No, not LL Cool J (swoon)… Larry the Lizard.

I know I’ve been away for a while and this probably isn’t the quality story you all have been anxiously awaiting, but I was discussing pets-as-gifts with Jen this week and thought I would share with you the story that I shared with her.

She was saying that she had given her long-time boyfriend a turtle as a gift for their recent anniversary. For me, this brought back a flood of high school memories. For me, this brought back Joe Cloke and Larry.

Joe Cloke was my boyfriend my junior year in high school. I thought he was the greatest. He was a senior, he was popular, he was funny, he was the host of our televised morning announcements program to which Blister In the Sun by Bowling for Soup was the theme song, he played soccer on the school team, and he was a rebel (compared to me, anyway). We met when I interviewed to be the Junior Class Advisor on the student council. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me out. I couldn’t believe it even more when he mouthed the words “I love you” across the room in one of our student council meetings a few weeks later. (Turns out that all he really said was “olive juice”, which became a running joke… and broke my heart a little.)

For Valentine’s Day Joe Cloke gave me an iguana. We named him Larry the Lizard. I wanted to be a cool chick who would totally dig owning an iguana, but the reality was that as much as I cared for Larry I was incapable of caring for Larry. I couldn’t stand touching him for feeding or bathing or bonding and I’m sad to say that I think Larry lived a short and lonely life.

I’m not sure why Joe gave me an iguana for Valentine’s Day. I have a theory that it was to get me back for giving him boxers for Christmas, which he unwittingly opened in front of his family on Christmas Day. But I can’t be sure that was it.

Either way, I’m sure that Jeff will be a far better companion to his new turtle than I was to Larry… or, as it turns out, than Joe Cloke was to me. He broke it off with me shortly after going to Tolo with a friend of mine when I got sick the day of the dance. They even stopped by before attending to pick up the matching shirts I had bought for us.


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