(Foreword: If you've been tagged, press Ctrl+F and type your name to find where I mentioned you.)
(Foreword 2: Unique people tagged thus far: 25/25. Andrew was 24th, and Jacob was 25th.)
(Foreword 3: This note may be too long for a lot of you but I put in some facts that I'd be embarrassed to reveal in a typical conversation. To feel comfortable about adding them, I bury them in a sea of other text so they're hard to find. If you still insist on finding them, get "ReadPlease" at http://www.ReadPlease.com and have the program narrate my note for you.)
24.Here is what I would do different and change things if I somehow woke up in the past. Let us assume that all of my memories and everything I've learned up to February 16, 2009 (today) somehow remains intact no matter how far into the past I wake up.
24a.If I wake up on the first day of my Freshman Year of college, I would drop French, return the French textbooks for a refund, and take Japanese. "French I" at K-State had us move way too fast.
24a.i.If I had the fortune of growing up in a bigger town whose school district offered French at their Middle and High schools, (THANKS FOR NOTHING, CHAPMAN!!! Manhattan or Salina, I missed growing up with you instead.) I would have been able to learn French at the right pace that I'd have more time for other things in life and still keep everything manageable. It's like French was a now-or-never subject to learn from high school (at most.)
24a.ii.(Somehow, I was comfortable with Kyoko Mizuno-sensei's Japanese-instructing regimen when she still taught at K-State.)
24a.iii.I would also have joined the PILOTS program ASAP and get as many tutors as I can for the subjects I took that year, ASAP.
24a.iv.Also on the first day of classes that year, I got a call from my interviewer, but didn't know it at the time. That's because Alltel was wrangling with lawyers to let us have Caller ID. My phone rang in a lecture class, and I whispered that I couldn't speak right now because I had class, and hung up. I hadn't realized it was the interviewer from Sears until days or weeks later.
For that, I would wait outside of the lecture hall until the call came, then I'd get to have a full talk with him. Hopefully I'd have won at the Interview and the call would have been an offer for me to attend a new employee's orientation in a few days! Or maybe that they found a better-suited candidate so I was passed over in their selections.
If I did get the job and had started working at Sears, how different would my life be today???
24b.If I wake up in January 1995, when my youngest sister Mimi was born, I would beg my Dad not to forcibly stop himself from being able to procure more siblings. (Like he did later that month. The TMI boundaries are cloudy to me, so I don't know if this is overstepping bounds or not. However, I tried what I could to make it as discreet and politically correct-sounding as possible. If you have any ideas on how to make this sound less TMI'ish, I'm all ears but I still want to mention that I cannot have brothers now.)
24b.i.Knowing that I'm the last male Shultz in the lineage, (no first and second paternal male cousins, remember?) I would beg my Dad to let us have a biological brother so that I wouldn't have to worry about getting married and extending the family lineage myself. I'd hope and pray that my brother would have the social clout needed to start his own family.
24b.ii.I'd keep begging Dad until I was as blue in the face as a KU Jayhawks fan!
24c.If I woke up at the beginning of the last week of classes in May 2004, I would apply to join the Flint Hills Job Corps because with the pleasant dorm-like living amenities, and the fact that they train students for various jobs, I would have completely avoided my "Second Year of Hell," which will be covered in a future blog.
24c.i.If the Flint Hills Job Corps somehow rejected my application, I'd opt to go down to the Leadership Training Camp at Kansas Bible Camp northwest of Hutchinson to train to be a staffer/counselor. Even though the staff cabins have less amenities than my current apartment, it would have been FAR better than the way I lived from May 2004 - May 2005.
24c.ii.I understand that first-year staffers aren't given as many weeks to staff and counsel as the more seasoned co-staffers. However, if I explained to Andrew Hawkinson (a highly amicable, godly fellow who is one of KBC's top leaders) what my living situation would be if I had to return home, he would likely be merciful enough to let me stay and staff all summer. All that hard, manual work in maintaining buildings, grounds, chopping wood, and anything else needed done would have been the most pleasant alternative straight from Heaven.
24c.iii.After getting to know enough people at KBC, SOMEBODY would have arranged for me to start working a decent-enough job to help me get by better and start going back to college.
24d.If I woke up sometime in August 2004, I would not have applied to work at a fast-food establishment that I hate to even mention anymore. (I still order meals from there once in a while, but everyone deserves better than to work there; only robots should IMHO.)
24d.i.I didn't enroll for classes that semester because I didn't have a place to live in Manhattan. But assuming I wake up at that point in the past, I would have enrolled for classes ANYWAY, and find places to sleep in the following ways:
24d.ii.2 days: Sleepover at Jacob Engle's dorm.
1 day: Sleepover at Jacob Holland's dorm. (DY was particular about visitors, according to Holland. At least he's not a Director there anymore.) (YAY, JAKE! Last but most, YOU'RE TAGGED FRIEND #25!! I made the goal!)
