comedy

The Value of a Dollar

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I chat throughout my day with friends online. We live in a world of almost constant communication and business never rests, so the opportunity for a lunch or break of any kind comes few and far between. Or not at all. The periodic chat with a friend helps break up the day without having to take more than a minute or two away from email. Helps morale. And some times, a good memory comes up.
______________________________
Patrick:  so tell me something
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me:  Are you following that up with a question that you want an answer to, or are you asking me to tell you a story, joke, etc?
.
Patrick:  story
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me:  Hmm….okay….
So, I’ve had glasses for more than half my life. The first time my folks allowed me to get a more expensive pair, one that I could pick out myself, however, was when I was about 15.
I was so excited and had waited for them to come in for, like, 2 weeks, which to a 15 year old girl is an ETERNITY.
I picked them up on a Saturday and almost immediately headed over to Joanna’s wearing them, much to the shargrin of my folks.
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Joanna and I were going to camp in her back yard, in the sand of her volley ball court, which was surrounded by dense forest.
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Patrick:  ok
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me:  Our friend Jeremy lived next door, so he was having Tommy and Brendon over, and they were going to sneak out and camp with us – no hanky panky on my part, I was just good buds with those boys.
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We go out, play all night, wrestle, talk, split a beer so we’re all “drunk”, play music, whatever. Kids crap.
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I wake up in the morning and …
                                                           …where are my glasses?
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Where are they?
WHERE ARE THEY?!
                                                                                                                           Fuck, they’re not here.
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Oh, my god, my folks are going to kill me.
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HOLY CRAP!!!!!
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                                                       ….but what are you going to do?
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After a couple of hours of crying and panicking I had resolved myself to simply tell my parents that the glasses were lost and they’d just have to buy me a new pair and move on with what ever punishment.
How bad could it be? A grounding for a week? Two? Not bad, survivable certainly.
.
But my folks had other ideas.
Yes, this is really my mother. I took this picture while she was yelling at me as a young adult…
…and had it put on a mug for her that same year for Christmas. She did not like it.
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So enraged were they about the lost glasses, that they refused to buy me a new pair, as they should have.
I was told I would not be getting a new pair, which would put my future in jeopardy because I would not be able to drive without them, heaven’s to betsy!
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I couldn’t not learn to drive in the next year!
{Appropriate Teenage Freakout ensues}
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So, I headed back to Joanna’s and searched.
                                           And searched.
                                                                 And searched.
                                                                               Until it was night again.
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Defeated, I crawled back home, face puffy and red from crying all day.
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My folks, still angry, took a small bit of pity on me, and the next day my father took me to Home Depot.
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…To rent a metal detector.
.
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And sent me back over to Joanna’s to resume the search.
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It took about another hour, but lo-and-behold, I found the with the damn metal doohickey. Not even a scratch on the lenses or anything. I had never been so relieved.
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 Guess what I gave my Dad for Christmas?
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Patrick: a metal detector?
me: Was there any question?
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Pop It Up Now: The Hobbit, Ace Power, & So Much More

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* First of all: Horse Riding Fitness ACE POOOOOOOOOOWER!!!!!

Okay. I feel better now. Super fit…or at least super something.

* Netflix added the next season of Breaking Bad to Watch Instantly this past weekend. Naturally, my marriage has been put on the back burner until all episodes can be watched.

* Wired interviewed Neil Gaiman and his wife, Amanda Palmer. It’s all fine and good and funny and interesting. Whatever. All I really got out of it was that I am not Neil Gaiman’s wife, and I should be. At least I’ve believed I should be since the age of 13. [Wired]

* If you haven’t heard by now, you should know: There’s a guy in the hills of Utah dressing and behaving as a goat. Some are speculating that he’s a hunter. I am speculating he’s a man dressed as a goat with 99 problems and hunting ain’t one of them. [WebProNews]

* Every time you start to think you’re cool, just remind yourself that you’re not Patrick Stewart. You are not Patrick Stewart, and you never will be. You’ve never had the accolades he’s earned from doing Shakespeare while simultaneously doing voices for Seth McFarlaine and being the Captain of the Enterprise. And you won’t run the olympic torch across London while looking super awesome doing it. [Blastr]

* And, finally, Peter Jackson debuted the newest Hobbit journal at Comic Con. Whoot!

