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Off White | Steve Richardson

Off White

I grew up resenting Mom’s efforts to keep me clean cut. Dan Shockley’s parents let him have a mullet in fourth grade. I thought I should too. Mom let my rat-tail slide for while. I couldn’t say for how long. Being a fourth-grader skews your perception of time. It skews your perception of style. When I look at photos of my fourth grade self, I can only find a few shot during the life span of that rat-tail.

Once I stood before a row of inner city public toilets. My body couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel on Broadway, in a better part of town, where a well-cleaned, shimmering-white toilet sat waiting. Analyzing one option and then another, in this row of derelict toilets, or fecally painted pots of porcelain, in this inner city public bathroom, inhaling their foul stink, until I could feel the microscopic particles of shit landing on my tonsils, I painted one of these useless toilets, and the walls around it, with a new layer: puke.

Corey Duffel introduced me to The Ramones. He doesn’t know this. If he remembers our brief, arranged meeting at all, he remembers signing some skateboarding magazine he’d been featured in and eating from a one-gallon tub of sour gummy worms at the edge of his backyard mini-ramp while I failed to roll away from a rock-to-fakie. We didn’t talk of music or any interests beyond our mutual love for the skateboard. As a high school freshman I hadn’t learned to converse with anyone older than me. Corey’s blemished, ripped jeans and uncut hair redefined cool for me. His punk style gave me someone to emulate—an empty niche I could fill at my clean, upper middle class high school.

I dated a girl with white hair. She dumped me because, when we dated, Tom Waits was all that came through the speakers that barely clung to ceiling of my van, the Volkswagen that smelled like gasoline. It was too much for her. It was just one of my phases. Tom Waits. Her hair had just enough brown to keep you wondering. Her ex, the last boy before me, came back from nine months on the road, drifting from town to town. He came back and took her to a Mason Jennings concert. He gave her a way out, a way to escape Tom Waits. She took it.

About Steve Richardson

Steve Richardson writes the tumblr blog, every pizza i've ever delivered. He also writes for an independent Salt Lake City magazine called SLUG and has been published in the University of Utah's literary journal Enormous Rooms vol. 8, and a zine called, Dirty Provo vol. 1.

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