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If it’s major, hit me on my pager

9 Nov

I am going to get real with you today homies.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Today it’s 1996.  I am 15 years old.  I have a Meg Ryan inspired haircut-which I am not-repeat NOT pulling off well, I weigh 90 lbs, and I’m wearing jnco pants.

To clarify, that would be these:

In my case, my feet were never visible, which I assure you, made me hip. I am lacking boobs and an ass at this point.

Also, I live in the suburbs of Seattle.

So you know, practically Compton.

I have taken up the habit of cruising around in my best-friend’s car, attempting to smoke cigarettes (first time encountering this to be a later post-but let’s just re-emphasize that I am attempting, not really succeeding in smoking said cigarettes), and I have become temporarily obsessed with hip hop.  I have started referring to my friends as my homies, I’m convinced that one can never wear enough eyeliner, and if I could figure out how to slick my hair back into a tight ponytail with just two spirals hanging out on either side, you can bet your ass I’d be doing it (aforementioned haircut-an unfortunate side-effect from my previous punk phase despite my desperate desire to become a ganster-excuse me-gangsta).

I am in 10th grade, I am unpopular, and I have acne.  I also have been ordered by the orthodontist to wear headgear 14 hours a day, which I am rebelliously not doing (and yes mom, I still defend that decision).

So, I’m in my jncos, with a baby-toll tshirt which shows off my belly-button piercing (which I did myself-again, later post…), in my friend’s car, and we are cruising around parking lots in search of anything interesting.

By interesting, I mean boys.  Specifically, cute bad boys.

It says something about the male libido that they’d find me attractive, but the fact that they do works well for me.

This is not prep school readers, this is the ghetto.

Ok, so maybe we all saw Dangerous Minds one too many times, but regardless, here we are.

In a parking lot.  In a car.  Coughing cigarette smoke and trying to chat up boys.

Our vessel is her 1982 Honda.  It was at one time white, it is now various shades of dirt.  The driver door does not open so we both have to enter and exit the vehicle via passenger door.  We have slurpees instead of alcohol because we cannot get our hands on anything more adventurous than sugar-soaked ice.

We are listening to e40.  Specifically, we are listening to this song:

Which is of course, the song of my tenth grade year.  The song which inspired the months of begging my mother for a pager.  To page, to be paged, is the epitome of cool and I desperately want to be involved.

The song is reminding me that I don’t yet have a pager, but it’s also working in my favor because I know all the words and can bob my head slightly along in a bad-ass manner I learned from movies.

I will sit in that parking lot, in that car, in those jeans for the next three months before I decide I’m a rock girl.

A rock girl with a pager.

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The curious case of an orthodontist, Kid-Ginger, and fungus

20 Feb

Puberty is rough.  Orthodontists are scam artists.  My mother is a sadist.

In 1996 these three truths collided to create the perfect storm.

At 14, I looked like this:

Simultaneously, my 10 year old bro looked like this:

The cool kids on the block, we were not.

What we lacked in trend-setting however, we made up for in mediocrity.

Naturally, neither of us ever wore our headgear.

And yes Mom, I know you are reading this and already getting irritated that you lost that battle, but I ask you to look at those two faces and feel pride.

Can’t do it, can you?

Anyway, let’s get back to the story.

As a result of never wearing our headgear, neither of our overbites were improving.  I was in the onset of my teenage rebellious hayday so this did not bother me.

Kid-Ginger however, had other problems.

At only 10, he was still anxious to please my parents and all figures of authority.  Every month on the night before our visit to the orthodontist, he’d strap the shiny apparatus into place and hope against all odds that one night of donning the robotic creation would fix his face.

Deep down however, he knew this wouldn’t work and so he’d get nervous.  Pacing around his room, he was always trying to think of ways to alleviate the oncoming argument between himself, the orthodontist, and our parents.

Nothing ever worked.  Every month, the morning would arrive, and we’d troop into the appointment like lambs to the slaughter.

Not one for privacy, this particular orthodontist had one giant room with several dental chairs in a row.  It was a Fordistic haven for the humiliation of  American youth and their teeth.

Kid-Ginger and I were usually seated next to one another.

It was during one such morning while I waited for the assistant to come and hook my head up to the Matrix and disassemble my mouth; that I chose to glance over at what was happening on my little bro’s end.

