Friday, November 11, 2005

Flunky Flashback Five-by-Five . . . by Five

Well, no bribes were forthcoming (and I would tell you if they were: I’m an honest sort of extortionist), so I guess it’s all up to me to decide just how much embarrassing stuff I can get away with printing before the assassination attempts begin. So now it's time: time for a look back at the early days of the man who would be a founding member of The Clique; the man who would be my roommate twice over; the man who avoids the reply button almost as much as a vampire avoids sunlight; the man who, while never rising to the level of "arch-nemesis" or "bane of my existence", would at least often qualify as "thorn in my side" and "pain in my neck":the one, the only: Flunky!

Flunky came to OSU halfway through my Freshman year; my pre-Clique memories of Flunky are pretty spotty; as a matter of fact, my solid Flunky recollections from that time number a total of five, which should make the Champion of the Pentacle in the Great Numeral Wars happy:

  1. Going through the lunch line at the S.P.W. cafeteria (a.k.a. "Spew") next to him during his first week, trying to engage in small talk, and failing miserably
  2. G'ovich and Rocket returning from an excursion out to the lake with Flunky a bit freaked out from his talk of his military training with explosives, joking that they had been fearful for their lives
  3. Going to my first OSU wrestling match with an odd mishmash of Parker residents, and hearing someone down at the other end of my row cheering in a manner reminiscent of a wounded wildebeest; a couple of us thought it was one of the future-ATOs, but five guesses who it really was . . .
  4. Flunky taking it upon himself to wage war on The Gutterboys' symbol of power, The Evil Chair (no relation); the battle was lost, but Flunky moved up a few pegs in my book that day
  5. Walking through the Parker living room, singing a song from Little Shop of Horrors, only to be surprised to hear another voice join in; this would be the moment when I decided Flunky was cool; G'ovich, upon hearing this much later, would question my definition of the word.
Now, if you were to ask most Parker residents to name one word or phrase that popped into their heads when they heard the name Flunky, you'd probably get one of 5 (trying to earn as many brownie points as possible before dropping the big bombs) answers:

(1) Axis & Allies : Above all else, Flunky is a game-player, with a particular interest in, nay, let us say an obsession for, strategy games; Axis & Allies was once the pinnacle of his game obsession. The siren call of A&A would usually draw in several others, including Wrath, Dr. G'ovich, and The Old Man; not me, however; I never once played the game. And not just because I didn't care for that sort of game; I got roped into playing variations on it like Shogun fairly often; no, I avoided A&A because Coronela had developed such an all-powerful hatred for the game during her time with Flunky that she made me swear never to play it, a promise I have kept to this very day.

(2) Army: At the time we were living in Parker, Flunky was in the National Guard and would have to leave to go on drill periodically; by the time he graduated he had gone through R.O.T.C. and became an officer, enlisting full-time, eventually having to go overseas after 9/11. But back in the early years, the main impact of Flunky’s Army life would be the times he would often entertain us with cadences and the like, with the P.T. song being a particular favorite. His military life would also be indirectly responsible for the Night of the Face-paint, the evening where he and G’ovich finally discovered their commonalities, but more on that some other time.

(3)The number 5 : I honestly have no clue how this all started; I was not in on the initial discussion, just had to ride out the aftermath. At some point after they discovered each other, G’ovich and Flunky struck up a conversation about which number was better: 3 or 5. For weeks this debate would consume their discussions, as they each tried to come up with some example that would prove theirs to be the superior number; I would occasionally join in the debate, lending support to whichever side seemed to need it at the time, but I could never match them in their zealotry.

(4)Obsession: I talk quite a bit about my borderline-OCD, but trust me, next to Flunky, I’m an amateur. Whether it was A&A, or trying to learn how to do a back-flip, or the latest girl he liked, once Flunky’s eyes were on the prize, little could distract him, no matter how futile the task. He has, of course, mellowed over the years a bit . . . either that, or his desire for world domination has overridden all other obsessions.

and, last but not least . . .

wait for it . . .

it’s coming, I swear . . .

(5)The Short Shorts!
Who wears short shorts?
Ah, yes, here lies the true secret of Flunky’s lady-killer aptitude back in the day: the short shorts. I’ve lost track of how many girls I had to listen to talk about seeing Flunky running around in his little running shorts; I do remember how upset Coronela got at one of them for saying stuff in front of her, though. Now, the picture above is not really a picture of the short shorts; I think some higher power insured that none that were taken actually survived, for the good of humanity; this example of Flunky making love to the camera at the OKC Zoo is the closest we have.

