We are…

When I was a young boy, Christmas was a special time. Every Christmas Eve we stopped by my grandparents’ party, getting showered with adoration and split beer and enveloped in hugs stinking of cigarette smoke. From there, we would drive the 20 minutes to my uncle’s house, just the four of us, my mom, sister, brother and I. Winding through wintry Pennsylvanian roads, we travelled, usually bickering but also filled with anticipation, thoughts of Santa and magic dusting the night.
Deer crossing signs appeared roadside, wearing red stickers on the nose, anonymously changed in the holiday spirit. I remember looking out of my icy window and seeing these signs, catching my breath as I inhaled the pure joy and expectation of the morning to come.
My uncle’s house was different then ours, or my grandparents. Involved in computers since the early 80’s, he always had beautiful big, expensive houses. It’s in his house that I first felt self-conscious, embarrassed about my clothing, our clothing. My insecurity only lasted briefly, only until my eyes settled on the array of sweet meats and candies that always adorned his decorated tables. Even though his house wasn’t ours, the magic of Christmas made it ours if only for just one night. We would eat and play with our cousins and be placed sleepily into our car to return home and await Santa Claus. This is how my early years were passed.
On my eighth Christmas Eve, we kept with tradition and celebrated at my uncles. My cousin Mike, 9, and I were playing and I mentioned Santa. His eyes lit up upon hearing the word then he mockingly told me Santa was not real. As if happy to spread his pain, he wouldn’t let it drop and as much as my tiny mind tried to combat the offensive, doubt started to win over. We sought out my uncle who only confirmed this blasphemy. In a quiet white room, I was told there was no Santa. Now, as I think about it, it probably was not as dramatic as I remember, but I can still see the look on my cousin’s face as he took pleasure in my sorrow. Happy to see me chopped down, happy that I, too, now lost the magic.

The country is now trying to expose Penn State, to steal its magic.

The first five people to call me to offer their “condolences” were a person who is divorced because he was having sex with hookers behind his wife’s back, a racist, a pill addict, and two men in their thirties who are in and out of jobs. Out of these five, two have degrees through what I would consider okay four-year schools and the other three might have community college credits or have attended a division 3 school somewhere. Like my cousin all those years ago, the pleasure that dripped from the tongues of these people when they called me was disgusting. How “sad” they were about the situation, the victims. Each word pressed into me like a pin. The glee they got from relaying the sordid details of the scandal made me sick.

Now these last few days have been the saddest in my life since 9/11. Even with my grandparents’ passing, I felt solace in the fact that they were finally at peace. What has happened at State College is incomprehensible to most of us that have been a part of the school, the culture and the community. The sadness for the young boys who have been raped of their youth is appalling and the fact that it had gone on so long is unacceptable. It scares me is how the situation was handled by all involved.  If I was still there Sandusky’s house would of burnt last week.
On a personal level, I am disgusted to see how happy people are to expose each other. Our blood thirsty culture reminds me of only one thing: Rome before the fall. Take all the good things a person like Joe Paterno has done over the years, all the players guided, all the money given, all the happiness brought. Have you seen one of those stories on national news, ever? Now, scandal ripples through State College and everyone in the country has an opinion.  You have Casey Anthony, terrorist fuck heads, bankers this, ecoli that, bad,worst, brutal. We want more, we don’t want heroes anymore, we want everyone to be torn down to make us feel better. Feel better about our dreams that somehow washed away.

The Lion

So you got us. One hundred and fifty-six years of a university, hundreds of thousands of alumni who have gone out into the world and made it a better place. Years of enjoyable sports led by an Italian American that wore his heart on his sleeve in a modest house across from a campus he loved. Burn it all down, America. I mean this country is so pure, your households are so pure. We will join in your oversimplified political correctness misery and demise.  Crucify Paterno for his mistakes, crucify us for still loving the guy. I don’t give a fuck. Unless you went there, lived, learned and loved there, you would never understand.  Joe Paterno is like our grandfather, the city a second home.  You would never understand the unity and the pride of Penn State and I promise I will remember when the shoe is on the other foot.  Even with our shame I am proud of my school and will live with it. After all, I Am, We Are…Penn State.

Riding into the sunset


4 Responses to “We are…”

  1. 1 Crazy Chris
    November 15, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Well said my friend! Miss you!

  2. 2 breese
    November 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I hope your well Mike.
    I was at the game Saturday. Sad but rich with people/alumni looking to lead the university to the forefront of childhood abuse awareness and to continue carrying the profound pride and honor that we feel. If we only wore our pride on Saturdays and in the good times well, I guess that wouldn’t really be pride at all. Most, beyond our servicemen and women, unfortunately won’t ever know the kind of pride in which you are referring.
    please visit RAINN.org

  3. November 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Good points! People are generally happy to tear someone down rather than help them up…the self gratification is more immediate and transferrable, and easier. Hey look what I did…look how I made my mark…listen to my words…BLAH BLAH BLAH. Go occupy someone else’s fuckin outhouse.

    Everyone should be into making the world a better place, starting right in their own house when the feet hit the floor every morning, everything else is all bullshit or opinion.

    JoPa’s legacy will never be erased, and it will stand the test of time.

    PS – I have some community college credits, but I never went to PSU. Just found your post on a friends FB wall.

  4. February 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I for all time emailed this website post page to all my associates, since if like to read it next my friends will too.

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