The setting: 1983, Washington Grove Elementary School, third grade. This was a tough year. All of the sudden it became apparent who the smart kids were and where everyone else fit in on the scale of dumb to less dumb. … Continue reading
I’ve lost my main bra. I don’t know where it is. I’ve looked high and low. This is my basic, nude colored go-to bra. I believe (and hope) most women are like me (or this particular post is going to be especially embarrassing) and really only have 2 or 3 bras that are in the regular rotation. There’s the main one- mine happens to be nude, which by the way is kind of racist, just like band aids and so on- but we’ll save that for another time; and two black ones (and they’re actually black- not African American- just wanted to clarify in case my former statement confused you). Yes, we all own probably 10 or more, but for one reason or another they do not make the cut for everyday wear. Some are for special occasions- they push up so they can fill out one particular outfit- that you wore somewhere to impress someone who really doesn’t matter and therefore spent a fortune on a bra you’re never going to wear again; or they’re too small because you bought them 20 years ago and are denial that your boobs have actually grown with age or they’re lacy and pretty and you thought your husband/boyfriend/”lover” (I hate that term- it sounds so, yuck- ugh- I don’t even want to think about it) would find it sexy- but honestly its way too itchy. Or its a nursing bra and your kids are practically in college- but you still hold on to them just in case of an emergency- you know- a breast feeding emergency- because those happen all the time. Or they’re strapless. Holy Mary, heaven on high, how I hate strapless bras!! If you’re wearing a strapless bra, you’re probably attending an event where alcohol is present and by the end of the evening you’re having such a good time that that so called bra is now a belt and your boobs are just bouncing around to the delight of every drunk old man in sight.
This may be shocking to men (not married men- they are definitely in on the secret)- but stupid, clueless men (wait- isn’t that all of them?- um- excluding my husband of course- sorry honey- but, well… you know) who think women are walking around like Victoria’s Secret models- or the Sears catalog models for that matter, with matching panties and bras for each day of the week. What fools they are. What they don’t know, is that those sweet melons they’ve been eying are actually being held up (most of the time) with a pilly, graying, worn out bra. One of the under wires is probably bent or broken- but these bitches are expensive- so unless the under wire is about to puncture something- that bitch is staying in the line up.
As I type this, I’m starting to feel a bit of dread. Maybe I am the only woman who wears the same 3 bras day in and day out? Maybe everyone else is walking around in matching bras and panties? Fuck, this is why I haven’t written in my blog for a while- I felt I was sharing too much. But, you know what, who the hell cares. I can’t imagine I’m the only one with this particular, shall we say, quirk. I have a “lingerie” (and I use the term loosely) drawer that is jam packed full of Lord knows what- because it certainly isn’t anything I wear on a regular basis. It’s mostly some ugly holiday socks an old aunt thought I would just “love”. I’m not 6 years old. I do not wear Christmas, Halloween, Valentines or any other holiday themed socks. That is unless I’m going to bed and my feet are cold OR I’m wearing tall boots that cover them up and all my other socks are dirty- because laundry is a major pain in the ass.
No, the “lingerie” drawer contains my go-to panties shoved right in the front. And my go to bras? Those 3 sisters live on my bedroom doorknob- where God intended. Except my nude-colored one right now!! I’m really starting to panic- there should be a hotline you can call for times like these- a lost bra crisis center. Someone to talk you off the ledge and tell you its okay- that that beloved ugly ass bra will resurface- probably in your daughter’s dress up box, or in the dog house or under the bed with a thousand dust bunnies. I really should stop typing and look for it- because I’m limiting myself to dark shirts for the rest of my life without it- or until I can save up the 50 billion dollars it costs to buy a new one. But, then I’ll have to stand and look and….well, that’s just exhausting. It’s much easier to just sit here and write about it. Nah…when its ready, it will show up.
Bras are really a thing of mystery for men and women alike. Its only been in the past couple of years that I realized what a difference having a properly fitting bra makes. It truly does do wonders for your figure. So here’s a little inside tip for all you ladies- if you think you’re a B- you’re a C, if you think you’re a C- you’re a D, if you think you’re a D…well you better get yourself over to Penney’s where they have little old ladies who’ve been through some kind of highly classified government bra-fitting training program and will be able to properly size up your giant boobs into a triple F or whatever gargantuan size they are. Speaking of mountainous boobs, every time I do go bra shopping, I feel like the only bras available are either an A cup (why even bother) or some mammoth size I didn’t even know they made. Where are all the ones in between??
