Monday, September 12, 2011

My Jordan Catalano

I wrote this post by hand. I don't do it often, but somehow it seemed more organic that way. You see, last week when I mentioned my Jordan Catalano, it wasn't just an arbitrary memory. Sure, I have a few eppies of My So-Called Life in the DVR that I get around to watching when my movie well runs dry, but it's more than that. So much more.

I understand that I'm speaking to a certain demographic of women when I mention that name: Jordan Catalano. But I'm speaking to all women when I tell you that Jordan Catalano's character was an angsty metaphor for that one painful crush we all had in high school. The one boy who could steal your breath and reduce you to Tourette's simply by occupying the same stratosphere. The one whose random eye contact could nourish your preoccupation for months, turning you into a gluttonous warrior who fought in the Darwinian halls of education for another glance. Dramatic? Hell to the yeah. This was sixteen when the world was a Bengali jungle and you just lost your machete.

My Jordan Catalano was Donatelli. Donatelli wasn't his real name. It was a name I randomly opened to in my Character Naming Sourcebook because that's what I do-make up names. He wasn't Italian, either, though I can't be sure he was from any specific heritage but the land of Hottiemanjaro. Donatelli was the pinnacle of the trifecta of three who caught my eye those years (the two others being a mullet-sporting silent-type who was a dead-ringer for a young MacGyver, the other a too-short guy with a swagger who caught me in my most embarassing moment to date).

Donatelli was an athlete: tall, dark hair, who at seventeen already had the superpower to grow a five o'clock shadow by the time practice rolled around. I told my parents I loved Donatelli's sport so I could be a manager, code for a sweat-towel-and-statistics girl who was invisible next to the cheerleaders who also rode the game-day bus. Thankfully, I wasn't alone in my transparent conspiracy. One of my best friends, too, was acquainted with the natives of Hottiemanjaro, one in particular, so we traveled the road of obscurity together. In three years, Donatelli spoke to me once.

I learned Donatelli's sport, really learned it, for all those practices and games and seasons. The head coach wrote me a letter of reference for college and helped me get a great job that lasted long past graduation. I lettered in that sport, even had the jacket, though the idea of earning it for wiping guy-sweat courtside never sat well. I graduated, went to Europe and found a real Donatelli who loved that I could be happy watching planes land at the airport and talk about his country's history with some degree of accuracy and be the geek I always was with a panache for whomping him at a certain American sport.

So why the memory? High school reunions do that, I suppose. Saturday will be my first and last in many ways to go back to the me of twenty years ago, so I cannot help but think about Donatelli. Will he be fat? Bald? Absent? Gone?

I don't live in the past, except for my stories, but for that one night, I will be a traveler there.

If you want to reminisce in Catalano goodness, watch this (7:46) and this (:58). Leave your Catalano here, in the comments, so we can love him, too. Most of all, have a great week everyone!


laughingwolf said...

dang, i can only get excited over certain LADIES... take you catalanos elsewhere! :P lol

L.A. Mitchell said...

@LW...Guys are allowed to have them, too. We could call them Farrahs in your case ;)