Regrets, I Have So Few

I realize now that, not only am I not much of a rebel, I don’t even have a long list of bad things to regret.

  • I once made a guy get out of my car in the middle of nowhere and acted like I was going to drive off without him, which is pretty bad, but in my defense, the week before he said he’d teach me how to drive stick if I gave him a handjob and I still can’t work a manual transmission, so fuck him. I let him back in the car eventually.
  • I told the Man from GM that one of our mutual acquaintances was so bad in bed that he’d turned the other girl he was seeing–when he claimed to be seeing only me–gay, because I knew the Man from GM would go back and blab it all over his small home town and that his friends would tease him about it. She actually didn’t come out of the closet until she’d worked her way through a couple of other guys I knew, but why let a minor detail like that stop me?
  • I didn’t speak to my college roommate for six years because she fucked a guy I liked and didn’t have the guts to tell me.
  • Oh, and I got this darling sparkly-stubbled man arrested. Apparently just because I think it’s a good idea to drag race down Center Street from Illinois State to Illinois Wesleyan doesn’t mean the Normal cops agree.
  • And the Shill once had to yell at me “Pull your pants up and get in the car” when I was drunkenly showing one of her friends–and inadvertently everyone who was looking out the patio door–how much I was enjoying getting to know him.
  • Okay, Miss J. and I did whip out the Bible and start reading all the passages about the ills of drinking while our other roommate (who is extremely religious) threw up in her trash can.
  • And I tried to put a curse on our old landlord.
  • And I accidentally had an affair with an amateur professional wrestler. But I don’t think that counts, because I broke it off with him as soon as I discovered he was married.
  • And I’m lying to the Butcher about our household expenses–not by much, I swear–so that I can have a little money to go out with.
  • And I haven’t told my parents I’m not Christian. I let them think I don’t go to church as some kind of noble protest against the ways the Methodist church has done my dad wrong.

But that’s it. So, you can see that my dreams of being a bad-ass are pretty far-fetched.

Salon.com, I’ll be yours for $50,000 a year

I’m reading this article over at Marketwatch about what an awesome job Rebecca Traister has at Salon.com. And it must be true, because I’m pretty sure I saw her on one of those VH1 “Let us interpret popular culture” shows. Anyone who’s anyone gets on those shows. Shoot, I saw Zakk Wylde* on one of those the other day. So, it’s fair to say that Rebecca Traister has some cultural cache.

Doing what?

Her beat is, according to the article, “gender politics.”

Oddly enough, as the article explains, she writes about women. This is perplexing. Do only women have gender?

Last night W. sent me a joke via email** that goes like this: “I read recently that women still make 30% less than men in the workplace. Which I think is fine, cause if we didn’t make 30% more, you guys would marry each other.”

I thought this was funny, but I also sent him back a list of all the reasons straight men don’t have to worry about straight women rushing into each other’s arms. I think they were some darn good reasons–mostly having to do with the joys of scruffy faces, how your smell lingers, and how much fun (even when frustrating) your inscrutable natures are.

But the two things got me thinking. There are lots of genders, at least three sexes, why does Traister get the whole “gender politics” beat. She is but one women.

Salon.com, lighten her work-load. Give me the men. I’ll start with Zakk Wylde and work my way from there.

*Okay, I’m going to just go ahead and admit that in my fantasy life, where I’m a daring, well-armed, intricately-tattooed bad-ass who makes her own moonshine and regularly sits on her porch watching half-naked men fight each other for the privilege of fucking her, Zakk Wylde is so my man.
**Y’all may always send me jokes via email. And naked pictures of yourselves. Not that either of these things often happen. I’ve gotten one joke–from W–and one naked picture–from the Wayward Boy Scout. But I continue to hold out hope.

Old Man Blues

Here’s something
amusing. In 1966, my
parents hadn’t even met yet. My dad wasn’t even
preaching. Forty
years ago, they were still kids.

But it’s not fair to think of
it, forty years, I mean, as being so long ago.
Really, I’m sure, for a mother
the time must seem to go by very quickly.
How she still remembers changing
diapers or sending her boy off to school
and how, when you’re young,
you think that thirty is ancient.