The orthodontist was just leaning over to take a look in Kid-Ginger’s open mouth.  Sweat gathering on the little guys forehead, he looked up in fear as Dr. Iago’s face twisted into pure disgust and he backed several steps away from my brother’s chair.

His eyes scanning his assistants in fear, he loudly announced:

“Someone get me the manual, we’ve got a situation here.”

Then, cautiously re-approaching the redhead’s chair he took another repulsed glance and said:

“Son, is that hurting you?  How long has THAT been growing in your mouth?”

Kid-Ginger’s cheeks now the color of beets, he shook his head nervously and asked:

“how long has what, is this about the headgear, I don’t know, I wear it, well I try to wear it, what is happening in my mouth?!”

My dental chair at this point had gone from seat of doom to the best seat in the house as I watched this melodrama unfold.

“Kid, your tongue is black.  Did you eat licorice for breakfast?  Do you brush your teeth? Where is that darn manual Peggy!!!”

(Peggy was the assistant I had been awaiting, so her scramble to locate the manual containing all mouth diseases did not bother me in the slightest)

Kid-Ginger, rapidly approaching black-out mode shook his feet and insisted he had not eaten anything for breakfast because he had been too nervous.

By this point all of the assistants were peering into my brother’s mouth in order to identify the problem.

Each of them looked horrified.

Booming over the intercom I suddenly heard the words:

“Would the father of Kid-Ginger please come into the workroom immediately please.  The father of Kid-Ginger.”

Enter in one sarcastic lawyer of a father.  My father.

“Sir, we need to show you the situation that is your son’s mouth.  I’m afraid we can’t work on him today.  Until we identify the fungus, we can’t associate our tools with it.  As of right now, it appears to be something called Black Hairy Tongue.”

I watched unblinkingly as my father glanced into his youngest offspring’s mouth.  His own jaw fell open, he stopped breathing, and he demanded of my brother:

“What in Gods name have you been eating?  Good lord do you ever brush your teeth?  Son, your tongue is absolutely black.  How long has it been like that?!?! What do you mean you haven’t noticed?  How on Earth can you possibly not have noticed?!?!? How many times do I have to tell you to USE YOUR HEAD?!?!”

The room went silent.

All eyes fixed on Kid-Ginger as he stared at my father like a deer in headlights.

Silence.

Slight ruffle of pages as the various assistants found new diseases in the manual and peered nervously into the gaping hole in my brother’s face. Shaking their heads no, the shuffling of pages continued.

More silence.

Finally, my father ordered the two of us to the car.  On the ride home, he continued to question my silently shaking brother.  Staring out the window in sheer terror, it appeared Kid-Ginger had gone mute.

Ten minutes passed.  Tension in the vehicle was high.

Then finally, the trembling voice of one 10 year old redhead announced:

“Well, I did drink a lot of Pepto Bismol last night, I was so nervous about today”

My father turned his head and stared at his son in disbelief.

“You were so nervous about the appointment you drank that stuff?  You hate that stuff.”

“I know Dad, but I didn’t know what else to do”

Later that evening it was discovered via prehistoric internet searching that Pepto Bismol can turn your tongue black if drunk in excess.

Turns out Kid-Ginger never had a fungus after all.  By dinnertime, he was fine.

My stomach was not so great though.

Having laughed so hard through the entire ordeal, my tummy ached for days.

Love story: or my lack of tits until age 20.

8 Dec

Fifth grade.

Stretch pants.  Side ponytail.  Bart Simpson t-shirt.

Seat next to me occupied by one boy.

The boy.

Blonde hair.  Dimples.  Guns & Roses tshirt.

Swoon.

Seat on other side of me occupied by another boy.

Specifically not the boy.

Jeans. Red t-shirt.  Plastic digital watch used to communicate with ‘spies’.

Wrinkle nose, roll eyes, try to ignore any and all sounds eminating from his desk.

Lean a little closer to the boy to ask a question.

Flip hair.  Twirl pencil.  Smile.

Something hits my face.

It has been launched from the other side.

And then again.

Bouncing off my cheek, a fruitsnack falls onto my desk.

Followed by inane giggling.

Blush away from the boy.

Turn to glare at the other boy.

He is sitting on his package of fruit snacks.

A look of sheer determination on his face.

Breath held, brow furrowed he focuses.

Then, a fart.

Onto a fruit snack.