On the subject of A cups, I remember reading in Seventeen magazine- when I was 13 or so- because honestly, no 17 year-olds are reading that shit, that if you’re not sure if you should wear a bra or not than you should take the pencil test. Again- who is “not sure”? If you even have to ask that question- then just do us all a favor and put one on for the safety of everyone around you. If you’re not familiar with the test it goes as follows: take said pencil, rest it under your boob, if it falls down- you can go braless, if you can hold the pencil with just your boob- you better bind those suckers up stat- and don’t forget to take the pencil out first. (I know you’re all going to try it right after you read this- its okay- I’ve done it, and yes, I can hold a pencil). Personally, I want to know who, when and where this test was developed? Has the Tea Party investigated to see if any of my hard earned tax dollars were going to research such nonsense? Probably not- humph. And another thing, has anyone ever tried writing with the pencil while its being held up by their boob? Now that, my friend, would be a true talent- far better than any of the shitty flute playing, clogging, cart wheeling, baton twirling crapola you see in the Miss America pageant.
So, on a side note, because you know, I never like to get off topic….I just looked up bra in the thesaurus. Not Roget’s actual book- but you know the one on the next tab over on my browser. For you youngin’s we used to have this here thang called a book. It had two hard things on each side we called the covers, and a whole heap of papers in ‘tween we called pages that had writin’ all over ’em. Some old man named Roget (pronounced ro-shay not ra-jit) knew a whole mess a words that meant the same thang as other words and he done wrote ’em in this here book. It was sorta like Webster’s Dictionary- which you pro’bly never done heard of neither- and so why the hell am I even tryin’ to learn you….and why do I feel the need to describe it like someone from the heels? (that’s hills for the rest of you). Okay- I just like talking in funny accents and writing is just me writing down how I’m talking inside my head- yes I’m crazy. Anyhoo, let’s get off that off topic topic and back to the off topic topic I was on….do you remember what it was? I looked up bra in the thesaurus. And here are some of the words it suggested: undergarment, underpants (really- I think that’s the wrong end), undershirt (okay- I’ll allow it), and my personal favorites: boxers, briefs, BVDs, drawers and loincloth. What the fuck?
Alright, now I’ve got to get back to looking for my main bra. I’ve written about it, I’ve prayed about it, alright, not really- but I just wrote about praying about it so that’s sort of the same thing. Being a good Catholic girl, I think I’ll go dig a hole and bury a statue of St. Anthony the Patron Saint of lost things upside down in the yard. You non-Catholics are all shaking your heads right now- but I’m telling you, thousands of years of superstitious, rituals can’t be wrong- I mean if it didn’t work why do the nuns at the Catholic bookstore sell so many St. Anthony statues? I know, you didn’t even know that they sold them or that burying them upside down would help, did you? Well now you’ve learned two new things today: women wear the same bras all the time and nuns sell statues of St. Anthony. You’re welcome.
Long, long ago…when I was young, naive and didn’t even want children, I remember hearing a pregnant friend of mine, who was also my boss and I thought was soooo much older than me, (in reality she was only about 5 years older than me) saying that her children were not going to be “spaghettio’s children”. I loved that term. And I thought it summed up my holier than thou, save the earth, I’ll be greener than you attitude perfectly. She was so cool, a liberal in our conservative state, a vegetarian, and a feminist when it was not cool to be a feminist. She kept her maiden name and only wore a wedding band, no fancy diamond engagement ring. She had lived in New York, practiced yoga and despite being raised Christian had married a Jewish man and converted. As many of you know, I have always wanted to be Jewish- so she was basically living the life I so wanted to have. And if she is reading this now- she knows exactly who she is- if she doesn’t well than she isn’t as smart as I thought she was.
The thing is, I’m just not cut out for this life. I’m Catholic and though I want to be Jewish, my Catholic guilt will forever keep me entrenched in the cult…until, like my father before me, I decide its all a bunch of bullshit and just go with atheism. I love cheeseburgers, steak, chicken, fish…basically all types of delicious dead animals- so vegetarianism is out. One puzzling enigma I can never seem to get over is people who claim to be vegetarian, except they eat fish. WTF? Since when is fish not meat?? These are what I call, (I know I may be treading in dangerous territory here) “non-vegetarians” – they are stupid people (sorry to actual stupid people- I know you don’t want to be lumped in with the “non-vegetarians”) just trying to put on a cool front and are probably sneaking cheeseburgers on the side. I tried to be a vegetarian in high school- but that only lasted about a week before I discovered that the amount of vegetables I like are rather limited…oh and I was dying for a burger. I like diamonds and shiny things- so an engagement ring was a must. And although I consider myself a liberal democrat, the fact is I live in an extremely conservative state where I must walk a fine line so as not to alienate anyone who could be a potential business ally etc. In fact, my very best friend in the world is a Republican (poor thing), but she and I agree to disagree. If only more people could do that, our country and the world would be a much better place.
