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!

 

 

Alfonso, The Man

I couldn’t believe it. I was on the phone with Alfonso, the very mature-for-his-age guy in middle school who was so mature, in fact, that he actually had a mustache.

Every school had an Alfonso: The Guy Who Looked Like a Grown Man.

Alfonso was a year ahead of me, wasn’t particularly smart, and wasn’t especially nice, but he was gorgeous, knew how to dress, and was practically a man in a sea of what looked like little boys by comparison. When he swaggered through the school, he looked like Antonio Banderas visiting a kindergarten class.

And here he was – talking to me.

Loser me.

Girl who had never even kissed a boy or had a boyfriend me.

I was amazed I was able to stay conscious and didn’t just die right there clutching the receiver of my telephone in one hand and a yearbook with Alfonso’s picture encircled with a heart in the other.

My friend Jenny was in the same grade as Alfonso, and she had chatted him up in class that day and told him I had a crush on him. I wanted to kill her – and I would have killed her – had my phone not rang that night.

I picked it up, and a man’s voice said, “Hi, is…uhhh…Maggie? Is…uhhh…Maggie there?”

I don’t know how you can hear a mustache over the phone, but I totally heard his mustache over the phone.

I thought the pause before he said my name was because he was nervous. Looking back, I realize that the pause was because he was trying to remember my name. He probably had a clipboard next to his phone with a hundred girls’ names on it, and he had forgotten which one he was calling that night.

The fact that he then had to ask me what I looked like should have been another indication that he had no idea who I was. I chose to not acknowledge that in favor of believing he was a nervous wreck because he was, obviously, in love with me.

Everybody knew that boys in middle school acted aloof and weird when they liked you. I figured he must really like me if he couldn’t remember my name or what I looked like. This all made perfect sense to my 7th grade mind. Later, Jenny agreed with me.

Consensus: Alfonso was way, way into me.

My very brief phone call with Alfonso started with him not knowing who I was and ended with him asking me if I wanted to meet up at the movies on Saturday to go see Batman (the Michael Keaton one).

When I said yes, he said, “So you’ll be going doooown with that tongue, right girl?”

My face turned red. I thought, “Oh my god. Alfonso wants to kiss me!”

Sidebar: I’m sure kissing wasn’t exactly what he meant.

I just had to get dressed up for my big date, so Jenny walked with me to the nearby shopping plaza that Saturday morning to help me buy all the things that I needed.

I should clarify that the word “buy” is somewhat of a misnomer, as the plan was to steal every single item, seeing as we were both poor and had not a dime to our names.

Jenny and I were already accomplished thieves at that age, and we viewed shoplifting more as just “the way we shopped” than a crime. We’d go into the department store and layer on spandex leggings under our jeans in the blind spots of the dressing room, stuff eyeshadows into our socks, and slip nail polish bottles into our pockets with the grace of ballerinas. Criminal ballerinas.

I even developed a shoplifting method where I would go up to a register to buy something cheap while secretly palming a small expensive item in my hand, and when I would go to pay and reach into my purse for my wallet, I would drop the small expensive item into my purse as I pulled out my wallet. I got SO many packets of 24 karat-dipped nail charms at the beauty supply store that way that I actually ran out of fingernails to glue them to, so I started gluing them to my toenails, too.

After Jenny and I had stolen enough makeup that I felt I could adequately paint my face up for the big-tongue-makeout-date with Alfonso, we went into a drug store for one more thing. I eyed a bottle of perfume on the shelf, called Illegalé. Alfonso wouldn’t be able to resist…uhh…what was my name? Maggie! He wouldn’t be able to resist Maggie, or whoever he thought he had a date with that night, if she were wearing Illegalé.

After I slipped the bottle of perfume in my purse, Jenny decided she wanted one, too, and since I had the bigger purse, she slipped it into mine.

The store detective walked up to us within seconds, flashed a badge, and said, “I’m gonna need you two young ladies to come with me.”

Later that night, as I sat in my bedroom after being grounded for having been caught stealing perfume, after the humiliation of my mother having to come pick us up and the detective telling her I was banned from the store for life, after my mother telling me that she had never been so disappointed in her entire life that she had raised a thief, after taking the rap for both Jenny and I because Jenny’s mom would have literally beaten her ass if she had been busted, I cried.

I wasn’t going to be going dooooown with that tongue, right girl.

Alfonso didn’t even reschedule our date, he just moved to the next girl down the list.

And that’s how two bottles of Illegalé saved my 12-year old innocence.

