Jay Payton was born in and went to high school in Zanesville, OH. How did I come to discover this? Well, for a month four years ago, I read Z'ville's paper for a month straight and each day their sports section has a box featuring his up to date stats just like my local Parkersburg News & Sentinel does for our native son Nick Swisher. Why was I reading the Zanesville newspaper for a month? I'm glad you asked.
Our story begins with me driving the two hours from my house to Columbus to watch my friend Matt Fagtard's band Dirty Alleys/ Dirty Minds open up for Cheap Sex and The Scarred, help move their instruments and gear from their practice house to the venue and to of course hang out and party before, during and after the show. I started drinking before noon and was predictibly extremely drunk by the time the show started at 7 or so. As would be expected, I kept drinking and much of the night is grayed out. I remember giving three tattoos over the course of the day including one to the singer of The Scarred that I finished no more than five minutes before they took the stage. I remember giving my keys to Matt before the show and the last thing I remember is being given a throw pillow and being shown a piece of floor to sleep on.
The next thing I can remember happened three or four hours later. I was awoken by the worst sound I'd ever heard- an indescribable cacophony of metal on metal. I looked to my right and was nearly blinded by the bizarro double rainbow of more sparks than Jennifer Beals's day job scenes in Flashdance. The front right of my beloved Jetta was pinned under the cab of a semi! I was driving! Well, to be more realistic, I was in the driver's seat while being dragged at 90 MPH. What?!?! In spite of my terror, bewilderment and still present hammeredness- likely aided by adrenaline from the shock of finding myself in the situation of closing my eyes on a floor and opening them in my car certain I was dying, I managed to manuever my miraculously still drivable car from what I thought was our executor. I drove a few more miles before being bluelighted by Ohio Highway Patrol; that part of the story goes exactly as you'd expect it to. I was awakened after maybe two hours of sleep in holding and led before the judge. Still unbelievably drunk, I plead no contest, expecting a fine and maybe a day in jail since it was a first offense. The judge, noting on record that my appearance indicated a blatant disregard for society, instead sentenced me to thirty days. That's how I came to find out where Jay Payton is from.
I got to watch the Padres one time- on my last day there. It was when CY took a no-hitter against Pittsburgh into the ninth. Until that point, I wore a poker face the whole time I was there in times both bad and not quite so bad because that just seemed like the thing you were supposed to do. But when ESPN cut to the game, I was jubilant. All the happiness that had no reason to leave to show itself for over four weeks came out that moment. As you know, my joy was short-lived as Joe "Makes Me Hate My Own First Name" Randa wrecked it one out later.
During my time there, I wrote to my then-wife every day. Here are some excerpts:
Saturday, August 26th...It is so hard to think with these crackheads in here: "HAAAAA- YEAAH, NIGGA! NAH, F'RIL, DOE; F'RIL, DOE; YEEAH, NIGGA- HAHAHAHA" on and on repeating each others' nonsense trying to act hard ending every sentence with "nigga", YELLING FOR NO REASON constantly even when it's just one, endlessly talking about all things crackish, making loud noises for no reason, more jibberish repeated at least two times apiece......Everybody's out there watching the Browns game- I was out there for a few and a guy asked me "You like the Browns, nigga?" All I could come up with was "I'm wearing their colors aren't I?"
Thursday, August 31st...I keep having very realistic dreams and all I ever do in them is get drunk. I had one last night- I recall sitting in the backseat of someone's car drinking 22s out of a plastic bag. Typical... I have never heard the word "nigga" as much in my life as I have these past eleven days. It's like there's a contest and everyone's getting paid per use. It's ridiculous. These kids didn't get that from the streets, they got it from movies. That- and my cellmate who is the most flagrant user of "nigga" at the dumbest times is my height or less and the same build. He wears a 4X jumpsuit. Yeah. He and a few other "tough guys" fooling nobody but themselves like to not wear the part from the waist up and roll or tie it around their waist- or just have it on but unsnapped all the way down so you can see their "draws". The most retarded was when one of these goons was wearing it the first way I described so he had to walk around with his blanket over his shoulders wrapped around him to stay warm. Seriously. That's even dumber than the guy flipping through the channels stopping for a few minutes on the Weather Channel. You can't make this shit up...
They're watching the MTV VMAs- I stuck my head out because I heard the Chili Peppers but AFI won and of course my "bunkie" was like "You like them." Me: "Uh, no. Fuck them." Him: "But you gots to. Look at they hair." Me: "No. Fuck them." Him: "Aw, they GANGSTA, nigga...(jibberish)" OH, IT JUST GOT BETTER. As I was writing the word "jibberish" we got called out for head count so the interrogation resumed. "You like dat 'You're beautiful' song?" (it came on earlier so now, NO LIE, at least twice every minute you hear someone "singing" those two words as high-pitched as possible) Me: "No, I don't." This went on. One guy suggested I might like Marilyn Manson. Nope. "Who you do like?" "Uh, Social Distortion, The Bouncing Souls, Ran..." "Yo, Norris you eva hear of Search of Da Planet? He say he like them."
Tuesday, September 5th...They're out there watching some lame-o movie that they watched last week just because Angelina Jolie's in it. Whatthefuckever. One, she's weird looking and two, I don't get the whole being completely rapt with someone fully clothed on TV that you think is attractive. They haven't been here that long. I think it's more of a thing they do to let everyone know how straight they are. I don't think it's a jail thing; I think it's more of a macho douchebag thing. If they were "on the out" watching a football game they'd start hopping and pointing at the screen any time they showed a cheerleader: "Yo, she BANGIN', dawg!" Thankfully, I'm not the only one here who's not an idiot. Well, no, I take that back. If I weren't an idiot, I'd be at home right now. OH! That reminds me of a few days ago; I got done with the crossword puzzles, Jumble and cryptowhateveritscalled so I took the paper out there and set it down. Immediately, this curious no-neck picks it up and looks at me suspiciously and asks "You smart or something?" You could almost see the wheels turning in his head: "Must... eliminate... all... intelligence." So, the first thing that popped in my head was "No, I wouldn't be here if I was smart." He said something that sounded like "aw. Huh." but could have been just about anything and walked away. So, I sat there and read the A-section for at least five peaceful minutes before the lightbulb went off in his disproportionally small, shaved head. He walked up to me and said (remember- it had been five minutes) "Hey, I'm in here. You sayin' I'm not smart?" It took every ounce of inborn self preservation to keep from bursting into laughter before I could straightface a "We all got caught"...