The way we were

By ANTHONY PAPPALARDO  |  December 1, 2011

PHOTOS: Images from Live ... Suburbia

Despite my neighbor/new best friend living three suburban homes away, I always chose to travel through the woods to make the journey home that much more epic. There was a chance that I'd find a waterlogged porno mag or even some beer. This day, fate left a white plastic bag — or "DeMoulas Bag" as they were called in the Merrimack Valley, after a local supermarket chain — in my path. I poked the bag with a stick as if it were a dead cat, and some Polaroid instant photographs fell out face down like snowflakes. Unfortunately upon flipping them over with my oak scepter, I quickly saw the bottom halves of naked middle-aged uncircumcised men and ran, for fear of becoming "a gay."

I pushed open our red steel door, complete with gold-plated door knocker, and heard my parents conversing about "that idiot who lit the field behind the pond on fire." Apparently the fire department had gone out to extinguish the blaze. I wasn't sorry to break up Salem's Finest's poker game or that I ruined a forest, because I was fixated on those fucking Polaroids. Why couldn't they have been of hot chicks from Canada that I could lie about fucking, only to hide in the toolbox I made in metals class? I felt tricked and weird. Little did I know, tricked and weird were the hallmarks of suburbia.

The above was excerpted from Anthony Pappalardo's essays "Get Your Wings" and "Me, You, Youth Crew," originally published in Live . . . Suburbia! (power House Books). Order a copy at

The Live . . . Suburbia art show at Orchard Skate Shop's Extension Gallery opens December 10, with an all-ages book reading from 6-8 pm and a 21+ reception 8-11 pm. The gallery is located at 156 Harvard Ave in Allston. Visit

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