With apologies to Val Kilmer, Vanilla Ice, and anyone who has ever stocked an ice machine with bags of ice... myself included.
I considered beginning a new feature here on IYROOBTY, with a working title of High School Memories. But since I only remember about four things that happened in high school, I thought better of it. Nevertheless, today's post takes us back to a time of pep rallies, hall passes, lunchroom pizza, and falling asleep in study hall, and every other class for that matter.
He was just another student in my class, who may or may not have repeated a grade to get there. He was an outcast with an intermittent body odor and/or hygiene problem. Until 1990. When Vanilla Ice released "Ice Ice Baby." Then he was an outcast with an intermittent body odor and/or hygiene problem, and a self-given nickname. Iceman.
Before 1990, he would walk around making beatbox noises with his mouth, often singing "Paul Revere." After 1990, his song of choice was "Ice Ice Baby." I think he even had a shirt with "Iceman" written/embroidered/ironed on it.
We somehow wound up with part-time jobs at the same place for a short while in high school. The manager called him into a meeting one day and told him he would have to bathe before he came to work. Every day. Or he would be terminated.
But my favorite Iceman memory occurred sometime between 9th and 11th grade. I think. He brought a small briefcase to class several times, labeled "Project Nova." We asked him what it was. He said he was working on a secret project for the government.
First of all, I can't imagine what all has to be going on in your life to cause you to concoct such a story and carry it out amongst your peers in school. Nevertheless. The legend of Project Nova grew.
Finally, one day in class Iceman opened the briefcase. Inside it were several small vials containing some sort of liquid. We asked him what was in the vials. He said they contained samples of the HIV virus. Now keep in mind, this was the early days of HIV, pre-Magic Johnson even. And no one knew much about it.
So Iceman begins opening one of the vials. I was sitting in front of my friend Archie at the time, in the row next to Iceman. Archie never could resist such an opportunity. He reaches over and hits Iceman's hand, spilling the supposed "virus." (The more I write, the more I'm thinking the teacher must have been out of the room all this time.)
There is a collective gasp and silence, as everyone is a bit surprised by this turn of events. We await Iceman's reaction, unsure of what he might do. Iceman throws up his arms, palms open, and yells, "All right! That's it! I'm not responsible for anything that happens now!" As if to wash his hands of the entire thing.
We all laughed heartily. But at the same time, I think we all left class that day with the slightest bit of doubt. I know I did.
And Project Nova was never reopened. As far as I know. At least the government never admitted it.
"Lookin' for a girl, I ran into a guy. His name was MCA. I said howdy. He said hi..."