Whale of a Fear

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I’m horrible to watch Antiques Roadshow with. I find myself shouting at the screen a la Indian Jones, “That belongs in a museum!”

And this really is the core of my being: I am excited by old things, find them amazing, fascinating, want them to be accessible to all, and want to get others excited about these objects as well. To learn is to better one’s self and I’d love to write and educate, to spread enthusiasm for something in my daily career.

There are 2 things I want to do with my life. To the average person, they’re very mundane. But to me, however, they’re the equivalent of becoming a rock star.

I want to:

1. Write lesson plans in accordance to state regulations for historical societies and museums in order to entice local schools to take field trips to such establishments.

Or

2. Work and write for Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen, working as an Ethno-Foodologist or, even better, a Food Archeologist.

When I was in junior high and high school I would skip class about once a month or so. None of my friends would ever want to join me and my parents were always very supportive of these escapades. You’d think I had egghead friends and that’s why they wouldn’t skip, or that I had hippy dippy parents that would allow me to be so flagrant about my education, but neither was the case. Well, my mom could kinda be hippy dippy, but that’s a different story. When I decided to skip school I would get a ride to the train station and take Metro North to Grand Central Station. Exciting, right? Who wouldn’t want to skip school to hang out in The City all day?! I would then walk up Park Ave. to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Or I would head west across the park to the American Museum of Natural History (or what’s know as the Museum of Mother Fucking Awesomeness by its fans) and I would spend hours and hours reading in silence, smiling over beauty…with the periodic stop off at the Central Park Zoo to finish the trip. I did this over and over and over again.  In high school I was fairly popular, I was certainly no prude, and the most epic parties were normally hosted by my brother or I. But when it came to what I really wanted, it was historical solitude. I would have shared that time with others, allowing them to tag along, but who cared for those things but me?

Photo Credit Jessica Hische

I’m extremely fortunate in the sense that I’ve been to the museums of NYC so frequently that I can’t even count the days spent in their ancient and loving embrace. Dozens of times? Definitely. Hundreds? Very possible. I’ve moved away from that area a couple of times since graduating high school and being unable to take advantage of those museums is always the number one issue that I have when living more than a train ride away. I guess I miss my family, too, but I really  miss those museums. In fact, when I visit my family, a jaunt to a museum in NYC is always one of the first afternoons planned. I am not so ego maniacal to ever think I could work at the Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In order to do something like that I would have had to make all the right moves, and absolutely no mistakes, in the professional decisions of my life. The employees and curators of those establishments are my heros, my Steven Tylers and Brad Pitts. Unfortunately, it seems I’ve done the opposite of not making professional blunders thus far in my life. I’ve created quite the resume and educational experience with not one, but two degrees under my belt. They’re just as far from the museum and/or food path as humanly possible. Awesome.

The first time in memory of going to a museum, I was about three years old and with my parents and brother. We headed out to the Museum of Natural History. My brother and I never really got along very well, and on trips like this we were more simply in the same place at the same time rather than actually experiencing something together. We walked passed the dinosaur skeleton in the entry hall and made our way around the mammoths and the naked, hairy neanderthals with the droopy boobs. This was prior to the Rose Center, otherwise we would have probably made a bee line for the giant glass box of Space. The favorite at this time, however, was the Great Hall. The Great Hall is massive, primarily so it can fit the life-sized model of a blue whale. It’s romantically lit, and by that I mean, that it’s somewhat dark, like the depths of the ocean. It consists of two levels with marine life exhibits lining the walls and a large open area in the center, from which one can admire the whale.

Photo credit Linden78. That bitch’ll crush yo’ ass.

I say “admire”.

