I remember this day back in 1986, that was the day the Challenger launched and also sadly exploded. I was in middle school, and it was probably my worst year in middle school. I was also the only kid in my class that had any good sense.
I remember hearing about this on the news and feeling bad for the 7 people aboard that flight. As the days went on, I remember hearing about it more and more. I heard the cause was due to some frozen O-rings. NASA was warned against launching that morning because it was too cold. But I believe it was because President Regan was going to be there that day they decided to launch anyway, which was the dumbest idea ever! Regan could have come back another day. Or later on in the day when it would get warmer. The safety of the astronauts should be of prime importance. I guess even a genius corporation like NASA is entitled to make some mistakes. But that one cost 7 people their lives. One of which was a school teacher. She volunteered to go on this trip and her students were watching the event from their own classroom, cheering her on. I can only imagine the look of shock on their faces when the rocket exploded.
I also remember the students in my class talking about it and actually laughing about it. I was mad! So was my teacher, Mrs. Andrews. She asked how anyone can watch the video of the explosion and laugh. I wondered the same thing. But then again, these were the same kids who thought it was funny that Carlos Stewart would assault me every day in class. So, it's not a really big surprise they would think the death of 7 innocent people just doing their jobs was funny. Mrs. Andrews likened it to the video games back then being too violent. I didn't play video games back then, and I was the only kid to show compassion towards these astronauts. That's probably why I have a lot of compassion today, because I did not play video games. I notice a lot of the nastiest trolls I've ever met on YouTube were all video gamers, and also heavily into anime. So, those two things do something to ruin kids' brains. But back in 1986, we did not have the volume of anime cartoons back then that we have today. But also, I noticed kids these days are worse than they were back then. I don't know if Carlos was a fan of anime.
I never did find out what was Carlos's problem with me. I never did anything to him. All I know for sure is my father and I went to a small convenience store on base one evening, and I saw a girl I knew there named BJ. I knew her, and knew she was OK, but we were not really friends. But my dad insisted I go say hi to her. I didn't really want to, but I got out of the car anyway just to see if she'd recognize me. I saw her waving passionately at someone. She was looking my way from inside her car, so I thought she was waving at me. I did what I always do in a case like that, I stood still and waited to make sure she was waving at me. Then I saw Carlos Stewart approach her car, then I figured she was waving at him, so I walked into the store to catch up with my father.
Well, I don't really remember if it was the next day or 2 days later, but very soon after that evening was when I began having problems with Carlos for the first time ever. I'd seen him in class for 2 years before then, never had a problem with him before. So, I never really gave him a second thought. I often wondered if BJ said something to him about me. I also noticed around that time BJ's attitude toward me changed as well. I never considered her a friend, per se, but I thought she was a nicer person than what she was showing towards me now. BJ was one of those uber-popular girls. I think she got angry with me because I said another girl was more attractive than she was.
Well!!!! It was TRUE!!!!
Maybe BJ told Carlos I said that and he didn't like it. Or maybe BJ lied, and told Carlos that I was gay. LOL! Well, I am not gay. I just call them as I see them! Gay was not as well accepted back then as it is today. But I can surely tell you I was not gay. The other girl did just happen to be more attractive than BJ, and BJ's boyfriend dumped her for the other girl. Not my problem! LOL!
Carlos's rampage started small enough at first. He called me names, made fun of my drawings. Which, as anyone can tell you, is fine by me. Some people don't like my style of art and that is OK. And Carlos didn't call me any names I'd never heard before. So, when Carlos found out I wasn't getting mad enough at him for those little things, he started assaulting me every day in class. And the other kids thought it was funny. Especially Jason Ellis, Perry Barnes, and Mark Lewis. Which was a shame, because before Carlos began this tirade against me, I actually liked Mark Lewis. I thought he was cute. And he used to make me laugh. But one event would turn me off Mark Lewis (and boys in general) forever.
I had had it with Carlos's assaults and downright degrading me. Yes, I said BJ was ugly. But not EVERY single day!!!! If that was the hair stuck up Carlos's ass, he was carrying it way beyond what I had done to anyone. And I never assaulted BJ either! Carlos would grab whatever he could and throw it at me when he thought I wasn't looking. He'd get pebbles from outside, or he would chew off the metal tips of pencils, or he would bring little pieces of glass from art class, that was doing sand-blasting at that time. Those were the kind of things he would just randomly throw at me. He didn't throw them at me for me to catch either. He was trying to harm me. He actually revealed that one day in front of the whole class, and they still laughed about it.
Anyway, I told all this to my mom, dad, sis, a few friends, etc. My mom was the one who decided to do something about it. She went to the school to ask my teacher if it'd be OK if I defend myself against Carlos. She was shocked to hear Carlos was throwing metal pencil ends and glass at me. When Carlos was confronted about it by the teacher, he decided to play dumb. And because he played dumb, so did all his fuckwit friends. Next thing I know, I am getting mocked for telling my mom Carlos was throwing glass and metal at me in class. It was the glass and metal I mentioned that got them going crazy. But like I said, I call it like I see it! And it was metal pencil tips and glass he was cracking up and assaulting me with. Even kids who were not involved in this got themselves involved just to laugh at me. My only regret is in not saving the shards and pieces Carlos was throwing at me, so I could show the teacher some proof. As well as the rest of the kids.
My dad, as a cop, could have also got Carlos's DNA off those pieces too, so we'd know for sure those things were not made by me!
Well, one thing I noticed, even Mark Lewis joined them in jeering at me. That was when he showed me his true colors. And I didn't like what I was seeing. Up until then, I thought Mark was a nice guy. But when he took Carlos's side against me, I wanted nothing more to do with him. That especially became finalized when I found out Mark was STILL talking about it all to kids in high school!! These kids sure as Hell had nothing to do with that incident. I said after learning that, that I will NEVER forgive Mark Lewis for that. It's one thing to keep bringing it up when we were in middle school, to Carlos and his friends. But to bring it up in High School, after the whole incident was over, and the kids Mark was telling it to had NOTHING to do with that. No, I was never going to forgive Mark Lewis for that! That was proof enough for me that he was not a good person.
So, the same kids who did all that to me, for no good reason, it didn't surprise me in the least they would think the Challenger disaster was something to laugh at. I cannot help but wonder if those kids still laugh over things like that.
A funny footnote to this story is my second year in high school, I used to spend almost every day in the library after lunch break. Mark Lewis would also be in there with some kind of chess club. I remember one day he was in there, and he and I locked eyes for a few seconds. He smiled at me and nodded his head as if to say hello to me. But I didn't return the greeting. I still didn't trust him! I was thinking "Yeah man, act all nice now. But underneath that smile, he's waiting to tell lies to these students about me and Carlos again! No thank you!" With me, once that trust is lost, it's almost impossible to get back. I don't forgive easily in some cases. Especially when it comes to some idiot boy assaulting me. I didn't trust Carlos either. But in high school, I hardly ever saw him. He and Mark did not hang out with each other as much as they did in middle school.