2 days: Sleepover at the home of a mutual friend of Holland and Engle.
2 days: Sleepover at the home of another mutual friend of Holland and Engle.
24d.iii.Better to be homeless and alternate between places to sleepover than to live in the place I did that time!
24e.If I woke up on March 22nd, 2007, a day we went shopping in Salina, right before we went to Sam's Club, I would have opted to browse around in Target (next door) instead.
24e.i.That way, I would have avoided an encounter with "Jeanessa DeSpatznio (née Ryndella)" (aliased) and her parents. Had they never seen me, there never would have started a chain of events that led to one of the biggest dramas in my life that I still ache very much from to this day.
24f.If I woke up on December 12, 2002, I would have never tried to ask her sister, "Jeanine Ryndella" (aliased) out, as it somewhat tied in to the drama of 24e. If this never happened, I would have been fine meeting "Jeanessa's" family at Sam's Club four years and three months later. On that December day, I probably would have asked out "Alpharetta Coate" (aliased) instead.
24g.If I woke up in the beginning of my 7th grade year again, (!!!) I would not put up with "Mrs. Fazekas" (aliased) the second time. Looking back, I would Much rather embark on a cross-country hiking trek than deal with her again!
24g.i.I would put together some camping supplies, pack clothes in my backpack a bunch of snacks, and etc., and hide them somewhere in my room. I'd steal some of my parents' cash (At 12, I'd have less qualms about theft especially for the sake of escape) and one night, when my parents can't see or hear me, I'd sneak out and run away!
24g.ii.Once out of there, I guess I'd try to hitch-hike to San Diego, where Uncle Steve lived (and still lives today.) (I don't think I should tag him; he's too good to me to be called attention to this note!) Generally, people are more charitable to 12-year-olds than they are to adults, so I probably would've been picked up more often and be left more money to help myself survive.
24g.iii.Let's say s/he gets very conversational:
Driver: "So, kid. What's your name?"
Me: "Leoric Albrecht Roper. Call me Leo for short."
24g.iv.Driver: "Where are you from, who are your parents, and why are you running away, Leo?"
Me: "My parents are Shirley and Brent Roper. We're from Topeka, and do you know about Matthew Shepard?"
24g.v.Driver: "No, I don't. What about him? What's going on?"
Me: (thinking to myself: "Oh, no! He hasn't happened yet!! Let's play psychic though.") "He was a homosexual college student that a couple of punks beat up and left to die somewhere in Wyoming. When our family heard about it, they went to picket his funeral, saying nasty things like he's now burning in Hell, and other horrible stuff. I guess it wasn't on the news in your neck of the woods, or something. If you know anything about Fred Phelps, he's my grandfather, and the pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.
I ran away because I got far too disgusted with my family and their hateful ways. I'm the unluckiest boy in Kansas to have ever been born into that family. I want to be someone else now, so I'm going to San Diego to live with someone I know."
24g.vi.Driver: "That's sad, and they're a bunch of sick people. You must be the wisest kid in the family to know better enough to run away from them. Who do you know down there?"
Me: "Some third cousin once removed. I call him my "Uncle" for short and because it's easier. He's also sickened by the Phelps and Roper family, and will give me a much better life once I make it to his house."
24g.vii.Driver: "I don't know where I'll drop you off, but what if a cop or someone wants to take you back?"
Me: "I would hope they'd be understanding when I tell them that if I'm EVER brought back, my folks will beat me so hard I'll have to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life. They're hateful AND strict! Or at best, they'll disown me and deny EVER having me for a son. If they decided to take me back and beat me, and I called Child Protective Services on them, they're also a bunch of lawyers! They'll sue CPS out of commission and abuse me even harder for making that call!"
24g.viii.Driver: "Tell you what: How about I drive you to Salina and buy you a Greyhound bus ticket to San Diego? Then you'll not have to worry about those evildoers anymore."
Me: "REALLY? You'd do that?!"
24g.ix.Driver: "If that'll get you a better life, sure! I'll just have to tell the station attendants that I'm your aunt/uncle and sending you off to live with your other uncle, then they'll be sure to let you on by yourself."
Me: "Aww, you're the nicest guy/woman in the world!"
24g.x.At the bus station:
Station attendant: "Can I see your ID?"
Me: "What ID? I'm only 12."
24g.xi. Station attendant: "Some schools give you student IDs. Do you have one?"
Me: "No, I was homeschooled by my family. Homeschoolers don't get student IDs."
24g.xii.Station attendant: "Ok, I guess I'll have to take your word for it, Leoric. Here's your ticket. Get on the bus before #:##, because that's when it leaves."
(Then we say our goodbyes, and the hitcher tells me whatever advice, etc.)
