Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

The Ear Piercing Fiasco that Marred All Living Memory of It

dinoearringsWhen I was growing up in small town New England I was one of only two girls in my school who did not have pierced ears. It was tradition in these parts to bring your girls out when they were seven or so to give them their first ear piercing. This was a right of passage most little girls lived for – a mommy daughter moment that made them look tough and older. I never saw the point. I was like that – constantly questioning, constantly wrinkling my nose at the status quo. My mother told people it was because I was afraid of the pain. This was absolute horse shit. Pain was never something that bothered me. I loved to get vaccinated with the other children. I’d laugh when the little boys would cry and gloat over them when I didn’t. No, this wasn’t a pain thing, but it may have had a little to do with a story I kept hearing get told over and over again…. that of my mother’s ear piercing.

threadShe lived in a more conservative time. Children did not have their ears pierced but that didn’t stop them from wanting it. So when my mother was a teenager she let her sister pierce her ears with a sewing needle. Her sister was not trained in this but that didn’t stop either one of them as they pulled some ice cubes out of the freezer and began to numb her ear lobes the best they could. The first ear went well. She grabbed a hold her sister’s lobe, pointed the sewing needle (sterilized with alcohol) at the approximate spot it should go and started to push it through with great strength. You see that’s the thing about ear lobes, they’re spongy, rubbery, and thick. They are not easy to manually push a needle through! But sure enough with a nice gush of blood and an audible pop the first ear was pierced!

A beautiful casual female touching her earIt was the second ear that was the problem… Now my aunt was under great pressure to get it done and get it done quick because their mother had shown up and was pounding on the locked door demanding to know what mischievous thing her daughters were up to. With very little numbing she lined the needle up and pushed it diagonally through the ear while hollering, “NOTHING! WE’RE NOT DOING NOTHING! GIVE ME A SECOND!!!” The chaos was palpable, the consequences permanent. My mother’s diagonally pierced ear never healed up so she was never able to redo the piercing better. Worse still it was open to infection now and she was without the supervision of someone who knew what they were doing. An abscess formed, puss built up in the ear lobe, and her solution to fixing it involved soaking a cotton thread in salt water and flossing it through the new hole. This did work in the end but just the idea of it makes me gag thinking about it. No thank you. I had no desire to go through this just so I could have some stupid sparkly thing jutting out of my head. I found it bizarre society seemed to demand this of women. Ah well, I always was a failure as a girl and then a woman. I’m content with that.

 

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Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

Fond Memories of Killing Off The Hanson Brothers…

HALPersonal expression is one of those things you can swallow and repress for many years to please others but eventually something will come out somehow. My teenage years were a perfect example of this. I was a painfully shy, near mute of a child, hiding a disturbingly dark sense of humor behind sweet innocent-looking eyes. It was something I shared with almost  no one – only a few special friends and family who I thought could handle it, but as with all things it began to slip out a little at a time…

hobbitI was “gifted” and going to public school – this is really just a politically correct way of saying “a child who is chronically bored of your tedious and dumbed-down curriculum.” I spent a lot of hours every day daydreaming… and those daydreams were not always about unicorns and fairies. Actually they more often stared the Kracken eating my peers, or going out to lunch in a new hat, depending on my mood. I was good at  being random, really fucking random, and it wasn’t long before I started my own satirical newspaper long before the Onion or access to the internet. In it I wrote charming little stories with flashy titles like Lassie Falls Down Well; Irony Goes on Strike or Barney Killed in Most Dangerous Game or Last Surviving Hanson Brother Found in Cave Clinging to Can of Catfood. The Hanson Brothers appeared a lot. They were my Kenny before Kenny was a thing. Why was I so mean to them in particular? I don’t know. Must have been that clean Christian image… My bestie at the time confessed to me Marilyn Manson creeped her out. Obviously I used this fact for years to make her vibrantly uncomfortable. “Hey look at that Goth boy over there! He’s fucking adorable!” And she’d cringe and I’d do it again. Oddly, despite being my best friend, she did not have an imagionary subscription to my satirical newspaper, though others did.