There are two things I remember from this day, one of my earliest trips to the AMNH:

1. Being horrified in the Great Hall by this massive whale that was going to crush and/or eat me at any moment while…2. George Michael’s Careless Whisper played over the loud speaker. I mean, yeah, technically it was a Wham! song, but, c’mon, it was all George Michael and that damned whale. My mother said she heard “teeny, tiny pounding feet” and turned to see me flying toward her staring over my shoulder at the whale, horrified. And what self respecting toddler wouldn’t be? Even at that young age I knew anything from above could crush you below, both literally and figuratively.

It’s a hazy memory, but it’s very real, and it didn’t just end with that day.

I then proceded to carry around a fear of being in an ocean for years. Playing in the surf = good. Playing far enough out where water could go over your head and therefore allow you to be crushed from above by a whale = bad. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I could picture myself getting out of a boat and into open waters. I wasn’t afraid of whales, so much as being in water with them. I grew up along the north eastern seaboard, so going whale watching was a common activity. I respected their beauty and their power. And their ability to crush me in real life in the ocean or as a giant model in a museum.

Soul inhibited experience or no, I knew to differentiate my fear from what actually caused it and not where the experience occurred. Loosely translated: I didn’t blame the museum for this silly fear that followed me around for a couple of decades.

And to this day I want to be apart of some historical and educational organization that learns from and loves the past, whale or no.

Eskimos & Egos

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We, as human beings, are constantly looking for answers. Sometimes we are so lost in ourselves searching for answers that we are blind to how requesting assistance affects others. I wish I were naturally more patient, but I’m not. I generally have to try to be patient. Being a receptionist for over a dozen years does that to a person.

One day at the vet clinic was particularly rough. We were packed with appointments as usual, but a clients dog had been hit by a car. He brought it straight to us, as he didn’t know what else to do, and, because my veterinarian is a warm-hearted person, the dog was immediately brought to the back for emergency surgery. It was up to me to help the vet techs with anything I could and to keep people calm to let them know their appointment might be late due to the unfortunate circumstances. Most people (yes, only most, not all) were understanding, but it was still a stressful afternoon.

Sometimes it’s cruel beyond measure when time stops, and yet everyone around you continues with life as normal.

As it did for me.

“Thank you for calling South Congress Vet. How can I help you?” I am more often then not always perky when I answer the phone, even when stressed. You know, first impressions and whatnot.

“Hi!” a girl chirps from the other end. “I’m – and I’m coming to pick up five Eskie rescue dogs. Can you tell me where you’re located?”

Photo Credit unknown

“Sure!” I replied. I’d been expecting the rescue to send a woman to pick up their adoptable pups that we had been boarding, and I had the dogs in our kennels all ready to go. “We’re at 3300 South Congress Ave, just north of Ben White Boulevard and across the street from Saint Ed’s University. We’re a little peach colored brick building.”

“…Yeah, but can you tell me where you are.”

I got this question a lot: I won’t tell you where I am, but I want you to tell me how to find you.

“I would need to know where you are or which direction you’re coming from. What’s your address or major crossroads near you?”

“I’m near HEB.”

Pause.

I paused because I thought there would be more. Obviously she must just be taking a moment to figure out her locale. HEB’s are the grocery store in Texas, they’re numerous in every city, and there were at least three within a two mile radius of the vet clinic. When nothing else came I said delicately:

“Ma’am, there’s almost a dozen HEB’s in the Austin area.” This may have been an exaggeration, but only a slight one; there are actually nine. “Do you see any street signs near you?”

“There’s a Taco Bell across the street.”

I heard the clinic door open and glanced into the waiting room: A mother, her daughter, and their new puppy were waiting for a check-up appointment…and were giving the man whose dog had been hit by a car a look as though he was a pervert. Disheveled and red faced, he had stopped crying, but only just, and was still waiting for his dog to come out of the emergency procedure. Another client who had entered a few minutes earlier was filling out our client forms and our schedule listed the many more to come. I had to get off the phone quick.

“Ma’am, we’re very busy and I want to help you. In order to figure out how to properly give you directions I would need to know you’re exact location.”

“Oh, I don’t know that.”

“Could you go inside and maybe ask an HEB employee the address of the building? Or maybe someone near you in the parking lot?”

