I’ve recently realized I’ve been holding on to a lot of pointless guilt and it has to do with a stranger named Brad whose name is scrawled on the back of the disc golf disc I use…
Long ago, I met David who I eventually married and David played disc golf.
I had never disc-golfed before meeting him but I didn’t see the harm and it used to be free and I liked “doing stuff” so I started going disc-golfing with him.
When David offered me a selection of discs I could choose from, I naturally chose the one with a viper on its cover.
And then I called this viper disc “Cobra” for the next twenty years.
Specifically, Cobra Kai, as in “Here comes Cobra Kai” because I’m all attitude when playing disc golf.
Which I rarely back up with anything resembling “skill”.
I like playing disc golf because I’m white and kind of high strung so I enjoy just never standing still or keeping score just… throw and walk and throw and walk and throw and walk and go go go.
Like it’s a race.
I also enjoy focusing all my anger and sadness and all the negative stuff into just whipping that disc as far and as hard as I can.
It’s all very therapeutic.
And I apologize to the trees after my disc viciously hits them when I try to go through them and I always find my viper/Cobra Kai disc in the woods which is where it often ends up as a result of my wild unleashing.
Playing disc golf to me is like one big sustained scream, in a pleasant way.
So my Cobra Kai disc and I have led an eventful and adventurous life together on the disc golf course, and I never ever lost him.
Brad is the person who apparently owned Cobra Kai before me. He even scrawled his name and number on the back of the disc.
Writing your name and number on the back of $8 discs isn’t unusual. These things often get lost because it’s difficult to get the disc to go where you want it to go all of the time. So people write their contact information on the back in case someone else stumbles upon their lost disc and is kind enough to then call the original owner and return it to them.
David was not that kind of person.
Apparently, very few people call the previous owners of discs or so I was told by David’s disc-golf-playing friends.
And so it seems when looking on the disc’s back. Perhaps Brad is not the honest disc golfer I have always believed him to be. Maybe Brad is the one who scratched out all the other names before he then sharpied his own name and number.
David also told me that the workers at Play It Again Sports, which is where he bought his discs, re-sold discs which had names written on the back.
Consequently, I learned disc golf is not a game of honor.
Yet, when we first started dating I didn’t know much about disc golfing, so it always felt wrong to me that my disc had someone else’s name scrawled on its back.
Yet, I never called up Brad to tell him I found his disc either so I’m apparently also not that kind of person and slowly found myself assimilating into the shady culture of disc golf.
However, while my guilt over not calling Brad didn’t keep me up at night or anything, it must have made more of an impact than I thought because, years later, I named my doomed characters I create after the last owner of my Cobra Kai.
For instance, back in another time, a couple goth friends and I oddly got into early Facebook’s Pet Society and we each had our own little cartoon friend which we were supposed to take care of.
I named mine Brad.
And this was fun for a short time. I was busy almost melting with stress while doing my PhD in Scotland and this was a way we could keep in touch as they were living overseas in Milwaukee.
We took better care of our Pet Society pets than we did ourselves.
Sadly, my friends stopped being friends with each other and got back into drugs so they weren’t the best pet owners and I guess taking care of Brad wasn’t enough to make me keep playing Pet Society so I wasn’t the best pet owner either.
Soon my friends and I abandoned our virtual pets.
I’m so sorry, Brad.
Many years passed, and I thought Pet Society wasn’t a thing anymore. This is why I recently felt a bit sick to hear that the app was still in existence and, not only that, but I could no longer log in to save Brad.
Which seemed kind of warped and vindictive like “YOU abandoned your pet. YOU HAVE LOST CUSTODY. FIND A NEW PET. Also, we aren’t going to care for your pet either so…. look what you did.“
So I imagined my healthy, color-changing rabbit creature Brad, who liked to wear wigs, to be in really bad shape since I couldn’t ever rescue him and apparently he also couldn’t die.
Poor sweet Brad.
And then I recently named one of my Doomsday Clock hands “Brad” too.
In any case, it’s clear that I’ve long felt bad about using Brad’s viper disc without ever trying to call him because I’ve sort of lovingly mocked him via virtual cartoon pets and shitty illustrations.
And I’m probably only coming clean about having Brad’s viper disc now because it’s a pandemic, the apocalypse looks pretty close and I’ve been using this disc for over twenty years so I probably have squatter rights to it.
Yet, if this Brad in northern Wisconsin (that number is probably a landline number…
…the number written on the back of the disc long ago may belong to Brad’s parents which is another reason why I never called the number because it would be all “Hello? Are you Brad’s parents? I have his viper disc” and… I’m not up for that and I hate talking on the phone)
contacts me on social media or otherwise, I will return to him his viper disc.
Or maybe I’m just bragging that I’ve gotten away with it for this long.
Like a Level One master criminal (each level of criminality has a hierarchy, you see). And I’m a master because it seems like I still have a few items which previously and explicitly belonged to someone else.
And I’m sort of just half-trying to get caught.
For example, I legitimately borrowed a book from a friend who said I could keep it and later I noticed, inside the cover, in black sharpie, someone has scrawled a threat, addressed to my friend, about returning the book…
And, at the time, I was upset with my friend for being harmfully irresponsible and so I shook my head in dismay and then… just kept the book and he never asked about it.
Since that time, I’ve lived in different states, in different cities, in different countries but I still have that book.
And I also still have the Cobra Kai disc which belonged to Brad.
I’m definitely part of the cultural bigger problem, I know.
So I’m trying to come clean, risking the loss of my beloved Cobra Kai disc and also this book which I like less since my brain is apparently lesioned and I’m consequently dumber.
As morality comes at a price.
A price I’d be very sad about paying because I think I would be really upset if I lost my Cobra Kai disc to stupid Brad.
This is because David and I have designated ONE DAY PER WEEK where we leave our apartment together as our home doesn’t have a yard though it does have a stoop where someone is apparently living
so I don’t sit on that stoop anymore and this is why we designated TUESDAY as our day to go outside and get some fresh air and exercise and I’ve really enjoyed rediscovering disc golf with my friend Cobra Kai because I look forward to my sustained-scream-race activity.
And so I hope stupid Brad doesn’t ruin everything 🌈