I’ve always had an endless fascination with the sixties and the whole counter culture movement. Secretly, I still want to live on a commune, with flowers in my hair, no bra, off the grid, raising chickens, carrying my baby in a sling, and sharing everything with my fellow weirdos. But, I hate birds, so chickens are out and I don’t know shit about farming or weaving shit on looms so my contribution to the commune would be limited. I like camping- which is about as close to living on a commune as I’ll ever get, but only in limited amounts of time, because eventually I have to get back to the 21st century- mostly because I’m a TV addict and I need to catch up on what’s going on with the Amish Mafia or Gator Boys or some other mindless crap.
In reality, I like taking showers. I like wearing a bra- my boobs are way too big to be just swinging around hitting people in the face. And honestly, without a bra holding them up, it gets all sweaty and uncomfortable with them just hanging against my chest. I like living in a house with air conditioning and heating. I like having money to buy things, things that I need or just because I want them. I like owning a car and taking vacations. When I eventually had children, I tried every sling known to man in my desperate attempt to be organic, green and cool- but that shit hurt my back. Not only did those things hurt my back, but they’re super complicated to figure out and I was always afraid I would suffocate the baby. Then I would be brought up on murder charges all because I was too stupid to operate a simple sling. So, even though all the experts were and still are saying the closeness that the sling brings for mother and child is of great benefit….my kids had to ride in the stroller. One more strike against me in my quest for non “spaghettio’s children”.
In college, I so wanted to change the world, but only if it meant I got to carry big signs and sit on the shoulders of hot hippie guys at cool protests where people chanted, passed joints, and sang folk songs on guitar. But, this was the 90’s, as a generation we didn’t have a cause to protest, we had never really experienced war, we were raised under the high rolling Reagan administration and were really more concerned with how big we could get our hair, the cute boys at the fraternity house and accumulating debt on credit cards they gave out like candy on campus to stupid 18 year olds. There were hippies on campus, probably many more at the liberal arts institution I attended than others at that time, but still, try as I might, I was not and never will be hippie material.
In college, I wanted nothing more than to traipse about campus with the hippies, playing hacky sack, smoking weed and following The Dead and Phish every summer. But, hacky sack…well, I’m not good at any sports so even this hippie dippie sport was way out of my league. I didn’t have any money to follow anyone around in the summer…I’m assuming all of these ragged looking hippies secretly had rich, stupid parents financing their escapades. The one hippie thing I did exceedingly well was the weed part. It really doesn’t take much to be good at that and I could still have my nice air conditioned apartment, clean clothes, a job and sort of be a normal part of society. Perhaps if I wasn’t wasting money on weed, I could’ve followed those bands around each summer, but then without weed, what fun would that have been?
Moving right along, I graduated, got married, got a job and followed the straight and narrow. Despite the fact that the first 7 or so years of our marriage was a haze of smoke and alcohol, we had fun and were for the most part responsible. Then we had the novel of idea of having children. I swear we must’ve been drunk when we made this decision. When I found out I was pregnant, I was all at once, happy, sad, eager, scared, basically every emotion all at the same time. At first I thought we would have a natural birth with whale songs playing in the background as the baby so gently slipped from my vagina with rainbows and doves. Then I started reading. Reading every book about pregnancy. Everything was dangerous. Natural child birth held dangers, assisted child birth held dangers, c-sections held dangers- its a wonder any child is born healthy. I also gorged myself on sub sandwiches and Diet Coke, that is until half way through my pregnancy I found out you aren’t supposed to eat deli meats because of listeria (which I didn’t know what that was and am still not sure). But, I couldn’t give up the Diet Coke- sorry kids. And so began motherly guilt. I hadn’t even had the child yet and I was already feeling guilty for my shortcomings. Every mother knows there is no guilt like a mother’s guilt, because you can never do enough, never be there enough, give them too much freedom, never give them enough freedom, never live up to all the pie in the sky ideals “so called” experts tell you you should be doing. I suspect most of these “so called” experts are not parents themselves- because its obvious they don’t know shit about kids.