“I can see a McDonald’s.”

“Ma’am,” I was starting to rush and, frankly, get angry. I couldn’t help but speak to her like a child, with an almost condescending inflection.

I cannot give you directions without knowing your location! Please ask someone near you, in a car or in the store where exactly you are, and that way I could tell you exactly how to get here.”

“Well, my GPS can tell me ‘exactly where I am’, but I just know I’m lost.”

“I’m sorry…what?”

That bitch just said “GPS”.

Are you fucking kidding? Deep breath now before I split in twain from bitterness and anger and End of Times comes spewing forth from the chest of a receptionist in Austin, Texas.

“Wait – You have a GPS system in your car?” It was taking all my strength not to shout, but I’m sure every vein in my forehead was quite visible and ready to burst. The people in the waiting room had picked up on the conversation, and even the crying man was looking at me in interest.

“Oh, totally! I’m from San Antonio – I don’t know my way around Austin! But, like I don’t know, I just don’t want to trust it, you know? I don’t know where I am, so how can it really be showing me where I need to go? I don’t trust it.” I could still hear a smile on her face: she had no idea how frustrating she was being, no sensing of urgency or annoyance from my end, and absolutely no intention of aiding herself.

I, on the other hand, could hear my heartbeat in my ears.

“Ma’am, please turn on your GPS,” surprisingly hard to say through gritted teeth, “and please hold.”

It wasn’t a question. Without waiting for an answer I hit the hold button just as hard as I could.

And there I left her. In the limbo that is Hold. We had clients coming in waiting to be seen, we had an emergency surgery going under anesthesia. There were four people total working at our little clinic, and I had no idea how to help the woman on the phone. So I took a page from Jesus: I chose to help those that helped themselves.

Photo Credit KarlsKats

I did feel slightly guilty, in case you’re wondering. I do still when I think about this. But everyone has had to be put on hold by a receptionist at some point in their lives, and I wasn’t doing it maliciously: there were clients waiting, being held up with pet medical issues, because this young girl didn’t want to listen to her GPS or ask for an address. Sometimes people just want the answers they want and they want it immediately, without a thought of who are what they’re impacting by holding up the line, so to speak.

She wanted magic, and I’m no Penn Jillette.

I got to work helping the others. I took deep breathes and, within a few minutes, I had forgotten about her. Alone and on hold.

I had forgotten about her until about twenty minutes later when, quite miraculously, she appeared in our waiting room. All cheery and spunky, no less. When I saw a bright dullard prance into our office, I instantly knew who she was, the memory of the phone call came rushing back.

And her cheery disposition annoyed the shit out of me.

“Hi! I’m here for the five Eskies! They’re about 30lbs each, right?” she asked. She had a single leash around her neck.

“Yes,” a stated dully. I had no energy to even fake a smile. “Do you need more leashes; there are five dogs.”

“Oh, no, I’m all set. I’ll go grab the carriers!” She flittered out. She flittered back. “Here ya go!” Grin, grin.

I looked at what she brought me, completely unsurprised that it was all wrong.

“Ma’am, these are cat carriers. And there’s only two.”

“Yeah, but they’ll fit, right? The dogs are, like, 30 pounds each?”

I look at her. If this emaciated, Juicy t-shirt wearing, peroxide blonde could lift a single dog weighing thirty pounds – let alone four at once crammed into tiny carriers – I would eat my hat.

“Yes, the dogs are standard Eskimos and roughly 30 pounds. Each. No, the five dogs will not all fit in two carriers rated for a maximum of TEN pounds.”

“Oh….”

“Yeah.”

I stared at her. Over time, and mostly due to my mother, I learned that nothing can spur shame like a good stare. I wasn’t being any more helpful in person then I was on the phone, but I wasn’t trying to be rude. I was at a loss and the rest of the people in the waiting room stared at us with entertained and mildly morbid interest. I just wanted a thought, any thought, to cross her mind. After the mood in the room noticeably changed from cool to downright chilly, I felt she may have gotten the point enough for me to get on with my day.

