Time to go to school! CHOP CHOP! C’mon, let’s go!

Dear Hamstring,

Being that today is the official launch of The Octopus Hamstring, we wanted to do something special. We were lucky enough to get the esteemed Hobson St. Berdhaus to contribute an article to the site. On a side note, you will see guest contributors from time to time. Mr. Berdhaus is definitely one of our favorites. Now lets sit back in our easy chairs, put some tobacco in the pipe and see how this story turns out…

Time to go to school! CHOP CHOP! C’mon, let’s go!

About 11 years ago, when I was a young ravishing buck, I got a phone call from my little sister Vanessa. I found this a bit strange because we never really called each other to shoot the shite or anything so I assumed it must be important? She was a junior in High School and just sliding into her annoying asshole teenager phase. Everyone to her was un-cool and a drag to talk to, unless you were one of her buddies. Her buddies were your typical dip-shit crew and knowing how my sister was, she was the queen of the dip-shits.

“Hello? Hobson?” in the tone that says I should consider myself lucky to be getting her call.
“It’s me Vanessa …” (I always think it’s funny when people you know call you and inform you that it is indeed them on the phone and not an impersonator)
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Can I ask you a favor…?”
“Depends. What is it?”
“I need to have a speaker come into my class and have them explain their job. We’re having career day, and if you come in I’ll get extra credit”
“Really? What time do I have to be there if I go?” (Hobson loves his sleep, yes he do)
“You’d have to be there at 9:30 in the morning, and come to my government class. They are having other speakers come in, so I don’t know how long it would take. It shouldn’t take too long though”
“Vanessa, I work at Best Products. I’m only a Dept. Head of Electronics, don’t they have people with real jobs going in?”
“It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a job you can come in”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m thinking?”
“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to…”

Now after her last statement I felt like Bigfoot’s dick. The tone of her voice let me know that it probably wasn’t easy for her to call her brother up and ask for a favor, and it also had a tinge of being let down. She was my sister and just because we weren’t as close as Siamese twins, doesn’t mean I should send the message that she can’t come to me when she needs help. Even if the help she needs is something lame like speaking at career day.

“No, it’s cool. I’ll go, just give me directions…”

I was 19 at the time and living in lovely Rancho Cucamonga with a couple of roommates. Back in those days things were pretty fun and fancy-free. It’s that prime age where you’re still happy to finally be out of school, yet bummed you have to work like a dog if you don’t want to live at home. High School was a wonderful place for the social part of it, but I despised the whole structure part, and had no desire to continue that hell in College. Knowing I didn’t want to live at home, I chose to work as soon I got out of school. I honestly planned to go to College, but only AFTER I enjoyed the taste of freedom from the school system. This never panned out. Somehow I had landed a job at BEST PRODUCTS and I even became Dept. Head of Electronics. This prestigious position meant that I set up displays and got to listen to my CD’s for an entire shift.

Knowing that all I really had going was a crappy job, I was a bit puzzled on how I was going to spin that working in a catalogue store was a decent job, important even. There wasn’t a way, so I was just going to have to wing it and hope my sister got her extra credit.

I knew I had an obligation to my sister and I was going to have to be responsible enough to follow through on it. I also knew that I like beer and lots of it. That night my roomies and me decided to go on a bender. Convincing myself that I would still be able to drink vast amount of beer and wake up early enough to get to my sisters High School, I let the spirits flow. And they flowed and flowed till the break of dawn.

I was sitting in a diner with Cindy Crawford and she had just ordered the same thing I did. When she reaches over and holds my hand…SHIT! I was dreaming! I sit up faster than a bunny fucking and look over to my alarm clock. After rubbing the sleep nuggets out of my eye the display finally comes into focus…9:02 am. HUH! I thought I had set my alarm? It was around this time that I also realized I was a wee bit hung over and my mouth felt and tasted like I was sucking farts out of dirty buttholes all night. There would be no time for me to shower and if I hurried I could at least brush my teeth…but I would have to stay in the same clothes I woke up in.

I run into the bathroom; after squirting toothpaste on my toothbrush I get to brushing. As I furiously brushed my choppers I looked into the bathroom mirror. I was sporting some wicked bed head, and it made me look like I just walked out of an explosion. Keep in mind this was 11 years ago, way back then I had a full head of black hair and it was soft as velvet. It looked nothing like the coarse balding hair that’s sprinkled with gray I sport around town with today. I would have to use the lazy mans hair comb; it’s called a “HAT”. I managed to put a fresh t-shirt on and dash out the door so I can come through for little Vanessa! Baby Im’a coming!

