Ray Gay is NOT a musical genre.

"Hey, Ray, do you like reggae music?"

"Shut up!"

"I'm serious, like Bob Marley. You like Bob Marley? That's reggae."

"Shut up!"

"Dude, I'm just talking about reggae, I want to know if you like Bob Marley. You know, reggae."

"Miss Sharon! He's calling me gay!"

Sharon, my bus driver in 6th grade, told me to shut up.

"There's no such thing as reggae music," she told me, "I know you just made that up to make fun of Ray. If you keep talking about it, I'm going to write you up and you'll get kicked off the bus."

This was the same bus driver who also knew, for a fact, that I was a Christian and not a Buddhist, as I had claimed when she tried to alter my disruptive behavior by playing the Jesus Card. She knew this to be fact because "Buddhas have dots on their heads." The truth was that I was neither.

Ray was this guy who was older and bigger than I was, and had a mullet. He once puked on the bus, on a day when the driver made me sit with him for lack of seats, prompting me to jump over our shared seat. It smelled like dog food, so I'm pretty sure it must have been corned beef hash. I was friends with this guy for a while, but then he got caught fondling a retarded girl, and I didn't like him anymore. It wasn't that I really cared whether or not he liked Bob Marley, it's just that I thought it was a way I could push his buttons and not get in trouble for it. I wasn't calling him gay, I was just asking a simple question about his musical preferences.

After I was told I couldn't speak of this imaginary music form, I went to a teacher to write me a note to give my bus driver. She did, and I gave it to Sharon that afternoon.

Sharon, Reggae is a real style of music, originating in Jamaica. You can hear it on the show Northern Exposure. Mrs. McKinney

"That doesn't say ray gay! That says re-jay! And you're still not allowed to talk about it!"

In the cafeteria the next day I was discussing my defeat with my friends, telling them about how Ray and the bus driver don't believe that reggae is a sort of music.

"What'd you say about Ray?" asked some random kid walking by. I explained the story to him.

"You better not be talking about Ray Milhouse!" he said.

"No, I'm talking about Ray Watson, who rides my bus and doesn't believe reggae is a kind of music."

"Oh, man, you're calling Ray Millhouse a fag? He's gonna kick your ass!"


A week later, during gym class, the boys and girls were segregated. The girls had to go do some girly exercises or something, and the boys had to play dodge ball, shirts vs. skins. Ray Millhouse and I were both put on the skins team.

During the first game, I was hit by a ball pretty quickly and I had to wait on the sidelines. Moments later, a shirtless, mulletted Ray Millhouse appeared at my side, along with the kid from the cafeteria who told me Ray would kick my ass.

"I heard you called me a faggot."

"No," I told him, trying to explain the situation about Ray Watson and Bob Marley. Halfway through a sentence, he punched me in my bony chest. I groaned. The other kid laughed.

"You're sorry, aren't you?" he asked me, pushing me against the wall.

"Yeah," I said, and got punched in the chest again, his knuckles bouncing off my sternum.

"Ok...now...we're...settled..." he said, punctuating each word with another punch.

Then the two of them walked away. I never spoke to either one of them again. I did find a paperback book about monsters with RAY MILLHOUSE written on the inside cover, though, and I kept it, 'cause fuck that guy.

After high school, Ray Millhouse had a job working at local campground. He parked a company pickup truck at the top of a hill, and left it in neutral. He got fired when it rolled into the lake at the bottom of the hill.

The last time I heard Ray Watson even mentioned was towards the end of high school. Apparently he had a mean pitbull, and rode a Harley around harrassing people until they wanted to kick his ass, at which point his mom would call the cops.

No comments: