Journal entry: January 8, 1977 (age 7) – Boxing and Bathrooms and Books
Last weekend, I was forced (for the fifty millionth time) to box with my older brother, Dan, who is 9. As usual, Dan’s trainer was our brother, Bob, age 15, and my trainer was our brother, John, age 17. I’ve never liked these forced fights, largely because I never win. Our nucleotide-weight title bouts usually occur on Saturday night, when our parents are out to dinner or a fondue party.
A few months ago, I figured out a way to avoid the weekly boxing matches altogether. Just before my parents leave the house, I go into the large, upstairs bathroom with a few books. I remain there until: a) John and Bob grow tired of banging on the door and leave to go out with their friends, or b) Mom and Dad come back home. On two occasions, I was locked in there from 6 o’clock to midnight. On the bright side, I was able to get through eight Encyclopedia Brown mystery books.
Earlier tonight, I was lying on the brown shag rug in my “librathroom” and opening the book Danny Dunn, Scientific Detective, when John knocked on the door. I could tell from the sound that he was using his second knuckles and not a balled-up fist, suggesting a kinder approach than usual. “Timmy,” he said, “Dad said I could drive the Plymouth and take you, Dan and Bob to the movies. But I’m only going to take you if you go at least three rounds with Dan.”
“Well,” I said, suspiciously, “it depends on what movie.” John replied, “I’m not going to tell you till we get there, but it’s PG!” I’d never been to a PG movie, so I immediately opened the door and marched to the basement to earn my passage. I spent all three rounds alternating between my usual strategies: running in circles to get away from Dan, and crouching into a purely defensive position John calls “The Upright Fetus.”
I lost, of course, but I didn’t care because moments later I was riding in the back of our car on the way to a movie with real swear words! As we approached the Crest movie theater I strained my eyes to read the marquee, hoping for something cool like Logan’s Run. Instead, the huge, red, block letters came into focus to spell one word: Rocky.
“Oh, great, a boxing movie! You guys are jerks,” I yelled. “Oh, chill out,” John said. “It’s about an underdog fighter like you – you’ll love it.” I was unconvinced, so as we waited in line, I annoyed my three brothers by singing a Bay City Rollers’ song over and over. They couldn’t punch me in public, so by the time we got our tickets, my voice was hoarse from shouting “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!”
But once the movie started, I got into the story pretty quick. Rocky’s a nice guy, and I was really rooting for him by the end. The people waiting in line for the next show must have been rooting for him, too, because they seemed kinda upset when we walked past them on our way to the car and I said, “I can’t believe Rocky lost!”