So when my child was born via emergency c-section, the postpartum depression was overwhelming. Not only had I failed my vision of the perfect child birth complete with saving the placenta to bury under a tree in our back yard- but I also had gone completely insane. I was intent on using cloth diapers- until I changed my first diaper. So that plan went right out the window before we’d even left the hospital. Prior to giving birth, I envisioned myself buying all organic foods and transforming them into all organic baby food. But, A. organic food is fucking expensive, and B. I have a job and don’t have time to be mashing up carrots and shit. Thus, Gerber and I quickly fell in love.
Fast forward to today, and my whole fantasy about having non “spaghettio’s children” is a complete, utter and epic failure. I am not a cook. I don’t enjoy cooking and most of my cooking ends in disaster. I also work a full time job and volunteer for everything under the sun because I’m a fucking idiot. So cooking time is limited. Furthermore, my kids hate everything. One day I find something they like, a week later I fix it again and now they refuse to even sit at the same table with it or throw themselves on the floor as if I just threw hot acid on them. We rely heavily on frozen food and restaurants- and since they hate everything that basically means chicken nuggets, tater tots, and canned green beans. And again, even the green beans are a crap shoot. Some days they proclaim it to be their favorite thing in the whole world and the next they act as if I’ve put rat poison on their plates.
Hence, I am not a hippie, not a vegetarian, not Jewish, don’t play hacky sack, live lovingly on the grid, and eat highly processed foods that are full of all kinds of chemicals I’d rather not know about. I do recycle and am all for wind power, gay rights and wish I could afford solar panels on my house- so I guess that’s about as “out there” as I’m going to get. I’d love to compost- but that seems way too time consuming and the garbage disposal is so much more convenient. As much as my young, full of hope self would’ve like, my kids are, in fact, “spaghettio’s kids” but I prefer to call them “tater tots”.
So here it is, 3 am, a week into the 40th year of my life and I’m wide awake. I’m awake for a myriad of reasons, the main one being that I’m not asleep. My mind races about everything. What needs to be done, what I haven’t done, what I should have done, regrets, grudges, shame, what will I do and when the hell am I going back to sleep? Perhaps firing up the old computer and writing at 3am is not the fastest way to get some zzzzs, but I’ve also been reading for the past hour and that shit ain’t helping either.
The past few weeks leading up to the official marking of me as a, horror or horrors, middle aged woman, I received a lot of unsolicited advice from friends of mine in their fifties. All of them seemed to be trying to reassure me that this was not in fact the end of my life. Geez a monetti, if you keep telling me its not that bad- well then it certainly is THAT bad. Lots of the advice sounded like it came straight from a motivational Pinterest pin. “You’ll love your forties”. “You’ll look the best you’ve ever looked”. And my personal favorite, “Forty is the new 20”. Really, 40 is the new 20? I really must take issue with this one- because honestly 40 is not anything like 20.
At 20, I was in college, taking naps in the middle of the day, staying out all night, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, chain smoking cigarettes and well, ahem, other items. I swore I would never work with computers. I would live my life as a performing artist. I did not understand why my college was forcing me to have an e-mail address that consisted of just a bunch of letters and numbers that no one, except maybe Rain Man, could remember- and I was never going to check anyway. I despised the idea of these new fangled cellular phones, because I did not want people to be able to track me down anytime of day. And quite honestly, even though I live and breathe by my phone now- I still don’t like idea that people can track me down anytime. I know I can put it on silent- its permanently on silent- but I’m going to have to check it eventually. If I left the house, I’d simply leave a note for someone telling them where I’d gone- or maybe I wouldn’t and they would just have to wonder- but they certainly couldn’t just call me and find my ass. I am wistful for the days when I just had a phone plugged into the wall and no answering machine. If you called and I wasn’t there than too damn bad for both of us- or perhaps just too damn bad for you…I didn’t want to talk to you anyway. I know this is a cliche attitude we’ve all heard a million times- but we’ve heard it a million times because its fucking true! We’re all too god damned connected.
