casually watching the activities on ice.

I was shocked!

All through the third period the popcorn kept rising out of the box and into the mouth. I saw him drop his t-shirt once, and he stopped eating long enough to snatch it up from under the seat and tuck it back under his arm. It wasn’t until the very end of the period that his food supply ran out. He was rather indifferent when this moment came. He merely found something else to do, which was put his mouth on the plexiglass wall at the back of the penalty box and blow his corny breath into small fog circles. This grossed me out, and I began to wonder where his parents were, and why didn’t they stop him.

At the end of the game, the stands were clearing, but mullet-boy still had no one to claim him and maybe give him another treat. He just stood watching the players wave from the ice, with that little t-shirt tucked nicely under his pudgy arm.


Anonymous said...

You are an excellent story teller! I felt like I was there!

I find it funny that you paid more attention to the mullet kid then the game. I am the same way in a public setting; people are just fascinating to watch!

Thanks for sharing.


melissa said...

Funny one :)