Saturday, July 6, 2013

Public Enemy Number One

I think at one time or another we ALL wanna be a badass in some way! Even if it's just for a few days.

Ya know, just long enough to save the world and of course get the girl! Or guy, for you badass women!! And yes, there ARE badass women. I learned that the hard way when I got beat up in karate class by one...
oh be quiet, she'd kick your ass too!

Well... I'm STILL waiting for my couple of days, fuck, I'd even take a couple of minutes living within that badass, take no bullshit from any muthfucka or I'll punch you so fuckin' hard that your nutz will burst right through your scrotum sac onto the ground... skin!

Now that's pretty fuckin' badass isn't it!?

Well I'm anything BUT... a badass.
Especially when I was a kid.
And there's proof!
Tommy Mondello as the incomparable Herb Tarlek
Look at this poor mess... LoL Oh maaaaa... how could you... LoL
That's me back in 1973 doing my best impersonation
of one of the snazziest dresser's in all of television history...
Herb Tarlek, from "WKRP in Cincinnati".
Back then though... we didn't give a fuck about such things.
The important things were that hockey net & sticks
and also that grocery cart we stole for our paper route under the porch.
Now that's shit that mattered mofo!!
But just look at the size of those fuckin' lapel's will ya!
Herb Tarlek LIVES muthafucka... he LIVES!!

C'mon dude, who on earth would EVER think that I was a badass in those clothes... LoL
I look like fuckin' Richie Cunningham for goodness sake!

"That's not a good detail to leave out Fonz!"
(about 20 minutes in... too funny  LoL)

Remember that immortal fucking line
from Happy Days???

Well now you're going to read about my attempt at becoming that so-called badass muthajumpa. With ALL of the emphasis on the word... attempt!

I was attending PS22 grammar school at the time... in Staten Island, New York and well, lets just say that James Cagney still... has the market cornered
on how to be a badass... LoL

This one is a bit long,
so you might wanna bring the bottle with you!

Public Enemy Number One

What’a ya hear? What’a ya say?

That’s right, I could be a tough guy if I really wanted to. Not really,
but I did have my moments.

But the second I went against the establishment, the laws of nature took over. And the number one law of nature is…. Your mother finds out fucking... everything!

Good grief, it’s unbelievable. It’s like all mothers made a pact with the Almighty himself. Please Lord, give me the power to control my child, and know his every move.  I promise to sabotage my husband’s football Sunday, and get his ass
to church instead!

Well, of course, just like every other seven-year-old in the world, I just couldn’t wait to test those laws of nature. I needed to see for myself just how much bite was hidden behind
that fearful bark.

Well, what I found out was that the laws of nature had some big ole’ sharp-ass teeth!

It all started innocently enough on a boring, slow-moving, sunny day. This was the day that my friend Brandon and I decided to roll the dice, and defy nature. And after a little thought, very little thought, the perfect plan just presented itself to us as if on queue!

That plan was to pay a visit to a local construction site that was up the block from my house. We were bound to find
some trouble there, right?

I couldn’t remain the good little chubby boy my entire life, so we went for it! And the fact that it was a weekend only solidified our choice of mischief. You see, on the weekends there were no workers milling about to chase us away.

What, no Adult Supervision?
You know I’m there!

So it was final, Brandon and I both agreed on the plan. Put on your hard hats gang, because we’re goin’ in! It was time to cross over
to the dark side.

I yelled out to the high priestess of the crystal ball, oh oh, sorry, I mean my mom.

We’re goin’ out ma, see ya later!”………
Okay, watch your step! And stay away from that construction site!

Crap! How the fuck did she know?
C’mon Brandon, she’ll never find out!
Let’s go anyway.
Boy, was I wrong.

We made it to the site and were having a great time exploring every inch of that place. A construction site was like porn for kids, irresistible. No not child porn you knuckleheads... oh you know what I mean.

We were in our glory. But then it happened. As we were climbing up a mountain of wood and other debris, I felt a sensation. And as I looked down, I noticed that I had six fingers
on my right hand.

