The place: Tacoma, WA
Aron Hakone’s dad was someone worth bragging about. He was a black belt in karate, was in really good shape, was really nice and, oh! was a black belt in karate. One day at school, Aron posted a sign-up list in our 4th grade class room. Mr. Hakone was offering karate lessons at his home, free of charge! I was one of the first to sign up, with visions of my throwing ninja stars with unprecedented accuracy and eventually landing a lucrative career in martial arts films running through my mind.
On the day the class started, I was ready a full hour before I was supposed to even leave for the Hakone house. I wore my gray sweatpants, a blank jersey with red, elbow-length sleeves, blue Adidas and the same pair of big-toe-sticking-out-of-a-hole socks I’d been wearing for three days straight. Since no one ever saw my feet, I rarely gave a second thought to their appearance or general lack of hygiene.
“Turns out we read the report wrong, Dave. It was a sign-up sheet for martial arts, not martial law. We, uh, we should probably start cleaning up.”
After being dropped off by my mom, I walked up to the front door where, taped to the knocker, a note read: CLASS IN BACKYARD GO THROUGH GATE LEFT SIDE OF GARAGE
In the backyard, I found Aron, Clint and Wendell sitting on the grass. Aron had on a karate suit with a blue belt, Read more