The Ballad of Zach Anner

For those of you that don’t know, Oprah is hosting a contest where she is looking for the next great talk show host. Someone who can bring her the same kind of money and ratings that she earns from Rachel Ray and Dr. Phil. The appeal of this is that anyone can enter, just record a quick video, post it online, and everyone will be happy. So, Zach Anner, Austin humorist and star of the short-lived youtube show “The Wingmen,” decided to enter.

Two things are apparent about Zach right away, the obvious one being that he has need for a wheelchair, which he eventually revealed was because he had cerebral palsy, and that the guy is actually pretty funny. Won’t listen to me about it? How about young celebrity John Mayer?

There has been a bit of drama about the whole event, sadly, with Dr. Phyllis, the person in second place, inexplicably passing Zach, who was actually losing votes. Thankfully, news spread about this, halting any further infringement, as well as allowing Zach to surpass Dr. Phil-less by nearly 2 million vote. Back when the contest was still acting suspicious though, Zach didn’t let that get him down. Instead, he decided he was going to go ahead and shoot his proposed travel show, without Oprah’s help.

So, while I honestly hope that Zach does win the Oprah show, I’m doing my damnedest to spread the word of Zach regardless. So, either vote, or watch his youtube videos, or do something. Regardless, there is entertainment to be had.

Is it me? Am I the weird one?

I remember when I realized I was the weird kid.

Well, okay, this may have not been the exact moment, but it is definitely one of them.

I was in fifth grade, my last year as a student in my Catholic grade school. The way our classes was organized was that we had three teachers, each of which taught two subjects. One teacher taught math and English, another taught history and…something else and the third teacher taught science and theology. In hindsight, the fact that the same teacher taught both is terrifying to adult me, but back then, I didn’t give it two thoughts.

One day, in the science portion of my academic routine, we were assigned a new project. We were each given a bean, and we were supposed to get it to grow using an unorthodox source of liquid, as well as a control sample with which we used water. Now that I think about it, it may have been a group project, but one we only worked on in class. I was in charge of the experimental liquid portion of the project, and our group decided to use orange juice on the bean, specifically, Sunny D.

I agree Lil' Jon, it is pretty good.

Each day in class, I was in charge of giving our plant a little bit of Sunny D, trying to be careful so as to not over-water it. On day three, I had a realization; I could drink some of the Sunny D in class. This was back when the only drink one could really get was water from the fountain, and, suddenly, I had another option, a nectar from the gods, if you will. Think about it, if you had the chance to enjoy a refreshing orange drink when you’re supposed to be learning about plant growth, wouldn’t you take the opportunity? I know I did, and I enjoyed that citrusy goodness. Not too much, just a sip or two, something to excite my palate but still have enough juice to finish the experiment. I felt like Lex Luthor stealing right under Superman’s nose, which made the moment all the sweeter.

Of course, like Lex Luthor, I got caught.

The guy was an awful President, but he can pose.

On day four or five, I was hamming it up in class, something I was apt to do on occasion, jokingly drinking from the juice as if the action would take the others in my group by surprise and I would be crowned some kind of king. Instead, I got in trouble. Without pointing fingers, I believe one of the more spoiled girls in the class pointed out, rather loudly, that what I was doing was gross, and, of course, the teacher overheard her.

“Jamie, are you drinking your juice?” I remember her condescending tone, one teachers were quick to use on any and every student.

I wish he had been my teacher.

“No…” It probably didn’t help my case that I fell back on what every ten year old does in this situation and lied. The whole class had their eyes on me in this situation, and I was quickly diminishing in pride.

“Jamie, you are drinking your juice. That is not what this experiment is about, you’re supposed to be growing your plant.” I was decimated, destroyed, demolished, just like every little kid who is made to look like a fool in front of all of his peers. Then, the coup de grace as she looked over at my tiny little bean’s pot of soil.

“Your plant is dead.”

Way to pour salt on the wound lady. Way to completely dominate a little boy as he works on a project that, lets be honest, you probably know wasn’t going to work to begin with.

So, I’ll let you decide internet. Was what I did weird? Or completely predictable for a small child? Regardless, this moment has stuck with me for life, and I don’t care. I would drink the juice again given the chance. It was delicious, more so because I got away with it in the school, and, even if it does make me the weird kid, I don’t care. I’ve been that way for years, and I’m proud of it.

Proud, I say.

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