I thought, well, that couldn’t be right.
So I took a closer look.
Fuuuccckkk!!! Holy shit!
That was no finger, man!
That was a seven-inch metal spike!
You muthafucka you.

The next thing I remember was running down the middle of Simonson Ave screaming my head off. Yes, the very same street on which the snowball-throwing incident had occurred,
minus the corduroy pants
and jet engine noise, mind you.

I had my hand held straight out in front of me with a gigantic spike sticking out of it. Dude, you could’ve killed Dracula with this friggin’ thing!

And the only vision I had while running down that never ending roadway, was that of my mother. She was wearing a big bright glowing gown, floating down from the clouds. She had her magic wand in hand
while warmly whispering...

“It’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature!”

She knew we were going there. I don’t know how, but somehow she knew. Some tough guy I was; couldn’t even lie to his mother and get away with it. The pact with the Almighty was running on all cylinders that weekend. Busted again!

You just knew that there would be no football
on the TV come Sunday!

But wait, my antics didn’t end with the construction site disaster and a mere lie to mom. Oh no! We’re just gettin’ started here folks!

It was just about at this point that I decided it was time to rid the nice-boy image for good.

Tommy Mondello in his nice boy suit LoL
Seriously folks... my reign of terror was doomed even before the thought entered my  "goody-too-shoes" fuckin' head... LoL  How on earth was the kid in this photo supposed to be a mastermind bad guy... this was May 1968... and am I the poster child for awesomeness or what!?
Awesomeness yes... badass... NO!

I needed some respect in this town, and being a little husky liar who went running home to mother every time something went wrong just didn’t cut the mustard!

I needed to change my whole persona. My image just blew chunks at this point. So I decided to scruff myself up a bit, and maybe start a little crime-wave to boot.

I was a long way away from my childhood goal which was to become Public Enemy Number One!

Being a well-behaved chubby liar could only get you so far in life!

It all began slowly and well, but I can’t lie to you guys. It never really did get off the ground!

First, I got involved with the sweet lure of the instant win, the adrenaline rush, the pure thrill of gambling. It was nothin’ but high stakes for me. My game you ask? Flips!

That’s right, flips! You know, one guy would flip 20 baseball cards, and they would come up either heads or tails. Then you had to match him card for card. Winner take all baby! I became a card flippin’ muthafucka!

The games usually occurred after my friend, Joey and I completed our daily task of delivering milk to the local church. Then we’d head on back to the school cafeteria.

There we met up with some suckers, oh, I mean students, and the cards began to fly. Heads, tails, tails, heads, we were on fire!

Sometimes I’d send those losers home cryin’ to their momma’s, and other times well, I’d be the cryin’ loser! But it didn’t matter because I was on the fast track to having my very own “wanted” poster hangin’ on the Principal’s wall. My misunderstood back-street activities were well under way! The crime wave was soon to follow.

Knowing that it would take more than a little small time gambling and a lie or two to reach my goal, I decided to toughen up my reputation. I needed people to be afraid of me, not like me!

But I was still lacking that tough guy on campus image. I had’ta do something to change that. But how, I thought? What could I do
to change my image?

Finally, with a little thought, and again, very little thought, I came up with the answer.

A must for any well respected tough guy crime wave. Brawling! A little fist-to-cuffs if you will.

It happened in the big courtyard at school. Everything happened in The Big Courtyard! Including my very first fight! Now remember who we’re talkin’ about here. Joey, my milk delivery partner was the fighter, not me. I knew nothing about fighting. I was the over-eating gambler who lied from time to time.

So as you’ve probably guessed by now, this really didn’t go as I had hoped it would.
I mean really... do I look like
a fuckin' tough guy to you?? LoLoLoL 
Good grief charlie Brown!

Tommy Mondello as Herb Tarlek... yet again!
I look more like a comedian than a fighter right!?
This is me... Herb Tarlet "lite"...
Yet another proud moment in the life history line of Tommy Mondello.
Although I kinda like the dizzying checkered pattern.
It's almost therapudic in an odd way isn't it...
lol oh shut the fuck up... lolololololol

Ronald; that was his name.

