August 10, 2017

clarence


If you have a pre-teen or a young teenager in your home, you’d probably know who ‘Clarence’ is (pic above). It is one of the popular cartoon shows on Cartoon Network, featuring the adventure of a dimwitted happy-go-lucky rotund kid called ‘Clarence’. It is said that watching the show will lower your IQ by a few digits but, I think the number should be way higher than that.

There were a few times I watched this show with my daughter, and I couldn’t help but got reminded of a boy in my childhood that deeply resembled Clarence. He wasn’t my friend but, I did play with him a couple of times around the neighborhood (it was a ghetto). I wanted him to be my friend but, every time anyone sees him and asked him to join in with the group, he’d feign cool and walk away – which was funny in a way because he looked anything but cool. He always sport a pair of faded Doraemon sweat shorts, pulled way up above the waist, with his sweaty marked T-shirt tucked in. He looked like a more buffoon version of Clarence, and no one would take him seriously. Maybe he’s just not a people person (which is strange, because I thought I’m not a people person, and I was apparently better than him).

There was once, (I didn’t know how) I was at his place, probably talking about something and we had a disagreement. I didn’t know what we were disagreeing about but, we were just 7 or 8 years old. Probably arguing about how Ultraman eats with that stupid mouth. Anyway, the disagreement escalated into an intense moment, and seeing that Clarence was half a head taller than me and about 1.5x bigger, instead of foolishly take him head on, I used the door to my advantage and slammed it on his face. It hit his face so hard, that the door wobbled for a few seconds… and Clarence stood stunned for twice the time it takes for the door to finish wobbling. Then he broke out in a high pitched wail, like he had been clubbed with a medieval blunt weapon. I wasn’t going to wait for his parents to show up from the inside, so I skedaddled to the nearest elevator and disappeared from the ground zero.

I didn’t see him until a few days later with his grandma. He had a swell on his forehead that made him look even more ridiculous. When he saw me, he pointed me out and his grandma gave me an angsty lecture in Teowchew dialect, which I couldn’t understand shit. I only heard her say a lot of #$%^& and ‘Ling Ling’, which I presume was his name (until I came across the cartoon Clarence). I don’t remember how I reacted but, I think I flipped both of them a bird and got the fuck out of there. That was my last interaction with Clarence a.k.a. Ling Ling, but I did see him around the Air Itam district with his mom (never seen his father, he was raised by his mom after his grandma croaked)… selling lotteries for a living (never seen him in school uniform as well, probably too poor to go to school).

Till this day, I felt bad for slamming the door at Clarence. Did the door hurt him too bad that he couldn’t keep up with his education and that was why he had to drop out of school? Could he have had a better life if he didn’t get hurt by the door that day? I don’t know man. He was already wearing rubber band sweat shorts way above his waist before the incident… so… I use that fact to placate myself that I didn’t ruin his life or anything like that…

michaelooi  | characters  | 

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