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…but that didn’t stop teachers from giving me some sweet awards over the years.

First, I got this Certificate of Citizenship (whatever that means) from Principal Josie B. Gray and my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Koury of Lowell Elementary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This certificate was for “continuous effort” and “development of responsibility,” which you’ll notice are underlined. You may also notice that “good behavior” and “practice of courtesy” are crossed out. Yeah… sounds about right.

Framing that one!

I hit that milestone on June 10th, 1986 at only nine years old. BOOM, Y’ALL!

And on April 23rd, 1990, at the obnoxious age of 13, I got this Certificate of Award (pretty sure that’s not even proper English) for “Acting a Fool in Music Class” from Principal I.M. Nutty of Reform School. Or, more accurately, Mr. Ellington, my chorus teacher at Jackie Robinson Middle School.

Truth!

I’ve made a living out of acting a fool,

-Shady

Matt Krings... 22 years later.

We had both just entered the sixth grade at Jackie Robinson Middle School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, Matt was eleven years old. I was ten.

We then both went on to attend Riverside University High School on the city’s east side. The last time we saw each other was at graduation in June 1994.

Two weeks ago, we got sushi together.

Matt turns 40 next week. That same fate awaits me this September.

Here’s hoping we don’t wait another 22 years before we hang out again.

Kicking it really old school,

-Shady

From 1987 to 1994, I grew up with a kid named Andrew Gorell.

During those seven years, we went to both the same middle school (Jackie Robinson) and high school (Riverside University) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As is so often the case, after our high school graduation in June 1994, we lost touch. Andrew went off to study theater, and I moved to Ohio to double major in immaturity and binge drinking.

There was one night (I think it was during Thanksgiving break in 1998, if I remember correctly) when a gang of us old Riverside kids met up at a bar on Milwaukee’s east side for a few drinks, but other than that one extremely brief get-together it had been nearly two decades since I last saw Andrew.

And then last November happened.

A few months earlier, Andrew hit me up on Facebook to let me know that he was going to be in L.A. for two months performing at the Pantages with the touring production of The Lion King. (Andrew performs Zazu.)

During those eight weeks, Andrew and I celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day together. We also had the opportunity to catch up a couple times over some beers, and he even made it out to a Food Night.

Twenty years later, this happened.

In early January, The Lion King moved on to Honolulu. Andrew moved with it. Still, I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend after all those years.

Let’s not let another two decades pass before we see each other again, Andrew.

He was there when I sliced my knee open at Universal in the seventh grade,

-Shady

…in this post.

Shortly after, I sent in my own Dear Photograph entry. Here it is:

Shady's Dear Photograph

Dear Photograph decided not to use the image (or at least they haven’t used it yet), so I decided to go ahead and post it here.

I’ll give you a brief explanation of what you’re looking at: In May 1989, I was in the seventh grade and attending Jackie Robinson Middle School in Milwaukee. (Sadly, it’s now an apartment complex for senior citizens.) Each year, Robinson planned a big student trip. That year, the trip was to Los Angeles.

I was lucky enough to go that year. It was my first time in L.A. and away from home, which made it both cool and terrifying all at the same time. The trip included stops at Disneyland, Griffith Park Observatory, and Universal Studios.

Yeah… Universal Studios.

There’s much more to the story than this, but the short of it is that I (stupidly) decided to run up the down escalator at Universal Studios. As fate would have it, I tripped, and my kneecap dug into the toothy edge of one of the metal steps.

Eventually, I was rushed to an emergency room (by tour bus, oddly enough) and given four stitches, but as I waited in Universal Studios for a wheelchair to take me out of the park, I shot the photo above.

What you’re seeing there is a photo of my 12-year-old leg over an image of my 34-year-old body.

So my Dear Photograph note would say this:

Dear Photograph,

Walking up a down escalator may not be the brightest idea in the world, but it makes for one hell of a great story that you will never forget.

I’d do it all over again,

-Shady

PS: A big hello to all my old Robinson friends who might remember this!

…I went to California on a school trip. It was the first time I had ever been to Los Angeles.

During the trip our class visited Universal Studios. At the end of the day, just as we were about to leave, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to go ahead and run up the down escalator.

It proved to be a horrible idea. I tripped and, well, this happened.

Which was then followed by an emergency room visit (as chaperoned by my seventh grade history teacher, Mrs. Johnson) and a handful of stitches.

This past Friday a few of us went to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights, and I returned to that dreaded escalator for the first time in more than twenty years.

Oddly enough, I found myself getting nostalgic for what truly was a traumatic event. I started wondering if buried somewhere deep within the mechanics of the escalator was possibly a tiny bit of me.

That would be awesome. And creepy. But mostly awesome.

I’ve seen my kneecap,

-Shady