He had a glass eye, a permanent sneer, and was pretty much pissed off at the entire human race.

So why on earth did I wanna fight this guy anyway? Why couldn’t I have picked on Timmy? He was the quiet, frail, “A” student. I bet I could’ve kicked his fuckin’ ass! But no, I didn’t,
I fought Ronald.

And to tell you the truth, I don’t even think I meant to fight him! Something stupid happened between us, and we just went at it. Well, sort of went at it! Listen to this mess.

The fight started, and we began to mix it up pretty good. But guess what? Mr. Personality hadn’t a fuckin’clue on how to fight either.
Fists of fury we weren’t!

There we were, two idiots with their eyes closed, arms flailing away looking like two airplanes getting ready to take off.
Oh, it was just so ridiculous.

This lasted for what seemed to be an hour, but it was more like a minute or so. Finally, after realizing that no one was getting hit,
we came together in a tight clinch.

And I guess he hadn’t had any lunch that day, because he eyeballed my arm, and bit it. He bit my fucking arm like I was a pork chop
or something.

Well, we broke apart from our clinch, and I stood there looking at my arm saying...

You fuckin’ bit me, man!
You fuckin’ bit me!

Joey came over and looked at my arm. He saw the teeth marks, then lifted his head and stared at Ronald. And then, like fucking Clint Eastwood, walked over to him and punched him right in the fuckin’ face! Bang!

Shit, man, I was supposed to do that, not Joey! Instead, I just stood there like a deer in headlights. And when it was all said and done, I looked down at my arm, then I looked down towards the ground at Ronald, and began laughing my head off!

Fuck, my first fight was a disaster!

I couldn’t believe that I had screwed it up. I kicked his ass without even hitting him once! I’m tellin’ you guys that it wasn’t as easy as I thought, crossing over to the dark side that is.

All of the back-alley boys were laughing at me! I was a rotten liar, a so-so gambler, and a pork chop in the ring. And well, I wasn’t exactly James Cagney at this point.
But wait, there’s more!

Realizing now that I wouldn’t be known throughout the neighborhood as Knuckles Mondello, I needed to take the wave in a new direction. One that wouldn’t bite me back either!

I needed to add a little thievery to my resume. This would surely get me some headlines. C'mon though, I’ve been callin’ this mess a crime wave, but I hadn’t stolen anything yet! Okay, Okay, I hear ya! But I was about to take care of that! I’d found the perfect event to test the waters and see just how light my fingers really were!

The Science Fair!

You know, where students get to show off their scientific ingenuity, or maybe I should say their parents get to show off!

Fuck, you should have seen some of the exhibits that year;  really incredible stuff. It was as though half the student body had evolved into NASA scientists overnight.

It was a far cry from the usual blank stares, nose picking, and ass scratching
that I witnessed each day.

Some of the exhibits were just really outstanding. There was no way that the parents weren’t involved. But hey, I didn’t give a shit. I was good for the old stick a couple toothpicks in a potato, dunk it in some water for a week, and wait to see what happens exhibit.
It was so stupid.

The potato starts growing fucking roots. Wow! I bet if you look in your refrigerator right now, there’s a fucking potato taking root
at this very moment.

But I must admit, my parents did help me on more than a few projects!

Anyway, the wave was about to rise to new heights, along with my stupidity level. My first heist, which also turned out to be my last, would be an easy one. I was gonna hit
the Rock Candy display!

Figures, I went straight for the fuckin’ candy!

Well, I pocketed my take and made a delicate get away. Uuummm…… delicate?

I headed straight home, checked in with mom, changed into my play clothes and out the door I went. A few hours later I heard the dinner bell a ringing, so back home I ran.

And while dinner was still cooking, I finally took the time out of my busy day to sit down and talk with my mother. I was telling her all about the fair and how some of the exhibits were really cool. (Oh man… here it comes!)

And especially this one specific exhibit that showed how rock candy was made.
(Oh fuck, hold on!)