This was a wonderful little extracurricular for me but even my schoolwork started to get dark. I made a paper mache mask of Quetzlcoatl the Aztec winged snake god who required human sacrifice. I did reports on George Bernard Shaw to see if anyone was paying attention (they weren’t) and when all that failed to get even one laugh I started blatantly making shit up. I did reports on imagionary sea creatures who existed only in my special mind. I signed my permission slips with the name of famous authors, sometimes even children’s authors which should have been noticed. I mean I know death has never stopped Roald Dahl from inciting humor but still!

trojanBut I guess my fondest memory is of typing class where I left absolute carnage. Instead of typing, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” a billion times over our teacher decided he’d make us into our own publishing house. He gave each student a random sentence and instructed them to write a paragraph about it. After we finished we were to switch computers and write a paragraph for the next person, eventually constructing a story by the end of class. I don’t remember what my sentence was but I do remember the paragraph after it started outlying the beginnings of a massive tele-tubby invasion of Earth. From there on I left a trail of absolute devastation at every screen. I journeyed into Candyland where I killed off people eating the chocolate roads with speeding lollipop trucks, taking my inspiration from Froggo. I got Barney the lovable purple dinosaur embroiled in some NSFW scandals. I gave Tony the Tiger some much needed therapy for his Cereal Killing and then I sat back and watched as students tepidly raised their hands to share their stories at the end of class. The best one was the computer I started on. They really ran with that tele-tubby invasion! Sadly the girl next to me was far less thrilled with my writing style and just bitched to the teacher that it was needlessly violent and she couldn’t write any more if I kept killing off the main characters mid-story. Fair ’nuff. My computer teacher was too numb to understand it was me causing all the havoc. My English teacher actively discouraged my creative writing saying I was too “slangy” and didn’t make any sense but I kept going! And here I am, in my thirties, still  maintaining the inappropriate giggles of my twelve year old self while adding frog pants to The Wild and Crazy History of Condoms. When that wasn’t enough I moved on to A Brief and Delightfully Awkward History of the Codpiece.

feminineprotectionSome of you reading may be aware I sport “tits and a twat” (my favored way of announcing my sex) so I will also include some personal and hilarious  horror stories for the ladies out there. A personal favorite will always be Pop! Goes the Speculum! And if that’s not enough I also have a historically relevant piece on Killer Tampons.

**Footnote – all comics included in this are rare archival finds from my teenage years. They’re Glen the Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar who I breathed life into via MS Paint and lack of sleep.

 

 

Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

When the Torch is Passed Via an Apple Pie

mile-high-apple-pie-11Lately I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother. She was a wry witty woman who always had a mischievous twinkle in her eye. It was this, her sense of humor, that I miss most about her during these past few years. It was something unique and special that cemented our bond. I’m sure she always had it but I don’t think many people understood it – I did, and according to her, always had.

raw-mile-high-apple-pieHer favorite story to tell about me recalled a Thanksgiving event from many years ago. She said when I was five years old she had me out in the kitchen helping her bake her famous mile high apple pie, something she put together with the attention to detail of a rat in a gourmet kitchen. The recipe was simple, it basically called for a pie crust to be loaded well past the brim with apples that’d been coated with a heaping unmeasured dose of sugar and cinnamon. On this particular day she threw the cinnamon into the bowl and started to stir the chunks of crudely chopped apples until they were all sufficiently covered before piling them unceremoniously into the pie crust. This is when she realized she forgot the sugar which was still sitting there ready and waiting to be poured into the bowl. She turned to me and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me I forgot the sugar?” to which my tiny passive-aggressive five year old self replied, “I thought you knew what you were doing.”

I feel honored to have inherited her wit as well as her unique baking style. I still cream cookie batter by squishing it between my fingers. Who needs blenders or a spoon?! Not us! Love you Gram. I hope wherever you are now you know we still think of you often.

Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

When the Torch is Passed Via an Apple Pie

mile-high-apple-pie-11Lately I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother. She was a wry witty woman who always had a mischievous twinkle in her eye. It was this, her sense of humor, that I miss most about her during these past few years. It was something unique and special that cemented our bond. I’m sure she always had it but I don’t think many people understood it – I did, and according to her, always had.

raw-mile-high-apple-pieHer favorite story to tell about me recalled a Thanksgiving event from many years ago. She said when I was five years old she had me out in the kitchen helping her bake her famous mile high apple pie, something she put together with the attention to detail of a rat in a gourmet kitchen. The recipe was simple, it basically called for a pie crust to be loaded well past the brim with apples that’d been coated with a heaping unmeasured dose of sugar and cinnamon. On this particular day she threw the cinnamon into the bowl and started to stir the chunks of crudely chopped apples until they were all sufficiently covered before piling them unceremoniously into the pie crust. This is when she realized she forgot the sugar which was still sitting there ready and waiting to be poured into the bowl. She turned to me and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me I forgot the sugar?” to which my tiny passive-aggressive five year old self replied, “I thought you knew what you were doing.”

