The Way Things Are



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I was reading
2005-06-17, 11:29 a.m.

I was reading Suburban Bliss yesterday, and there was a mention of a Plaster of Paris incident, and then there were further comments in which folks mentioned baby powder incidents, myself among them. I want to take this opportunity to talk about my own baby powder incident, which took place circa 1969, in Temple, Texas.

There we lived in a little 2-bedroom duplex, my mom and brother and I. My dad had died 2 years prior, and apparently, I was doing all I could to muster the troops and keep everyone’s spirits up.

Among my cheering duties was making sure my brother always had as much fun as possible. One day, a dim bulb flickered over my head as I held the can of baby powder, and I thought “This will be so much fun for Andy.”

We commenced to emptying the baby powder all over our whole bedroom. Everything was covered in that butt-scented talcum powder, ourselves included. 36 years later, I still have a vivid memory of this: the pure joy we experienced, the giant grin on my 2-year-old brother’s face - jumping on the bed was part of our baby powder glee…and my mother’s “Oh, Laura Flea!”

She still brings it up every now and then, and asks me “What were you thinking?” I still remember the thought process behind it, and it was simply this: this will be so much fun for Andy.

I have another unrepressed memory of childhood. I was 3 years old, the year was 1967, and long straight hippy hair with no bangs was all the rage. We lived on base, and our next door neighbors’ teenage daughter Patty had the hair I wanted. Alas, my hair was in a little Dutch-boy cut, a style I lamentably reproduced on myself in the early 90s, but let’s not go there.

I kept begging my mother to just cut my bangs off at the scalp. She, being completely unreasonable, refused to entertain that notion. So I did it myself. Without a mirror, so of course, a 3-year-old’s self-haircut without benefit of a mirror made it look like badgers had gnawed off the front of my hair. I hid the cut hair behind the couch.

I remember my mother sitting on the edge of her bed, her forehead in her hand, crying.

When I asked her years later why she cried over my mangled hair, she replied “Well, your father had just died, and it was all too much…”

My poor mother.

Allow me to recall one last incident, this one more recent. It falls under the “this will be so much fun for Andy” category. Picture this: it’s the early 80s, I’m home for the summer from college, and my brother is still in high school. On this occasion, we both got home from our respective partying and carousing at the same time in the middle of the night. We were in the kitchen together, rooting around in the fridge for something to eat, and we found that the deeper we dug, the more rotten, dried out, fuzzy gray relics we found in the back of the fridge.

Giggling like the drunken lunatics we were (are), we decided that it would be a grand prank to pull on mom to bring all the rotten stuff up to the front, so that when you opened the fridge, your senses were assailed by the archeological compost pile that was the back of our fridge.

That was so much fun for Andy!

Mom has never forgotten that, and even brought it up when I was visiting her two weeks ago for the cancer walk.

Thus endeth the recollection of some of my favorite memories of pranks, hijinx, and tomfoolery from my ill-spent childhood. And I find that I still strive to dream up activities that will so much fun for Andy, and pranks that will cause surprise and head-shaking in my mom, and if I can conjure up an activity that does both, I’m in heaven.

In other news, I am wearing black on the bottom, rusty red on the top, and my casual Friday flip flops. Nobody around here even looks at me. I'm invisible. I'm hideous. Don't look!

I’m trying to think of another subtle social experiment to perform upon my unwitting co-workers. Alternating color streaks in my hair has been brought up, and I am open to all who wish to provide suggestions.

I’m thinking something along the line of Igor’s shifting back hump from Young Frankenstein.

While we’re talking about Young Frankenstein (we were – shut it), here’s a snippet of post-coital pillow talk. Let’s listen in:

DW: You’re so good to me.

Me: What specifically did I do for you that wasn’t good for me, too?

DW: Well, you married me.

Me: I figure that’s good for about 10 years of gratitude, and then I’ll have to do something nice for you again.

DW: You cook, you clean, you do laundry…

Me (in high squeaky Bride of Young Frankenstein voice): And I wash you’ poo poo undies!

My friends, he got the reference, and THAT’S why I love that man.

As I promised yesterday, there’s no picture of me grimacing for the camera today. Instead, I bring you: nesting birdie. She’s built a new nest in the same exact spot that the old nest was built (which she kicked off the beam with her little birdie feet). I took this through the French door glass in order to minimize her discomfort and consternation at my presence, so please pardon the horrendous quality of the photo.

And last, I saw something on the interstate today that I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of, so I can only describe it. Picture a redneck, good ol’ boy, white trash all rolled up into one skankily delicious burrito of a human specimen. Driving a ratty truck, no less. As you drive up behind him, you wonder, “What kind of shirt is that man wearing? Oh no, he’s not…”

And you realize that he is indeed shirtless at 9:00 in the morning, driving his truck down the highway, and that what you mistook for a weird t-shirt is actually his hairy back. EWWWWWW! I didn’t need to see that. I believe that the mullet of dress wear, pink on top, black on the bottom, has now been replaced by the nasty hair shirt.

(screaming in my rock-n-roll voice) THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!!!

Quick Friday afternoon appendage: I just got some spam from one "Fannie Stern" and I totally think that should be my stripper name.

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