At 40, I cannot stay out drinking all night long and show up for work at 8 am as if I’ve just had a good 8 hours of beauty rest. I cannot smoke cigarettes- because they’re going to kill me. I’m ten pounds heavier than I was back then (ok, we all know that’s a lie, but that’s the most I’m admitting to). I’m married with two kids, a mortgage, a pile of debt, mental illness (don’t act surprised, we all already know I’m fucking crazy), two email addresses, a plethora of social media accounts, a full time job, and volunteering for WAY too many things all because I’m an idiot who can’t seem to say no to anything. Except PTA…I can’t stand PTA- I know that makes me a terrible parent….but…well sorry- get off my back already. I can’t do everything….and those bitches are downright judgmental (sorry to my wonderful friends who are active in the PTA and make my childens’ school fucking awesome- but all your cute snack making, carnival coordinating and shit just makes me feel like a big fat loser).
Speaking of school, when have we, as a nation, decided that a leprechaun must visit every kindergarten room each St. Patrick’s day and tear shit up, pee green in the toilet and leave coins all over the place?? As if the fucking Elf on the Shelf isn’t bad enough? (see my hilariously funny post about that asshole- you’ll love it). That green bastard didn’t visit anyone when I was a kid. They’re supposed to be sitting at the end of the rainbow guarding their god damned pot of gold- not knocking over chairs and tearing up perfectly good paper in kindergarten class rooms. I love my children’s kindergarten teacher and I know this was not her idea- she’s forced into it because she can’t not do it when every other K class (I’m just going with K now because I’m tired of writing out the whole word) in the world is doing it. Then my child comes home wondering why the hell the leprechaun didn’t stop by our house? And we’re freaking Irish!! We invented this crap and no where in my “how to be Irish handbook” does it say the leprechaun makes visits to your house to spread cheer and glee to children. Isn’t that Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy’s jobs? In fact, St. Patrick’s day really has nothing to do with leprechauns at all. The truth is, according to religious theologians, and as cited in the Bible, and according to a myriad of Vatican resources, it is a high holy feast day that should be celebrated with reverence by knocking off work early and getting shitfaced. And as a good Irish Catholic girl (okay, middle aged woman), I abide by these rules stridently and with my head fully immersed in Guinness.
Alright, I know that as usual I’ve gotten way off topic here- so let’s get back on track. Forty is NOT twenty. It is TWENTY + TWENTY. My ass is tired. I work a full time job and take care of my children. And I don’t want this to turn into a big old fight between working mothers and stay home moms- because yes I’ve seen the bumper sticker, “Every mom is a working mom”. And its true, every mom is a working mom and it is a full time job. But, if you’re a mom with a job outside the home- well then you’re a person working TWO full time jobs. And that’s fucking exhausting. And I don’t like to hear about how women who “choose” to stay home do so because they value their children more than a career or some such bullshit. I would love to have the “choice” to stay home. I cannot count the number of times I’ve dropped my children off at day care and sat in the parking lot crying my eyes out because I DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY OF CHOICE. I do love my children more than my career- but staying home ain’t the hand I’ve been played. So, if I want to bitch about having too much to fucking do and can’t make cutesy snacks and come to every goddamned PTA meeting- its because I’m working TWO FULL TIMES JOBS!!!! (motherfuckers) Again, sorry to my wonderful friends who are stay-at-home moms- you’re total rock stars and I’m jealous as hell.
Okay- again back to being 40. It is definitely not the new 20. But, I do find I am much more comfortable with who I am and care less about what people think of me. That’s part of why I started writing this blog. I was tired of hiding what I really thought for the sake of someone else. Here I can write about my life, insult, cuss, and be my true self (who apparently has a major potty mouth). Who am I kidding? I still give a giant shit about what people think. I’m still crushed with every rejection. I’m still scared every time I publish a blog post at what people will think, if they’ll hate me, if they’ll decide I’m unworthy- you know, the regular. I still am unhappy with my 125 pound frame (shut the fuck up right now…its true, it says so on my driver’s license). I still cry when someone I thought was a friend turns their back on me. A friend of mine was just telling me that if people do that then they’re not good enough to be my friend in the first place- but it still fucking hurts. But, I’m striving to love myself more and appreciate each moment. (Alright, now I’m starting to cry- fuck, why the hell am I awake??). I love my stretch marks and scars and see them as proof of a life where I’ve taken risks- lots of them- and I’ve survived.
And hopefully, my stay-home mom friends and PTA rock stars will not hate me. I’m 40, I’m tired and I can’t sleep. Cut me some fucking slack.
I’ve always been taught that God makes no mistakes. That whomever you are, whatever your condition, your lot in life, what you have, don’t have etc…this was all God’s plan. We were made in his image and therefore unmistakably perfect. Well, I just found one little flaw in this theory; an anatomical mistake that God, Allah, mother nature, the universe or whatever crap you believe in overlooked in the grand design of the human body.