The doctor’s assistant finally got the chance to bring out the dogs from the kennels and I moodily helped the Lost Girl secure the five dogs to the inside of her vehicle with various pieces of rope. The mayhem inside her car would have been slightly lessened had most of the little coupe not already been occupied by her own personal dog on top of the five rescues. His incessant barking wasn’t helping either, as the other dogs were getting more and more excited with each yelp, and Lost Girl seemed only capable of infant babble as a way of reprimand. I ditched the dogs in her “care” as soon as I could. As I walked back inside she stuck her head out her car window and yelled:

“Hey! HEY!”

“YES?” I spun around too quick to hide my obvious annoyance. Three clients and a crying man were still waiting for me inside. She was too time consuming an individual for someone who was just picking up rescue dogs. And I was concerned; I didn’t feel confident leaving the five rescue dogs in her care, but legally I had to. I just wanted this experience over with.

“Hey, I was just wondering. I wanted to ask what kind of birds you have?”

“I beg your pardon?” I demanded, rather than asked.

“What kind of birds?!?”

“Ma’am, this is a dog and cat clinic. We do not treat birds.” I continued my retreat through the public parking lot. I looked up to see the man and a client standing in the doorway waiting for me. Shit, I was needed back inside!

“But then who owns them?”

I turned on my heal, any patience I had mustered completely gone. “Ma’am,” I growled, “I don’t know the birds you’re talking about!”

That’s when she gestured wildly toward the random bird droppings that littered the sidewalk under a tree outside of our clinic.

Holy shit. No pun intended.

“AAAAAARGH!” I stomped away. No, it wasn’t mature, and it wasn’t professional. But I was young, busy, and I didn’t know how to even begin to explain to this Grade A Moron that birds exist in the wild.

I charged past the clients in the door,  into the clinic and retreated behind my desk.

As I plunked down into my swivel chair, I heard snickering from the other side of the counter and knew that all those waiting in the lobby had heard what occurred outside. I was annoyed that the Lost Girl wasn’t thinking outside of herself, I was annoyed we had such a busy afternoon. I was annoyed over the safety of the rescue dogs. I was really annoyed I didn’t have a good zinger for her bird comment. And if in the very off chance she said it just to screw with me, why would she mess around after seeing the chaos inside the office? I sighed heavily and dropped my head, staring at my shoes, trying to think of a mantra to let it all go.

“…Um…Excuse me…”

Hearing a voice snapped me back to reality. It was the man waiting for his poor old girl lab mix who had been hit by a car, eyes still slightly puffy and red from the shock of her surgery, waiting for news of his beloved pet.

“Oh!” I rose, suddenly feeling so guilty. “Mr. –, I’m so sorry, I’ll go ask about Gretchen right now, I’m sorry, is there anything I can get you?” I was knocked right back to normalcy and the words just tumbled out. I genuinely felt for him.

“No – no, it’s not that. I know the doctor will come see me. I’m okay. I just wanted to tell you, about that blonde girl –“

“Oh, god! Did you know her? I’m didn’t mean- I’m sor –”

“No! No. I just wanted to tell you: I would have killed her.”

I’m sure it’s wrong, but I have to admit, his sentiment made me smile.

And his dog was fine, by the way.

David Cross + Warhol + Jack White + More

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*David Cross is coming to Austin tomorrow. If you’re just finding this out now, I should tell you: you’ve got no chance to see him. On Monday the Alamo Drafthouse announced David Cross would be hosting a marathon of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Tickets went on sale on Wednesday and sold out in 8 minutes.

I highly recommend catching Poor Decisions when you can. It airs on IFC and, like Portlandia, it’s not your usual comedy. It’s quite refreshing in a How-I-Met-Your-Mother-2-And-A-Half-Crappy world.

