St. Lawrence students email me all the time asking for details about me, Alex Eaton. They say, “So many of your columns seem to be fictional. In Boot ‘n Paddle # 15, you said you have a bald spot and I don’t believe it!” They tell me that they want to know the man behind the column. I usually write back a calm, mildly offensive note suggesting that they get to know themselves before they pry into other people’s lives. It seems to have worked.
However, as a result of a constant battle to try to reinvent myself, I’ve now decided that being open and forthcoming should be valued and practiced on a daily–– no, hourly basis. So, I’m going to put myself out there; I’m going to show this campus (and my parents who read this is Arizona!) who Alex Eaton really is. What better way to introduce myself than to give a sample of what I was like as a child, the basis for who and what I am today? This should also interest my parents as for most of my childhood I was under the supervision of a drifter named Gary.
I have chosen to print a story that I wrote in Kindergarten for the Cornwall Elementary School’s annul literary magazine. This particular story is called the “The Slug” and was accompanied by an illustration, peanut-like, and labeled “Slug.”
Once upon a time there was a fat slug. And he snuck out of the house. Then a kid fell and landed on him on his slimiest part. Then Indiana Jones came to save him. Then he whipped the kid. Then the kid got out his pistol and shot him.
I was a cute little kid.
Okay, sure there’s a certain degree of ambiguity at work… like why was the slug in the house? Who did Indiana Jones really come to save? Whose pistol did the kid use to shoot Indiana? Most importantly, did Gary write this story and try to pass it off as mine? We can’t be sure because Gary was killed with a pair of toenail clippers when I was ten, but I think that he probably did. For those of you who know me (you, now), I am not a very violent person. In fact, I rarely think about whips and firearms; Gary was very passionate about them.
So really, this story doesn’t give you much insight into who Alex Eaton really is. But do you see what happened? In setting up the story and explaining its significance you learned a considerable amount about me. You learned that I am hesitant to divulge details about myself. You learned about my parent’s role in my upbringing. You learned about Gary and the regrettable (and illegal… he was wanted by the police for selling his pee as lemonade) influence on my childhood and presumably my adult life.
I’m really glad I did this. Thanks to everyone who emailed me!