I feel honored to have inherited her wit as well as her unique baking style. I still cream cookie batter by squishing it between my fingers. Who needs blenders or a spoon?! Not us! Love you Gram. I hope wherever you are now you know we still think of you often.

Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

Built Maine Tough – The Women in my Life

whackRecently I recounted a story of a woman taking out a wife beater with a baseball bat. This anecdote was one of random bad-assery. It had everything you could want in a story – a conflict, a villain, a hero, and an oh-so-satisfying ending. It’s one of the many reasons I adore the woman who told it and so many others.

crossroadsI’m at a strange crossroads in my life – both looking forward with excitement and trepidation, and looking into the past to learn everything it has to tell me. As I do this I recognize that all the women surrounding me through out my early years were intense. They were strong, independent, resourceful, and absolutely inspiring on all levels. Most of these women came from a hard background, uneducated, born into poverty, they managed the best they could and did so with so much courage that I am moved to hear each and every tale.

50'sI guess I can start with my grandmother. She was smart, really smart, although she never thought so. Growing up in a culture that demands women be docile and stupid seemed to have left permanent scars on her psyche. Still, she was probably one of the strongest women I have ever had the joy of knowing. She got married to a drunk in the fifties, and was part of a church I can only classify as extreme and Puritanical. Still, even with this going against her she got a divorce. She even managed to get approval from the church which was not a pleasant process and included proving her husband was unfaithful without a shadow of doubt. She did this. For herself. In the fifties. From here she went on to marry another mean nasty drunk who did nothing for the family. Because of this she pretty much single handedly raised five children, including my mother who was born six weeks premature. The doctors seemed to think this was because she was dragging water from the well, up a hill, and to the house, every day, while eight months pregnant. They didn’t have plumbing or electricity. And when all this wasn’t enough she even found work and started to be the breadwinner as well. Tough as nails this woman was. She’d eventually divorce a second time.

mourningroseHer sister shared in the misery of poverty – where good men are nearly impossible to find. She had five children of her own when her husband came home from church, family in tow ready for Sunday dinner, and shot her and himself killing both in front of several carloads of witnesses. This wouldn’t be my grandmother’s only loss. She persisted, raised her children to adulthood, eventually earned a stable life, but was only broken when two of her adult children died a slow and painful death from an inherited disease. That would have broken anyone.

maxresdefaultMy mother was more stubborn than anything. From her premature birth she struggled to live and survived at a time when premature babies generally didn’t make it. She not only made it but she suffered remarkably few long lasting effects from her early arrival. She grew up with the same backwoods mentality that women do all the work. Maybe this is why she didn’t find having a man was necessary to having a family. She was unmarried when she decided to have kids and she had two of them as a single mother, starting in the 1970’s. When my brother was born the nurse at the hospital took such offense to this abomination she made sure to shame my mother at all opportunities and even started to feed her infant in secret so that she could further humiliate her when the baby refused to eat for its own mother. That was the beginning of a long journey for the both of them and seven years later, when I came onto the scene, I just added to this strange family ahead of their time.

sweatshop_ivyIn those days my mother worked for a sweatshop owned by another women, something absolutely unheard of in a small town in the 1980’s. I have no idea how this happened but I know she did on her own – without the help of a man. The business employed a handful of other women and did well for a while until globalization became a thing and clothes manufacturers realized it was cheaper to send their garments to impoverished third world countries to have children and peasants sew them for a penny an hour… Sadly that’s what broke this woman the rest of the way. The owner of the company fell into a life of alcoholism and died when her liver kicked out a few decades later. An unfortunate end that still doesn’t discount what she managed to accomplish in life.

wt1+k10+rapidfire+log+splitter+electic+new_lRecently I was with a woman in her 60’s who was standing over pieces of a felled tree. She was lamenting how she did have a wood splitter but it was borrowed and needed to be taken back so now she had to resort to taking her chainsaw after the rest to make firewood for winter. She didn’t mean she was hiring some burly dude to do this, she was doing it herself… in her sixties… because she has always done everything herself. Married to a narcissist for more than 30 years, probably closer to 40, she had gotten accustomed to doing everything. She took care of all domestic chores, raised two of her own children and adopted eight more (that’s two other whole families if you’re wondering.) She also had a long career and was a full time breadwinner during all this. So wielding a chainsaw when she should be playing pinochle somewhere… didn’t raise an eyebrow.