*Andy Warhol, a hero to the Hipster Movement everywhere, just got extra hipstery. You can now carry your MacBookAir or iPad around in his face. No, nothing is sacred, thanks for asking. [Incase]

* Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar! I’m not the only one who thinks so; Fox has launched a campaign with quite the emotionally moving ad in an attempt to get the man some well deserved gold. [Blastr]

* Jack White is collaborating with Tom Jones. That makes sense. No, really, I bet it will be an incredible work. Jack White is an amazing guitarist and song writer and Tom Jones is classic and has stood the test of time…it’s just every time I see Jack White all I can think is “You slept with Renee Zellweger,” and that grosses me out. [24Bit]

* “And in other news, I love Lamp,” actually happened live on the news.

 

Pop To It: Star Trek, Star Wars, Dark Knight Meets the Lion King, & More!

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* I’m not going to delay this. Everyone everywhere needs to watch this Lion King/Dark Knight Rises right now. It’s genius and brought to us by Moviemaestroten at YouTube.

* Worst. Food Promotion. Ever. Burger King has had the fabulous idea to offer a Dark Side Burger and a Jedi Knight burger in honor of Star Wars 3D. I really, really hope they decide against the black bun. [BuzzFeed]

* Just in case you haven’t heard, Ab Fab is back in a big, beautiful way. Jennifer Saunders discusses it’s rebirth, smoking, and aging with Vulture Magazine. [NYMag]

Photo credit BestMoviesEverNews

* Wheel of Fish never had anything this awesome. A blue fin tuna recently sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for $736,000. At weighing in at 593 pounds, that fish wound up costing about $1,238 a pound. And I’m sure every bit of it is delicious. Mmm… [Inquistr]

* The New York Times had to issue a correction recently due to an error in a story from last week. And it was spectacular, hysterical. I’m honestly glad they took the time to correct something that was important to those they feature in a front page story. See the clipping below. [BestWeekEver]

Photo credit Kerri Hicks

* Welcome to something I like to call “The Grossest Thing Ever.”  Apparently the new teen fad is Vodka tampons. No, they’re not soaking up vodka with tampons to drink later. Teens are soaking up vodka with tampons and inserting them into their vaginas for a quick, mild buzz. According to the article, boys can also do this, too, through something called Butt Chugging. I’m not kidding. My favorite part of this little expose, however, was when Dr. Lisa Masterson said that the practice of vodka tampon use would “…literally destroy the vagina.” I like to imagine Jim Gaffigan dressed as a woman doing his Hot Pocket skit, but replacing “It will literally destroy your mouth.” with the above quote from Doc Masterson. Awesome. [HuffPostCA]

* A new Doctor Who rumor has hit the interwebs. As we all know, Amy Pond and Rory Williams out – heart breakingly – out. Word on the street is that the new sidekick might be none other than, Miranda Hart, an actress I know best as Diplomatic Officer Chloe Alice Teal of Hyperdrive. She’s funny, punky. She may not be my first pick for a replacement, but I’m not too sure I have one…’cept for maybe Gwen Cooper. [Blastr]

* Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be the new villain in the Star Trek sequel! I am over the moon about this! I can’t wait to see his Smaug and now I get him in Star Trek. Just fantastic, very exciting! I think 2011 is really going to be his year. [MTVNews]

* Speaking of Star Trek AND Doctor Who, ex-Who sidekick Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) is also rumored to have signed on to the sequel. I loved him…until he got all up in Martha Jones, who I couldn’t stand. There’s going to be a number of cocky, villainous gazing come that movie. [Variety]

* And, finally, Portlandia performs Salt n Pepa’s Push It

KateKate the Dog Faced Girl

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I don’t know what it’s like be my mother. I both fear her wrath and recognize her as simply being a human being. She has made it quite far, has lived quite a successful life, and, with the help of my father, made a wonderful life for her two children.

Now, I say two children.

The fact of the matter is that my father has frequently behaved as a third child. Yes, men mature slower than girls do, but if that’s the truth in my father’s case than he matures 1 year for everyone else’s dozen. And I mean this in a good way. If I was doing well in school and wanted him to play hooky from work so we could go to the Museum of Natural History  or the Bronx Zoo, he would indulge me whenever he could. I knew early on where each and every scene of Ghost Busters 1 AND 2 where filmed because my father took me there. And I had a grasp of Renaissance art including both Italian and German artists by the time I was twelve because my father taught me their works and brought me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a regular basis.

