Two Journal Entries from January 1, 2001

Exactly 15 years ago today, an 8-year-old me wrote this.

First entry:

1/1/01

Im am still awake five minutes after midnight1 just to write this. It the years 2001 and I am reading2 the fourth book of Harry Potter which is called Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I am on chapter 25 (Veritaserum) I am 3 chapters away from finishing the book. Can you guess how much chapters there are. Don’t forget to ask Jesus into your heart because having Jesus in your heart is the greatest gift of all3.

See ya later

Second entry:

1/1/01

Sorry I got ya in one day4. I forgot to tell you about two other toys wegot. For all of us we got a Furby5 its like a toy that is a robot its really cute and you can feed it by pushing down on its toughng6. We also got a vegietales Larry Boy Mobile Larry Boy can fly out of it and the wheeles pop out and then wings pop out. I finished the Harry Potter book. Dont forget to pray to God every day7.

see ya

1This year, I slept 60 minutes before midnight since I volunteered to work the next day. Adult life.
2At 8-years-old, “reading” meant looking at the words in order and not taking in any information. I still “read” sometimes.
3Such wisdom. Not sure why I was writing this to my journal though.
4What? What does that mean? Got who? Got what? This doesn’t make any sense!
5Haters gonna hate, but our Furby was awesome.
6“Tongue” is a very hard word to spell.
7Thanks for the reminder, little guy. I will try to remember.

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A Journal Entry from December 30, 2000

If you’re reading for the first time, I occasionally post entries from my boyhood journal. I wanted to wait to post this one until the time was right. I have copied the entry with the exact spelling and punctuation it had when it was originally written. The annotations are my present day commentaries. Enjoy.

12/30/00

I got a Razor scooter and a lego soccer set1. My big brother got a Cyber k’nex that can move by its self and attack people with its missiles2. My little brother got a XR, Zurg, and Jessie doll. He wanted a Bullseye but mom couldnt find one (I don’t believe in Santa, sorry if I make you sad3). Our Aunt got for all of us 10 Pok’eRoMs4. Tomorrow is New Years Eve and that means I get to stay up til midnight. Don’t forget the best gift of all is Jesus5.

Jesus6

1I currently use that scooter to ride around the office at work. That soccer set was awesome, and I have not thought about it in probably 15 years. I’m going to look for it next time I go home. If it is gone, then sadness.
2I don’t really remember what this was, but it sounds like he got the best gift by far.
3not.
4In place of the second “o” in Pok’eRoMs, I drew a tiny CD. Pok’eRoMs were small disks you put in your computer, and they did nothing but show you a map of the Pokemon world. It was pretty lame because the ad made them sound awesome.
5Amen
6In place of the “J” in “Jesus,” I drew an upside down candy cane.

The Death of Chicken Moreno: Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted about how my friends and I accidentally killed our pet chick. If you haven’t read that post, go do it before you read this one.


This is another post that will be coming straight from my childhood journal. Thanks to this entry, I now know that the chick that died was named Fulkner. Here is what I wrote after the tragic accident. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation is going to remain exactly the same as it is written in the journal. There will be footnotes in which I will comment or clarify what I wrote. Please remember that I was 9 when I wrote this.

4/30/01

I got 2 baby chick from my big brother’s science teacher we name Silfy and the other one Fulkner1. But Fulkner died because my friend steped on him and he died. I began to cry and my mom told me some stories about how her chick died2. And my friend thought it was his fault and I feel sory3 for him.


1I do not know where we got these names from. I assume Fulkner was somehow inspired by the author William Faulkner
2My mom grew up in the Mexican part of Texas, so, naturally, she raised chickens.
3Words that had repeated letters were hard, okay?

A Journal Entry From May 29, 1999

I recently found my old diary that was given to me by my first grade teacher after the completion of that grade. It was in the exact place I left it many years ago.

In order to better process these past events of my life, I will be posting entries of my childhood journal into this blog. These posts will be exact copies with the original spelling, grammar, and punctuation that I used so many years ago, thus keeping the integrity of the primary sources. You will quickly learn that I was not the most literate person in the world. I wrote these like letters, as if I was sending them to an actual person. I will be using superscripts so that I can either comment on or correct my writings at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, in honor of the new Star Wars trailer being dropped last week, here is an entry from my journal I wrote after watching Star Wars: Episode I. Please remember that I was seven years old, and my brain was not yet developed enough to realize the train wreck that I was watching.

