I’m pretty sure Corey Haim and Corey Feldman ruined my life.
Those two little prepubescent bastards were just a few clicks older than me, just shy of two years or so. But they were in every movie dedicated to my demographic. If it could be said 8 to 13 years be a demographic in the 80’s. Knowing what I do about that decade, I wouldn’t put it past any predatory loan, trickle down, Reagan-styled America to take advantage of young minds.
I think to potential Reagan with a sniper rifle marking on his forehead punk rock posters that would have adorned my bedroom if I were older.
But sadly, no, I was in Rhode Island and really into Paula Abdul and Cat Stevens. There was no way in hell my mother would have allowed any kind of that rebellion. And three sisters and the older lady cousins kept a steady flow of Shannon, Climaxxx, and George Michael ringing in my ears.
I didn’t know much at that point. I knew about my train set. Yeah, it was set up on this piece of plywood on two stands in the basement. There was the train figure-eighting around the plywood board, all adorned with fake grass and little model trees. The houses were all meticulously crafted sitting cross-legged on the cement basement floor with a magnifying glass, tweezers, a very super-gluey smell hanging in the musty air.
When I think back, I don’t think its weird at all that I named the town, knew its climates and all of the town officials. At the hobby stores they sold miniature little humans; little husbands and wives, and little kids. I placed them doing odd jobs around the yard and heading down the street to the post office. I wrote endless profiles of each person in town.
Okay. Maybe this was an example of early megalomania. So what? I was creative. Video games didn’t really interest me. I like personalities and working with my hands.
I was destined to become a bartender and a writer.
I knew about moving around way too much. My Mother had to do her best all alone to keep us kids alive, single working mother style. School supplies, socks and underwear, my craving book addiction; my Mother did her goddamn best to keep me in lunch money. But it meant a lot of moving. I knew about being the new kid in school thing. I knew about the making new friends (and enemies) thing.
I knew about girls. I had already had sex with a woman. Or thought I did.
Here was this girl, no older than eight like me, named Colleen. Now Colleen was the harlot of third grade. And by harlot, I mean she had already kissed like three other boys in the class. Or so her reputation preceded her.
I would sit in the back of the glass and stares at her ponytails, fantasizing every time she would turn around and giggle to her best friend Cindy. Her beaming smile, her charming jokes about the teacher, I was hooked. She was beautiful and looked like Buttercup from The Princess Bride. I had it bad for Colleen.
I’m not sure about what I was fantasizing about doing to her. I just knew there were these things that boys and girls did together and I very much wanted to do these things with her, whatever they were (I'm still learning what this is).
I got lucky one day. First, I made her laugh. Our teacher, Ms. Bernie, was always angry and hated us kids. She was late one day and in her quickness of step, dumped all of our spelling papers off of her desk. In some kid version of schedenfruede, I laughed and make some crude remark.
Colleen turned, grinned with lizard teeth, nodding at my dis, and her eyes...lingered. I was in.
Minutes later, after cracking my number two pencil on my paper, I stood up and walked to the pencil sharpener. To my surprise, Colleen jumped up from her seat and snuck over to the corner sharpener before me. I froze, not knowing my next move. Behind us both, Ms. Bernie droned on like the teacher in Charlie Brown. I waited for the right moment to pass, but in some divined accident, she skipped from the pencil sharpener and we collided, body to body.
She jerked back: “Watch it!” she said.
I was speechless. My embarrassment was overwhelmed by another feeling. There was a strange stirring in my loins. I went guiltily back to my seat and determined, in my eight year old infinite wisdom, it could only be one thing:
I just had sex.
I beamed and blushed, not even able to lift my eyes from my desk. I heard Colleen whispering to her friends and giggling, no doubt equally as surprised by our such passionate and sudden intimacy.
I was all about Colleen after that. Trying to carry her books home for her (I saw that in a movie once). I swung on the swing next to her. We talked into the waning hours of the afternoon. Until the day I had to move away, again.
My heart was broken. “To California”, I told the other kids when they asked me where our family was moving to. They all growled and talked amongst each other.
“They got pools in the schools out there,” one kid said, thick with the New England accent that lost its “r’s”.
“And sharks. Lots of sharks,” said another to the ooh’s and aah’s across the room. But Colleen didn’t ooh or aah. She dealt with her sadness by making out with a popular kid the next lunch break. Everybody knew it before me. She told me quickly after Science.
“I don’t like you anymore.”
Despite all of our supposed intimacy, it meant nothing. Sadly placing my hand on the airplane circle window, I felt the cold air beyond its plastic as we took off and flew out of Rhode Island to sunny Southern California.
This was the land of beach Gods and skateboarders. No room for a book wormy young man with a penchant for trains and miniature city council sessions. They didn’t even have basements in California.
On one dark and lonely night, I watched The Lost Boys. There were those Corey’s battling cool biker leather'd vampires. And the theme! A couple of misfit kids moving to California with a single Mom (same premise happened in The Karate Kid; it was an epidemic of cathartic singe-mom roles in Hollywood at the time).
But the Corey’s were cool. So was the raven-haired Jaime Gertz (later to rock my world in Less Than Zero) and the cool older brother we all wished we had Michael, played by the ‘earring-when-it was-cool’ donning Jason Patrick.
Then I watched Dream A Little Dream. And there was Meredith Salenger. Oh my fucking God—her as a cheerleader dancing in the gym sequence. Heart wrenching. It was over. I wanted brunettes. I wanted cheerleaders. I wanted girls in spandex. And more importantly:
I wanted to be a Corey. These guys were doing everything cool. Killing demons. Driving cars. Kissing Meredith Fucking Salenger.
Throw in License To Drive in there somewhere and I had a full blown kid-crush. Feldman was in Goonies, he was in Stand By Me, he was in Michael Jackson videos or at least appeared to chill with MJ, the list went on and on. Admittedly, I wanted to be Feldman above Haim.
Haim had Lucas, but none of our friends were into ‘loser porn’ films about social outsiders (but thank you Lucas for bringing us another perfect girl, Winona Ryder).
But as soon as teenage years arrived, I was passed my ‘Corey’ phase. It was new time.
Dungeons and Dragons were out. The Corey’s were out. The train set was definitely out. Now it was oral sex in hatchbacks, weed smoking out of Coca-Cola cans, and grainy Cinemax films late at night.
The world would never be the same again.
And how did I get there?
Damn you, Corey’s. You had led me astray.
YOUNG COREY WAS COOL. THIS GUY OLDER, WELL, SHIT GOT WEIRD...
IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT YOU, BUTTERCUP...