Most people don’t remember him, but there was a shy and timid version of Chaz Volk- a short Jewish kid who walked weirdly with his arms swaying way too far away from his body like he was some sort of body builder (he still somewhat does that).
This Chaz Volk wanted to be both an architect and an author as he was attempting to write novels at the young age of 11 or 12. He thought he knew everything already and thought he could definitely write a book- especially a book in the genre of science fiction when really it was a reflection (almost exactly parallel to) his favorite video game Halo 2.The only difference was that the names were changed but what the most amazing thing about this is is that I didn’t realize this copyright until 3 years after the matter of the fact. The best part of this was that this Chaz had never really read a book on his own accord ever. He also thought that architecture would be a breeze as it would consist of drawing with a ruler really cool building-like structures while keeping some simple maths in mind that involved multiplication, addition, division and the hardest part- measuring angles. Of course, this would not be the case as I would learn this much later but architecture still remained THE passion of the young naive Chaz Volk.
At this age Chaz went to Lost Children’s Middle School (no worries, that’s not the real name) where he would learn only more tolerance to bullying, at this time for just being fat. It wasn’t until 7th grade when I was bullied for being a Jew. He only had a few friends at the time and because of this felt somewhat lost and hopeless. Oh yeah, and he played trumpet too. Tooting his horn in the literal sense, he already was identified in the ‘nerd’ department of the school. Too ignorant to see who liked him, Chaz focused on impressing those who already didn’t like him. Yes, it is true, the Chaz you know today who is humorous, flirtatious and egocentric was just like this at this age. Middle school was not Chaz’s favorite period of his life.
One day, a friend at the time, who shall remain nameless, would take me to meet a new group of people. This group was known for switching off between soccer and tag during lunch time. Of course, this friend’s motivation for introducing me was being that he wanted to hangout more with this really pretty girl that he had a crush on. I was the perfect excuse to go approach the group again. Within this group I met Girl 1 and Girl 2 (who were best friends), Soccer Player 1, Soccer Player 2, and Soccer Player 3 (who was brothers with Soccer Player 2). The two other key characters included Grasshopper 1 (which I will explain why his code name is Grasshopper in a second) and Nick Benjamin (who is the first full name I’ve ever written on this blog- I know. Big deal right?). With that we instantly played and laughed our weird convoluted version of soccer that was conveniently placed within a tennis court. With the net still up we jumped over it and enjoyed our sweaty and high paced game of the worlds greatest sport (according to the misinformed). I couldn’t tell you how many times I fell and began bleeding because of that net.
Side Note: Next to the tennis courts were fences that stood as the end borders of the school. The property in between the school and the residential neighborhood next to it was filled with hay as it was an empty strip of land meant strictly for telephone poles that towered over us and left long shadows along the school towards the afternoons.
The bell rang and it was time to go back to our classes. We all started walking from our last positions on the field as we were all dispersed and uncaringly going back in no particular order. This is where Grasshopper 1 comes in. Grasshopper 1, instead of walking back, mischievously went to the fence and gathered up as much hay as he could. Doing so, he walks up with strains of hay flying off one string a time in the wind. I look over my left shoulder to see this strange behavior taking place to find Grasshopper 1 has approached the unorganized group of my new friends. Grosshopper 1 looks over to Nick and Girl 1 and says ,”Should I do it?” They both say, from what it looked like, “Yeah. Do it!” “Grosshopper 1, to confirm that indeed that is what they wanted to see, excitedly asks, “Really? Should I go do it?” “Yes do it, idiot! It’ll be funny!” Of course none of this was heared. All this is what I thought I heard. Grasshopper 1 comes up in a devilish manner with his bundle of hay behind his head, clenched in both hands ready to be thrown. Before I can even conceive what was going to happened the equivalent to Julius Caesar’s murder had occurred as I was conspired against and hit first by Grasshopper 1 who splashed this armada of stringy, prickly hay into my clean, soft face. With red marks all over it and pieces of hay still stuck to my face I chased after him in a mad rampage.