Venus and Cupid, 1520 [MetropolitanMuseumOfArt]

I didn’t grow up in New York City, but I wasn’t too far outside of it. I knew train etiquette and was trusted to handle trips on my own from a fairly young age. I knew that the entrance to a museum was a suggested donation,  but that if I could afford more than that request I should pay more, so that if I was too poor to pay once in while that was okay, too. And this is all because my dad was and is a good dad, mostly because no matter how old he gets he still always wants to have fun. And that flair of childishness has gotten him in trouble on more than one occasion.

When I was a pre-teen and teen, too young to drive, but too cool for just about everything else, sleepovers were my life. I’d hang at Anna’s house, we’d stay at Joanna’s house, and sometimes Laura, Erica, and I would lock ourselves in my room for days.

My parents would pound on the door, “What ARE you doing in there?!” 

“NOTHING!” We’d all scream before dissolving in giggles.

Looking back on it I see that “nothing” was the truth. We did literally nothing. When one is a teenage girl, you can spend solid weeks on end “doing stuff”, thinking everything that revolves around you – and it all revolves around you – is suuuuuuuper important. And, really you’re not doing anything at all. Obsessing. Talking about boys. Talking about girls. Talking about the girls who liked the boys that we liked and how those girls were stupid trash because they had the audacity to live. All the things we wanted that our parents were too stupid and bitchy to buy us, because obviously that’s the only reason we didn’t have everything; parents have all the money in the world and they just didn’t buy us stuff because they didn’t respect us as the super mature, blossoming adults we were. Duh. And we’d talk about that crap for hours.

Photo credit ThisNext.com

Ugh. I can’t even think about this right now. It just makes me want my life back. I’m not going to chance having a female offspring now, either. I’m just going to adopt a boy out of safety.

Anyway, one day I was heading over to stay at Anna’s place. Anna was perpetually grounded and every time she was grounded she was allowed to go out, allowed to have friends over, but NOT allowed to use the phone. Really emotionally messed up, right? And, remember: This is before both computers and cell phones. Neither texting nor those free 100 hour discs of AOL featuring their messenger had even been invented yet, though they weren’t far off. Anna’s mom was very kind next to Anna’s constantly punishing father, and she would call my Ma and ask if I would like to come over or meet Anna at the mall, etc. So this was one of the many times I was hanging with Grounded Anna.

And my father was dealing with losing his little girl. Hangin’ with him was no longer the coolest thing in the world. The year prior I had asked for my own phone line for a birthday gift, and having my own answering machine made me pretty hot shit. To make matters worse, a couple years prior, I had come home from working at a stable (I did this from the time I was ten to earn equestrian lessons) to declare that womanhood was upon me. And my mother had to take me right back out to the pharmacy (Target and WalMart hadn’t been invented yet, either) for “womanhood accouterments”. Playtex would be proud.

In an effort to keep me, his PDSL, under his wing, Dad would terrorize me as frequently as possible. And by “terrorize” I mean he was merely being playful; this was at a time when my parents took me and my brother’s ever constant shouts of “GOD! Why are you guys SO annoying?!” as “I love you, too.”

This is a photo titled “Parents Just Don’t Understand” from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

As I was heading over to Anna’s that meant that my parents would also try to go grocery shopping. We lived on the edge of town and Anna lived in the center, so why make extra unnecessary trips? Being a teenager meant that each happening that had no relation to my own personal wishes was a total inconvenience to me, especially having my space invaded by uncool people – or worse: my parents. My mother drove and, out of shear teasing, my father chose to sit in the backseat with me. It was double annoying – first the grocery store, now this?! Ohmygod, lame!

“Go away, Dad.”

“No.”

“Ugh, you’re so lame.”

Do not call your father lame!”

“Yeah, your mother will turn this car around and slap your nose into next Tuesday.”

I started to snicker.

Damnit, Christopher, do not mock me in front of the kids.

