Sorry To Say Your Lolita Never Took Chemistry

I was chatting (talking shit) the other day with a friend (skank) and she said, “Oh, she’s one of those people who never forgets a slight.  You know the type.”

I laughed and said, “Those people are the worst!”

Then I narrowed my eyes and mentally replayed a scene from 25 years ago when I had just turned 18, when my 32-year old boyfriend came into my kitchen with his hand on his belly and said, “Do you have any bicarbonate?”

I responded, “Huh?”

Then he closed his eyes and sighed, exaggeratedly shaking his head “no” like I was the dumbest person on Earth, his low-rent David Coverdale-esque mane flurrying scalp-snow down the front of his favorite t-shirt, the one that had a cartoon drawing of brains racked up like billiard balls with the words “Rack your brains!” underneath it.  Because he was such a COOL GUY.

A cool guy who couldn’t afford his own dandruff shampoo and instead used half of my goddamned bottle to hose the flakes out of his mop any time he stayed at my house, which was every night.  “Dry skin” he called it.  IT’S DANDRUFF, GUY.  I HAVE IT, TOO.  STOP LYING TO YOURSELF.

Bicarbonate?” he repeated.  “Do you have any?  For my stomach?”

This went on for another couple rounds before I said, “I have no idea what the hell you’re asking me for here.”

He feigned surprise and said, “Bicarbonate is baking soda, darling.  It works for upset stomachs.  I suppose it’s my fault for asking.  I forget sometimes that not everybody has a PhD in Pharmacology – I’m just so used to being around academics.”

My god.  That is so true.  The teenager you’re dating doesn’t have a doctoral degree.  HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?  THE SHAME!  MY GOD, THE SHAME.

Maybe I should spend the rest of my life thinking about how dumb I was for not having a doctoral degree when I was still young enough to still be asked for ID when attempting to buy Hello Kitty barrettes with a debit card.

Maybe I should keep a set of chemistry books at the ready for when an unemployed thirty-something dickwad with a PhD needs something to settle his stomach after I buy him dinner at the goddamned Olive Garden with the last forty bucks I have and he acts all affronted that I don’t have enough money to buy him an espresso afterwards, commenting that without the espresso he “wasn’t really treated to a proper Italian meal”.  AT THE OLIVE GARDEN.  BY A TEENAGER.

Maybe I should have a translating device for when old men with their old buttholes have digestive problems and can’t muster the strength to dumb themselves down to say the words “baking soda” to their Lolita and prefer, instead, to play pretentious verbal tennis using the word “bicarbonate” as the ball and a teenage girl’s self-worth as the racket.

Maybe I should wear an empty, industrial-sized sack of Arm & Hammer as a tunic and then fashion a gigantic crucifix out of baking soda boxes and then haul it down the side of the highway on my shoulder every Good Friday through Easter for the rest of my life so that the world will know how Father Time here really put one over on the young Magster.

“Bicarbonate!  Can you believe she didn’t know what bicarbonate was?!!  Hahahahahahaha!!!” his academic peers ERUPTING into emphysematic laughter at my expense, their old man balls jiggling and clinking like fetal pigs in jars during an earthquake at the science lab.

“OBVIOUSLY I HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS INTELLECTUAL INFRACTION,” I THOUGHT.

Oh, and by the way, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate – not “bicarbonate” – so you can just crawl into whoever’s car you’re borrowing these days, DOCTOR, and drive it straight into a mountain made of dicks and finally declare yourself the King of Dick Mountain.  Dick.

And I realize that you’re so old that you probably started having digestive problems when prairie medicine was still in vogue, but why don’t you take some goddamned Tums or Zantac like a normal person instead of swishing baking soda around your wooden dentures and down your crusty old blown-out bagpipe esophagus, Doc Holliday?

On a related note, I have been referring to this guy as “Dr. Shitbag” for the past 25 years.

My apologies for the diversion.

Now let’s get back to those people who never forget a slight…

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Daddio

Hi frenz!  My micro-essay “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Daddio” is up at Foliate Oak Literary Magazine today.  It’s a short humor piece about how I successfully tricked a local radio DJ into playing my favorite Starship song when I was a kid.

No, really.

You can read it here: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Daddio

Foliate Oak is the literary magazine for the University of Arkansas, and the irony that I did not attend a single day of college in my entire life is not lost on me here.  This is my first publication in a university journal, which basically means I get an honorary doctoral degree now or something, so you may now commence calling me Doctor Pissypants.

I have actually been to Arkansas, though.  Right in that area where you drive over the Mississippi River out of Memphis, Tennessee and you see that “Welcome to Arkansas!” sign in the middle of a corn field and say to the person in the passenger seat, “Uh oh” and then turn the car around and drive back to Memphis for more day-drinking.

Thanks so much for reading!  I’ve just been walking around all day lately not believing my luck.

And here’s your weird boyfriend Nicolas Cage, who is also my weird boyfriend, and the universe’s weird boyfriend.

giphy (3)

Steel Maggie-nolias

I threw away my old Doc Martens combat boots after 27 years of ownership.  As I pitched them into the trash and they clunked towards the bottom of the can, they yelled, “Do they have a steel toooooooooooooooe?!” on their way down, because after so many years of excellent service, this was unfortunately the memory I associated most with them.  Because teenage boys.