A fruit snack he then tries to launch at my face.

A fart fruit.

The boy now checking out another girl.

She already has tits.

I don’t.

For the next ten years.

I will attract nothing.

But more fart fruit.

Thailand, Kid-Ginger, and my hairdressing aspiration

2 Dec

My brother thinks we should move to Thailand and open up a backpacking hostel.

I’m not so sure I’d be able to handle that much hippy.

Not that I wouldn’t be willing to give it a try.  I’m sure the opportunity for adventure and writing material would be vast.

He’ll report back on the situation, I’m sure.  He just left this morning, so I’m expecting an email within the next two weeks casually mentioning his intentions of marrying a local.

With Kid-Ginger, anything is possible.

Plus I recommended he read The Alchemist on the trip.  What better advice to give a brother than-hit the road, don’t look back, and go make your own journey?

I can feel my father’s expression as he reads that last sentence.  It’s bothered my parents for some time that I’ve been able to -ahem-casually suggest ideas for Kid-Ginger since he was quite small.

I can’t count the amount of times my mother has stared at him, exasperated, and muttered:

“Why, why on Earth do you keep listening to your sister?  Stop it.  Just stop listening to what she tells you to do-honestly.”

She may have been on to something the day I blindfolded him and fed him anchovy paste.  But I don’t think he really understood until nearly ten years later, when I decided to give him a ‘cool’ haircut.

I’ve somehow managed to convince three people in my life that I am capable of cutting hair.

He was my first victim.

Things were going well when I shaved off the sides of his head, and let longer red locks fall over the buzz underneath.  This was the nineties and we were in Seattle, so the grungy, mohawk potential was cool at the time.

For the record, he enjoyed the modern art on his scalp for the first week.  Like a little bad-ass, he ran across the soccer field, scoring goals while donning a look my father would later refer to as ‘white-trash chic’.

bad.ass.

If my mother  hated the artwork on his head at that point, she despised it a week later when I again came at him with scissors.  We were eating sandwiches on the porch, when I glanced at my 11 year old sibling and said:

“You know kiddo, I’m pretty sure it’s uneven.  I just need to fix it-a little, won’t take long, I promise.”

The problem with making hair even when you have no idea what you’re doing-is that somehow you convince yourself to just keep going shorter, and shorter….

and shorter….

Suddenly I realized I had turned my brother into a turnip.

uhhhh..whoops?

When my mom came home from work that afternoon, she found me outside the bathroom door, trying to console her only son on what would go down in history as Kid-Ginger’s worst haircut.

When he finally opened the door and she saw what I had done to his head, I knew I was grounded.

Hours later, after he had returned from the proper hairdressers and finally stopped glaring at me, I convinced him that it was just a misunderstanding.

By bedtime, we were friends again.

Here’s hoping he comes home from Thailand.

Sex, aliens, and courage

29 Nov

When I was ten, my parents rented a sex-ed tape from the library and made me watch it with them on the couch.

With candy.

It’s no wonder I only eat popcorn at the movies these days.

By the end of the film, my eyes had turned to the size of dinner plates.  Convinced they were from another planet, I stared at my parents in sheer horror.  Exactly 63 minutes prior to sitting on that couch, they were the loving providers of shelter, food, and buckets of presents.  By the time my father turned off the television, they had morphed into creatures from another planet who were concerned with topics I wanted absolutely nothing to do with.

Ever.

The two of them stared at me after it ended, curiously watching my response as if I were a case study.  Nervously tapping her fingers, my mother asked if I had any questions.  My father tilted his head.

By this point I was convinced that these so-called humans in front of me were alien sleeper pods.  I had questions-but you can hardly ask aliens what they’ve done with your real parents.  My knees shaking, I walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

The voice of the narrator branded in my head as I tried desperately to forget the phrase: ‘the sperm now travels through the penis shaft’.

Taking a sip of water, I feigned calm in front of the aliens.  My hands trembled as I mumbled the sudden need for a bike ride, and meandered towards the garage in what I desperately hoped would be a convincing act of cool and collected.

Once my feet hit the pedals, my imagination exploded.

A combination of scenes from the video and all alien movie plots I had ever seen infiltrated my brain as I pushed my bike further from the house o-extra-terrestrial parents.

