Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Monday Memoir: Origin Story

My parents really wanted me. My parents probably didn't want my brother. At least no more than any unmarried 19-year-olds enrolled in junior college in 1971 want a screaming ginger dog-paddling in their amniotic fluid.

By the time I came around they'd had time to convert my mom to Catholicism, get married, turn my dad into a government employee, and make a wish list: They wanted a girl.

I did not disappoint in this respect.

I'm told they had tried for a long time to make me. And more recently I've been told that they continued to try for more babies after I was born. Disgusting visual aside, I'm selfishly thrilled that science failed them. Can you imagine the ignominy of being neither the oldest, nor the youngest? Brutal.

I managed to skate through my Pre-K years undamaged. This is not to say there were not hardships, growing up at 3922 5th Place Northwest.
  • I had a bedtime that prohibited me from engaging in the real fun of late-night television and I was discouraged from sleeping in the hallway on the fringe of the family's entertainment scene; 
  • Sometimes I had to wear a tutu and step-ball-change while wearing lipstick and red balloons of blush in front of an audience of strangers who were looking at me; 
  • My brother and his friends stole my bike and left behind a ransom note written in blood-colored ketchup; 
  • I was forced to put my head underneath the surface of water and use my arms to make stroking motions, my legs to kick, in a way that would propel me across a pool or lake; 
  • A German Shepherd was allowed to bark near me. 
  • I saw Darth Vader in my closet. Or maybe it was a dinosaur; 
  • My dad accused me of having a crush on a red-haired freckle face named Teddy Higgins who made weird faces while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance; 
  • It was considered a sign of weakness to spend 24 hours a day with my arms wrapped around my mom's legs, my face pressed into the back of her knees; 
  • My mom put my hair in rollers before we had our family photo taken for the church directory; 
  • My dad listened exclusively to Marty Robbins' records and Paul Harvey in my presence; 
  • My brother took the quarter I'd been given to play Pac Man, played Pac Man, then drew me a picture of a Pac Man board instead; 
  • I couldn't get my ears pierced until my First Communion; 
  • No one believed me when I heard my stuffed bunny say "Ouch." 
  • My Big Wheel got stolen.
  • I was dragged to cold ice arenas and wore a pin on my winter coat that said "I'm a hockey sister." 
  • We weren't allowed to eat sugar cereals or watch "Dukes of Hazard." 
  • I took out the garbage one time and saw a squirming mound of maggots. It was like alive Macaroni & Cheese.
  • The love of my four-year-old life hit me in the face with a rock and I had to have two blue stitches sewn into my skin. 
  • I had to wear a yellow rain slicker. 
  • When my brother wet the bed he got to sleep in his sleeping bag while his sheets were washed. However, the person who knew how to use a toilet -- and was three and a half years younger, mind you -- was punished for her adeptness on a porcelain perch and not allowed to sleep in her sleeping bag.  
  • I was made to camp in places where worms and snakes lived. 

Despite all this adversity, I wouldn't change a thing. All of this hardship has just made me the person I am today.

The Monday Memoir series is a writing project that uses Tina Fey's memoir "Bossypants" as a template for my own life story. Tina Fey's memoir is very funny, by the way. But that doesn't mean that writing it was hard or that there are any real revelations in it. During The Monday Memoir I will write a simple, revelationless story, too. 

1 comment:

Whiskeymarie said...

I feel so much closer to you now that it's almost uncomfortable.