Thursday, May 18, 2006


Mike is a guy who I first encountered at Clarke. I found him to be an annoying asshole. He was loud and mouthy.

In 8th grade, Mike became good friends with Brad Strouf. I never understood that one. They seemed like polar opposites to me. But nonetheless, there they were. On occasion, the two of them would walk to school together, from Brad's house. I'm not sure how Mike got there, as he lived on the east side of town, while Brad lived up by me. I'll never forget one day that the two of them were walking. They were a bit ahead of me, on the north side of the street. I was walking on the south side - in the street actually, as there was no sidewalk at that time. Out of the blue, Mike came charging across the street, waving his arms and screaming like a banshee. He got right up into my face while yelling. Then he ran back to Brad, laughing about it. I don't know.

During lunch, Mike and Brad often ate at the same table as I did. As I mentioned in Brad's entry, the two of them would be very messy and rowdy. They left a trail of crumbs and whatever else every single day. One day Mr. Schnell asked us (after the two of them had left) who made the mess. When we told him, he went and found them, brought them back, and made them clean the table.

At our freshman orientation in August, 1985, I hung out with Ron Gretz. At some point, Mike joined us. And the three of us explored the school a bit. I didn't care to be with Mike. But whatever. Ron and Mike were neighbors I think. So there the three of us were, wandering around school. What an omen of things to come.

I had Mike in homeroom all four years of high school. During our freshman year, Mike somehow became friends with Meff. And Meff shared Mike's locker, up on the 3rd floor. Since I was friends with Meff, Mike and I became friendly too.

I'll always remember Mike as the guy who gave me an audio tape of a bunch of backwards messages in songs. That tape got copied a lot. I still have it to this day.

At some point in our freshman year, Mike was bragging to Meff about how he was going to rent this really "hot" video tape at Coast To Coast. It was called "Texercise," and was simply an exercise video made by one of the Mandrell sisters. We both told Mike that it only an exercise tape. But I guess he was expecting something more. The next day, he said it sucked. About a year ago, I saw that tape for sale in some old video store. It was only $1.00. I had to to get it just for the sake of memories.

In the spring of our freshman year, somehow Mike, Ron and myself started to pal around together before school. We explored every square inch of that place, finding secret tunnels and everything else. That school was a cool old building. Before long, we started taking down the ceiling tiles in the basement gym. See my entry on Ron for the complete details surrounding those events.

See my entry on Todd Zinn for the story about how Todd wanted to beat the shit out of Mike.

After freshman year, Mike and I didn't hang around at all. In fact, we didn't even speak to each other until perhaps the second semester of our sophomore year. Quite honestly, I think Mike was making a conscious effort to stay away from me. But over time we eventually became cordial.

During our junior year, I had Mike in gym class. In the fall, we had bowling downtown. Mike used to give Richard and I a ride.

In our junior year, I was with Mike after school once. I think he was going to give me a ride. Then he spotted a newer kid named Frank Leach. Frank was rumored to be a group home kid who had killed a baby. But the rumors weren't true. Anyway, Frank had allegedly been picking on Mike's sister Patti. So Mike knocked him to the ground and threatened to beat the shit out of him. I don't think he really cared about his sister being bullied. He just wanted to get physical with someone. Frank was a little guy, and an easy target.

See my entry on Keith Welnicke for another (almost) physical confrontation between the two.

In our senior year, Mike changed. He missed a lot of school, and was partying a lot. He really looked dirty and grungy when he did show up. At one point, he got arrested for something, and supposedly spent a night in jail.

I remember talking to him in Mr. Wegner's current events class. He was talking about being sent to Mr. Wood's office for something. I believe it was for some sexually explicit stories he did for creative writing class. According to Mike, Wood asked him if he was having sexual problems. To which Mike (allegedly) responded, "I'm getting enough pussy. How about you?" I have doubts that Mike actually used those terms. But whatever.

In the second semester of my senior year, I would often get a pass out of study hall and go and sit in the guidance office. Every so often, Ron would come in too. Then one day, Ron and Mike both came in. So the three of us were sitting at the table together. We started laughing and whispering the word "tiles" whenever a teacher walked by. Brian Belongia was also at the table with us that day. But we didn't reminisce with him.

Also in our senior year, Mike told me a story about a certain member of the class of 1990 (who I've decided not to name) that apparently was gang-banged by several guys (including Mike) in a shed, during some party.

Despite the missed days, Mike did graduate with us. I ran into him at the video store once or twice. The last time I saw him, he had a child with him. Today I think he actually has two kids. He was married to a woman named Patricia at one point. But they divorced in 1998. It looks like Mike has spent the last several years in Florida. He may be hanging around with a girl named Erika.


