Educational Experience

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  • Dedicated to To my friend, Roger Ebert
                                                  

1.

On one of the longest days of my life, we rolled up to DeGrazia High in the Humvee bumpin' R & B Christmas carols. It's a real Humvee, Army surplus, not the domestic Hummer you get off the lot. And when I got out, it was like The Day the Earth Stood Still. Swear to God-people just froze in their tracks. 

And this black girl with these real long braids grinned over at me and said, "Oooooo, Merry Christmas to me, honey..." 

So...let's just stop here and let me give you the lowdown on my looks because they're an important part of my story, unfortunately.  

Long story short, I model sometimes. Total fluke, how that happened.  

I was one of those fools that stands outside of Abercrombie and Bitch spraying everybody with that damned cologne that you could smell all over the Tucson Mall by the end of the day-you know, those guys with no shirts on. I got that job, for which I was totally underage--I'm 18 now, by the way--almost the same way I got my first modeling job that day. Someone liked my looks and invited me to apply.  

But the modeling agent who discovered me there was a very big deal in the business. She was rushing through the mall looking for something one of her models needed or something--I've never actually asked her what exactly she was doing there that day. But I remember she went flying by me, then took a few steps backwards, flicked me this business card and went, "Call this number on Monday. Nine-ish, A.M." and then rushed right off again. 

So, yeah, I'm a better than average looking guy. That's not something to brag about, of course-it's not something I earned or some kind of accomplishment. Luck o' the draw is all. And it pisses me off sometimes that it matters so damned much, but I'm not going to lie to you--it's an advantage, nine times out of ten. Yeah, you run into a lot of guys who really hate your guts from jump--women, too. But mostly, it gives you kind of a head start. And you can work it or not, it's up to you.  

Big Man works it--he's my right hand man. I don't know how to explain what his "duties" are, actually. He's not a bodyguard, not a driver, not anything like that, though he does those things. I mean, sometimes he's like a father, sometimes he's like a brother...I don't even think of him as someone who works for me, though I do pay his salary.

And he's got 'way more swag than me. I think so, anyway. I mean, when he got out of the Vee, the girl with the braids almost had a total meltdown. Dude is every ghetto girl's dream. Baller tall, baller pressed to death all the time, too. Custom suits--no rapper shit. If a rapper's wearin' it, he won't. They couldn't anyway. His clothes have to be tailor made because he's so huge. 

I mean, the man is incredibly particular about how he presents himself. Keeps his hair shaved down almost to nothin' and lined just right-I like to tease him about that after he goes to the barber. I get out my IPhone "leveler" app and put it up to the sideburns or the line above his eyebrows like I'm checking to make sure they're perfectly straight. 

He is also the only man I know who doesn't have to look up to me. Literally. I've been almost freakishly tall since 8th grade. And Big can look me in the eye easy--could break me in half in a heartbeat, too. I'm pretty buff, but he's ridiculous.

Which...is why he's perfect for the job. He doesn't have to go for bad. He looks like he's bad. But you don't get a lot of men trying to test that. You know what I mean. The gunslinger, "Quien es mas macho" routine. They don't do that with him. They're scared he'll decide to show 'em how wrong they are

Having pretty much brought the whole campus to a halt just be getting out of the damned car, we strolled up this walk to the Main Office Building trying to hurry up and get outta the way so the kids would just go on about their business. But a bunch of girls started following us. And then all these other kids started following us. Till they got to the Main Office doors where this big Mexican security dude stepped out and said, "I know you're not tryin'a come in here and work this last nerve the day before vacation!" 

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