May 29, 1999 Daniel1

high2 I saw star wars today. And insted of darth vater it was darth mall. And there was a little boy named Anagan sky walkere3 and he was in this race and at the begening of the race he had a problam the moder wouldnt start but then it started to sart. And evryone crast4 ecsept anagan skywalker and a alean and anagan skywalker waln. And darth mall got cut in tow hal5 because a jeti yoused a saver6 to do it. and it was eng7 and lowd. And I have 3 star wars videos and the star wars that I saw today had gient fish in it. And it was so cool8. And my brothe9 is asking me queshtens he keeps asking m what bug is that

by10 see you to marro


1I have no idea why I wrote my name at the beginning of entries, but every entry is written like I am talking to an actual person. This was my way of either addressing a letter to myself or the way I credited each entry to myself.
2I couldn’t spell “hi.”
3I’m so sorry, Star Wars fans.
4crashed
5halves
6For the longest time, I thought the plasma beams that they fought with were called life savers. I thought it was really cool that there was a candy named after a science fantastical weapon.
7I have no idea. I couldn’t make out what I wrote.
8I’ve always thought that giant fish are really cool.
9I assure you that I meant to write “brother”, not “brothel.”
10I didn’t know how to spell greetings or farewells.

Halloween Special: My Night as a Pokemon

I don’t know the exact history of Halloween, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. I will say that as a Christian, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with going trick-or-treating, and this is why I hated going to my church every Halloween when I was in elementary school.

I remember being in sunday school at my super conservative church and another kid telling me that on Halloween demons reach up from the ground and drag you to hell. He probably just heard this from his older brother trying to scare him, but hearing such things was not uncommon. One of the kid’s fathers wrote a book about how Pokemon was demonic, and the kid told me he would get me a copy of it for free, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, in an attempt to keep kids from going trick-or-treating, my church would throw an annual fall festival on the night of Halloween.

This festival was filled with mini games, inflatables, and raffle drawings. The reward to most of these was a piece of candy, but by the end of the night my pillow case would have only a handful of sugary delectables in it. When I got home and checked my loot, I had a similar feeling to opening a Lay’s bag of air and finding potato chips inside. Every year got more and more disappointing, especially because my costumes were pretty dope and I couldn’t show them off in their rightful place on the streets. When Pokemon was all the rage, there was a very popular charmeleon costume that was sold out everywhere, so my mom made the costume with her bare hands. It was better than the one that was sold in stores, complete with a fire tail made out of red and yellow cellophane.

Bow down to me, plant-types!

Bow down to me, plant-types!

I confidently walked through the parking lot of the church, looking down my nose at the other Pokemon.

“Look at all these dumb pikachu costumes. FLAME THROWER!”

I decided to test my powers against the closest thing we had to real Pokemon and headed straight toward the petting zoo. All these creatures were inferior. I was at least a level 16, and these goats and chickens were all levels 3 and…

munch munch munch

I turned around and saw a goat eating my cellophane flame. If you know anything about charmeleon, you know that he dies if his tail goes out.

I was dead.

That experience pretty much summed up every festival experience I had. I walked in with burning hopes and desires, walked out with nothing. Moral of the story: take your kids trick-or-treating. They’ll be okay. I promise.

Once I was in middle school, I stopped going to that festival and never returned. My mom finally let me go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood with some of the other kids. My pillow case runneth over.

Happy Halloween.

The Death of Chicken Moreno

The first pets that I ever had were hamsters. After pestering our parents enough, we went to the store and bought two furry little rodents and decided to name them Chip and Dale, based off the popular cartoon depicting the adventures of two crime-solving chipmunks, or rescue rangers, if you will. They lived around two years, the average lifespan of tiny rodents. I remember the exact moment when I was told of the first one’s death. My mom picked me and my next door neighbor, Josh, up from school. I was probably in first or second grade. I hopped in the passenger’s seat of our van (is that too young to sit up front?), and my mom immediately starts like this:

Mom: Chip died.

Me: *bursts into tears*

I remember that she didn’t look at me and immediately started driving after she broke the news. In retrospect, I don’t know why she didn’t wait until we got home to tell me or why she told me like that. Maybe she didn’t know how to approach the whole telling-your-kid-his-beloved-pet-just-died thing. After all, she never had to do it before. We had the funeral that day, but we made a couple mistakes. First, we didn’t put the hamster in a box. Second, we didn’t bury him deep enough. The following day we found the burial site dug up, and the corpse of Chip was nowhere to be found. Some cat or possum got an easy meal that night.

I don’t remember too much about the death of the second hamster. Probably the same amount of tears, but I do remember that we made sure to dig deeper. However, it was disappointing that the two siblings wouldn’t be able to rest in peace together. They did get in a lot of fights in their old age, so maybe it was better that way. Despite the tears, I did learn a lot from the death of my two furry friends. I do think having animals with short lifespans at a young age is a good, healthy way to introduce the concept of death and loss to a child, but even this could not prepare me for what was to come.

Fast forward a year or two. We had attained two baby chickens from my older brother’s 6th grade science teacher, who had a box filled with chicks for some reason. He gave them to us to care for temporarily since my mom had raised many a chick when she was growing up. We did a good job until tragedy struck.

We had a neighbor named Michael who lived across the street. He was shorter and slower than Josh and I were. One day, all of us were playing with the chicks in our backyard. We were holding them and discovered that they would always run away immediately upon release. They were pretty fast, but not faster than the average elementary schooler. Being mean children, we bet Michael that he couldn’t catch one. He insisted that he could.