And while each of the above resonates strongly with me (well, except for that last one), very little of that plays into my view of Flunky from the early years. So now I give you the final of my three sets of five: the Five Facets of Flunky:

(1)Whipping boy: I'm honestly not sure exactly when my pattern of constantly picking on Flunky began; the earliest recorded evidence I have of our interaction is from a video tape during Sophomore year, and it was most definitely firmly entrenched by that point; to be frank, my Role in the group at the time (this being before the self-consciousness kicked in) was probably best defined as "The Smartass" . . . or maybe "The Sarcastic Smartass" . . . or most likely "The Singing Sarcastic Smartass" . . . anyway, taking jabs at my friends was just my way of interacting with the group; some people just lent themselves to it better than others, and Flunky most of all. Part of it was probably the way he reacted to the jabs: sometimes playing along, sometimes jabbing back, sometimes conceding the battle, sometimes threatening me with great bodily harm albeit in a joking way . . . I think. It wasn't long before the Flunky-bashing had become almost automatic; during the Year of the Flunky, he would admit that there were times it got to him a little; I would try to scale it back a bit, but it would be hard: he's such an easy target! (See? I can't stop myself!)

(2)Confidant: Flunky was the first person I opened up to about my neurotic nature; not just at Parker, mind you, but ever; yes, he was the poor soul who had to wade through my paranoia and insecurity first, and most often. He was very good at never treating me like I was crazy; sure, he had to have thought it many a time, but he never acted like it. Which is not to say that he just sat there and nodded his head; he was more than willing to slap me around and try to shake me out of my own personal dramas. He also opened up to me about stuff as well; nothing as insane as what was going on in my head, of course . . . well, most of the time, anyway. I tried to be there for him as much as he was for me, but don’t think I always succeeded.

(3)Encourager: While reading through my journal, I came across an entry where I talked about Flunky trying to batter it into my head that I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody; here it is over 10 years later, and that still hasn’t sunk in 100%, I’m afraid. Still, Flunky was always trying to get me to stop living inside my head so much; he also browbeat me about eating right, getting in shape, investing money, and learning to drive a stick-shift; those were even less effective than the “nothing to prove” thing. Still, it’s the thought that counts, although if he couldn’t change weak-willed little me, I don’t know how he thinks he can conquer the world . . .

(4) Brother: Okay, I know it sounds incredibly sappy, and I totally own that; as cynical as I am in so many things, when it comes to my friends and family, I’m as sappy and sentimental as the day is long. As an only child, growing up with no truly close friends, losing myself in a world of movies, TV, and comics, I often wished for a brother; a sleepover at a friend’s house in the second or third grade would quell that wish for quite a while, but it was still there under the surface. When I finally got to Parker and made what I consider my first true friend, trained by years of pop culture saturation, in my mind I instantly adopted him into my family; in the early days I tried to look out for him like he was my little brother, which was craziness, since he’s not only over half a year older than I am, but was also, y’know, in the Army, and trained to shoot and kill and blow crap up. But still, I was always worried about him not doing well in classes (think it used to drive G’ovich crazy when I’d be giving Flunky the cliff notes of the latest play he’d neglected to read on the way to Intro to Theater), always worried about his financial status (there was a problem with his out-of-state tuition waiver at one point), always worried about his mental state (the boy could be a bit dark at times, especially in the pre-Flunky Lover days). Still, over the years the balance of power shifted, and now he’s married with a Spawn of his own, has been sent off to war and back, and now I feel like I’m still a kid in comparison. Even through the dark years, even through all of the lapses in communication, even through my stubborn bitterness, that fraternal bond that exists only in my head has remained; he might drive me crazy sometimes, and frustrate me others, and occasionally incite a desire for violence (oh, if I only had a nickel for every time I uttered the words “I love Flunky like a brother, but the next time I see him I’m slapping him upside the head”), but regardless, I’ll always consider him my brother, even as he tosses me into the lava pit for daring to contest his iron-fisted rule. Family squabbles can be so messy, y’know?

So, if that load of cloying sentimentality was #4, what could possibly top it at #5? There’s only one thing left to adequately describe Flunky now . . .


Yeah, that’s right, Flunkrow: I went there. Game on, bro.


Tina said...

And do I know this infamous Flunky or is he merely fictisious??

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Oh, no Flunky is all too real, but don't think you ever met him; he was lucky enough to attend a Wyandotte football game back in '94, but don't remember anyone from our class being there to introduce him to.