Side Note: Grasshopper 1 is referred to as Grasshopper 1 because if his fucking legs. His fucking legs, at the time, went up to the top of my stomach. This fucking brainless ass fuck head escaped only because of his freakishly long mutant legs.
Before I knew it, Grasshopper 1, that dumb ass grasshopper legged shit head, escaped despite my powerful sprint -which yes was powerful even for a guy as short as me. Standing near the back entrance of my school, where I lost him, I huffed and puffed with my body hunched over as I had never ran so intensely in my life (probably). Nick came up right behind me. I could hear his foot prints hitting the concrete floor behind me as they ran in mere excitement and joy.
“Dude, are you okay?” were the first words that came from Nick.
Seeing Nick’s stupid fucking face made me madder than before. Seeing the rough, rigid wall, I stood upright, looked him square in the eye and shoved his puny self into that wall. His back hit the wall and slowly slumped down to the ground as I’m sure I bruised him somehow. All gentleness and respect was gone. Nick fucked up and for that reason I hated him… for that night after.
The next day I would see him in the same group, playing the same game with the same group of people (minus Grasshopper 1) and because I didn’t have many friends I approached the group to hangout with them. Talking to him at first, I remember being incredibly awkward. After all, what would Julius Caesar say to Brutus after killing him and meeting him in the afterlife? “Oh hey. Sorry about your back dude,” says Brutus. “Fuck off,” says Julius Caesar. And those were the last ears lent to Brutus from Caesar. But after I caved in mere guilt and said sorry for shoving him he explained what had happened from his perspective:
“Yeah, so what happened was Grasshopper 1 approached us with this random bunch of hay, which God knows where he got that. He says to us, ‘Hey I’m going to throw this in Chaz’s face. How funny would that be?’ I naturally told him, ‘No, that’s not cool dude. Please don’t do that.’ ‘No man, I’m totally going to do that. It’ll be funny!’ ‘Grasshopper 1, you’re an idiot,’ and before I could even say anything he ran up to you, practically punched you in the face with hay and ran off. Next thing I knew you dashed off like a wild gorilla released from the zoo on a rampage against the poachers and when I got to you you shoved me against the wall where you hurt my head.”
To be honest that gorilla part made me laugh.
I felt horrible and said sorry for my misdeed. With that the rest was history! Our friendship would soon flourish from there as every weekend we’d have sleepovers and have deep talks over video games and eventually falling asleep. It was here that I’d learn of his passion for film- such a pure art form that combined every art ever thought of by man to the point where it could be universally recognized by everyone for its depth and visual content. Again, such a masterful passion. With that we construed the idea of NC Studios (Nick and Chaz Studios) as I designed the park using horribly sketched drawings (architecture) and Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (again, architecture). It was perfect. We thought of it all as our minds became engaged and our friendship would become stronger. Our empire was completed and our future was set in motion already! Our plan: I write the scripts (author). He produces the films (filmmaker). I made the ride to make tribute to that movie (architecture). All of our passions were blended until I realized- Wait a second, I can write. Directing is merely just telling people how to take what I wrote and act it out. This is doable! On top of that, how hard could it be to operate a camera. It’s easy: Just point and shoot. Easy! So I changed passions to the point where my Bar Mitzvah was movie themed just like Nick’s (Nick is a year older and by the time I had met him his Bar Mitzvah had passed).
Ever since, Nick has continued to effect my life and continues to do so despite distance. We never went to high school together and will most likely not go to college together. Despite this, our friendship remains.
Side Note: At my Bar Mitzvah, I handed him a table decoration which looked and felt, based on its weight, very much like an Oscar Award. I gave this to him as a token to our friendship. Years later, August 22nd, 2013, the night before I left for my first day in college Nick hands me the Oscar Award. “Why are you giving this back?” I asked. “Because,” began Nick, “ever since you gave me that, I have had greater hope for success within the film industry. Whenever I get stressed, whether it is with film or anything else, I look at this fake oscar and remember how real my future will be. I’m lending this to you for 2 years. Return it then.”
Indeed, I returned it last week.