I also added that it was such a shame how a lot of selfish people were actually breaking off pieces of the exhibit, and stealing them.

With that said, I saw my mother’s expression turn from curious, to furious, as she said...

Oh, really? You mean like the pieces that I found in YOUR pocket?


Did I feel like the asshole or what?! I just ratted myself out. What... a dick!

Fuckin’ unbelievable, huh? How stupid was I? I voluntarily gave up information surrounding my heist. Man, you should’ve seen the look on my mom’s face. It was fuckin’ priceless!

I only wish I had a camera to take a snapshot of what pure disappointment looked like. Too funny. Lemme tell ya, it was a very quiet dinner at the Mondello ranch that night!

But hey, this minor setback had no affect on my objective of becoming Public Enemy Number One! I was determined to get away with something! I would settle for anything at this point.
And I had just the thing.

It happened in the classroom.

Our desks weren’t arranged in the usual manner of one row behind the other facing the front chalkboard. They were all connected side by side in one continuous line, which started on one side of the teacher’s desk, and lined the perimeter of the room ending up at the other side of her desk.

And guess who had the privilege of sitting there, at one of the two most feared seats in the room? That’s right, yours truly, Tommy “Cagney” Mondello, loser extraordinaire.

The establishment would stop at nothing to end my reign of terror. Yeah right! Some reign. I was more dangerous to myself than to anyone else.

Anyhow, there we were, sitting in a circle, (that was really square), facing one another. And once again, the teacher wanted us
to go over our times tables.

Fuck me, man! I know at this point in history it was only like nineteen-sixty something, but I’m pretty certain that the calculator had been invented by now! You just have to give me a break with this times table bullshit.

I really hated doing them. That must’ve been because well, maybe I sucked at doing them!
Ya think?

The teacher would randomly choose a starting point and the lucky son-of-a-bitch who was chosen would begin the chain from hell.

It would move along from one person to the next, until all the tables were complete.

Okay, Frank, why don’t you start us off today”…… “Yes ma’am.
One times one equals one.

No shit Sherlock! Even I knew that one.

You'd think she'd begin with me one time. But no, I always got stuck with nine times seven, or twelve times eight or some shit like that. Who the fuck knows? Fuck, who the fuck cares!
When’s fuckin’ LUNCH!

(((Okay, calm down, it’s only a word!
It can’t hurt you.)))

But I had a plan.
Don’t I always!
I was the Ralph Kramden of P.S.22.

I would count the number of people it took to get to me, and figure out which example would be mine. I was a genius,
for a few moments anyway.

As the lucky bastards were moving along quite nicely in the beginning...

... “two times two equals four”……
“Three times five equals fifteen”...

... and so on, the plan suddenly
ran into a snag.

As we began getting into the harder examples, out came the wrong answers! And you didn’t want to get it wrong and look like a dick in front of everyone. That sucked! I’m tellin’ ya man, grammar school had its pressures too!

Well, if someone gave an incorrect answer, the next person in line had to attempt that very same example, and this went on until someone gave the correct one. I started freakin’ out, as I quickly realized all of my calculations had just gone right out the window. Fuck, which example was gonna be mine now?

Well, as you could see this plan was totally unreliable. I needed something fool proof. And just as any other genius would do, I came up with yet another, perfect plan.

Why take any chances at all? Why try to guess what example you were going to be saddled with? I just said,Fuck it and grabbed my pen. Then began to engrave every last fucking time’s table there was onto my desktop!

That’s right baby, don’t fuck with me. Or I’ll engrave nine times seven
across your f’en forehead, dude!

I had the perfect setup. I was using one of the most feared seats in the classroom
to my advantage.

You see, the teacher’s desk was about a foot higher than mine. So there was no way she could have spotted anything, right?
(What do you think?)

Of course it blew up in my face. What else did you expect? Haven’t you been listening to what’s been going on thus far? Get with the program, man. Don’t piss me off!
Or you’ll be wearing that 63!
(Nine times seven!
That’s right I checked LoL)

I’m tellin’ ya it would’ve worked great if I had only written the numbers a little larger!

