The Journal Transcribed

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“Tuesday, September 5, 1978”

TU 09-05-1978

Fantasy. There is a great enemy in my spirit. That enemy lingers on forever, never ceasing to attack and condemn. I am that enemy.

Realty. I have real enemies, more enemies than friends, I’m afraid.

Today I went to the doctor to have my ear examines after an ear infection [swimmer’s ear]. After watching a woman with her eyeballs pointing in different directions, I turned my attention to two children in the waiting room. First one would clap, then the other. Then one stuck a finger in one eye, so did the other.

These people are not my enemies, but are they my friends?

A strange thing in the weather: rain, but no rain smell. It usually smells of ozone, but this time oddly only of the flowers in the field behind the house.

WE 09-06-1978

Reality. Today was the first day in a long time that I looked at her, and the first in even longer that she looked at me. It made my stomach turn to see her. I wondered what she was thinking. Then she and a guy [Steve Burns] told me. He is a swine.

Fantasy. A terrible attack ensued today; heavy casualties, death, destruction, great pain and suffering. KILL! I must kill my enemy and be free. I cannot let anything interfere.

MO 09-11-1978

Michael and I went on “assignment” last night. Although what we did and where we did it was classified, I might say that from now on the golfers on hole 15 will be shooting into the concessions stand. Our organization, the MDZCWSRRBBS (Michael D. Zeiler, Chris W. Slaybaugh, Richard R. Barron Bothering Service) now has 20 members.

WE 09-20-1978

I haven’t thought about Melissa in a long time and I’m glad. She made me miserable and when I think that I once called her a friend, I am ashamed of myself.

WE 10-04-1978

[In February] I asked Janet and Melissa if they would be in “The Last Remake of Scenic America.” They would not give a definite answer so I pressed them. They apparently got angry and told me in a rather rude manner to bug off. (Janet apologized.)

Melissa was supposed to call us before July 16, 1978 (for photographs), and this call was never received. Michael and I were (threatened) verbally by Steve at Gibson’s store on about 10AUG78, and again at my locker on 6SEP78.

MO 10-16-1978

Michael and I completely destroyed a large reinforced concrete pipe using a 20-pound granite stone. (Also) I shot a roll of Kodachrome 64 over the weekend, mostly macro of spiders and stuff.

WE 10-18-1978

Yesterday I (saw) Melissa.I was walking from the Student Congress room to my locker by means of the patio. Melissa was in the hall alone and … ended up walking five steps in front of me in the same direction. Just before I got to my locker, she turned and went into the courtyard.

TH 10-19-1978

I just came to a sudden and shocking realization: I like school, I like life, I like the people around me. I’m happy! People of my type don’t have the right to be unhappy. Some of the world’s hungry would take on all my problems for a good meal. Besides, the only problems I have are the ones I make for myself. No one else wants any problem with me. They all like to be my friends, except, of course, Melissa and Steve. Nevertheless, I’m still very happy, satisfied.

MO 10-30-1978

Today is Melissa’s birthday. Last year at this time, I was over at her house wishing her a happy birthday, but she wasn’t even there.  She was “out.” Now I hate them all.

There once was a man named fear. He lost his life and his mind because of what people said about him. Now he is out for revenge.

I think I’ll call up and talk to Janet this afternoon about this.

TU 10-31-1978

Yesterday afternoon Michael and I called Janet, and in accordance with Michael’s suggestion she is going to “get Melissa’s point of view.” I’m not sure what Melissa’s reaction is going to be.

WE 11-01-1978

Janet stopped me and said, “Melissa says, ‘I’m not mad at you, and why didn’t you call about the pictures?'” I acknowledged her and went on to my meeting. Clearly, this statement by Melissa is a lie.

MO 11-01-1978

The chess tournament starts today. Although I and everyone else considers me a good chess player, I will no doubt lose in round one, as I have for the past three years.

[I was president of the Chess Club at the time.]

WE 11-08-1978

I beat Derrick Kerby and moved on the semi-finals (where I drew a bye), and I will play Mike Hughes in the finals, which are today.

I won! I am the 1978 Fall Tournament chess champion!

[Hughes was visibly upset by his loss, and stormed out in a huff when he lost.]

FR 11-10-78

Michael and I were in the hall across from the candy machines (when Melissa) came up and bought some candy. I couldn’t very well run away, and of course wouldn’t talk to her, so Michael and I started saying things like, “…what’ll we celebrate?”

