R.I.P. -- The Fool That Messed With T It's been a big couple of weeks in the life of Death. Dude's been busy taking the lives of Mitch Hedberg, Terri Schiavo, and the guy from Creed. I hope Death is pattin' himself on the back, kickin' back and drinking a Mai Tai on a beach somewhere.
Yes, Mai Tais are Beach Drinkin'.
Overlooked in all this celebrity dying, though, has been the death of one Michael Chambliss, age 28.
Michael passed away this weekend after a prolonged twenty-year bout with Messed With T.
It's sad when someone so young, so vivacious, so full-of life falls victim to something so senseless. Michael Chambliss, I pour my 40 of Liquid Ice out to you, my friend.
Michael contracted Messed With T way back in 1985, when he was only 8 years old. It was inevitable. All the televised tauntings. "I pity the fool that mess with T. I pity the fool that mess with T. I pity the fool that mess with T." Every channel. Every news magazine show. Entertainment Tonight. The MacNeil/Lehrer Report. Queer Eye. T was everywhere, just imploring someone to mess with him.
Poor Michael, age 8, had enough.
Michael was a valiant warrior and unfailing Protector of the Downtrodden on the playground. He was known as The Bullynator. If the nerdy tiny smart-kids were getting shit from a bully on the playground, Michael was there. He'd beat the snot out of that bully, and end of story.
Of course, in return, he'd demand naked pictures of our sisters and a dime bag of Sour Power as payment. But it was a price children like me were all too happy to pay.
On April 14th, 2005, Mr. T was making a well-publicized appearance at the Monster Truck Rally at the Worcester Centrum.
Because I didn't have a naked sister to take pictures of, Michael demanded that I take him to the Monster Truck Rally that weekend in Worcester as payment for kicking Scott Tetro's ass after Scott peed on my Reading homework and made me hand it in.
"Honky," Michael told me. "You're taking me to that Monster Truck Rally. And I, my friend... I am going to mess with T."
I implored him not to do it.
"Please Michael! Did you see what T did to Rocky Balboa in Rocky Three? Did you see how he manhandled Rowdy Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania? Did you see what he left on Delta Burke's face in the Mr.T/Delta Burke sex tape?"
"Michael -- he pities the fool that mess with him. And T is a man without pity."
He just shook his head and said to me "You're taking me to that rally. And I am messing with T. Because if you don't I will make you hand in a homework assignment that's so fucked up HazMat's gonna have to grade it."
Needless to say, I took him to the rally.
I won't get into the details about what happened. I can't get into the details. All I'll say is that the encounter involved Mr. T, a front axle, two quarts of Castrol, nacho cheese, and the wrong end of Michael's biological feeding tube.
This past Friday I visited Michael in the hospital. It was the first time I had seen him in almost twenty years. Since the Messing With T incident.
He was a ghost of the Michael he once was. The boogers he was once so proud of flicking in other people's mashed potatoes now merely dribbled down his flaccid face. His hands, left feeble and sparse from the years and years of medication, laid at his side, too weak to noogie even the wriggling MS kid in the next bed.
Saddest of all, the big bold beefy farts Michael was so proud of and all too happy to splurt in our little faces were gone as well, replaced by feeble poofs of fermented vitamin paste that reeked more of Art Class than Man.
Those farts were Michael's pride and joy. His reason for living. Those farts were more than just gas to him, and to us. They were WHO MICHAEL WAS. Without them, he barely seemed human. He was more Twerp now than Legend. More Machine now than Man.
He beckoned me over to what was to be his deathbead.
"Honky..." he grumbled through ventilators and oxygen tubes.
"I never... I never got to touch boobies."
For me, that was the final straw. That was what pushed me over the edge. Me, Honky, known for my awesome strength in the face of overwhelming adversity. Me who is so strong I kept it together and rallied the troops when Pedro Martinez left the Red Sox and signed with the Mets. Me who is so, so strong and so, so unfailingly unfeeling, for once allowed the tear ducts open and released twenty years of insincere and sentimentally-grandstanding guilt and sorrow and watched it flow down the air vent.
"I know, Michael. I know."
"Honky..." he said. "The boobies. Touch them. For me."
And with that, he was gone.
So rest in peace, one Michael Callahan. Or Childress. I mean Childress. Michael Childress. I will never forget you. And while the rest of the world ignores your passing because your parents never legally challenged the wishes of your husband, I will never forget your bravery, your resolve, or that time you whipped out your Wang in Miss Harper's class while screaming "Social Studies THIS, BEEYATCH!"
P.S. – I will tell your husband that you say "hi".