Screeching into the school parking lot, I stunt drive my car into a parking spot and barely pull my keys from the ignition before I leap out and run to my sisters class. As I’m running I realize my sister only gave me the room number and no directions on how to get to it. I was “That Guy” who runs around classroom windows and makes everyone in those classes turn to look out and see me look like an idiot. I find it, take my hat off (which made my hair look perfect thank you very much) and walk into the classroom. The room is silent and everyone was looking at me. I notice there was a speaker up front, whom I’d obviously barged in on. After a small uncomfortable silence, she gets back to her presentation. Some lady runs up to me, with a big smile on her face and whispers, “Why hello! Are you a speaker for today?”
I figure out she’s my sisters teacher and nervously answer, “Yeah. I’m Vanessa’s brother.”
“Oh great! Well we have a speaker right now, but you can go on right after her”
“Ok. Thanks”

Looking around I see some of the other speakers who have already said their peace, and notice all of them are dressed rather nicely. Self-consciously I lightly place a hand on my t-shirt and baggy shorts I had shown up in. I look around to see where my sister is and finally I spot her. My eyebrows perk up a bit and I wave to her. She’s sitting in the middle of a cluster of desks surrounded by her friends. She sees me and rolls her eyes while lazily telling her friend “Oh, that’s my brother.” The tone of this statement said that I was obviously not cool enough to get a friendly acknowledgement. By simply waving to her, I was cramping her style and she had to explain who I was before the embarrassment of my being her brother kicked in. OH NO SHE DIDN’T!

I had been feeling guilty for almost letting her down and while wallowing in a wicked hang over I had jumped on the freeway to be there for her. How dare she roll her eyes at me and not even say hello! So this was the way it was going to be huh? Fine.

While stewing with brotherly anger towards my sister the speaker up front had wrapped up her babbling. I snap out of my trance and her teacher calls me towards the front of the class.
“Next we have Vanessa’s brother and he’s going to tell us a little about what he does at work!”
She extends her arm in that “Here He Is” motion, and the class applauds my arrival. This was it, SHOW TIME!

“Hello. My name is Hobson St. Berdhaus and I’m a martial arts teacher”
“Oooh”, her teacher coos.
“I’ve been training in martial arts since I was little, and for the last couple of years I’ve been training my sister in proper martial arts technique.”

At this point my sister’s jaw has dropped so low it’s resting on her desk. She looks pale and her eyes are filled with horror. I wink and smile at her.
“WOW”, her teacher exclaims, “ Maybe you can show us some of what Hobson’s taught you?”
My sister just shakes her head no and doesn’t change her expression.
“Now the martial arts aren’t something that you should do carelessly, it’s something you should take seriously if you’re going to execute any moves. So today I’m going to show you some of the moves I teach my class, and my sister as well”

Now the situation was this, I didn’t know shit about any form of martial arts. I never even said what kind of martial arts I knew now that I think about it. The only thing I had under my belt was that I had seen some Bruce Lee movies and a few episodes of Kung Fu. Shit.

All of the students were leaning forward on their desks with excitement and anticipation. They were ready to see the master at work and I would not disappoint.

I make the “L” sign with both hands and slowly push my arms out with a look of strain on my face. I let out a loud dramatic breath and got started. I start off with a few karate chops in the air while charging towards my left. I snap back around to my right and charge forward with a fury of various punches. I let out some more dramatic breaths as I do this. I decide some kicks should be thrown in and lift my right knee up and KICK into the air.

The crowd was sucked in. A combination of moves takes over me and I actually feel like I really know me some martial arts! This was great; I was so into it I don’t even care about the class anymore. Even my sister’s teacher was watching in fascination. Fuck that bitch, I was in the ZONE! How was I going to end such a remarkable show? Ah, I knew. I give a few more karate chops and punches, then I jump as high as I can in the air and give the highest kick you’ve ever seen! All this was done while I yelled “HIIIGH YAAA!” as loud as I can.

When my feet finally land on the ground I stand still, put my hands at my side, then make the “L” sign again and push my hands out in front of me. I let out a long breath of air and look around the room. Silence…then it’s broken by a round of applause.
“Thank you, thank you. I was just kidding though. I really only work at Best Products”
It looked like the class didn’t want to believe me, but after I start to explain my duties they let the heaviness of truth fall upon them. My sister had her head down on her desk, and I continue to disappoint her class. When I’m done saying my peace I get some claps, but nothing like the ones I got when I knew martial arts.

The teacher thanks me for coming and I start to walk towards the door. The whole time I’m walking, my sister is burning a hole in my soul with her fiery gaze. I smile and walk out into the morning’s sunlight. I was satisfied. Today was going to be a good day.

That evening my phone rings and as soon as I say hello a scream fills my ears. It was my mother.
As she’s yelling this at me I could hear my sister egging her on in the background.
“Well, maybe if she showed some appreciation instead of acting so pompous this might not have happened”
I don’t really remember what other crap she barked at me, and to be honest, I didn’t care either. Today had been a GREAT day!

Thank You,

Hobson St. Berdhaus