Sunday, August 07, 2005

Oh, Well, Why Not -- 28 Other Things About Me

Note: This is a work in progress, because every time I read it I think, "Why would I write something that lame?" So I keep changing things.
73. I recently crossed the 49th Parallel.

74. I once underwent a sauna -- the real deal, including the rolling-in-the-snow part, except in my case there was a snowstorm outside, so my fellow saunees and I just stood on our hostess' deck and let the snow roll around us.

75. Actually, despite the fact that I have spent quality time alternately poaching and freezing naked in the presence of others, I can be a real prude.

76. Despite my prudery, I am known to have a quietly wicked sense of humor that often expresses itself in deadpanned double entendres. But I have to be around the right people.

77. When I was a small child I once climbed up our tall farm elevator and fell into our corn crib. Had I fallen down onto the cement floor of the crib proper I would have most certainly died, but instead I landed in the inner core, which was filled with empty corncobs. I suffered no injuries -- I just cried because the corncobs hurt muchly upon impact, and because I was trapped -- and my frantic parents had to run and get the neighbors to help fish me out of the structure. I told the adults I was playing "Jack in the Beanstalk."

78. Not too long afterward my mother caught me chewing on a shelf fungus pulled from a stump. I said I was Alice in Wonderland and was trying to make myself bigger and smaller.

79. I also, as a small child, shocked myself right across the living room by sticking a frayed plug into a wall outlet. Again I lived to tell the tale. Never a dull moment at my house back then.

80. I once sat in a field late at night with a bunch of studiously wild women and bayed at the moon. Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

81. I have a vascular birthmark on my hand. I have found that how people react to it is a fairly accurate indicator of their character in general. (Apart from a minor range-of-motion issue -- alas, I shall never be a concert pianist -- it doesn't bother me. And, if I may say so, it makes my hand squeezably soft.)

82. I was a teenage transistor sister who used to listen to Wolfman Jack's live show from New York, very late at night, on my old AM radio. I also used to listen to WLS in Chicago -- I'd keep twirling the dial back and forth between the two stations until 1 or 2 in the morning.

83. A geeky loser in elementary school, I hated and/or feared girls my own age. I thought they were stupid, silly and mean. For a time in 3rd grade I was exiled to playground Loserville with another loser girl totally obsessed with human reproduction. She insisted on playing something called Pregnant Barbie, which involved rubbing Barbie and Ken together, sticking a tiny baby doll up Barbie's skirt, then pulling the doll back out. (Babies were born, she told me gravely, through women's belly buttons.) This experience gave me the incentive to learn to shoot marbles so I could get away from her and all her weird shit, and play with the boys instead.

84. My guy pals and I also used to play World War II. Because I was the girl, and because I had a German pedigree, I had to play the Nazi, and I was killed at the end of each recess. But I modeled myself after Rommel, a "good" Nazi who was just in it for the honor of the Fatherland and the glory of battle, and I strove to die with an officer's dignity. My friends would even apologize for shooting me.

85. We would have bizarre discussions about our favorite television shows: "If the 'Rat Patrol' guys fought the Klingons, who would win?"

86. I can be a real boo-hoo-ing sap when it comes to cinema. (Ruth's death scene in Fried Green Tomatoes; the "You make me want to be a better person" scene in As Good As It Gets; A Charlie Brown Christmas has turned me into a quivering waterworks nearly every year since 1966.) On the other hand, I also delight in finding editing mistakes, anachronisms and the like.

87. I have never met a vegetarian hot dog that did not both taste and smell like a tire fire. I'd rather just drop the pretense and eat the empty bun.

88. Because of a number of family circumstances too tedious to explain here, there are huge gaps in my childhood and young adult experience; I never had an opportunity to do a lot of things most American kids take for granted as a part of growing up. Sometimes this makes me feel totally incompetent..."How did I ever get a license to be an adult? They must have made a mistake."

89. I've been in therapy.

90. I've never told my mother that I've been in therapy.

91. I didn't get braces until I was an adult. My orthodontist suggested that I get my jaw broken and lengthened -- then, evidently seeing the look of horror on my face, said, "Well, I guess we don't need to do that." But in retrospect I wonder if I shouldn't have let him do it. I could have lost a few pounds, too, that month with my jaw wired shut.

92. I also declined getting caps, because it seemed silly spending so much money for things that only last 10 years -- and especially since I suck down vast quantities of enamel-staining coffee. Sometimes I second-guess this decision too.

93. I like to think that I am a self-actualized, self-sufficient individual, but in my heart of hearts I crave constant approval and coaching and cheerleading, and I get so tired, sometimes, of always having to do everything myself.

94. I once crocheted an entire afghan myself. I still have it. I can't believe I made it myself.

95. There are certain hymns that I absolutely refuse to sing in church; I just can't do it.

96. When I was a tiny, incubator-esconced infant, I was constantly kicking and flailing my little fists. My nurses' nickname for me was Butch. No jokes, please. (My temperment has mellowed considerably. Most of the time, anyway.)

97. I once considered, very briefly, painting henna tattoos on my feet. Now; at my age. (I bet that would have made a big hit at work.)

98. If I had a choice between a week's stay in Maui or a week's stay at Loch Ness, I'd opt for Loch Ness.

99. I could listen to Fiona Ritchie reading the Edinburgh white pages all day long.

100. I am chronically cold. I suffer from air conditioning all summer long; I dress in layers, but sometimes I even have to get up and go outside for five minutes to warm up in the sun, like a lizard. Wool and flannel are my friends.