“Prove it.”

Oh, he proved it, all right. We released the chicks, and they took off as expected. Michael bolted after them, and then…

it was over.

The next thing that could be heard for miles was my wailing and screaming for my mom. She arrived, and I begged her to rush the chick to the vet. She told me that it was no use. Michael had accidentally stepped on the chick while he was in hot pursuit of it. Its neck had been broken. I remember looking at the chick during its last few moments on earth. I will never forget that feeling of hopelessness and dread as I saw its life slowly slip away. After a few long minutes, he had passed.

I was beside myself. The neighborhood kids gathered for the funeral. Had I owned any black clothes, I certainly would have worn them. We put the deceased in a box that we had adorned with pictures and notes. Michael wrote “sorry” on the cardboard coffin, but Josh and I knew that we were to blame. We shouldn’t have mocked Michael and used the poor poultry as bait. Later that day as I was processing the loss of the chick by looking pensively out my window, I saw a mocking bird and sparrow fighting in my backyard. To prevent more death, I ran toward them to break up the fight, but my shirt got caught on our patio chair, causing me to lose precious moments. I got there and scared off the mocking bird, but it was too late. The sparrow’s body was on the ground, lifeless. More tears. Too many bird deaths in one day. I buried this little guy in the same deep hole as our chicken. At least they would have the company that Chip and Dale didn’t.

Sometime during high school, I brought up the chicken incident with my mom. After the first chick died, we returned the second chick, so I asked what happened to him and the rest of them. It turns out that the teacher gave them to a farm, and a raccoon got in their crate and slaughtered all of them. Nature. She didn’t tell me way back then because she didn’t want to upset me more, but telling me actually made me feel better. Meeting the bottom of Michael’s foot may have been the best thing that could have happened to that chick. I think that I would prefer getting my neck broken to getting ripped apart by a pair of ravenous jaws, but that’s just me.

I Was A Crybaby

I’m not sure why, but I used to cry a lot as a kid. But crying as a kid is normal, right? Yes, but one might say, if he were a mean and hateful person, that I was a crybaby.

There were emotional reasons for starting the waterworks. The death of my hamsters and my pet chicken (that post to come later) definitely left my little, elementary school heart broken and the flood gates open. The majority of the time I cried, however, was from pain. Any shot, scrape, bruise, bump, you name it would set me off. Maybe it was because I had a naturally low pain tolerance. Maybe it was because I was coddled. Whatever the reason, I grew up thinking that I had to cry. Crying was just something that you did when you got hurt. There were several occasions in which I would get a scrape and carry on perfectly fine until I saw that I was injured and then start crying. Nobody taught me that it was possible to just not cry if you got hurt. It’s similar to how nobody teaches you that you can just watch each Lord of the Rings film separately. I used to think that you could only marathon them1.

Anyway, it wasn’t until I was 9 0r 10 that I realized I didn’t have to cry if I got hurt. The epiphany came through my best friend’s little brother. He was a scrappy one, indeed. This kid was six years younger than I was, and he seldom cried. They lived next door, so he would often come outside and play with us, the big kids. I specifically remember his arm getting run over by a wagon filled with kids. One time, he decided to stand underneath the basketball goal while we were shooting. Somebody made a basket (probably not me) and the ball went from the hoop right into his head, knocking him to the ground. Looking back, this actually would have made a good America’s Funniest Videos moment. I ran over to ask the little booger if he was okay and prepared to get him to stop crying, but he ignored me, got up, and kept trying to make a basket. This kid never seemed to cry2.

I would compare my life to this kid’s and think, “Why the heck isn’t he crying? I would have cried for sure.” Then it hit me: I could just try not crying. “Next time I get hurt, I will not cry. Next time.”

I was so proud of myself the first time I got a shot and didn’t cry. I started getting scrapes and cuts and learning that most things don’t hurt as bad as you think they do. My crying has leveled out since my childhood. The average man cries about 7 times every year. That seems about right, unless he watches Marley and Me. That will bump it up to 8 for sure, unless you’re a mean and hateful person.


1One of my good friends has never seen any of the Lord of the Rings films (I know, right?), so we had been trying to set a date to watch all of the extended editions. That’s 12 glorious hours of LotR. Eventually she asked if we could just watch one at a time. Up until that moment I hadn’t realized that that was a possibility.

2Okay, this actually isn’t completely true. I remember one time specifically when his family came over for dinner, and he was bouncing on my bed. In an attempt to get him to stop, I tackled him and accidentally hit his mouth with my hand, causing him to wail in pain. When his mom and my mom came up to see what the commotion was all about, I lied and said my brother did it since he has ADHD and thus didn’t know what was happening and was also still too young to get into any trouble. I confessed to my mom that night, but never to any of the other parties involved. Sorry, guys. That feels good to get off my chest after 12 years.