I remember play-fights with playdough, sugar highs off mango, Mama singing Aesop’s Fables and footsie under the table.
I remember when I couldn’t read medication labels, before Xanthem and Lipphomite, I remember Dragon Tales and Zaboomafoo, I remember Marzapone and Kryptonite.
I remember having wet dreams about Scooby Snacks, saving three months of allowance to buy a walkman, Arthur taught me to spell and, Elmo taught me to talk, man.
I remember when religion was written out of Spaghetti-O’s, the schoolyard was the only caste system I knew and the closest thing to discrimination was not letting Davin Rigly onto the top of the swirly slide because he smelled like broccoli soup and cough medicine.
If I could I’d keep these feelings in a plastic jar.
I remember tamagotchis and Pokemon, trying to get a second on the jumbotron, and saying “shit” for the first time.
I remember when I licked my first lime, and then spit it out. I remember when conquering Oregon Trail was the only part of my life I hadn’t figured out.
I remember eating ants for protein, when plots of grass became playgrounds, I remember my first armpit hair, the first pimple I squeezed, Gameboy Colors, kindergarten lovers, being a little brother and the days when cutting the milk line was the only action that earned you the title of “cutter.”
I remember snackpacks more than snapbacks, Cheerios were my pick-me-up, Sunny D was my Vitamin C, and otter pops weren’t cool because they were cost-efficient – they were cool because Sami Peterson’s house always had the 200 pack and he was the best at Arts and Crafts.
I remember when we used to do art in class, I remember when we used to “pass gas.” I remember flatulence as a form of opulence where affluence was accessed from initiating the ordinance of “whoever smelt it dealt it.”
I remember when The Twin Towers fell. I remember when Papa died. I remember when I learned the word cancer, when they broke Hanley because he was a dancer. I remember when I got too high for the first time, I remember my first cigarette, I remember sitting on the edge of Sunset Cliffs with Eminem’s “Stan” playing in my headphones and one foot hanging off the bluff, my whole body telling me to jump. I remember loneliness, and sad music, I remember my cousin swearing that he’d stop using. I remember looking at my 6-year-old self walk away from my life and thinking, “ If I could I would keep this feeling in a plastic jar.”
I remember play-fights with playdough, sugar beets and mango, Mama singing Aesop’s Fables; man where’d the good days go?
Listen, you can still hear yourself if you’re quiet. You can still see yourself if you try. Turn your Sunny D-colored tamagotchi onto that pimpled faced, Scooby Doo-looking image of Arthur eating Spaghetti O’s while peeing his pants during naptime, and you’ll realize, that plastic jar hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, it’s right where you left it.
Jacob Siegler is a contributing poet for The Centennial Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Sam Reisman.