“You’re in troooooooouble!” I said mockingly to my father. Being “In Trouble” was, of course, the absolute worst fate that could befall a person at this point in my life.

To which he retorted by reaching over and flicking my nose.

I slapped his arm. And he flicked again.

“MOM!” I shouted.

CHRISTOPHER!”

Flick.

Photo credit unknown

This cycle continued for quite a while. It took just under thirty minutes to get to Anna’s home and by the time we arrived both my father and I were red in the face from laughing, I was horse from squawking for Mom, and Mom was pissed that she had ever thought it was a good idea to get married or knocked up.

Once in the cozy darkness of my friend’s basement living room, Anna and I proceeded to forget we had parents all together. We locked the door, put on The Dark Crystal, and sat on the step in front of the fireplace and “smoked” her parents’ cigarettes. I put the word smoked in parenthesis because I’m not too convinced we were very competent inhalers. It was all pretty pathetic. And we puffed away in front of the fireplace so the smoke would go out the chimney and her parents would be none the wiser. Which they weren’t.

An hour or so into our super adult, not-smoking yet smoking, ultra mature time, Anna began to stare at me.

“Kate. You have dirt on your nose.”

Naturally, we thought it was soot from smoking out of the fireplace and I promptly trotted to the bathroom to wash my face. A few friends decided to pop by, as was regularly the case since one couldn’t simply call Anna, and we all settled down in the dark to watch a movie.

Photo credit NYBBIS

Jen the Gelfling was just about to interpret the prophecy from the wall etchings that he found outside of Kira’s village when Tom detached his face from Anna’s mouth and turned to me.

“Kate. You have dirt on your nose.” I slid off the couch, thumped into the bathroom, and washed my face. Again.

At 11pm Anna’s folks shouted downstairs that anyone who wasn’t myself or Anna had to bugger off their premises for the night, because they were so uncool about everything. Jeez. Remaining in the afterglow of movie darkness and an evening teenage rebellion, Anna and I had another cigarette, hunched in the fireplace, before heading off to bed.

“Damn, Kate! You. Are. A. Mess! You still have dirt on your nose!” She said between giggles.

I brushed my teeth and washed my fave oblivious to the fact that with each wash not a speck of the dirt was coming off. In fact, if anything, the dirt was getting dirtier. But it all became very clear to me what had happened once I woke up.

“Kate!” yelled Anna’s mother through the closed bedroom door.

“Yes,” I snorted, jolting awake.

“Your parents are coming to get you. They need to take your brother to the DMV near here.”

“Okay, thanks, Mrs. Millhouse.” I answered, face down still in my pillow. Not one for pajamas I slept in my jeans, generally on the floors of my friends’ rooms. All I ever did was change my tee shirt. Anna remained asleep. I stumbled sleepily to the bathroom and flicked on the lights.

Big bright lights. Florescent suckers, unapologeticly highlighting every flaw and blemish of the human face.

And any noses that had turned deep purple with bruising.

I almost jumped at the site of myself. With an almost painted precision, my little nose, the adorable one I had inherited from my mother, was almost black from bruising. As I stared I slowly began to smile, realizing the flicks of my playful father were the cause.

And he was gonna be in SO MUCH TROUBLE!

“KATE!” Anna’s mom shouted over the beeping of a car horn. “Your folks are here!”

“ThanksMissusMillhouse!” I rushed as I grabbed my coat from Anna’s room and bolted out the front door, turning to the side so her mom wouldn’t see my nose.  I thought it was funny, yes, but I was still self-conscience about it.

I ran out to the car on hopped into the back seat next to my brother who immediately began to grin maliciously.

“You look like a dog! Hey, Ma, Kate looks like a dog!”

Mathew, DO NOT CALL YOUR SISTER A D-“

“Oh, shit.”

My father’s swear, so seldom heard, silenced the car. My mother wrenched at the rear-view mirror to get a good look at me. I smiled politely as she did so, for it was not I who would be in trouble.

That was the last moment we had silence in the car that day.

And, though it took only about a week for my nose bruising to dissipate, my dad was grounded for quite a while.