Maybe the teacher wouldn’t have seen me staring down at my desk, with my face all squinted up, veins popping out of my forehead, eyeballs practically bleeding, as I was straining to find the answer.

Yes ma’am. Nine times seven equalssssss…… uuuhh…… equalssssss…… no wait, I know this one! Equalssssss…… sixty-three! That’s it right, sixty three! Right??


It would’ve been easier to just learn the fucking tables instead of putting that ridiculous plan into play. What a disaster!

Yes busted again!

I just leaned back and sank into my seat as I watched the teacher lean over to get a good look at my desk. Suddenly I saw that very same look of disappointment come over her face
that my mom had.

Tommy Mondello November 1969 with his blanky... LoL
There I am... now does this look like a scamming asshole kid to you??
Me neither! But I was. Or at least I tried... LoL
This was November 1969. And yeah... I was a thumb sucker...
oh the humiliation.
And yeah that's my "security blanky" too. Oh I was a kid for goodness sake...
lemme me alone will ya... LoL

Man, getting busted is a horrific ordeal! I shit my underwear brown at the exact same time that her eyes focused in on my elaborate scam. Nine times seven equals what? Equals loser, thats what! Fuck, why can’t I get away with anything?

But anyway, for anyone who cares to see it, the desk is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute, and is being billed as The Non-thinker! (Ooooh, that hurt!)

The wave was quickly becoming but a small wake, quietly lapping upon the feet of society. It was almost soothing, therapeutic in a way. Maybe I wasn’t the outlaw I thought I was?

Lets see, well, no rap sheet on me; no detention after school. There weren’t even that many red marks on my report card. Oh crap! Maybe I was just a nice kid. Oh no! Not a nice kid! I must have been like Public enemy number 613 or something. Say it ain’t so, oh say it ain’t so.

I’ll show them! I’ll come up with the ultimate scam. No one’s gonna tell me that I’m nice and get away with it.

So what scam would get me the attention that I deserved? I got it! Don’t go to school. That’s it! Cut outta school! I couldn’t fuck anything up while I was in school. So I’d play hookie. Yeah baby, this is the big time now. If I pulled this off, I’d be the talk of the entire school.

Well the next morning arrived; history would be made in a matter of hours. The day began just as any other school day had in the Mondello house…

Let’s go up there, time to get up. You’re gonna to be late!”……… “Aaawwww daaaa, I don’t wanna go to school today!

(You know, that line never did work.
But you had’ta try it, right?)

Anyway I reluctantly got outta bed, cleaned up, and headed downstairs. I grabbed my books, and lunch, and began the journey
that would soon immortalize me.

I remember the tension growing stronger with every step I took. I was debating with myself. Should I do it? I better not! But I can’t wimp out! What if I get caught?

These thoughts ping-ponged off the walls of my skull like a video game, but they would all come to a climax once I reached the proverbial fork in the road. That pivotal spot where it was do or die! Yes or no! Legend or wimp!

And within minutes, I was there! The fork was before me. Only this fork had no food at the end of it. Just one incredibly difficult decision!

The fork was at the same street corner where the now infamous snowball throwing incident took place.

(Seems everything took place
on this stupid corner huh?)

And we all remember what happened
with that right?

Well, it all came down to this one decision. Did I turn left, and go to school like a good little chubby boy. Or be a man, and turn right, and walk side-by-side with the Gods of Defiance!

Well, I was a man by cracky. I turned my stocky-self to the right, and declared my manhood. There would be no turning back now for this legend. Move over James Cagney, there’s a new troublemaker in town!

And he goes by the name of...

The plan was to walk around the block to Van Name Ave, cut into the woods behind my house, and hang out in our self-made
underground fort. Perfect!

After nervously walking at double speed, ducking and dodging anyone I thought that could jeopardize the plan, I finally made it to the hideout. I uncovered the camouflaged entrance, crawled in, and then whipped out some matches to light the candles.

I sat there for a second
and gathered my thoughts.