MO 11-13-78

Saturday we all went to Midwest City for a qualifying speech tournament. I did something unexpected: I actually broke prelims and made it to semi-finals. Moreover, we got the second place sweepstakes trophy.

At the contest at Oscar Rose Junior College, I played seven games of chess and won six. Yesterday, Michael and I played two games. I think Michael and I are going to shoot some pool today.

TH 11-16-78

I was walking in the hall toward Michael’s locker yesterday when there, out of nowhere, were Melissa and Steve. She was calling him a liar.

Later, we wanted to play pool, so Michael and I walked to my house in the rain. It was raining too hard to go play pool, so we played chess and ate popcorn and chocolate chip cookies.

WE 11-29-78

I haven’t seen Melissa in a long time. I almost wish I would. I am beginning to think that maybe this is a kind of silly thing; after all, she did say she thought I was supposed to call her. Am I mistaken? No. She was told and wrote down the date and the actual words that she was supposed to call me.

MO 12-04-78

I am going to Cameron qualifying speech tournament on Saturday with an oratory called, “My Neighbor is Going to Kill Me.” I must win. I have to qualify, to show that I am capable of something constructive. Well, I guess I’ll just keep practicing.

Last year at this time, I was in Weatherford. It was a Saturday, and I was trying out for all-region honor band. I didn’t make it, of course, but what really depressed me was that Melissa didn’t make it either. I know how hard she worked. She must have wanted it as badly as I want this speech tournament.

Oh, just forget the whole damned thing about Melissa. I am in a really, really bad mood. I don’t feel like doing anything.

WE 12-06-78

We have been battling the forces of the Villain’s Union for nine weeks. We are the Good Guys Union: Claude, Clyde, and Clark Good Guy. We have been writing notes to the VU and leaving them on Mrs. Plummer’s room (on the windowsill) because the villains have different hour than we do. One of them is Theresa Belcher, and another is Jessica Beatty. I’ll find out who the third is today. [Years later, I found out it was Anna Rodriguez.]

FR 12-08-78

Contest is tomorrow. Am I nervous? Terrified is the word. I really want to win. Nancy says that Cameron is a really easy tourney, but still tonight, I’m going to work for many, many hours on my speech. My nerves are shot.

Our swimming pool froze up yesterday morning, although the creek behind the house didn’t. I love this weather. Everything is frozen or dormant or dead, and it’s all cold.

MO 12-11-78

First place! I’ve very proud of myself. I finally got my moment of glory. Now I will either go to NFL district or regionals since I qualified in standard oratory.

Christmas officially begins today because we put up our tree and decorations yesterday. Our house looks very Christmasy. The tree sparkles and we have a string of decorations over the fireplace, along with two big, red stockings.

TH 12-14-78

I am talking with Gwen Barrentine, who sits behind me in biology. She’s talking about a kid who was found in a sewer. Now we’re talking about being able to write with both hands. Sanity? Mr. Buchwald just said, “Sanity.” Ridiculous! Preposterous! He’s kidding, of course. Gwen’s watch is broken. She’s talking about having a paper bag on her head and falling off a wall. She didn’t know the wall was too short.

FR 12-15-78

Michael probably hasn’t mentioned this, but I’m pretty sure he’s in love with Cae Degiovanni.

Wednesday I beat Michael bowling and set a new high game for myself at 188. (Also) today is the fifth day in a row I’ve looked at my watch at exactly 8:54 a.m.

SA 12-16-78

The big Christmas party is tonight. There will be 20 to 25 people here.

Oh, my gosh, Toni Crockett is good looking! I’m standing behind her; she’s in our recliner. We just exchanged greetings. Now she’s talking on the “party line.” She’s almost as pretty as Nancy. We’re playing football in Nicole’s room. This has been a good party. I wish I could go over and sit beside her. She’s now teaching us The Freak. Her parent’s boogie.

She’s gone now. Oh, well. Just forget it.

SU 12-17-78

I just realized how good it is to be free. I had a dream where I was in prison, sentence to five years. There are no happy times in captivity.

I’m listening to Barry Manilow’s Could It Be Magic, and feeling sorry for myself.

I have suddenly developed a strange devotion to this journal. I don’t know why, but every minute of my waking hours, I am concerned with how to utilize my experiences and express them in my journal. I think I’ll be entering every day or two over Christmas break to keep my mind active.