At Thu May 18, 02:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger the_meff said...

As much as the guy made me nuts in 8th grade, we, for whatever reason, became pretty tight through Freshman year. In fact, it's entirely possible I hung around with him more than anyone that year.

When it was all said and done, the guy had a pretty good sense of humor. He could also be an overly sensative little bitch. Man, Richard would just casually toss out a little snide comment and Mike would come unglued.

I remember early Freshman year, we were herded into the gym for that oh-so-painful of high school traditions, the "pep rally."


Since Richard and I were practicing Socialists, we found the whole concept of a "pep rally" disdainful so we complacently sat and seethed at being surrounded by all that..."pep." Finally, Bill Wood, aka The Fuhrer, approached and basically said if we didn't get real "peppy" real quick, we'd get a free ride to his office.

I shrugged this off but Richard went berserk. He was absolutely the more vocal (and braver!) of the two of us.

Anyway, at some point, this rally exploded into chaos and everyone kinda' spilled onto the gym floor. I think it was during the old Isely Bros. standard, "Shout." Richard sees Mike Zeman going nuts out there, dancing and groovin' and showing off generally "peppy" behavior.

Richard, whom Mike always was looking to for acceptance, read Mike the riot act afterwords. "You tool! You blind sheep! You brainless, soulless fop!" Classic Richard rant. Great stuff.

And then Mike, trying to weasel out of it...

"but I just, um, liked the song, i wasn't really...um, er...i was just..."

Later in the year, Mike pulverized his leg in some sort of mishap and spent a few months on crutches. Since he required someone to carry his books from room to room during a schoolday, I happy volunteered. This meant we could leave a class early because he was so "hobbled."

Boy did we milk that! We pushed the envelope each class, leaving five minutes early, then ten, then twenty. I think once we bolted from Booth's science class, like, at the midpoint.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I actually enjoyed my time hanging out with Mike. He was a pretty unassuming, laid back fellow who wasn't judgemental or anything. It was cool. We felt like a couple of workin' class shmoes stuck in a situation we didn't particularly fit in to.

High school is like that. Some people peak and ride the crest of blinding popularity. Some people cower in a sewer of lonesome nothingness. People like Mike n' I fell in the middle. We just kinda' sat back and waited for it all to be over.

At Thu May 18, 05:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brandon P. said...

I didn't have a lot of contact with Mike but I kind of got a kick out of his antics from time to time.

Mike and I were in Ms. Sapa's Creative Writing class at some point, I think it was our senior year. Se would hand out a couple of pages with a clever saying or title and we were supposed to write some story related to the title. One assignment had the title "Little Red Ridinghood".

The day the assignment was due, Mike showed me his work. He added a page or two because the story took too much space on the original handout. Basically, the story was about the "deflowering" of Little Red Ridinghood.

The story was a very graphic description of L.R.R.'s first time. I vividly remember Mike wrote, "...and the wolf thrust his firey love rod into Ridinghood...". He may have had a shot at a career in cheap porn.

After reading it, I told him he'd be nuts to hand it in but he laughed in a really weird way and placed it on the pile.

I don't remember if Mike got banned from the class but he wasn't there for a few days. I think he may have got a suspension for that one. I'd have to ask my Mom. She has about as good of memory as Burt's.

At Fri Jun 23, 06:45:00 PM PDT, Blogger scott i-da-ho said...

I hung around with Mike for awhile in high school. What strikes me even to this day is that he was truly all about dirty jokes and obsceneties. And I believe he had a vinyl record that was "square-ish" which was basically like audio porn. I had been to a couple of his parties and drank way too much on every occasion. The general jist of the experience was that everyone was paranoid the police were staking it out.

At Wed Nov 22, 02:00:00 PM PST, Blogger nwalk said...

As I mentioned in Larry Daffner's entry, I was a boy scout for a short time. Mike was too. Unlike Larry, he was a good one. Well on the way to eagle scout (the top rank) more than 120 merit badges. When I read this blog entry, it's like he's a whole different person. Not that he wasn't a goofball, but in the boy scouts, he was the boss. Did anyone here even have a clue he was a boy scout?

He was in charge of hazing newbies, part of that was the "snipe hunt" On the first big camping trip they would go on and on about theis bird called a snipe, and then there would be a mission to find it. Mike would run around with a squeaky toy and hide in trees, with the end being a big scare. I saw him up in a tree. He told me to keep my mouth shut, and I did.

At Sun Jan 20, 04:53:00 PM PST, Blogger Lisa said...

Ok this all scares me-I went out with him HIS junior year! Ewww


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