Thursday, February 23, 2006

Never Been to India

Most, if not all, boys born in Southern California in 1970 were named Brian. I was one of them. I have hypothesized that the tear-jerking made-for-TV memory of Brian's Song was fresh on our mother's minds. Perhaps Brian Wilson was a greater social force that I give him credit for. Who knows?

I was, however, one of many. There are funny stories about nights on the town with three, four, even five Brians at a time, but that's not what this post is about.

There is a great story about being at a strip club with three Brians, one of whom was a Spanish seminary student who looked like Jesus, but that's not what this post is about either.

No, this post starts with an incident in the 6th grade with with another Brian, Brian M. I, of course, was Brian R. We are not to be confused with Brian S., Brian G., Brian D., Brian C., Or any of the other Brians who were smart enough to go by their middle names.

It was the sixth grade, and Brian M. and I were the top two students in our class. Academically, we tied in everything. As there was no room for either of us to do any better, there wasn't really much of a competition between us.

Being children in California in the 70s, we were subjected to all manner of experimental hippie learning bullshit. One of the worst was a pre-boxed socially conscious color-coded reading comprehension system called SRA. Everyone took relative placement tests to find their starting position in the program.

Brian and I tested out of the program, but they couldn't just let us sit and do something else for an hour, so they started each of us two modules from the end. What was supposed to be 12th grade level reading packets, was actually more akin to reading Harry Potter, but without wizards, quidditch, magic, Hogwarts, or style....

Brian and I would race to see who could finish first. Both of us always got all of the answers right. This was busy work, nothing more.

One day, however, I found the spare instructor's answer key at the back of the box. We both began using it to finish the reading work quickly, so we could use the spare time to work on our more-challenging math homework. The plan worked flawlessly, until one day, a freckly redheaded bitch named Maggie caught us and ratted us out. Needless to say, a plethora of long lectures and volumes of make-up reading work lay in our future.

If they had just given us something worth reading, this would have never happened. I blame the system, and it was an educational system that began five years earlier in the first grade. See, the predecessor to SRA was a little something called Programmed Reading. I was able to read in kindergarten, but this program was used to teach me what I already knew.

Maybe you recall this program. Happy stories about Sam, Ann, Nip, and Ted. Wide-headed multi-cultural children playing without supervision in bland fields of rolling semi-gloss green hills. They climbed primary-colored textureless trees under unnaturally blue cloudless skies. There were no streets, and all of the neatly-square houses were white or yellow. The scene was creepy and serene, yet settled itself into my psyche as the proverbial happy place, you know, for those times the neighbor man tried to touch me...

It is that Programmed Reading vision of an alien utopia that comes to mind, for some reason, whenever I think of India. I've never been to India, but I'd like to go. I'm a fan of the food, and a bitch for Bollywood. Really, I cannot get enough of the long-play big-budget Bollywood music videos they play on the Indian cable channel. I own Lagaan mostly for the dance scenes...

I am certain that the reality of India will be nothing like my vision of it. Hell, it's probably not much different than San Bernardino. However, I'd still like to go, if for no other reason, nearly 1 billion Bollywood fans, but very few Brians to be found.


  1. Brian Smith8:23 AM

    If you would have gone to a decent elementary school like grovecenter, you could have seen India. We regularly went on excursions to far away places before prop 13. Either that or the lemon drops Mrs.Feller gave us were tainted.

  2. Grovecenter was for pussies. Workman prepared me for life on the streets...

  3. Did someone say lemon drops? MMmmmmm...sweet rimmed icy drink of goodness....

  4. Anonymous9:45 AM

    You were prepared for life on the street? That would be Candyass Street, right?

  5. Don't let the sweatervest fool you...

  6. Tainted, Dr. Brian....or improved???

  7. Get this you retarded hemorrhoid, I fuckity fuck-fuckin hated the SRA’s. I had to do them all. Reading is for pussies.

    I think the fuckin shit took a recockulous afternoon to read tre pages of shit encrusted laminated paper text and then spooge out answers to the 4th page of questions on a biatchin proto-fag rainbow of topics. I spent the next few fuckin weeks being the fuckity fucking designated “grader” for the rest of cock-gobbling mother-fucking class as they did and re-did the fucking same damn feltching colors until they got them right.

    God spared me endless ass raping on this by making me the biggest cock-swinging kid in the fuckin class and thereby immune to most of the well deserved reamings for being the teacher’s personal jizz rag.

    Third god-dammed grade was the fuckin suck.

    A for shits named Brian, we just beat them down for the hell of it. At the god-damned hole of a pubic school I attended growing up, we added our own 11th amendment to the posted 10 on the wall.

    #11 thou shall thoroughly ass-beat any kid named Brian.

    Recited daily too dammit.


  8. I was going to say something, but igog's post has put me off....

    We read Janet and John books and everybody was happy in their world

  9. First, let me say that I also had to withstand SRA - And I too found that with a little creativity, even the stuff at the back of the box was nothing more than a speedbump on the way back to more productive pursuits.

    However - I did find the transition to discussing Bollywood one of the scariest and tortured that I have seen on your blog.


  10. and I made the transition without braking or clutching...

    Sometiemes, in the Lounge, you must hold on with both hands...

  11. Matthew 25:14 – 25:30

  12. Inog's been digging holes I see.

  13. "you must hold on with both hands..."

    you've said that to me before -something about heels of boots I think....

  14. A quick recapof Brian's post: I'm smart. I read very well. I am fairly certain I am smarter than almost everyone else.I'm probably smarter than you. Let's all talk about how smart I am. Thank the lord Jesus that I am smart. In case you were wondering, I am a highly itelligent and evolved individual. Something or other about India.

  15. Tom's just jealous because I have more hair.

  16. What does your back have to do with this?

  17. Man, you're a fuckin crackup, Brian! I really enjoyed reading your post, and I think we may be kindred spirits! I may not be named Brian, but my last name is Bravo, which also starts with a "B" and was mentioned earlier on one of the comments posted by Mitch!

    Seriously, though. I love Bollywood, too. We watched some in one of my film classes, and I really dug it. I like all the dancing, so wild, free and funny, and the cheeziness of it, not to mention all the bright colors. Come to think of it, it was Bombay that we watched in class. It's pretty good, and they have it on Netflix, along with everything else except porn... ;-(

    Actually, if the did have porn, I probably wouldn't be able to keep up to date on my regular movies...

    Anyhow, another movie that I Netflixed was Lagaan. I really enjoyed it. I actually understood the rules to Cricket for a couple of days there for awhile!

    And I could totally relate to your reading experiences in school. Unlike Inog, I love reading and writing. Math is for the demons!

    I attended a Montessori school for one year of Kindergarten (god bless the hippies!) and I think I was reading before that...

    It was funny, all the kids that went to my grade school (Sumpter! down in Salem...) who had been at the Montessori school with me were all in the highest reading group starting out.

    God Bless the Brown Group.

    Brown Group for Life, Bitch! I'm Rick James!


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