The Smiting of Wyatt Stupid Face

I wrote a piece about growing up poor and how I exacted revenge on a young man who made fun of me for it.  It’s one of my favorite funny pieces and it’s very near and dear to my cold, steely heart.  I’d been looking for a good home for it for a long time and I didn’t want to trust it with just anyone.

It finally found the perfect home right here on good ol’ page 44: The Smiting of Wyatt Stupid Face

Hand to Mouth is a special edition zine dedicated to writers responding to living in poverty, and is hosted by Kissing Dynamite.  This issue is full of poetry, creative nonfiction (that’s what I do, suckas), and artwork – and you should read it cover to cover and support the heck out of it because they’re good people doing good in the world…

…unlike me, a person who basically works for pizza money and unfettered mirror-time.

This means that you’re a good person if you print it out 10,000 times, wallpaper the entire inside of your house with it, invite me over, I’ll walk in and get freaked out that you’re a stalker, then pepper spray you and kick you in the jimmies with a sensible shoe.

And won’t that be a story to tell at your next court-ordered group therapy session.

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If you’re not already following this blog, go ahead and click the “Follow” button on the home page and you’ll get a nifty email anytime I post new stuff on here, usually about once a week.  I won’t go blowing up your email unlike certain people named Old Navy those denim-clad sons of bitches.  Who needs five emails a day from Old Navy??? We’re breaking up!  I don’t even care how well your Rock Star stretch jeans fit.  WE’RE DONE.

That’s a huge lie.  I will never quit Old Navy.

You can also follow me on Twitter at @romcomdojo.

I ALMOST FORGOT!

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This Joker Who Wants to Kiss Your Mother

Hey sassafrases!  The folks over at jmww journal were kind enough to give a home to a little nonfiction humor piece I wrote about the first guy who showed up to take my mom on a date when I was a kid.

You can read it on the jmww site here: This Joker Who Wants to Kiss Your Mother

About The Journal:  “jmww is a weekly journal of writing publishing the best in fiction, poetry, flash, essays, interviews, and reviews (or a close approximation).”

Fancy!!!

A Reminder About Me:  I have no idea how a dirtbag like me got accepted there, I’m just honored as hell that they shook me out of the pile, dusted me off, and gave me a shot.

Special thanks to the illustrious Alle C. Hall, Senior Nonfiction Editor at jmww and a stunningly good writer, for her excellent guidance, ideas, and expert honing in editing this piece.  You can check out her blog here: About Childhood

As always, thanks to all of you for being so awesome.  You’re all so supportive and kind and funny and I can’t thank you enough for hanging out with me here every week!  More published work coming next week!

And here’s the obligatory Nicolas Cage photo.  Because.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.