On the way home from dinner I confessed to Lynnette that one of the happiest moments in my life involved a woman who is not her. I’ll spare the details because that moment isn’t as important as the fact that this revelation sparked an interesting conversation. I asked Lynnette what her happiest non-Higa memories were and she said that one of them was getting in to Creighton. “Really?” I said. “Yeah!” she said. She went on to tell me about her college visits with her mom and meeting up with friends and eventually moving onto campus. We agreed that those two years – senior year of high school and freshman year of college – were probably the best stretch of our lives in terms of an emotional context. Senior year is the end, the culmination of things, while college is never as new as it is to a wide-eyed freshman.
I told Lynnette that it didn’t really mean much to me when I got accepted to the colleges to which I had applied. I think one of the reasons is that I was the first in my family to attend college, so none of us really understood what it meant. I told Lynnette I didn’t think of college as something terribly important, only as something that most people kind of were supposed to do (which, I know, is exactly how I viewed high school and, which, I know, explains a whole lot). “Really?” she said. “Yeah!” I said. “And also, whenever I think of getting into LMU, I think of feces.”
The best I can do is give you a two-month window. I assume the following took place on a week day from some point starting in December of 1997 all the way through probably mid-February 1998. I know this because the ILH baseball season hadn’t started yet because I was working out with the Aiea High School guys before the season started. It wasn’t an official practice or anything, it was just a bunch of guys – mostly those who had played Aiea Little League – running, taking grounders, and batting practice at Aiea Rec.
It was a voluntary thing so people could come and go as they pleased. On this particular day, I went to school; probably changed out of my shirt and tie in the parking lot; drove toward Aiea; stopped at 7-11; parked along Ulune Street in an area which would lower the odds that a foul ball would hit my car; then got to work. At some point during this practice, my notoriously temperamental stomach decided it wanted to excrete waste in the messiest way possible. I think maybe I told a coach I was leaving? I don’t know. I got my stuff, jogged to my car (with my spikes still on!) and took off toward home.
As I drove home, I was in one of those deathly serious states of mind where 97% of your mental, emotional, and physical focus is centered on the accomplishment of a single task. In this case, my task was preventing bodily waste from leaving before I could find the comfort of my own toilet. The other 3% of my will was occupied with the maneuvering of the 1988 Honda Civic, baby blue. This period in time predates the three lanes on Moanalua Road near Pono Street. Traffic was slow and I made it down the hill past Pearlridge and thought I was in the clear but the light turned red and though I was one car from turning right into my sub-division, the car in front of me was not turning right. It was at this point where I began to lose hope. If I crap my pants right here, how would anyone ever know? It should be pretty easy to clean up, right? I have underwear, compression shorts, and baseball pants on – it’ll take time for it to make its way out.
But the light turned green and I sped perilously home. I parked the car on the curb and ran to the front door in my socks (I had already kicked off my shoes during the red light) and barged into my house. Since this period of time also predates smart phones, I would have liked to have taken some literature with me into the bathroom. I can’t remember for sure, but I want to say that I must have seen that the new Eastbay catalogue had come in so I just grabbed the whole stack of mail and ran into the bathroom, slammed the door behind me, and made it just in time. I noticed that my batting gloves were still sticking out of my back pocket, so I put them on to read the Eastbay. Now, if you’re wondering if at some point I rolled up the Eastbay and started taking dry hacks while sitting on the toilet, then the answer is yes. Yes, and you must not have known me in high school, because of course I did.
After playing a game of “If I Had To Pick Just One Thing From Each Page Of The Eastbay Catalog”, I drifted on to the other mail. A large rectangular envelope was addressed to me. I opened it. LMU said congrats. I can’t remember the color of the envelope, or the exact words, or what the letter looked like, but what I do remember is raising the letter and roaring a “YEAH!” or possibly “Cheeeeeeee heeeeeeeeeeee!” (because that was a thing we said back then, the hee hadn’t yet evolved into huu). And I remember looking down at my legs, seeing my gray baseball pants around my ankles and my purple socks still pulled up to my knees.
So, yeah. That’s how I found out I got into LMU.