Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Memory Day: Nineteen Years Ago Today

September 5, 1993 was the Sunday before Labor Day. I was 13 (going on 14) and just about to start 10th grade at T.C. Williams High School (in the days when junior high went from 7-9 and high went from 10-12). This particular Sunday was thematically Scouty, starting with a merit badge and ending with a Boy Scout award ceremony.

I was in the process of earning the Beekeeping merit badge, and got up early to travel down to Stafford. A guy that worked with my dad, Doyle Johnson, lived on five acres of land with his eight kids and numerous beehives, and I spent five hours dressed up like an Outbreak scientist, learning to steal the honey from the bees and process it in Doyle's garage.

From there, we drove back to Alexandria for an outdoor Court of Honor where I was awarded more useless merit badges above and beyond the minimum required for Eagle Scout. It was the equivalent of needlessly prolonging a game of Super Mario 64 by getting all of the red coins, even though that was a game that wasn't any funner when it was prolonged.

After the Court of Honor, we returned home and I played my sister in a game of Brian's Clue, which was like Clue but with our friends as the game pieces and people I thought were annoying as the murder victims. Apparently, I won, and then did my mandatory half hour of trumpet practicing to satsify my Dad.

September 5 was also notable because I had just started keeping a journal on the day before. My first entry was on September 4, and I would go on to maintain it daily through the start of college in 1996, and then sporadically until about 2003. In those early days, I was paranoid about it being discovered, so I had it disguised as an EGA graphics resource file on my 286, with all sorts of tripwires and hidden counters to catch anyone (like my sister) who might snoop it out. This was all needlessly Rube-Goldbergian since the computer was in my room and no one even knew that I was keeping a journal. Within a couple days, I also learned that you could password-protect files in WordPerfect 5.0, and my methods of obfuscation quickly became unnecessary.

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