Jason Dixon was the best artist in my 6th, 7th and 8th grade elementary school classes.
He was that kid who just had it. He’d doodle these cartoon characters that got people crowded around his desk to admire them. While I made crude comic strips to entertain friends — “Step Off” was my big hit, and by “big hit” I mean it used to crack up my friend Abdul — Jason drew the shit out of stuff as easy as you or I pull up our pants in the morning. Cartoony characters, superheroes, kickass tanks and stuff. He was good.
What he was not good at was blowing his nose.
To this day, the thought of a snotty nose brings Jason and a jingle I sang to (or at) him to mind.
We were in our 6th grade class. It was located in the then new wing of our elementary school building, next to the gymnasium. We had a tall blonde teacher whose last name began with T and who wore pencil skirts. I sat near a kid who would go on to become the Superintendent of Schools in that district. He also played a mean 6th grade piano. There was also my friend Jim, who two years later would get hit by a car while I watched. He was okay, just a little banged up. He remained a Flyers fan, though, so that was a downside. I remember reading Terry Brooks’ “The Sword of Shannara” that year, too, and being taken aback at what a “Lord of the Rings” clone it was.
That was also the year drawin’ man Jason did a crap job of blowing his nose.
(If it seems like I’m building to something good here, rest assured, I am not. You’re about to be let down.)
So one day Jason is all sorts of congested and sick. This comes to mind because I am congested and sick as I write this. Pity me.
Anyway, Jason is congested, and he blows his nose, wipes it, and carries on with his day.
Except he somehow didn’t realize that he had this thick plug of green mucus still filling in one nostril, sitting there like the worst kind of cave-in. Sometimes when he breathed, it would breath too, a little quiver that trembled like Jell-O and occasionally threatened to explode. If he were John Hurt, I’d have expected a tiny alien to burst from it.
How he did not notice this is beyond me.
But naturally, being the little shit that I was, I had to make sure he knew that I noticed it.
So I began to chant in a sing-song, Ramones-esue jingle, “Got a greener! Yeeeeah, yeah! Got a greener! Yeeeeah, yeah.”
Not sure if the term “greener” existed for that brand of stuffed nose. Maybe I made it up. Maybe I didn’t. I hope I did; it’s a pretty good term. Regardless, I chanted. Maybe some of our classmates joined in on the chant. I don’t remember. Let’s pretend they did, because what’s the use of sharing a story if you don’t inflate your moments and make them seem much bigger than they really were?
Anyway, I (and the fictional “we”) chanted, “Got a greener! Yeeeeah, yeah! Got a greener! Yeeeeah, yeah.”
We did that until Jason Dixon got a tissue and wiped the rest of his nose.
That’s the whole story.
Told you I wasn’t building to something.
I don’t know whatever became of Jason. My old hometown was a town with a lot of military families, and his was one of them. Some time during the summer between 8th grade and high school, he disappeared. Presumably his family was shipped off to serve in Guam or something. Military families always had to go somewhere shitty, and just the name “Guam” sounds pretty shitty, like the film that forms on your inner thighs after working in the yard on a hot summer’s day or something.
Wherever he ended up in life, I hope it was good. Maybe he followed his dad’s lead and joined the service. I like to imagine that right now he’s somewhere painting really cool faces and monsters and shit on the nose of fighter jets.
That could be cool.