J.C. Fisher said...

Going backwards:

99. Ashley Judd, Louisville white pages ('nuff said *g*)

88. OK, I'll bite: "tediize" me already!

86. The end of ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Every.Single.Time.) And I don't even have to see Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." video anymore, I just have to think of it---the part where he screams as the camera does the grand pan across Arlington?

OK, choking up now. :-(...

83. That's gross.

81. . . . and my ex-husband was always telling me I was the least observant (least conscious. most klutzy) person he'd ever met---wonder why (which is to say, I didn't notice it. The birth-mark)

80. In the "Good Idea at the Time" file, I include driving over in the middle-of-the-night, to see a (Episcopal) priest, whom I really barely knew, to tell him "I don't know if I'm in love with you, but I think I want to be" {cringe!} (Oy. I was 24, w/ the "emotional maturity of a blueberry scone", to quote Giles from BTVS)

He's a bishop now (about whom I will tell no tales :-X).

And I am thoroughly done now w/ clergymen! ;-p

77-79. I nearly fell off a waterfall in Canada (the certainly-fatal kind), age 14

74-75. Age 13, I went "streaking" ;-)

Re breaking news: Peter Jennings, we'll miss you. RIP.

Lorna said...

which hymns and why

and puh! to the sauna. come over to Finland and try avantouiti -swimming in the ice - or do you do that in your neck of the woods too :)

LutheranChik said...

J.C.: Do you really want me to disgorge dysfunctional family details all over you? If so, you really should charge me about $125 a half-hour.;-)

Rather than give you my informed therapeutic evaluation of my family dynamic, let me share a charming little family vignette: Back in 5th grade, I get a perfect score on the pre-band music aptitude test they give all kids in my school. Turns out I have perfect pitch. The band instructor is so excited, he actually makes an appointment to come to my house and talk to my parents about band class. Now, in a normal family, this would be occasion for celebration and eager anticipation of my musical career. At my house, my angry father flatly informs the confused band instructor that I cannot join band because "it's too expensive" (not true) and because "we don't have time to be carting our kid back and forth to practices and games." (Translation: "I don't wanna.") After the band instructor leaves, my parents get into a huge, screaming fight -- Dad bellowing about how he's the breadwinner so he makes the rules, and my mother ineffectually wailing, then coming to me later and saying something like, "I suppose it's my fault because I'm a bad mother who can't drive and doesn't work like all the other mothers." All very Wagnerian -- unpredictably bellicose patriarch, completely disempowered wife, kid caught in the middle, feeling like her existence on the planet must be the reason why Mom and Dad can't get along, because anything good or bad that happens to her turns into a major parental fight. Now, multiply this dynamic by hundreds of times, over the course of 18 years, and you get some idea of life at my house -- no, it wasn't "Sibyll," and there was no physical violence, but it sure wasn't the Huxtable family. And even though as an only child I'm supposedly "spoiled," fact of the matter is, I was kind of left out of the loop much of the time while my parents were engaged in their melodramas; so I wound up just not learning things or having experiences like other kids my age. We never, EVER went on a family vacation; I never went to camp; I never had any kind of enrichment classes; I was pretty much not allowed to hang around with other kids outside of school or church ("too much trouble," don't you know, arranging that sort of thing).

Now, the good news is 1)thanks be to God and my biology, I don't have to deal with this crap in my own adult life; 2)I have accumulated the psychological tools, over time, to help overcome most of the stuff that happens to one's psyche in this environment; and 3)I now have the perspective to see that my parents were just repeating their own experiences in their own dysfunctional families. (Which are, in fact, shrinking, on both sides of the family tree -- more than the average of maiden aunts, bachelor uncles and unmarried/non-reproducing counsins; honestly, I think this is natural selection at work.)

The only other "revenge" I could ever want in all of this would be, maybe, to be in a really good, egalitarian, mutually supportive relationship. Looking at my extended family and its history, I can think of only maybe two or three families at most who were actually happy...if I could leave this mortal coil as One of the Ones Who Got the Relationship Thing Right, that would be icing on the cake, I think...wonderfully, subversively ironic. But even if that doesn't's all good; any day above ground is a good day.;-)

See -- aren't you glad you asked????

LutheranChik said...

Lorna: I have a real hard time with those treacly 19th century tent-revival hymns a la Fanny Crosby -- I just don't like them. And I dislike "Battle Hymn of the Republic" used as a hymn; I have tried to give it an ironic spin in my head, but it doesn't work for me. And...I have a hard time with the sort of hand-/body-motion "praise songs" the little kids enjoy; I'm just wound a little tightly for that stuff.

Swimming in the ice? Well, I don't swim, but that might keep me afloat, trying to make it back to shore.;-)

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LutherPunk said...

99. I could listen to Fiona Ritchie reading the Edinburgh white pages all day long.

Fiona Ritchie is on the radion after worship here on Sundays...I too could listen to her read about anything.

Simeon said...

"If the 'Rat Patrol' guys fought the Klingons, who would win?"

Woo hoo! Yes! Just the sort of fun, pointless discussions I'd get in to as a kid. And what with the 'Rat Patrol' and 'Star Trek,' I'd say we probably grew up at about the same time :)

LutheranChik said...

And I'm thinking that the Rat Patrol guys would still win, even without the weapons of the future, because they're smarter.;-)