I hear a very sad segment of music on my stereo. It reminds me of the happiness that was once mine when I was her friend. But that’s all gone now, isn’t it? There’s no use crying over spilled milk, is there? Why do I just keep playing it over and over again until I’m drunk with emotion. Why don’t I try to make up with her? Because it would just happen again, that’s why. I would ask her to socialize with me, she would reject it, and I would be hurt again, wouldn’t I?

Please forgive me for sounding so bitter and melancholy, but that is my mood now. Still, there is a slight glimmer of hope in the very back of my mind.

TU 12-19-78

Mrs. Plummer wants me to move back after Christmas to a different seat because she has another student who needs to be farther up front. I have a test in here today. Fortunately, the geometry finally “clicked” in my mind.

We’re going to the pab today to dissect a grasshopper. Gwen is “grossed out” by grasshoppers. She is my assistant.

During fifth hour, Nancy is sitting in the wrong seat so she can cheat off of me. I haven’t the heart to tell her I’m totally unprepared.

WE 12-20-78

Michael, Billy and I are going to play pool and bowl this afternoon as celebration of the beginning of Christmas break. We will probably also play poker, “screw your neighbor,” and blackjack.

I’m not at all satisfied with Janet’s attitude toward me. Granted, she is friendly and talks to me… she just talked to me… but it was only to borrow a pencil.

My train of thought has derailed due to the test.

This may seem far too melodramatic, but I will never be friends with Melissa again.

TH 12-21-78

Again, Michael, Billy and I went up to the Holiday Bowl to play games, pool, and pinball.

Yesterday’s caroling with the youth group didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. I was too tired from the night before to be effective, so I went home.

I already know what’s under the tree. I know that my lens is there, and some Beatles records.

FR 12-22-78

I know that I really shouldn’t be doing this, for my own benefit, but my conscience keeps pressing me deeper. Each day I wonder just a little more about Melissa, about how she feels toward me. According to Michael, whenever he says “hi” to her, he receives a backwards glance and no reply. I’ve been wise enough to stay away, and keep communications close. I wonder what would happen if I called her up right now. What would happen if I walked up to her in the hall and spoke, or perhaps even went over to her house. Would she refuse to talk to me? Or, perhaps, on the other hand, she would be apologetic about the whole incident. I suspect the former. She does not understand, nor does she care.

SA 12-23-78

Today we wrapped a great many Christmas presents for my mom in the garage on the ping pong table. Of course, gifts aren’t the basis for Christmas, Christ is. I supposed if it was based on material gain, it would be called Giftmas or Greedmas. But everything in our society is based on financial gain, isn’t it? Nobody really cares what this holiday really celebrates, do they?

I spent a lot of time out behind the house today (we have a creek and a dump; marvelous combination, no?) I was constantly thinking about … no, I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was just thinking. I came to no real conclusions.

TH 12-26-78

Well, that was a nice Christmas. The church service was very good, and I got almost everything I wanted for Christmas. The lens I wanted wasn’t available, so my parents bought me an 80-200mm f/3.5 Focal macro zoom. I also got six boxes of film. I’ve been taking pictures all day.

I haven’t slept well recently. I’ve been plagued by a series of bad dreams, usually about loneliness, sometimes about Melissa, often both. Maybe I’m depressed. I doubt that I know what depression really is.

Michael says he called Melissa earlier this year to get some information for a class. I still wonder what would happen if I called. I’m not foolish enough to do that. Calling her would no doubt results in some sort of retaliation. On the other hand, not calling could make me miss out on an unexpected proposal of friendship. Forgive me for having gone over this so much, but it keeps plaguing my conscience.

WE 12-27-78

Michael and I went to an unexplored area of the creek today. We found four old tires and tried to roll them. On the way home, we stopped to “fall off a log” on a pipe, each on one end, trying to make the other fall. It’s this type of physical exertion that keep the mind sound as well as the body. And my mind is sound, isn’t it? One of these days I’m going to wake up and be in some sort of mental institution. My theory of life is based on the belief that that I am one of many mental patients in the hospital called Earth. But who is the head nurse?

TH 12-28-78

I have but one thing to say today: I’m lonely.

SU 12-31-98

I don’t think I’ll write about the new year at all. Sad, isn’t it? I’ll condemn this year, and justifiably. Name one good thing that has happened to me? This was probably the most miserable year of my life. I wonder if next year will bring any drastic changes. As far as I know (with two exceptions), I’m friends with everyone I know. That, I suppose, is a good start.

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