A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || May 15, 2003 || 9:50 pm

Here’s something that I don’t understand: Why do supposedly-grown people write on desks, phone booths, bathroom stalls, etc.? What the hell is that about? Once, when I was six, my friend Michelle H. was writing on the back seat of the bus. She did this for over half an hour, enticing me to do it the entire time. When I finally caved to peer pressure (one of the few times in my life), I wrote two letters (“B-e”…was gonna write ‘Beth’) and was BUSTED.

Bus driver: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOUNG LADY??” *note here that I have always hated being referred to as ‘young lady’* Me: “Unhhhh…” and I pointed to the fledgling start of my name. Meanwhile, Michelle had scrawled all over the fucking place.

Well, we were snatched up and deposited in the principal’s office. As you could probably guess, our parents were called. Jimmy and Deborah (her folks) showed up.They had a conference and left. Gwendolyn and Henry (my folks) showed up. Ah, hell, I am in BIG doo-doo. Henry never these sorts of appearances; Gwendolyn (alias ‘the sound and the fury’) normally handles this kind of stuff. I am the apple of dad’s eye and he hates to punish me…Henry usually plays the traditional “silent, stoic and seriously scary” father role. Henry+being involved directly=big trouble for me. Plus, he worked nights at the time and I was interrupting valuable sleep time; another mark against me.

Before I knew it, WHAM-BAM! it was all over and my punishment was set. Paddling at school and later, a Henry-dealt spanking at home (a true rarity…Gwendolyn usually handled the beatings), so I understood the gravity of my actions. But, a bonus awaited me (my parents were crafty, intelligent people and well-suited to raising a precocious, smarmy child)! I feel it is important to note here that my mom conferred with the parents of Michelle H. on the bonus discipline and they declined, saying that Mich had been paddled at school and that was quite enough. I am convinced to this day that that is why she has done serious jailtime and I haven’t (as of yet, anyway).

Saturday morning came around. My mother, knowing how much I enjoyed sleeping in, –even at the tender age of six– woke me at six-thirty ay emm. She fed me, told me I would be missing my soccer game that morning (shit!) because I would be otherwise occupied. She then packed a bag containing two sack lunches and a couple of her books (mom was a voracious reader). She filled a bucket with cleaning supplies and rags. ‘Whaaa? What is going ON here?’, but I was afraid to verbalize the question. She dressed in her typical nice manner and put me in rough-looking denim cutoffs and an even rougher-looking John-Travolta-as-Vinnie-Barbarino t-shirt. I smelled a rat.

We drove to the school. It was a gorgeous fucking day…I remember that much. Mom turned me out of the luxurious blue Monte Carlo (why’d she ever get rid of that car?), handed me a bucket and marched me to the spigot at the edge of the brick building.

“Fill it”, she commanded. I did — my mom is six feet tall. She has a German-Irish temper. Geddit? You don’t argue. She gathered the cleaning products and rags as I lugged and sloshed the bucket to the car.

“Follow me. Bring the bucket.” With that, she led me to bus eight — my bus. I was beginning to become aware. She deftly pushed in the doors and swung the bucket to the top step. She chunked in the rags and set the cleaners beside the water bucket. She looked down at me and pointed into the bus.

“You will get in there and scrub down that seat that you and ‘Chelle scribbled all over. There had better be no traces of writing left. You will then scrub every other seat on this bus until they are all clean and new-looking. I will be over there” –she pointed to our car–”reading. Do not come out or call me unless you are finished or bleeding to death. Get it ALL. You got me?” I nodded glumly and climbed the steps. If I had known the word FUCK at that time I would have used it copiously. My mom perched her sunglasses on the bridge of her nose and settled into the car with a book.

I scrubbed and scrubbed. She called to me at eleven-thirty and handed me a lunch. I sat grimly but rapidly chewing in the passenger seat. After twenty minutes I was back at it, and by two-fifteen I thought I could pass muster. Mom inspected my work and after a once-over of a half-dozen spots, gave her approval. My back was all knotty and my arms were like rubber. I smelled so thickly of pine that I could have personally won the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or at least nested a couple of birds.

Thanks to the ingenuity of my mother and father, a career for me as a graffiti artist was nipped in the bud. Those aversion-therapy bastards from ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ had NOTHING on my folks. Being part of a military family was such a boon to my childhood.

16 worked it out »

  1. timato 5.16.2003

    gwendolyn is such a horrible name for a mother. best reserved for fairy tale characters.

  2. John 5.16.2003

    While attending my friend’s wedding at the Key Colony Inn in Florida, I spotted this bit scrawled over the urinal.

    Rehab is for quiters!

    It’s two “t”s moron!

    “Moron” had an extra “r” that was crossed out. It was like performance art writ over time by passing strangers or from one clever fellow.

    But I’ve been a long time fan of bathroom lit. Inspiration can strike anywhere anytime. I have indulged in a few little ditties myself, but lately I have been without a writing utensil when visits those rooms of writing and…other things.

    I never got into graffiti outside of those places. I think it has something to do with growing up in Chicago and having gangs do quite enough of that already.

  3. Johnny T 5.16.2003

    Your mom’s name is really Gwendolyn? That is what we might call our daughter, if it turns out to be a daughter. Honestly.

