One of my closest friends in 3rd grade became my hero for many years. I looked up to him, and he was the shining example of how to be a cool person. Even when we did nerdy things, like programming videogames, or playing D&D (he was also our Dungeon Master), he was cool and genuine and just a kind-hearted badass. I’ll refer to him as Keith for these stories, because he’s since passed on and because he shares a name with another fellow I’ve talked about at length and I don’t want any confusion between that fuck-up and this genuinely wonderful person. I’ve got many fun and fascinating stories about Keith, but this one illustrates how blindly I followed his advice, and how far out on the limb he’d go for a friend.
It was the summer between 4th and 5th grade. Keith’s mom dropped him off for a hangout/sleepover situation, which was awesome because I’d switched schools between 3rd and 4th grade, so it was rare I got to spend that much time with him unless I could convince my mom to drive me all the way to his place (about a 20+ minute drive). I showed him around the ‘hood, showed him Roadrunner Park, we went fishing a bit, we played some videogames, and we walked around the neighborhood.
While walking around, I pointed out the house of a girl I liked – Sarah. I knew she lived there cause another friend of mine – David – lived a few blocks away and we’d seen her head into that house a few times when we rode our bikes past. As we walked past her place, Keith looked over and saw her staring through the blinds. He told me about it a few minutes later. I asked him why that mattered, and he said “because she’s looking, man! she saw you!”. As I was about to get paranoid that he meant “she saw you stalking her house”, he quickly corrected himself to say “…she’ll see you if you walk by again and smile at her”. I didn’t think walking by and smiling at her would be anything but creepy. I was used to being the “weird kid”, so I certainly didn’t wanna be the “weird stalker kid” as well.
Keith had a plan. He said girls like heroes. I should demonstrate that I’m brave, strong, heroic. I had no idea how I was supposed to accomplish that, but Keith had a plan. The idea was that he would walk past her house and just kinda stand there. Then, I’d yell out from down the street “hey, get away from there!” and he’d throw middle fingers and talk shit and call me names. Then, I’d catch up to him, and push him down and scare him away. Step 3.. profit. In his master plan, she’d come out and be appreciative that I scared away some creeper and … something-something we get married.
Keith walks in front of her house, stops in front of her window, and just waves. Standing still, just waving. That was my cue. I said “hey, get away from there!” and he yells “fuck you faggot! do something about it!” and I run up, and I jump (for some reason) towards him, and actually end up accidentally bumping into him and knocking him down. We fake-fight me punching him while he’s down, and fake-kicking him and he yells out “okay! okay! stop! I’m sorry!”.
At this point, he’s supposed to get up and run away and I save the princess or whatever. Instead, we hear her yell out from her house “LEAVE HIM ALONE!” and she opens her door, runs out onto her lawn, and shoves me into the street and goes to help him up. He yells “scatter!” and we both go running.
The plan had failed miserably. However – for better or worse, she never recognized me at school, and she never asked about this incident.
Fast forward 7 years…
I’m a Junior in high school. I check in to my History class, and lo and behold, Sarah is seated next to me. I hadn’t seen her since the 5th grade. Throughout the school year, we talk from time to time. Eventually, we get partnered up for a history project. I finally ask her if she remembers me from way back in 5th grade. She says I look familiar. I decide I need closure on Keith’s failed plan, and just ask her if she remembered the time I fought a kid outside her house who was spying on her. She, with wide eyes, said “THAT WAS YOU?!?“. I nearly froze, and she continued “wait… WHO was spying on me?”.
I explained our original plan, how our plan failed, and what it probably looked like to her. As it turns out, she saw a cute boy waving at her, then she turned away out of shyness, only to turn back and see some psycho beating the shit out of that cute boy who was waving at her, then trying to break up the fight and be a hero to the cute boy, only to see both of them run away – together, in the same direction, and laughing.
She said she’d told the story a few times over the years, but almost no one believed her. Those who did believe her shared her confusion about the whole thing. It was one of her life’s great mysteries. And, now, all these years later, she found out some creepy kid in her class was trying to manufacture a heroic backstory.
Thankfully, she just laughed about it. Then told anyone who would listen “hey, hey… ask Mitcz to tell you the story about what he did when we were kids!”.
So, uhh… my advice? Don’t try to stage a hero scene. It’s never gonna work out the way you want it to.