But before I let you in on that little discovery, I need to back up a bit and give you some background so you can understand how I figured this out. If you know me… you know this, if you’ve read my blog… you know this, if neither of these apply to you, then I’ll just tell you: I’m crazy. Not the straight jacket, institutionalized kind of crazy. Not that I wouldn’t mind a few days in the mental ward, the rest alone would do me wonders. I’m quite jealous of celebrities that get to check into the hospital for “exhaustion.” How the fuck do you get to do that anyway? Do you think if I rolled myself into the ER and said, “Y’all! Check me in STAT- I’m exhausted!” that they would? As greedy as big medicine and insurance companies are, I think not. They’d probably tell me what I just tell myself all the time and probably what the celebrities need to be told as well, “If you’re tired, get some fucking rest.”
Its also not the doomsday prepper, Ruby Ridge, militia making, manifesto writing kind of crazy either. That is, unless you call this blog my manifesto. Perhaps it is, but I don’t think it quite measures up to all the great manifesto writers of our time like, I don’t know, Karl Marx or the Unibomber. With all the whining my “manifesto” is filled with about my folks divorce, alcoholism, the cult, laundry, the fucking elf on the shelf- I’m pretty sure the Unibomber would look down his hooded little, bespectacled nose at my manifesto in disgust. I mean really, I haven’t included any of the top manifesto topics like big government, conspiracy theories, the apocalypse, or how women should know their place. One more thing to add to my list of failures: poor manifesto writing.
Its my own special crazy or I guess just the regular kind- I don’t know… I’m not a psychiatrist, asshole. Yes, I know there are millions more like me out there- but can you just let me feel special about one fucking thing here? For the love of Pete, I’m asking for my own special kind of crazy- I don’t think anyone is going to wrestle me to the ground for the title of “craziest.” So get off my back already. I’m not going to share all the gory details but let’s just say, my crazy includes bouts of deep depression that I expertly hide behind a lot of smiles, jokes, sarcasm and general gaiety. I figure my “gift” is to use my misery to amuse others- done and done.
Anyhoo, being depressed is a pretty shitty place to be and I’ll try anything to get out of that black hole. I’ve tried all the “tips” they give on the good old world wide web for curing the blues- well and the ones they tell you not to do too…pills, drinking, drugs, holistic healing, sex, prayer, massage, yoga, exercise…you name it, I’ve done it.
Recently, I went for my second Qigong massage. If you’re not familiar- as I’m sure most of you are not- Qigong massage works with your meridian lines (whatever the fuck those are) through the use of pulsating acupuncture points and massage. It releases all negative energy from your body and the effects last for weeks. (I know it sounds like flake city- but it works, so you can go suck it.) The first time I did it, I was completely blown away. Its a powerfully emotional experience, most people will cry during the session and then boom- he somehow lifts all of that negativity away and you slip into an almost trance like relaxation. (again- I know its sounds like total bullshit- but you can, again, go suck it).
At my most recent session, as he gathered my negative energy I found myself literally crying right there on the massage parlour table. Tears were streaming down my face as he whispered in my ear and gathered the negative energy through the lightest of touches. And guess what, I figured out God’s anatomical mistake. When you’re laying down flat and crying, your tears stream directly into your ears. Its quite uncomfortable if you’re trying to achieve your zen like trance, because all you want to do is interrupt his magical massage and say, “Can you hold on a minute while I get the tears out of my ears?” So this time, I was so focused on the itchy, wetness in my ears that I couldn’t fully concentrate on the massage. Argh…I can’t do shit!
So there you have it. The big mistake is that your tears roll from your eyes directly into your ears. I know, when you read the title you were expecting something way deeper, way more controversial. But, what can I say? I still believe the spirit in the sky doesn’t make many mistakes- but I think I got him or her- its probably trans-gender- on this one.
BTW- just in case all that shit the cult teaches is real…big ups to God.
My dad grew up poor, dirt poor, poorer than dirt, maybe middle of the earth molten lava type poor. He was born during the Great Depression, the son of a plumber and a nurse in Charleston, SC. The Holy City, as locals call it, had still not recovered from the “Late Unpleasantness.” For you Yankees or foreigners, that’s Southern speak for the Civil War. There was little money to be had and even less opportunity for any kind of advancement.