24g.xiii.I didn't carry around my military ID card either; Mom had it in her purse because if I had to go anywhere that I needed to show my ID card (principally Fort Riley,) then I would most likely be with Mom. Chapman Middle School didn't issue student IDs back then, and I highly doubt any school in USD 473 does now. (A growing amount of elementary and middle schools are issuing them now, however. Back in the '90s though, that was maybe 1-in-150 schools?) At least I would've had a convincing excuse not to carry any form of ID with me at age 12.
24g.xiv.I would hope that a radio and/or local TV APB would be put out about my disappearance only once I was in Oklahoma or Colorado, therefore out of range of the bus's radio and their stations' TVs.
24g.xv.I would anticipate the following:
My driver who picked me up would see this news report. "Oh, he lied to me!! I guess he was afraid that I'd return him to his REAL family. His life predicament must be nearly as bad as what he told me otherwise he wouldn't have ran away in the first place."
Then s/he'd tell the police that the picture and description my family provided matches his/her hitchhiker. Once at the police interview, she'd tell them I was headed off to San Diego, so they'll ask the San Diego P.D. to wait for a boy fitting the description to get off the bus there.
24g.xvi.So if my bus was headed west on I-70, then chances are, I'd stop for a layover in Las Vegas. Knowing cops would wait for me in San Diego, I'd then hike down the Strip and try to hitchhike a limousine:
Celebrity: "What's a KID with a hiking pack doin' tryin' to hitch a ride!? Driver, pull over!"
Celebrity: (rolls down window) "Hey kid, what you hitchin' fo'?"
Me: (sniffles) "I have an abusive life back home. I can NOT go back; that's like sending a runaway Jew back to a concentration camp! I HATE it there! And can I come in?"
24g.xvii.Celebrity: "Yeah, get in. Tell me all about it."
(I hop in the limousine)
Me: (coming clean with the truth) I ran away to prevent "Mrs. Fazekas" from ruining my life. She's a (faculty title that'll let people know too much about me) who (a job description that creates the same effect). I would get hated and bullied by too many classmates because of that! I also want to date girls very much now; no girl will ever give me a chance if they know about it!
"Mrs. Fazekas" is practically someone out of an Orwellian novel; I won't have the freedom that I would get to have without women like "Mrs. Fazekas around. Because of her, I'll get in more severe trouble for anything, than I would without her around. Other kids who don't have her would get to get away with it, because she isn't so Orwellian around them. Even if a typical teacher caught them, they'd get less of a punishment than "Mrs. Fazekas" would give me."
24g.xviii.Celebrity: "So it's because she'll be (job description) all the time, that you'd get in more trouble all the time? Hey, you know, I share, and like, your rebellious spirit. If she taught everybody, I'd bet of you students would rebel against her in some way. Heck, if I was at your school, I'd probably be leadin' the charge!
So, were you headed here to hopefully get into the show business?"
Me: "Naw, I left the Greyhound station here because I think my parents had to have reported my disappearance to the police by now.
I think it went on local TV and radio, and the guy/gal who picked me up when I hitchhiked may have seen a report of me on the news and told police that I was headed to San Diego. Now they must've told the SDPD to wait for me at their bus stop, so I got off here. I'm hoping I can find any different ride to San Diego now. Doesn't matter what it is."
24g.xix.Celebrity: "What were you gonna do in San Diego?"
Me: "I don't remember Uncle Steve's address anymore, so I was going to find it in the phone book and live with him. He'll get me in a far better school with far more different types of classes than I was at. Man, my school sucked!"
24g.xx.Celebrity: "Did you tell your driver that you'd be visiting an uncle?"
Me: "Yeah? Why?"
24g.xxi.Celebrity: "That ain't safe either now. When the police gets your driver and your parents together, and they exchange what they know, the police will also stake out Uncle Steve's house. Even if they don't right now, they will when they realize you aren't getting off at the San Diego bus stop!
Me: "Aww, no! NOW what'll I do???"
24g.xxii.Celebrity: "How about I make you disappear 'til you're at least 18? I've got LOTS of connections! They'll give you a new name, a new face, and a new life. I know a few celebrity friends who'd want to adopt kids like yourself, man. You don't need a crummy, messed-up life like you did back at home, dawg. Why not just chill with us and make it big? What do you like to do?"
Me: "Wow! I'd like to act and sing! I want to be KNOWN all around the world, (celebrity!) What do you mean a new "face?" You're giving me a facelift, as in plastic surgery?"
24g.xxiii.Celebrity: "Haha! You got 'dat right! But I ain't givin' it; I know some cosmeticists who will. We're gonna start you on the path to STARDOM! You'll be the poster child of a bad life turned glamorous! I promise I'm gonna make you BIG!
Driver: "We're just about to enter your concert, sir. Better put your flash-glasses on and get ready!"
Celebrity: "Yeah, a'ight. Take Christian to my hotel room. I'll send some of my associates to help him start the big time!"