Oh man, I did it! I just cut school.

And I did! I actually cut out of school. It was just me, my baseball cards, and of course, my lunch.

I can’t believe I did it! I’m blazing a trail baby! No one can stop me now!

(I didn’t really say that James Cagney line, but man, it would’ve fit perfect if I had, right?)

Now I’m sure that my mom wouldn’t of thought that I was on top of the world, but I was truly proud of my accomplishment. Finally, I pulled off a scam without screwing up.

But soon I found that being on the dark side and rebelling against the establishment, turned out to be a pretty boring experience.

You see, after a couple of hours , I'd already finished my lunch. I was sick of looking at baseball cards, and the candles
were running low.

Bottom line…… this idea sucked!

I wasn’t a tough-guy criminal. They don’t cut school and hide in a dark, damp, fucking hole in the ground with four tons of dirt, rocks, and debris inches from their face, being held up by just two skinny pieces of wood.
What was I, a fucking asshole?

Real tough guys go out, kiss girls, beat people up, and eat candy all day! Well, okay, I had the candy thing pretty well covered, but by no means was I a real tough guy kissin’ girls!

So I had come to the painful conclusion that I didn’t wanna be on top of the world anymore. I just wanted to get the fuck outta
that goddamn hole in the ground!

Once I realized this, I quickly found my way out of the fort, and I started
to walk towards my house.

But wait, what the hell was I gonna tell my parents? “Uuuhh, school was closed today? I don’t think that they would’ve fallen for that one!

I made it to my neighbor’s garage where I began to weigh my options.

Now at this point, I was no further than fifty feet away from the rear door of my house that overlooked our backyard. Remember HockeyBall?

How was I going to get back into that house without being detected? I wouldn’t!

There was company over that day and he just happened to be looking out the kitchen window as I poked my big fat head out
to access the situation.

Hey Sis.
(That’s what everyone called my mother)
Isn’t that Tommy out there
behind Nanny’s garage?
What are you talking about?
He’s in school!

Now I was totally unaware that I’d been spotted at this point. So I just pulled my head back and gathered my thoughts.

By the time my mom got up from her chair and looked out the window, I was gone.
What are you talking about?
There’s no one out there!

My mother was a little pre-occupied that day already. They were getting ready to go visit my grandfather in the hospital. So the last thing she needed was a failed-felon on her hands.

She sat back down and discarded the thought of me being out there. I wouldn’t be so lucky
the next time though.

Sure enough, I poked my melon out
a second time.

Sis, there he is again!
What the hell?
Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
It is him!

Now remember, this is a seven or eight year old kid we’re talkin’ about here back in like 1968, '69 and not Jack the fuckin' Ripper!
Just think about that for a second.

I cut out of second or third grade. Can't remember which one. Man, did I have balls or what! Fuckin’ “A” I did dude. I hadn’t a clue to what 9 times 7 was, but I had balls forged from brass my friend. Forged from brass!

Well, I just lowered my head and started walking out towards my house. Man, I felt like a prisoner of war who had just been captured behind enemy lines.

I quietly gave myself up and volunteered any and all information that the enemy requested.

When I recently asked my mom about this nightmare, she said that I wanted to get caught. I’m thinking that maybe she was right.

I mean, how long could you hangout underground? I was beginning to feel like a worm for goodness sake,
all muddied up and moist.

I got off easy for this stunt. With all the other bullshit goin’ on in the house, I guess missing a day of school wasn’t all that perilous after all.

What did I miss anyway, my Think & Do lesson?

Tommy Mondello Think and Do book
Look at these to fuckin' things.
These are actually 2 of my first grade Think-and-Do books... LoL
Who the hell keeps crap like this... well... me! Do you see the PS22 Board of Education stamp on the inside cover of the book to the left. Pretty neat right?

Face it, I was destined to be a nice kid and not end up on a wanted poster hanging up
in the Principal’s office.

Being Public Enemy Number One was just not in my future! I’ll leave that title to the real life tough guys, like Fonzie... and Joey!

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