  4. Angel 5.16.2003

    I think Gwendolyn is an awesome name, especially if she has a spine of steel like Jett’s mom… a little bit fairytale… a little bit…. errr, ummm, rock -n- roll… yeah.

  5. delmer 5.16.2003

    isn’t this where we came in?

  6. KC 5.16.2003

    isn’t it ironic that the post about toilette lit. is by a guy names john?


  7. trouble 5.16.2003

    im somewhat disappointed at losing the mystique behind the elusive identity of jett superior. today i lost a huge piece of this romance of this affair. but its okay. im counting on my short term memory giving out here.

  8. graphiti is best done on PostIt notes. its one of my FavoriteThingsToDo of late, sticking “If you werent so beautiful i’d introfuce myself” notes on laydehs backs.

  9. Jett 5.17.2003

    timato: lucky for her, then, that it’s her web moniker in this space and not in meatspace….I quite like the name, however, as it summons up pictures of regality in mine cranium.

    jonhJohn: okay, I will admit that sometimes club graffiti is wonderful in its drunken gleefulness…people tend to be a bit more unencumbered and brilliant with a few whiskey sours in ‘em.

    Barber: I think it’s a lovely name. ?I didn’t know you guys were expecting? or is it just one of those ‘if…then’ scenarios?

    del: yeah, while you recognize the story, I’ve never posted it on my blog. there are the new permalinks to play with, so have fun with those!

    KC: very astute observation. I wish I had something in the way of a award to offer youse.

    Bartlett: good Christ, that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever HEARD.

  10. redclay 5.18.2003


    love, and highway overpasses.

    redneck skywriting.

    like they say, love is writ large, it will not

    fit on a stop sign.

    not on a front lawn,not even a 2 lane road.

    it needs a bridge, an interstate highway.

    enough room for 6 foot letters, and indentions to start

    the paragraphs.

    so big that your hanging arm is getting shaky, and the

    rust and paint has stopped crackel-ding under your fingers,

    you have dragged back and forth across the lip of of the

    cross-beam so many times.

    in the morning, cars backed up and crawling like an accident.

    it’s too much to read at 70 miles an hour.

    anybody with any sense is grinning, it’s good graffiti.

    the letters aren’t quick and surreptitious, not spidery, not trailing nor weak. no.

    they are bright and even.

    a home-made neon sign on the olive drab steel.

    pretty enought to make a church goer take their hat off.

    and your lady love? if her car ain’t abandoned at an

    awkward angle in the median, open door beeping at the traffic.

    if her eyes aren’t wet, if her hands aren’t cupped on her chest. one on the other,to keep her heart from flying out to find you.


    well, it’s time to retire your spray cans.

    and maybe you should hide your pens, too.

  11. redclay 5.18.2003

    graffitti is bad, and you parents SHOULD stop you, if they can.

    but if young ladies liked boys who sat up straight and did they homework, you would never see a pretty thing on the back of a beat-up motorsickle.

    it has got its place, graffitti.

    all diffrent kinds.

    nother time, a friend a mine.

    his daddy brought home boxes and boxes of sprayed paint. a walla boxes, i bout fell over seeing it, we loaded em up, an we drove round, dranking. i mean.

    till we come to a water tower, and that was it.

    so we ducktaped the cans to us, an we clumb up it.

    an i set to tellin a circlar story.

    startin at the top, an round, an round its slippery sides.

    a fable bout a fish. a big fish tale,

    an i runned outta story fore i runt out of tower.

    there was a nother time.

    my lady-love was comin back to this country. how would i tell her?

    how would i tell her how much she was missed?

    they was a football field in the flight path.

    they had just painted the lines to it, they was just dry.

    gathered up carloads a drunks.

    everbody that could be trusted to take dictation.

    and we went out there, and we painted punchholes on the side, to make notebook paper, an i set to writing…

  12. John 5.19.2003

    After Jesus built my hotrod, he worked on Death’s motorsickle.

    It runs on dying breaths and makes circles of crops

    But my hotrod runs on wanderlust with an autocatalytic converter

    It circles on a rhyme at 70 meters per haiku

    And their’s room enough for a lady-love

    To take to see the first graffitti still clinging to cavern walls

    And I wonder if they ever left a name.

    “Chuck the Neanderthal was here. Peace.”

  13. Jett 5.19.2003

    It’s the Muffintastic Portry Fest!

    boys who write good portry is sexy.

  14. i know a joe wot writes nice paultry, like:

    Tonight, after sad and lonesome day

    When tearfilled truth on lips shall play

    Taken, beaten to the edge of life

    We all shall tred the tips of knives

    Staring at the phone in silence

    Crumbling down in stoic defiance

    The nervous crack of fevered voice

    Long since past the time of choise

    It has been too long a while

    Tonight, I’d love to see you smile.

    he sometimes writes here, when we are lucky

  15. redclay 5.19.2003

    everbody knows nermandathal grafferttiti all says

    “these are the thangs i have kilt.”

  16. John 5.20.2003

    Hey! I like that one better!

    We gotta play ping-pong poetry sometime. It’s a great game.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

(you know you want to)