Ancient History

“Ancient History”

by Timmy Trabon


Sure, no one should ever abandon their dreams, but there’s a point you have to accept the fact that your recognition has peaked. When I was nine, I buried time capsules containing letters addressed to me from historical celebrities.

Dear Timmy Joseph Trabon,

That idea you gave us at the last meeting was really awesome.

Thanks for inspiring us,

Martin Luther King Jr. and Han Solo

I imagined archeologists, historians, and museum directors excavating my mom’s Folgers canister to discover the 20th century’s missing link, Timmy Trabon, a forgotten, iconic legend. Who was he and is he responsible for the fall of the Galactic Empire and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail?”  As an adolescent, I had accepted the unrealistic pursuit of mainstream attention and decided that post-mortem fame was still a plausible route to plagiarize and graffiti my name into the history books.  Since my youth, the acquisition of notoriety on any scale has always been set in the crosshairs.  The dream’s not fueled by ambition or earnest aspiration, but by solipsism and self-absorption; even so, this explanation represents a self-awareness that many people tend to ignore to avoid the embarrassment of vanity.

By the age of ten, I disappointedly realized that my reputation was primarily composed of humiliating anecdotes.  When each student was required to present power-point presentations for Sister Raphael’s computer class, I earned a title that could make kids named B.J. and Dick cringe.  The Microsoft auto-correct software boldly decided that when I typed, “UFO Sightings: a presentation by Timmy Trabon”, I actually meant, “UFO Sightings: a presentation by Timmy Tampon.”  Sister Raphael painfully watched, as I realized the laughter was not inspired by the awesomeness of my topic choice, but by a strange foreign word that was only understood by kids with older sisters; unfortunately, I did not fall into that demographic of fourth graders.  In hindsight, it’s no longer baffling that a nun was less than eager to explain the comic genius behind feminine hygiene products.  It’s because of nicknames like “Timmy Tampon” that kids learn about the meaning and effectiveness of alliteration.  If only my name had been Mike or Chris, it wouldn’t have been so painfully catchy. It’s likely I don’t receive nostalgic friend requests because my fifth grade peers remain uncertain of my actual birth name.

This natural talent for attracting undesirable infamy followed me into high school. I gained the title, “The Kid Who Accidentally Locked Himself in the Library Stairwell over Winter Break,” nearly making myself an 18-year-old subject to the only humorous Amber Alert ever. I was driving by my high school on the way to my girlfriend’s house, when I decided to return an overdue book to the school library.  The building was unoccupied because of the holidays, but the lobby entrance remained unlocked.  This meant I could walk to the library doors and return my copy of Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the memoir of that adrenaline junkie who butter-knifed his arm off with a multi-tool kit you would buy at a Korean grocery store. He was alone with an arm trapped under a boulder in the Utah Canyons for six days. Sadly, I skimmed over the how to call for help, maximize your days of survival, and avoid dehydration sections of the autobiography and jumped to the clipping off muscle tendons chapter.  I’m fairly certain self-amputation wouldn’t have expedited my liberation from the windowless stairwell, but there might have been a few survival facts overshadowed by the Tarantinoesque tourniquet chapter.  I’m sure if I had slowly died in the stairwell, I might have earned notable coverage in the Kansas City Star, maybe a Channel 4 spot, or the status at Rockhurst High as the ghost of that idiot that got stuck in the stairwell.  Thanks to the overworked English professor, Mr. Bosco, I was freed after four hours. To my disappointment, it became a story he couldn’t help but repeatedly recount.  The bell hadn’t even rung for home period the first day of spring semester and I was asked how I enjoyed Christmas in the library.  It’s not the posthumous fame my 9-year-old self devised, nor does it conjure the same adoration as the names Dicaprio, Gyllenhaal, or Conner Teehan (my basketball-star locker buddy, who had a new girlfriend every week), but I’ll take what I can get.

You might argue that if I garnered the media interest craved by my delusional id, I would gamble the genuineness of my identity and abandon my privacy to the public. In regards to privacy, I already have to check my Facebook page Sunday mornings to untag photos of me shot-gunning a Natty Light or stumbling as I try to find my pants. Sure, I can censor my privacy to a certain degree; while on the other hand, John Mayer can’t untag himself from debauched Us Weekly pics or delete a racist comment he tastelessly misspoke in an interview. Then again, he’s slept with Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift; that’s an age gap the length of my life.  It’s a puddle when it comes to shallow arguments and it might sound trite, but his media-oppressed life doesn’t sound unbearable.  It’s probably delusional to assume the women I try sleep with could greenlight my fame.  Sure, it worked out for Russel Brand, but my track record doesn’t exactly scream Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Katie Perry.  So my hunt for notoriety continues elsewhere.

There was a kid in my second grade class who had it figured out.  As soon as Miss Rinkie left the room unattended for 3 minutes, Johnny Widmer stood on top of his dwarfish chair and held a tiny pink pill above his head.

“I stole this pill from my mom’s bathroom.  It’s called birth control.  I’m going to take it now.”

Johnny popped the pill in his mouth and dropped down to his seat moments before Miss Rinkie returned.  This sounds like a cautionary tale regarding what eight-year-olds are self-destructively capable of in three minutes, but it’s more than that.  It actually illustrates how to build and control an audience.  Johnny had an entire class of pre-adolescents at the tips of his fingers.  When would he take the next one? Was he going to die? And was it as dangerous as Pop-Rocks mixed with Coca-Cola?  The only noticeable side-affect Yaz has on a 75 lb., eight-year-old boy seems to be popularity as a brazen wild card.

Johnny had a talent.  He was a savant when it came idiocy.  Despite his deplorable critical thinking skills, he succeeded socially.  I don’t epitomize bravery, so Johnny’s route seems impractical.  However, he displayed what he did best, his raw talent at being crazy.  Not to be overly sappy, but maybe I need to work with the tools I’ve got. I’m like the Lebron James of humiliation. I’ve just yet to choose a solid team or embrace my talent. I’m certainly not a wiz kid, I’m no Matt Damon, and I’m probably never going to win a girl with my athletic prowess, but I’m no amateur when it comes to making an embarrassing scene.  While I wish my relevance paralleled the burn-out-rather-than-fade-away peak embodied by the careers of James Dean or Jeff Buckley, it seems that my one-hit-wonder, “Timmy Tampon,” is about as close as I’ll get to claiming a household name.

I don’t know- What do you think Kanye?


Timmy Trabon


P.S.  Don’t worry about the beats I sent you, just tell everyone you made them.

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