I am 8. Last night, when I was still 7, a new friend of mine came over to my house for a sleepover. He brought with him his collection of World Wrestling Federation VHS tapes to watch. After several hours, I start falling asleep, but I am quickly awoken by my friend shaking me. “C’mon, let’s watch wrestling!” Okay, he seems really excited about it, maybe I’ll try to stay awake a little longer. But no, I am too tired. After repeating occurrences of my first attempt at sleep, I begin to notice he looks scared. As I come to learn, he has never spent the night at someone else’s house without incident. He is homesick, and he wakes up my parents in tears. His father is called and picks him up.
Today, I have a birthday party at my house. Chris, one of the few “cool” kids in our class, hands me my present. I open the package, revealing a Bucky O’Hare action figure. Not having cable television, I do not know that Bucky is a member of the Sentient Protoplasm Against Colonial Encroachment. All I see is a toy with buck teeth. To go with my buck teeth. I throw the plastic hare across the room and scream. Chris acts confused and I’m forced to apologize to him. Smugness enters my vocabulary.
Later that year, my family is ordering drinks at a small-town diner. I notice an unfamiliar menu item and say to the server, “I’ll have a Buck Rogers because I have buck teeth!” Everyone laughs, and my dependency on self-deprecation begins.