Me: "Can I have your autograph before you go?"
Celebrity: "Yeah, just a second." (pulls out resume stationery; signs.) "Here you go; have fun with it."
Me: "COOL! Thanks!"
(End of Dialogs)
24g.xxiv.Then I suppose the limo-driver or another one of the celebrity's concierges escorts me to a penthouse suite on the top floor of a Strip hotel. I get to shower, enjoy the lavish digs and prepare myself for stardom under a new identity. Hopefully he gets me a facelift before news of my disappearance goes national because I'd hate for people to recognize me anywhere for the WRONG reasons! I'd then flip on the TV and hope I haven't made national headlines.
24g.xxv.(Conclusion of 24g: The events depicted in this hypothetical runaway situation may seem largely unrealistic, but I unleashed my "storyteller's side" today. I aspire to be a renowned fiction author one day, and this may become the basis for one of my books.)
24h.If I woke up in the beginning of my SIXTH grade year, I would be far better behaved and do much better in pretty much everything then. I probably wouldn't be as enchanted at playing "Sim City 2000," now that I've since gotten seasoned with more sophisticated games. How I'd be in 6th grade the second time around wouldn't require "Mrs. Fazekas" anymore.
24h.i.I'd also draft my parents a sincere, heartfelt note requesting that we move closer to wherever Dad worked (Salina or Topeka; unsure) because schools are much better there and I hate depriving my childhood by being stuck in Chapman. I would hope they'd at least transfer me to Abilene Middle school, though I don't know if their USD 435 buses would have a route to pick me up from.
24h.ii.Ah, I think since Dad alternated between working in Topeka and Salina but still lived in Chapman nonetheless, Manhattan would have been the ideal place to live, as it is pretty much halfway between Salina and Topeka. Either one of Manhattan's two middle schools would've been paradise for me!
24h.iii.Thanks to the horrendous acoustics of (the now-former) Herington Middle School's auditorium, I would know that when the spelling bee pronouncer sounded like she said "Voluminist" (as in a person who voluminizes or something like that,) that she really meant "voluminous." (That is, if I still don't manage to make my family move to someplace better.
24i.If I woke up on the day we went to Mount Unzen (April 20, 2008,) I would not have tried to ask a communist out. (The communist was "Si Miao "Cissi" Chienne" (name somewhat changed) and apparently thought I acted too "democratic" for her.) "Kayli Lordship-Bourgeois" (aliased; the one from New York, not Minnesota) witnessed this and said, "Oh, Christian, stop it!"
24i.i.Since I will have already hiked up to the top of Mount Unzen the first time, I'd opt to take the gondola with "Stelson Biaki" (name changed) and a few others from the GaiDai who went on there.
24i.ii.Instead, I would probably try to have "practice dates" with my conversation partner, Sasaki Madoka (apparently not on Facebook.) We got along all throughout the semester so she showed promise.
24i.iii.Next time I make friends with more communists, I'll only date one if she's also a Christian. My heart would melt at her rebellious spirit!
24j.If I woke up at the end of my 3rd grade year, I would have told my parents about Kansas Bible Camp down in Hutchinson, and how they only subsist on donations; they don't require a mandatory set fee.
24j.i.Since our family didn't have an Internet subscription to go on the Internet with, I would have to call the Operator and ask for the Kansas Bible Camp near Hutchinson. (This is assuming the number back then was different from 316-662-7791. The 620 area code wasn't introduced until I was in high school.) S/he'd then give me the number for it, then connect me to the camp staff. Then I'd ask for a camper's application to be sent to our home address.
24j.ii.I think there were three co-ed Elementary camps per summer, and two Elementary Boys' camps, so I'd get to have up to 5 weeks away from my family. I know the general rule is to only go to one camp per summer, but if my parents donated enough and/or sweet-talked the staff into letting me, I may have gone to more than one of KBC's camps that summer.
24j.ii.Camping at summer camps where I can make new friends and learn even more in life would've made my summers the times of my life! That would have beat rotting around Chapman all day and going to a slide-less pool, by a landslide. After KBC, I guess I'd also beg my parents to take me to other camps.
24j.iii.Or if they weren't willing to take me to more than that camp that year, I would have begged my parents to let me join the Boy Scouts. Dad was afraid somebody would abuse me, but I'd try to convince him that I'd tell him right away if such a thing happened so THEN Dad could pull me out of there!
24j.iv.(Conclusion for the ENTIRE NOTE: Wow! I don't know how many hours I've spent on this but after 10 sections of Fact #24 and countless subsections of all of them, I think it's time I ought to wrap this up and submit!! Good to get a LOT out of my system today! Have a good night, you all!)
(Continued on "LAST long FACT about myself! 25/25: Planned future home, and a future to change for energy." After so long, I have finally published my 25th!)