The brain is a funny organ.
When it gets injured or otherwise goes haywire for whatever reason, people can seem trapped inside otherwise healthy bodies that aren’t responding because their brain won’t fire correctly.
So many people suffering from some sort of dementia can’t remember the names of their loved ones, but could tell you the rules to a card game, or remember the address to their childhood home they haven’t visited in over 65 years. It’s craziness.
The brain is even a mystery when it’s working normally. For me, I don’t have the slightest clue why I’m able to remember some things from long ago in fairly intricate detail, but I oftentimes can’t remember what I did just weeks or even days before (alcohol jokes not appreciated, thank you).
Sometimes, I’ll just see something and it’ll trigger a memory about a person or place instantly, such as during my jog this afternoon when I saw a banner in front of a Mexican restaurant flaunting a not so great margarita special (in my opinion) every Thursday starting March 12th.
I guess something in my brain associated March 12th and Mexican with Mark Martinez because I spent the next two miles thinking about Mark even though I hadn’t for years and years.
Who is Mark Martinez?
On August 13, 1991, I was 18 years old and living in a college dorm because soccer practices started before most people had to report for classes. It was mostly the soccer players and other fall sport athletes on campus, so it’s possible that I had practice twice that day and spent the rest of the time screwing off or getting drunk. I’m sure I was doing something stupid for sure. It was my freshman year and I was just stepping into an exciting new chapter of my life.
On that same date, 45 or so miles to the west, Mark Martinez was in a section of St. Louis City that I’d be patrolling only eight or so years after this day. In 1991 though, Mark had been partying with a friend and wasn’t ready for the night to be over, even though it was after 4 am.
Mark was also 18 years old, and by this time, I hadn’t seen him in several years. I didn’t know the Mark who was trying to buy drugs from a group of people in a dangerous neighborhood at the same time I was probably sleeping off a night of drinking myself, safe and sound in my dormitory bedroom.
I was at the cusp of beginning the best years of my life, and while I was probably dreaming of a bright future, Mark died in the driver’s seat of his 1987 Dodge Charger. Drug deals can be very hairy, especially late at night and into the morning when everyone involved has been boozing all night. Shit can happen real fast, and it did to Mark. A bullet tore through his chest and did what bullets can do.
It occurred to me, during my run, that Mark’s birthday is today, March 12th.
I remember this because my birthday is a few days before his and we shared parties at school. Every year, I’ve remembered Mark on March 12th.
I went to a Catholic school for four years of my life, and Mark was a classmate and a friend. He was an excellent athlete and could always give me a run for my money when we competed.
The Mark I remember invited me to his house for a birthday party the likes of which a young DOAT had never seen. He was very Mexican and his family was large and liked to have fun. That’s all I’ll say about that party.
He also had a bike that I coveted. It was a Mongoose Bike, and it had mag wheels. I always wanted a bike with mag wheels instead of spoked wheels, but never did get one. Once, at a fish fry at the school, I fell down on the playground and Mark accidentally rode his mag wheeled bike over my head. Literally, he rode it over my head like a speed bump. It’s no exaggeration to say that the knot on my forehead was the size of a baseball.
I was 10 years old and remember walking the mile or so it took to get to my baby sitter’s house crying the whole way. One of the sitter’s older daughters finally found me and comforted me until my mom picked me up. It’s a silly thing to remember, but I can remember the exact place on the parking lot where it happened.
My brain has also just reminded me that I get to do happy hour tonight to celebrate the birthday/going away to Afghanistan of a friend of mine, so now I’m super happy! I’m going to my favorite law school bar! I haven’t been there to drink in geez, months and months for sure.
So that you too will be happy when you leave this ridiculous post, please watch the video below.
My friend Stephanie from Mommy For Real is one of those people who has musical talent. She started a thing she called Parentz Bop and asked her blogger type friends to send her a song parody about parenting, so I wrote a quickie that I hope you’ll like! It’s worth it just to hear Steph sing and play the piano!