22528910_10212711967208383_3851655929800286079_oI’m starting to see why I am so independent. I’m in my thirties now and have found my voice. I’m brash, opinionated, adventurous, and I don’t let anything stop me. I ran a farm for a while, raised my own food, and like my grandmother before me, I can slaughter and process a chicken with the best of them. I also travel alone – to destinations unknown, often wandering into the woods by myself when other women warn me of serial killers and bears. I follow my passions and I create. I do so in honor of all those that came before me that made this life possible. My own struggles are unique and at times petty in comparison. My predecessors were married to cruel men. My biggest relationship challenge is I am too independent and American men are more or less afraid of me – or worse disgusted by such a ostentacious display of gender fuckery. A single woman following her passions and speaking her mind is an incredibly dangerous thing after all… but even though this may mean I don’t find the love of my life or settle and have a family of my own, I have slowly learned to accept a few things. 1) Life is never what you expect it to be and 2) The universe provides you with what you need, not what you want, but if you play the right cards they can become one and the same. 3) I am but one of a long legacy of bad-ass women and that will not stop with me, no matter the condition of my womb.

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Childhood Memories · Colorful Personalities · Personal Anectdotes

Say What? My Oh-So French Teacher

telephoneToday a friend of mine lamented that courtesy callers were becoming such an aggravation that she was starting to pick up and pretend she didn’t understand English. The poor SOB on the other end this time around chose French. I immediately knew how to say “I don’t speak English” in French. “Je ne parle pas Anglais.” This isn’t because I know a lot of French, in fact this is just about the only thing I remember from taking four years of classes. So why do I remember this one ironic line? Because it was the first thing my French teacher taught us.

baguettesShe was actually French, and not French Canadian either, legitimately from France. She was tall, slim, and always dressed in black, the absolute stereotype of what Americans think French women are and although she never knew it I adored her attitude. An attitude that started with teaching us the one sentence she hoped we’d retain, “I don’t speak French.” I always had a hard time knowing if she had a sly sense of humor or if she really did just see us as a classroom full of muppets. I think it was a great deal of both and for reason. That’s why I instantly liked her. She was the only other person in the school who had as low an opinion of my classmates as I did. The sad thing is I don’t think anyone else picked up on this… but I sure did!

littlemermaidAt one point she showed us a French movie. I don’t remember what it was but there was a scene in it with an actual glass house, sort of. I always heard the phrase, “Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house” but this was instantly changed in my mind to, “Don’t take a shower if you live in a glass house with no curtains.” That’s what the scene was — a teenage girl showering in what looked like a completely glass bathroom, no curtains, a bunch of other kids gathering underneath giggling and pointing. I have no idea what the cinematic reason for this was but my French teacher’s response to it was to hold up a manila folder over the screen while muttering something under her breath about our parents. After this little mishap we were relegated to watching The Little Mermaid. Apparently actual French movies were just a little too risqué but in all fairness watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid dubbed over in French was oddly hilarious. Since then I have grown up and adore French movies, though I do admit they’re often very “rapey.”

doughnutOne day our French teacher told us how horrified she was to learn what a doughnut was. She said all her friends here were telling her how great they were but she was French, a country known for pastries and fine desserts. Imagine being served an enormous blob of brightly colored lard, as a doughnut can only be seen in such a context. She claimed it was huge and tasted so bad she struggled not to puke, just barely able to swallow one bite. This only endeared me to her more – as that was also my opinion of doughnuts.

hunchbackShe always liked me – I always thought it was because I was quiet, but one day she confessed it was probably because I had a hunched back and hunchbacks in France were thought to be smart. To this day this is the damn weirdest stereotype I have ever had assumed about me but hey! Could have been worse! I’ll take smart over mentally challenged any day!

reportcardMy final memory of her was when she was at the end of her stay at the school. She had met an American man and they were moving back to France to get married. It was the end of the school year so it was time for report cards to be sent out. This is how you know a teacher no longer gives a shit – she gave us our own report cards blank and had us fill them in as she did a public roll call of our grades. We were all so stunned I think everyone filled them in correctly but she didn’t get away with this because on the line left for the teacher’s name we all left it blank. Why? Because none of us knew her name. She had never told us, she had never written it on the blackboard. We only called her “mademoiselle” which is the same as calling someone “miss.” Miss what? Once again she was disappointed by her idiot American students who accidentally ratted her out in doing this because the other teachers did notice the blank field pretty damn quick. Bless.

