February 04, 2011

Ernie

Ernie, 6
El Cerrito, CA (1982)

Here, I'm standing in the yard of our old house in El Cerrito, in front of the dozens of flowers my mom would plant. That house was convenient, as there was a community center with a swimming pool close by, plus a Safeway and a Baskin-Robbins. And, there was an adult bookstore nearby too, which had a sign outside: "Arcade, 25 Cents." As we drove by - usually to church, mind you - I'd always ask my sister if we could ever stop by and play a video game or two.
'No,' she would reply dryly, eyes fixed to the road.


It's 20 years since the photo was taken, and I’m trying to figure why on Earth
I would pose like this, and I can only think of two things:

One: Putting a foot on a box or a bunch of rocks was the thing to do for kids wanting to look cool. Or Two: Judging by how I have my legs crossed - knee-over-knee, while standing - maybe I'm trying to channel on of those come-hither Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover models.

By junior high, I would learn that the ankle-atop-knee method of leg-crossing was preferred, not the knee-over-knee method. That is, if you didn’t want to get your ass beat in the school lunch room by the other Asian kids who were, in turn, being beat up by the White and Black kids. Clearly, I had not figured that out yet.

But I like how brazen I am in this photo. It's as if I'm on Solid Gold, a show my mom and dad would let me watch as long I practiced the piano for an hour.

Or, I am Miss America - and those f*cking pink and purple flowers in the back are the other 51 bitches who ain’t as fabulous as me.

Ernie's first, famous-person same sex crush:
He wasn't famous: He was a Japanese exchange student in 2nd grade. Minimal English, moved away after the school year, and doomed from the start.
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Solid Gold Step Asian Queer Shorts Under the Crown: 51 Stories of Courage, Determination and the American SpiritBeautiful (2000)

6 comments:

thepixelarchitect said...

and as a friend of Ernie's today, I can emphatically state that Ernie is a fabulous today as he was trying to be in this picture so many years ago.

Suzanne said...

Absolutely love this picture, I have a similar awkward picture with pose I cannot explain from the 4th grade. Love reading your blogs Ernie...

humanscalesolutions said...

Ernie, I too grew up the Bay Area, in El Sobrante, I totally remember that Adult Bookstore. You are so Rad!! I have to find a picture of myself as a kid to post.

HLM said...

Having known Ernie my first year of college, he's been a very awesome guy and fair and impartial when it comes to viewing/treating others. I never let my bisexuality become some token trump card thing, an excuse, nor a big giant attention-hungry tactic for anything. It was not a matter for any of my peers to judge me on that or my demeanor; it was about what I do and make good of myself.
And...Ernie appeared to me as just like that. He handled himself well as a leader and welcomed anyone who was willing to get a fair chance to take an opportunity that was presented to them. Miss ya Ernie!!!

Kevin said...

This has to be the best post ever! Ernie, you have a knack for hitting the nail on the head all the time.

Walls Blank said...

Random internet night stuffing my face with ice cream and I stumble upon this site! What a delight. I love it and I love Ernie's pic very much.