My Papa, (pronounced paa paa- like what a sheep says except with a p; that’s Charlestonese for grandpa), was not a very good plumber. In fact, I think he hated every minute of it. My father was his right hand man on most jobs and Papa dubbed him “Colonel Brokem” because apparently all he did was break shit. They didn’t always have enough to eat and sometimes my dad would sneak over to the Star Gospel Mission (run by those heathen Prodestants) for a free meal. He was poor, but he wasn’t stupid. Well, apparently, that never sat well with my Irish Catholic Papa because if he found out, Dad would get an ass whooping like nobody’s business.
My Mama (again pronounced like what a sheep says; Charlestonese for grandma), hated being a nurse. She graduated first in her class from nursing school, despite the fact that she had smacked the head nun in the face at some point, according to family lore. I think Mama (not yo’ mama- remember like baa baa) and I must have had a lot in common, because I often find myself wanting to smack people across the face. To date, I can report I’ve been mostly successful at refraining from doing so, mostly. Anyway, my Papa used to say that the only part Mama liked about being a nurse was pulling the sheet up over a person’s face. That means they were dead and she could go home. I always like getting off work early too.
So like I said, they were poor and like all parents Papa wanted a better life for his children. He knew the way to a better life for my father was to go to college. At that time, all you needed to get into the local municipal college was a recommendation from your high school principal. Being good Catholics, my father had spent his entire educational career in the parochial system; being beat up by nuns and told how he was going to hell for even thinking about anything at all.
On a side note, he has always insisted that that was the main reason he made sure we did not go to Catholic school. Although, I’m pretty sure it was more the fact that you actually had to pay for it when we were coming up, and the man was thrifty. Okay, thrifty is too nice a word, let’s just tell it like it is, he was cheap.
Anyway, as senior year came to a close my Papa marched my father over to Father Manning’s office to request a recommendation for college. Apparently, not only was my father good at breaking shit at home, but he also had a reputation for being down right stupid at school. Father Manning told my Papa that he would not write a recommendation for my dear old dad because he was too stupid for college and suggested Papa continue training him in the plumbing trade. God bless my Papa, because he insisted on the recommendation on the grounds that my father had to go to college because he was too stupid to be a plumber. Remember this was the early 1950’s and really nobody gave a shit about your self esteem or crap like that. Sometimes, I think we all need to be a little more frank about shit like this- honestly, telling people the truth can be all the motivation they need to stop acting like a complete asshole.
In my dad’s defense, he went on to be a commissioned officer in the Navy, a high ranking government official and traveled the world has a high paid bullshit consultant. So, for being so “stupid”, he did pretty good for himself.
My father made all of us painfully aware of his poor upbringing to make sure that we were thankful for every single cent he ever spent on us. He never understood the fact that teenage girl’s needed to have the “right clothes” and try to “fit in” for their mental wellbeing. All he could see were dollar signs. He constantly behaved as if we were two pennies away from the poor house and as he said about EVERYTHING…”if we buy that we’re going to lose the house!” Really, we’re going to LOSE THE HOUSE, because you won’t buck up an extra $20??
I remember one time I needed a pair of sneakers, so he decided Sam’s Club would be the perfect place to go buy my new kicks. I don’t know if you’ve ever been shoe shopping at Sam’s, but shoe selection is not their strong suit. If you’re in the market for giant industrial tubs of peanut butter or huge bags of rice that could feed all the people in China then they’ve got your back, but shoes, not so much.
I ended up with the dorkiest, ugliest, off brand sneaks you’ve ever laid your eyes on and I cried in the line to pay for them, I cried on the way home and I cried every time I had to wear those stupid sneakers. And did my father care that I didn’t like these shoes? Not one iota.
In college, cell phones were in their infancy. My very best friend and roommate was the daughter of a highly successful urologist. And therefore in my opinion- RICH!! She had one of those fancy cell phones. Now for those of you that are under the age of 30- you may not know this….but cell phones didn’t always fit in your pocket. No, hers was in a giant leather bag that you had to carry around with you and plug into the car every time you wanted to use. Have you ever seen those old war movies, where the army guys in the heat of battle would call into their COs on the giant wind up phone? Yep, it was pretty much like that. Oh, how I envied that bag phone. I vowed then and there that I knew I would be successful in life when I was able to buy my very own bag phone! Even though, I’ve now got my nice little smartphone that lets me do a billion more things than that bag phone, I’m still yearning a bit for the posh notoriety that came with carrying that giant bag.
