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Misty Wudder-Colored Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man: Grade Seven Tryin' To Kill Me!

Misty Wudder-Colored Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man: Grade Seven Tryin' To Kill Me!

“Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove?
This rhythm really fits like a snug glove.”

Q-Tip famously rapped the above line on Jive/RCA cassettes and CD’s in 1990.

The picture directly underneath this text is of the aforementioned Nipper, listening to the Victrola for “His Master’s Voice”, in the stained glass window that still sits atop the old RCA offices known as the “Nipper Building” in Camden, New Jersey.

The cover photo is yours truly at age 4, a full decade before The People’s Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm’s release, taken at an “Open House”, which allowed RCA employees to bring their kids to the office for a full tour.

My old man was working in the finance department, but this chair, as well as this office, belonged to his then-boss Ernie.

Quite the precocious little boy, at around age 3, I began to wake up when my father did, pretending I had a job to go to, like he did.

I'd walk into my parents’ bedroom as my father was getting dressed for work, and soon started pantomiming his movements in the mirror.

Sometime shortly after this habit started, my father asked where I was going, or what work I had to do.

My reply was “I’m going to The Pumpery”, a make-believe workplace that I had just created.


I'd usually carry some stacks of papers, or a makeshift briefcase to lug around the house, while pretending to be in a rush, all in efforts to maintain the illusion.

So you can imagine my delight that day about a year later, getting the chance to sit in the old man’s boss’ seat, inside the building with Nipper the doggy at the top of it.


When my mother speaks about me as a very young child, she gets a big smile on her face and far away glimmer in her eye.

Perhaps because I was by most standards advanced at an early age, reading the Berenstain Bears Picnic to my nursery school class at 3 ½ years old, while my still-diaper-rocking peers were sitting atop piles of their own feces, while I regaled them with the tale.

My father and I would later jokingly refer to that time period my mother speaks about, with that twinkle in her eye, as "My Prime".

This was before adolescence took me down a dark alley and nearly curb-stomped me into submission.

Unofficially My Prime stretches from approximately 3 thru 9, starts to taper off a bit annually each year after that, then takes a precipitous dip at about 13.

It's been somewhere between free-falling and paddling upstream ever since.

By 1990, when I heard Tip kick that line, much to my father’s chagrin the “His Master’s Voice” I tended to heed most was either inside my own head, like The Pumpery, or coming from one of those cassettes and CD’s.

However if either of them looks back, even as early as age four, while still in the midst of My Prime, they could have seen all the signs of things to come before fourteen.

Long before I paid the cost, in my mind, I was already a Boss.  

   First Year Of Little League, Spring of 1982 (Age 6)     What were my parents thinking letting me rock a collared shirt to a baseball team photo?!? Stanley Steemer ran wire to wire in first place that season but then lost in a gut-wrenching championship game to Cabinet Goldsmith. My friend of 34 years and my Something In The Wudder podcast co-host (COMING END OF AUGUST) Jason was called out in a close play sliding into second base trying to leg a double out of a single. Jason (age 8, 2nd on left in Row 2) came back to the dugout shaking his head with tears forming in his eyes on the bench while protesting to his father/assistant-coach/the-late-great Stan “The Man” (top left of photo) “ I was safe”.    Always one to take my lead from my big homies, I decided now might be a good time for me to start crying as well. And I took it to another level. Pretty soon Stan was forced to leave his son be and go console me, which he generously did while in the sweetest way teaching me that there's no crying in baseball. It must have been effective because I don’t remember any tears on a sports bench since.

First Year Of Little League, Spring of 1982 (Age 6)

What were my parents thinking letting me rock a collared shirt to a baseball team photo?!?
Stanley Steemer ran wire to wire in first place that season but then lost in a gut-wrenching championship game to Cabinet Goldsmith.
My friend of 34 years and my Something In The Wudder podcast co-host (COMING END OF AUGUST) Jason was called out in a close play sliding into second base trying to leg a double out of a single.
Jason (age 8, 2nd on left in Row 2) came back to the dugout shaking his head with tears forming in his eyes on the bench while protesting to his father/assistant-coach/the-late-great Stan “The Man” (top left of photo) “I was safe”.

Always one to take my lead from my big homies, I decided now might be a good time for me to start crying as well. And I took it to another level. Pretty soon Stan was forced to leave his son be and go console me, which he generously did while in the sweetest way teaching me that there's no crying in baseball.
It must have been effective because I don’t remember any tears on a sports bench since.

   Little League Championship Party After-Party 1986 (age 10)     A few years after the Championship Game Heartbreak, never getting another look at the big trophy in between, the big payback finally came in the form of a stacked 16-1 Jaycees team and a route of Moore Plumbing in the final that ended in a mercy rule. We then had a big party over on Belmont Avenue. Following all the excitement I was fairly tuckered out as you can see here. Winning championships is exhausting. I don’t know how LeBron keeps all this stuff  up .

Little League Championship Party After-Party 1986 (age 10)

A few years after the Championship Game Heartbreak, never getting another look at the big trophy in between, the big payback finally came in the form of a stacked 16-1 Jaycees team and a route of Moore Plumbing in the final that ended in a mercy rule.
We then had a big party over on Belmont Avenue.
Following all the excitement I was fairly tuckered out as you can see here.
Winning championships is exhausting.
I don’t know how LeBron keeps all this stuff up.

    NINE-TEEN EIGHT-Y-NINE!!…A Number...When is it Summer?!?!?      I’ll let my 13-year-old self-do the heavy lifting from here. With a shout out to my seventh-grade English teacher Ms. Ava Spector on the grammatical corrections you see notated, here is a three-step chronological documentation of eroding innocence from the same year Robert Smith & Dem Boys dropped  Disintegration :     " The Seventh Grade Is Having Me For Dinner Tonight! "

NINE-TEEN EIGHT-Y-NINE!!…A Number...When is it Summer?!?!?

I’ll let my 13-year-old self-do the heavy lifting from here.
With a shout out to my seventh-grade English teacher Ms. Ava Spector on the grammatical corrections you see notated, here is a three-step chronological documentation of eroding innocence from the same year Robert Smith & Dem Boys dropped Disintegration:

"The Seventh Grade Is Having Me For Dinner Tonight!"

   A Teenage Angst Symphony To God, Replete With Brian Wilson Allusions

A Teenage Angst Symphony To God, Replete With Brian Wilson Allusions

   Self-Awareness Is One of the Most Important Traits We as Humans Can Possess

Self-Awareness Is One of the Most Important Traits We as Humans Can Possess

   Unfortunately Ignoring My Own Advice & Learning The Hard Way To This Day

Unfortunately Ignoring My Own Advice & Learning The Hard Way To This Day

Maximum R&B Activity: Five Appearances From Live TV That Demonstrate Why We're Still In Love With Teena Marie

Maximum R&B Activity: Five Appearances From Live TV That Demonstrate Why We're Still In Love With Teena Marie

Deep In The Cut: Five Amazing Live Displays Of Everlasting Bass

Deep In The Cut: Five Amazing Live Displays Of Everlasting Bass