Vowing to erase the images from my mind, I pedaled out to the treehouse to re-evaluate my family situation.  One thing was clear, my parents had lost their minds.  Whether or not that had something to do with spacecraft was unclear.  Further investigation was necessary.

I vowed to shelter my brother from a similar fate.  Whispering to him after dinner that night, I told him never to watch anything Mom and Dad brought home from the video store.  Staring at me from behind the red curls framing his chubby face, kid-Ginger obediently nodded.

Figuring that he was safe for the time being, I then lined up my stuffed animals to hold an open forum.  Not one of them provided much insight except Snoopy.  Being the oldest of the bunch, he just stared at me with those innocent eyes, willing me to take charge of the situation.

I had to save the human race from the aliens who were forcing children to watch this video.  Purpose of said video was unclear to me, but I was sure it could lead to nothing but tears, destruction, and the complete annihilation of mankind.

Tucking Snoopy under my arm, I fell asleep determined to warn the students of my class in the morning.  This situation was serious.

The next day, my teacher showed the video to my classmates.

As they watched in frozen horror, our loving teacher turned it off at the end and asked if any of us had already seen the tape.

Bravely, facing alien destruction, I defiantly raised my hand.  This creature was not going to shock me, no sir.   I had already seen the horror, now was the time for confrontation.

All my classmates turned in my direction.  It was clear, my hand indicated authority.  I was now the leader of these innocent sheep being sent to slaughter.

“I already saw it.  I already know what you’re going to say”.

That ladies and gentlemen, is how I became the playground expert on sex education and alien invasion.  The rest of the day, I was a celebrity on the swings, hollering out instructions on how we must unite against the adults.  My classmates eagerly hopped on board with this plan.  I was the shephard, and by God-I would not let harm come to my flock.

This lasted one day.

The next morning Joey Hunter brought in a copy of his father’s Playboy.

Turns out, the aliens knew how to get the boys attention.

Tequila, a bad-boy, leather, and my brief stunt as a muse

25 Nov

Trouble always finds me when I’m trying to drink tequila in peace.

I was 22, I decided I hated men, and I went out with my roommate to celebrate the recent discovery.

Sitting at the Irish pub down the street from our apartment, I ordered a round of shots for her and I, and the two of us began discussing why boys were stupid.  I can’t remember the details, but I’m sure it was an inspiring conversation.

Nibbling on a lime slice, I happened to look down the bar.

That’s where I spotted him.

Notebook, guitar case at feet, scotch on the rocks, dark hair, blue eyes, and tattoos.

Normally this would have done me in instantly.  But considering the festivities, I instead ordered another round of tequila and my roommate and I watched him from afar (ten feet down the bar).

Five minutes later my blood was happily flowing to the tune of a mariachi band.

So when Sexy McNogood beckoned me with his finger, I strolled down the bar to say hi.  At least that’s what I meant to say.  But what came out was:

“Hey, I’m out celebrating my hatred of all men.”

To which he responded:

“Interesting, I’m just out looking for a one night stand.”

Tilting my head at him curiously, I muttered: “ok then, I think we’re done here” before returning to the roommate.

Twenty minutes later, he asked for my phone number.

Two days later, he called.

We went on three dates.  On the eve of the third we were doing some hard-core smooching and yea ok-a little over-the clothing heavy petting was beginning.

I still had my jacket on though, to give you an indication of how far things had NOT progressed.

But for reasons still unclear to me now, he took this as an opportunity to utter the phrase:

“I’ve got something I want to show you.”

Standing up, he walked to his closet, opened the door, and asked me to come inside.

Peering into the former master bedroom closet, I saw various toys, whips, leather attire, masks, and some sort of swinging contraption in the corner.

For the record men, this is not the appropriate way to introduce this particular form of extracurricular activites to a potential mate.

As my Romeo soon discovered.

Speechless, I stared at him for some seconds before casually attempting to exit his house.  Muttering something about leaving the iron on in my apartment, I hopped down the stairs, yelled out something about not bothering to call me again, and left the house o’leather.

A month later I was back in the same bar with my roommate.  This time we were celebrating her hatred of men.

It was open mic night.

Out of nowhere tattooed leather man slimed onstage.

Staring directly at me, he began strumming his guitar while singing:

“You were out to hate all men, and I was just looking for a one night stand”

The song lasted about three minutes.

Thankfully it ended in time for my roommate and I to have one last round of tequila.