Anyhoo, I decided I couldn’t wait until I could buy one for myself. So I put together the pitch to my father on why it was so important for me to have a “car phone”. Yes, back in the olden days we didn’t even call them “cell phones”, they were “car phones” because of course the only time you’d need to use it was inside your car.
The pitch included all the important talking points: safety, safety and of course safety. I didn’t dare mention the word “cool” in the pitch at all. I knew very well that my father did not give a shit whether we were cool or not. But, as you can guess, the pitch went no where. It started out, “Dad I’ve been thinking I need to get a car phone…..” end of conversation. He just completely freaked out and said, his favorite retort for everything I’ve ever asked for, “No! What do you need that for? We’re not the fucking Rockefellers!”
So, no, I did not get my car phone and am fully aware that I am in no way or will ever be a Rockefeller.
As every parent knows, your greatest dream for your children is to provide a better life than you had. Luckily for me, my parents made this task extremely easy. Not that they were bad parents, they loved me and I always felt that, which is the most important thing. But, there were just a few items that might’ve made things a bit more enjoyable. So my top three rules I try to follow to achieve the aforementioned dream are as follows:
1. Stay sober (well, not exactly all the time, I am Irish after all).
2. Clean the house (at least every once in a while).
3. Provide 3 CONSISTENT squares a day (alright, mine aren’t always square, sometimes triangle, rhombus, octagonal, but ALWAYS three)!
My parents had a mixed marriage, Catholic and Methodist; I know, quite shocking. They were married in 1961 and being the good, obedient woman of her day, my mother readily converted to the cult. However, I don’t think she really bought into the whole Catholic thing hook, line and sinker. She taught us the prayers she grew up saying and ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE. If you’re Catholic, you know, we don’t exactly do that.
But, she made sure we went to Mass every Sunday, signed us up for CCD and got the big four sacraments: baptism, confession, communion and confirmation . For you non-Catholics, CCD is sort of like Sunday School for Catholic children who go to public school…except its not always on Sunday.
You may remember from an earlier post that I have two older sisters. Things must’ve been going pretty well for them when they were receiving their sacraments, because I’ve seen the pictures. At first communion, they both had pretty little white dresses and the requisite bridal veil. I’m still not sure why the cult insists on making 7 year olds look like their getting married when they’re having their first bite of the holy host, but whatevs.
My parents marriage went downhill pretty quickly after my birth. Hmmm….always made me wonder if it was my fault? But, they’ve assured me time and again it was not. Remember, they weren’t great at cleaning and staying sober and shit, but they were good at loving me.
So by the time my first communion rolled around, they were in the thick of their divorce. Ahh…what happy times those were. They went from yelling and screaming at each other right in front of us, to standing in the front yard speaking in hushed tones, while we waited inside. Yeah, it was great.
Anyhoo, first communion is usually held in the Spring somewhere near Easter. My favorite color was purple (still is) and I had a beautiful, flowing taffeta purple Easter dress. It had a satin ribbon around the waist and twirled out when I spun. I remember it quite vividly and how much I loved it, until I hated it.
Being in CCD, we all received our First Communion together at Mass in front of the whole congregation. Well, of course, I’m 7 and have no idea what any of the cult’s customs are, because really for any kid in any religion, church is just one long torture session. But, you’d think after 20 some years of marriage, my mother would have had a handle on the situation. I guess my Dad could’ve clued her in, but remember, he was drunk. (Again, its okay, don’t feel bad).
So the big day rolled around, and all of us girls and boys made our way down the aisle hands folded in a prayer like stance. All the boys wore little suits and ties and the girls had the most beautiful white gowns and flowing veils- even little white gloves. ALL THE GIRLS, except me. I had my purple Easter dress on…ya know, the one I loved. Except now, I despised it. Why the fuck didn’t I have a beautiful bridal veil and white gloves? There’s proof of this disaster in pictures somewhere. The whole second grade communion class together on the altar, with me sticking out like a sore thumb in my purple dress.
As an adult, I’ve asked my mother about this debacle. She blames it on the women’s movement and says she thought the cult had moved past that tradition. Really? The cult has 2000 years of tradition that they keep intact and she thinks a little old thing like the “women’s movement” was going to change what a bunch of old men at the Vatican think? Honestly, I think she was just a little too preoccupied to pay any attention to what I was wearing. So I forgive her. But, I’ve made damn sure that my girls have a beautiful white gown and bridal veil!
So I guess the 4th item should be: Provide appropriate clothing for monumental moments in life.