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And then a hero comes along…

Mz. Mannerz: Hi Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Time for another exciting edition of Mz. Mannerz!

Hi.

Who would have thought such a little word could inspire so much rage?  I mean, I would have thought that, but I fly into rage over someone misquoting lines from Caddyshack, so I’m a bad gauge of what’s rage-worthy.  You should probably talk to someone who doesn’t have a vein semi-permanently bulging out of their forehead if you want calm and well-thought out commentary on the matter.

I mean, goddamn it.  If you’re not gonna get the quote from the movie right, then don’t quote it.  You can’t just replace Bill Murray’s line “Big hitter, the Lama” with “The Lama is a big hitter” because you will have ruined the line.  RUINED IT.

As I will pontificate to anyone who will listen while I eat pizza:  Comedy is as much science as it is art.  Maybe more, even.  The order of the words counts.  Every word, change of tone, inflection, eyelid movement – it all counts.  It is 100,000 times more complex than drama, and I will stand by that until the day I die eating pizza.

Drama is so freaking easy, it annoys me to no end how much credit people get for it.  Oh no, they killed that character everybody liked and it was sad!  A lone tear falls from a sad British person’s face.  Cue violin music as people make stern facial expressions under overcast skies.  Black umbrellas.  HERE’S YOUR OSCAR.

Sad shit happens in real life all day, every day.  Making a movie about sad shit where the main take is, “That was sad!” is not the work of genius.  That’s just long-winded reality with a soundtrack.

You try killing off a character everybody likes and making it funny.  Craft a touching death scene to kazoo music.  Shoot Old Yeller with one of those guns that just unfurls a banner that says “Bang!” yet still preserve the integrity of the scene.  That shit is hard.  That shit takes finesse.  Watch “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of The Desert” for further reference.

Where was I?

The person who texts you with the word “Hi” followed by nothing is the most obnoxious person in the universe (besides guitar players, which I try to cover in every other blog post.  Try to keep up).

What this person has done with their lone “Hi” is start a conversation with you by immediately forcing you into an awkward silence, thereby drafting you to be the person who remedies it.  They’re not being folksy with their “Hi”, they have given you a J-O-B.

My whole life, I’ve had this desperate need to fill the awkward silences in conversations to make sure everyone is having a good time.  You might better recognize it as, “Good lord, you never shut up, do you?” but your better class of swap-shop psychologists would call it “codependency”.  I always try to have at least three universally interesting topics on-hand just in case an awkward silence happens.  I literally cannot take it when people seem uncomfortable.  It makes my palms sweat and my heart race.

The person who just sends “Hi” is the same person who when you respond with:

“Hey, what’s up?”

Will respond with “Nothing!” and then continue to sit there in silence.

GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH.  Why did you text me if you have jack jimmy squat to say???

Did you just want me to entertain you?  Because if that’s the case, feel free to say that right up front.  “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?”

Hey, schedule-permitting, I would be fine to tell you a knock knock joke.

Schedule-permitting.

Also, my schedule does not permit that ever, so if you want to be a wisenheimer and text me and say, “I’m bored and I can’t find any way to amuse myself, can you tell me a knock knock joke?” your text will be deleted and you will be immediately put on “The List”.

Is “The List” a good list or a bad list?

You tell me.  Do you think something that I refer to as “The List” is a good thing?  Take a moment.  Really think that over while you look at my prom picture:

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It was a magical  night.

I’m not filling awkward silences anymore.  If you text me a “Hi” followed by jack jimmy squat, guess what you’re getting back?  Jack.  Jimmy.  Squat.

I will wait you out, joke-a-cola.  I will let that “Hi” lie there like a corpse if I have to.  I refuse to participate in your senseless games.  I won’t do it.  The ball-rolling is now your job.

Unless a full ten seconds go by, and then my palms will start sweating and I’ll tell you about that time my best friend Anne and I went on a date with five Moroccan contortionists and fire-eaters at Epcot when we were 19 and when I called my mother beforehand to brag about it, she yelled, “DON’T YOU MARRY ANY OF THEM! THOSE MOROCCANS TREAT THEIR WIVES LIKE PROPERTY!” because that shit is universally entertaining.

So!  To summarize:

  1.  Don’t quote the movie if you don’t actually know the quote.
  2.  Comedy is harder than drama.
  3.  There should ideally be a give-and-take in successful human communications.
  4.  Don’t tell my mother that you’re going on a date with Moroccan fire-eaters and contortionists.
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That Mighty Mighty Bosstones t-shirt I’m wearing never failed to attract inordinately flexible Northwest Africans.