I don’t know where she is today. I still don’t know her name. Even so I hope she is well and found happiness. She deserves it after two years at that school. cough cough. She always told us if we visit France go somewhere besides Paris. Someday I hope to honor her request… They say there’s a peasant eating beast in Gevaudan…

Childhood Memories · Personal Anectdotes

Camp Grenada Had Nothing on Ferry Beach

pen_pal_0When I was ten years old I was given a penpal from one town over. The reason for this was simple. In the following year I would be attending the district middle school which was a cooperative of two towns. In order to ease this transition we were all given pen pals from the other town. Mine was mental. Like legitimately, why wasn’t she permanently locked in a psych ward, mental. Why this particular individual had been chosen for me, an anti-social bug-loving girl from the back woods, I will never know. I hope it was just a lottery… a bit like Shirley Jackson’s Lottery… but still.

Old VCR tapeI have video footage on VHS tape somewhere of me regaling my class with a particularly entertaining three and a half page letter she sent me after my teacher was daft enough to ask, “Well it looks like you got a nice long letter over there! What does it say?”

“UHM…… well…. it says she got into a fight with her family and she ended up on the roof until the cops came….”

“Is there anything in that letter I should see?!”

“No ma’am.”

happy and success businesspeopleSuffice to say I didn’t make a new friend. This wasn’t unusual. By the time I did make it to middle school the next year I found myself forced into an old tradition… begrudgingly making my way to Ferry Beach. You see a long time ago some of the staff thought it’d be a great idea to make the children from both towns bond with each other sort of like those horrible team building exercises office workers are sometimes forced to endure with coworkers. Does this ever end well??

promotional magic-school-bus-teaching-resources-1 collectionMy brother went seven years before I did and hated it. I was not looking forward to the venture. It felt like hours and hours and hours on the bus before we got there. We were almost immediately given a diary which we had to write our favorite part of the day in. I wrote the obvious, the only thing we did all day, “I enjoyed the bus ride here.” LIES. After this I set about writing my first letter home.

“Dear Mom,

I made it to Ferry Beach. I already hate it here. Please come pick me up.”

murder-mystery-generic-5I was assigned a camp counselor and a group of kids. The group of kids consisted two who were so annoying I had to restrain myself from lobbing them off the seaside cliffs into the ocean. “It was an accident!” I’d claim. But alas, no murders happened. If they did I may have pointed my malcontent at my camp counselor who was way too enthusiastic and responded to everything by yelling, “Sweet!” I thought he must have the IQ of a potato.

bunkbedsThat night I was forced into a dorm room with three other girls, the partner I was left with because no one else would chose to be with me, and two little bitches who would badmouth me when they thought I was sleeping. My partner ended up being a bed wetter which is probably why she didn’t last the week in the dorm.

On Wednesday I was treated to an ice cold thirty second shower as the teachers cheered us on for being good sports and “saving water” with our quick dips. Saving water?! I was saving whatever the female equivalent of shriveled balls was…

On Wednesday I wrote home. “Dear Mom, I know by the time you get this I will probably be on the bus going home. Thanks a lot. I still hate it here.”

squid.pngThe only joy I had was at dinner one evening. Seated at my table was the most gullible girl on the planet and a boy who had a cheerfully devious mind. He convinced her the red skins in our mashed potato were actually left over squid parts from our dissections earlier on in the day (which STILL made the cafeteria reek. Good God does the stench of raw squid guts cling to one’s clothes!) She believed every word and everyone was laughing.

trashbagOn Thursday night I had a fever but none of the staff believed me. Instead of sending me to the nurse they forced me on stage to perform a play with my speshul group of kids, who by the way had all week to plan a play and didn’t. I wore a trash bag and pretended to be an amoeba before slogging off stage trying not to barf.

Friday I wrote in the diary. “My favorite part of today was the bus ride home” SWEET GLORIOUS FREEDOM!

At the end of this trip I made a total of 0 new friends, though I’d like to think I learned a lot about how sometimes life just sucks and you have to deal with it on your own. Perhaps not the lesson I was supposed to learn…