Nobody Cares What You Like

This is purely an old person “get off my lawn” discussion, but I am fascinated when I see kids get asked what they want to eat for dinner and then get cooked separate meals from everybody else at the table.

You know what we ate for dinner when I was a kid?  Whatever my mother was making that night.  If you had a dissenting opinion, you could feel free to either go hungry or arrange to eat at a friend’s house that night.

For instance, I don’t like ham.  Never have.  I think it tastes and has the texture of what I imagine human flesh carved up and served on a plate would taste like.  If I have to eat it, I will gag.  I will involuntarily heave.  I literally cannot force it down.  Growing up, one of my friends didn’t like ham, either.  So what did we do?  She and I drafted the following reciprocal agreement in order to address our shared issue:

If my mother was making ham, I would eat dinner at her house that night.  If her mother was making ham, she would eat dinner at my house that night.

I believe they call that “learning priceless problem-solving skills” and charge like $1,500 nowadays for a workshop to learn them.

Granted, we did have that one night where both of our mothers were coincidentally making ham, but that was the night we learned that sometimes life is just out to kick you in the taco and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Yet another life lesson!

I can tell you for damn sure what none of the mothers in my neighborhood were doing.  They weren’t cooking four different meals to suit everyone’s tastes each night.

I can’t even imagine how hard my mother would have laughed if I’d said, “Oh, hey.  I know you’ve been at work all day at your crappy, low pay, high stress job that you hate, and I know that you’re making sloppy joes for everyone else, standing in front of the stove still wearing your work clothes, but can you make me chicken fingers instead?  You know, just for me?”

You would still hear that laughter today, echoing through eternity, bending space and time in its wake.  I would have never lived that down.  That would be a story that was passed down to all future generations:

“Can you believe she thought I would make an entirely separate meal just for her?  Why stop there?  Why not ask for your own castle and unicorn?!  Her own dinner!  Sure thing, Jackie O!  I’ll get right on that!”

Same goes for stopping at multiple fast food places.  If I’d said to my mother, “I know everyone else is getting Burger King, but can you make an extra stop so I can get some Wendy’s?” she would have just lost control of the car and driven into a lake, she would have become so delirious with laughter.

You knew better than to complain about your lack of fast food choices.  You were lucky when you got fast food at all, and not the frozen cube steaks and sauerkraut Mom forgot to take out to thaw that morning.  You’re gonna get picky about the fast food?  Oh, that’s rich.  Why not get picky about free candy on Halloween while you’re at it?  Get picky about the denomination of bills in a birthday card!  But I wanted fives!!!

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It wasn’t because my mother was a harsh parent – far from it.  It’s because dinner was an event that was grounded in facts.  Dinner = whatever Mom was making that night.  That was a fact.  The idea that children might have been permitted to have an opinion on the matter was totally unheard of.  It never even crossed my mind.  Did I have an opinion on whether she should pay the property taxes quarterly or once a year?  Nope!  Because my opinion wasn’t relevant to the matter.

The same way that your opinion is irrelevant as to whether the sky is blue or the sun rises in the east.  If you have issues with these things, you better find a way to deal with them, because the sun ain’t rising in the west just for you, babycakes.  You’re not entitled to have the world skitter around your likes and dislikes because, I can assure you, absolutely nobody is as concerned about your likes and dislikes as you are.

If you care 100%, then the rest of the world cares negative 500,000,000%.

Nobody cares what you like – and we all need to come to terms with that.

Like Mom used to tell me, “You are so special…” and then she’d pause and say “…juuuust like everybody else.”

That’s not only accurate, but will sure as hell keep you humble, too.

Sometimes you have to eat something for dinner that you’re not crazy about.  What can I tell you?  Life is hard, kid.  It’s one meal.  Either force it down or load up on side dishes that night.

Now get off my lawn.

Licehead Spa Day

Now this a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside-down…

Okay, that’s actually the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s story.  I’ve been foiled again!

Do you know what I wouldn’t give to be able to say that just one time in my life for real?  Like, pound my fist on the desk in my underground lair and shout, “I’ve been foiled again!” with possum-henchmen scattering from the room?

Someone should really offer some kind of formal villain training courses (besides the current Yale and Harvard business programs).  I would absolutely sign up for that.  One time I did get to yell, “Because they don’t get to win – THAT’S why!” in the conference room at work, and it may have been my greatest moment in life.

So!  I had lice as a kid.  More than once.  As the judge tells Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona, “A ree-peat ohhh-fender.”

This was mostly because I was a filthy little heathen, as were my friends, classmates, pets, and both of my Cabbage Patch Kids if we’re being honest, here.

I wrote a li’l flash humor piece about it and it’s on Cosmonauts Avenue this month.  I know!  Do they have the best name or what?  You can read it here:  Licehead Spa Day.

And then spend the rest of the day not scratching at your head.  It’s not like you have lice or anything.  Unless you do…

Shout out to Finesse Shampoo.  You were the wind beneath my lice wings.  VO5, on the other hand, can 100% go sit and spin.

Speaking of hair…thanks, as always, for reading and commenting and letting me watch your hair flowing slowly in the breeze.

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Now try saying “flowing slowly” ten times fast.

They Shoot Salads, Don’t They?

I’ve got a new humor/memoir piece up this month at Wraparound South about the very first vision board ever created, satin formalwear, signing things in my own blood, cannibal mice, and SaladShooters.  My life when I was thirteen, basically.

You can read it here:  They Shoot Salads, Don’t They?

The amazing part is that this issue of Wraparound South is described by the editor like this:

“This issue, though not strictly a themed issue, orbits around that mirrored labyrinth that is perception – of culture, of race, of personal values, of ambition… As humans, we seem to have the ability to see ourselves mirrored in every situation, blind to our own reflection and to the illusions that we project about the spaces we inhabit.”

You will find this doubly amusing after you read my story.  🙂

I’m never not fascinated that these literary folks let dirtbag me into their world, but I’m so thankful that they do.

As always, thanks for hanging out here with me and being awesome and stuff – and hey – it’s almost October!  That means it’s time for Nicolas Cage and his not even remotely passable wig in:

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Season of The Witch!