Monday, March 15, 2010


As promised last week, here are Tom's opening remarks from the original manuscript of Fouling Out. Perhaps it will provide more insight into his character. Any feedback is welcome. Leave a comment if you'd like.

Life is supposed to be a lot of fun, isn't it? I mean, I'm a kid so that's what it's all about. I don't know about adults. They seem to spend all their time making sure people don't have fun.

I guess they let some people have fun as long as it's the quiet, boring kind of “fun” that I have no interest in. Like reading. Or playing Rummy.

Maybe adults all had bad childhood experiences so they want to make sure I go through my share of them, too. I'm certain I've already had more than enough. Somebody else out there must be getting a free ride.

My name's Tom Hanrahan and I'm twelve years old. In just three months, I'll be transformed from a child to an adolescent as I enter my teen years. I don't usually care much for birthdays, but this one's gonna rock. It'll be a whole new start for me.

I wish you could move out when you're thirteen. I could manage just fine. I don't really see why society would want to fight so hard to keep me with my family. What's that saying about walking a mile in another person's shoes? If some government person or earnest social worker walked even a couple meters in my Nikes, I'm sure they'd tell me to toss the shoes and walk barefoot.

I'm not going to tell you about my family 'cuz I just don't know how to explain it all. My folks are still together, but I wouldn't say that's a good thing. I'm the youngest of four kids. Don't go calling me the baby of the family. I hate that. Who came up with that stupid expression anyway? It must have been someone who's an older brother or sister who wanted the satisfaction of branding the youngest one for life. How can any sane, educated person call a twelve year old the "baby of the family" and not stop to question the sense of it?

See, that's what I do. Anytime someone asks me about my family, I find a way to stray off subject until the person forgets what was asked in the first place.

For a person like me, school should be a welcome retreat. It's not. If I make it through grade twelve, I'll shock not only every teacher that's ever had me, but myself as well. I'm not exaggerating. My teacher last year, Mr. Osmond, actually said to me in front of the whole class that I was "just plain stupid" and that I'd "never amount to anything." Funny how I can't remember anything else he said or taught during the whole year.

He's probably right.

I think teachers get ticked off 'cuz they get stuck with students like me. I wouldn't want to have to teach me. Anyway, school's not really about numbers and verbs. I'm the most popular kid by a long shot. Everyone knows me. Everyone wants me on the same team in P.E. I’ve been the best basketball player in the school for at least the last three years. That makes me extra cool. Everyone wants to be seen with me at lunch and recess.

Too bad they don't give you grades for recess.

My best friend's Craig Trilosky. We've been in the same class together since grade two. We've always done everything together. If he ever moved, I don't know what I'd do. He's the only cool guy in the whole school. (Of course, he's not as cool as me, but I wouldn't want anyone to be cooler than me anyway.)

Lately, he's been acting a little different--like he's too good for me or something. Sometimes he bows out of hanging out after school so he can do, get this,…homework. He's not the homework type. We haven't had a fist fight for two years, but I think that's what it's coming to. It's up to me to remind him that we're supposed to be having fun.

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