Oh!  Do tell, Myrtle!

I remember the day I got my Doc Martens in 1992.  Grunge was now all the rage, and no teenage grunge queen was complete without a pair of Doc Martens to go with her sundress, tights, and flannel shirt.  They were all I wanted in life that year, and I begged my mother to buy them for me.

20190128_071559
Fine, these flowers aren’t magnolias, but spoiler alert, those are Doc Martens on my 16-year old feet.  And a cigarette in my hand, but that’s neither here nor there.

Things had finally started to turn around in our household, our roof had been fixed up after Hurricane Andrew (thanks to insurance) and Mom had landed a better-paying job.  Plus, it was just me and her left in the house since my sisters had both moved out.  We were no longer destitute and there was even a little left over for spending.

I told her I needed a new pair of shoes, so we hit the mall.  Just a few years before, besides my yearly pair of $15 sneakers from Fayva the discount shoe store, my two sisters and I shared a single pair of black flats that we fought over mercilessly.

Three teenage girls, one pair of dress shoes, you can imagine the carnage.  You could make ten full wigs out of the amount of hair we pulled out of each other’s heads over those black flats.

As Mom and I stood in the shoe store, she flipped the Doc Martens boot over to see the price tag and said, “Ha!  $120?!!  Not in your wildest dreams, kid!”

She started to walk away, so I had to jump on her to present my proposition.

“Okay, okay, I know this seems nuts, but just listen to me!  If you buy me these boots, I promise I will wear them every single day for the rest of high school.  For two years!”

She said, “You have almost another two years of high school, and you’re telling me, you’re promising me, that you will wear these stupid, ugly things every day?  EVERY day?”

I nodded my head like a maniac, “Yes!  I promise!  Every single day!”

The next day, I swaggered into school in my black sundress, red plaid tights, and my brand-new Doc Martens.  I felt like the coolest mofo on the planet – until the first teenage boy saw me.

“Nice Docs,” he said, pursing his lips and folding his arms.  “I bet you got them at the mall.  Do they have a steel toe?”

(Like he got his Doc Martens trying to fight the Krauts back from the border of Poland in World War II.)

I looked down and said, “No?  Why would I need a steel toe?”

He laughed, “Heh.  Well, mine have a steel toe, so…”

Soooooo…what?  What the hell did I care if his OR my Doc Martens had a steel toe?

“I’m just saying only poseurs wear Docs that don’t have a steel toe.”

He walked away, still laughing.

I had never spoken to this guy in my life, and we didn’t even know each other’s names – but he felt compelled to walk up and insult me.

Were we doing construction work there in the 11th grade, where steel-toed boots would be the only thing standing between me and a pile of broken toes?

As it would turn out, in the two years that I wore my Doc Martens to school EVERY DAY JUST LIKE I’D PROMISED, this was an unsolicited question I was asked by teenage boys on a weekly basis.  I got so tired of having the steel toe conversation, I considered just writing, “No Steel Toe” across the top of one boot in white-out and “Poseur” on top of the other to save myself the time and aggravation.

20190128_071639
Look who’s still wearing those Doc Martens a year later at 17!  Never mind the beer, it’s neither here nor there.

It’s so funny, too, looking back on the whole thing and realizing what stupid ass hats those guys were.  My shoes bothered them so much that they felt the need to barge up to me, a stranger, to interrogate me about them and then try to make me feel like they were better than me?

I don’t think I’m better than anyone except Melissa’s mom, and everybody knows that.

They acted like they had somehow “earned” their combat boots as teenage boys and I was merely trying to game their system.  Like they were wearing them for actual combat when I was just wearing them for fashion, even though it was the 90s and we were all just wearing them for fashion.

20190128_071449
18 years old!  Still wearing those Docs!  I was SO HIGH IN THIS PICTURE, but that’s neither here nor there.

And what are we even talking about here?  Did they think I wasn’t cool enough to be into grunge?  Is there even such a thing as a person who isn’t cool enough to be into grunge?

I present this photograph of Jeff Ament and Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, as Exhibits A through Z in my case:

20181213_095343
These two look like what would happen if Gallagher had sex with a dreamcatcher on top of a deflated beach ball in the middle of a Spencer Gifts in Omaha.

If you’re reading this and realize you were one of these steel-toe jerks back in the day, I want to impress upon you how obnoxious I thought you were then, and still think you are today.

I hope your closet is filled with nothing but ill-fitting, moose-knuckle khakis, GREG.

I hope you have a neverending hangnail that catches on your pants every time you put your hand in your pocket, JASON.

I hope it burns just a little every time you stop peeing, like you had to cut the stream short even though you didn’t actually cut the stream short, MATT.

I hope you have the short stream burn, Matt.

The short.

Stream.

Burn.

Years later, I got a job at that same shoe store so I could get the employee discount on further Doc Martens purchases, but I had to quit after my first day because of herpes.

Stay tuned for that one next week.

20190128_071509
19 years old.  First office job and wearing Doc Martens at the reception desk.  Also sleeping on the job while clutching a stuffed animal, but that’s neither here nor there.