Surely, you will never be thirty
and your own son will never be forty.
Real life catches up, though. The
constant turn of the planet
and soon enough, we’re all older than we ever
suspected we’d be.
Thank god for that, I say. I’d
rather be old and rowdy and breathing. The
other option is so much worse.

Walking in on Your Folks

The Butcher and I were reminiscing about the times we’ve walked in on our parents having sex, which has got to be one of those formative, mortifying moments of any teenager’s life.

The Butcher’s was traumatic, I’ll admit. He’d gotten home in the middle of the night and went upstairs to tell my folks he was home and when he opened the bedroom door to address them, there they were, spotlit by a reading light my mom had clipped to the headboard.

But I don’t think that’s as bad as mine, which happened one Christmas when we were up at my grandparents’. Now, sleeping at my grandparents’ house was traumatic enough because my grandpa would regularly fall asleep while shitting*. And so, if you waited until you really had to go before getting up to go pee, you’d go sprinting down the hall, spring into the bathroom, and be greeted by a mountain of a man wearing only a thin v-neck t-shirt with his underpants around his ankles, snoring with his head resting on his chest. Every time, it’d scare me so bad, because I wasn’t expecting it and I’d have to stifle a scream, because I sure as hell didn’t want to wake him up.

So, getting up in the middle of the night is already fraught with peril and then you get to be a certain age and nature takes its course. But as nature does, it takes its course in fits and unpredictable starts. So, there I am, having cleared the first hurdle, in actually getting in the bathroom and finding it empty, only to discover that, to my mortification, I really needed a pad, right that second, for perhaps, only the third or fourth week of my life.

Now, gentlemen, if you’re still reading, I know you can’t really imagine what this is like, but let’s say, it takes some time to get used to, and for the first little bit (okay, ten years) you’re convinced that it would be awesome if there were some female-only village filled with large tubs of constantly circulating warm water that you could sit in and get filled full of Pamprin and chocolate while older women told you uplifting stories for the whole week while you navigate emotions somewhere between mildly grossed out and supremely annoyed.

But instead, you’re supposed to remain a part of the real world.

And so I had to go into the bedroom where my parents were supposed to be sleeping and retrieve the needed item. I knocked lightly. No one said anything. I opened the door.

And there they were–knowing each other in the biblical sense.

Already on edge from the stress of the possibility of having to confront an angry old sleep-shitting German and then discovering that I was menstruating, I couldn’t help but scream. Which, of course, brought everyone else in the house running into the room before my parents even had a chance to figure out what was going on.

So, it’s hard to say who was more traumatized, me or my parents.

*Yes, perhaps we should have suspected earlier than we did that he had a brain tumor. As I recall, it was only after he started being nice to my dad that folks figured out that something was wrong.

My First Brush with Law-Breaking

I emailed JR today, which was the first time in ages I’d talked to her. Since I was out there in the Fall, she’s gotten a promotion and she and Elias are looking at buying a house.

I was thinking how, when we were little, we used to lock ourselves in the bathroom and make these concoctions of whatever we could find under the sink–baby powder, perfume, nail polish, nail polish remover, crushed blush and eye shadow–and stir them up into these big thick, stinky goopy messes.

I can’t for the life of me remember why we did that. I don’t think we ever did anything with the goop, though it would have been awesome if we’d thrown it at our brothers.

JR’s mom was all the time letting us do cool stuff (and I mean cool in a nerdy sense) like cut each other’s hair. Mine is curly, so really, you can’t ruin it. Whatever wrong you do, the curls will cover. But JR has this thick long straight hair and you start hacking away at that… yeah, it’s going to show.

The best, though, was when I was thirteen or fourteen and JR and her brother were over and her mom came to pick them up. She was standing in the kitchen talking to my parents and I asked her if I could drive her car around the block.

She handed me the keys.

So, we all–me, JR, her brother, and my two brothers–piled in the car and drove it around the block.

When we got back, my dad was like “Where have you guys been?”

I said, “We took the car around the block.”

And all the adults were like “Sure, whatever.”

Yes, folks, that’s how nerdy I was. They didn’t believe I would misbehave. They refused to believe I’d actually taken the car. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that.