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…

Hakuna-Dentata

Due to all the inbreeding, malnutrition, curses put on me by junior varsity football players and whatnot, I have what they call in the orthodonture world a “jacked-up grill”.

Tip for the people of the British Isles, roundabout 250 years ago when my ancestors were still farting around there:  Find people to bang who aren’t your siblings.

Nobody’s saying hands-off the second cousins, but maybe lay off the first cousins for a few generations, at least until the teeth start looking human.  Oh, and a couple hundred years later when someone wants to put fluoride in the drinking water?  LET THEM DO IT.

The top teeth are mostly okay, but the bottom look sort of like those sticks they put up around the wall in Game of Thrones to keep the White Walkers out.  While this setup may be useful for impaling the rotting, re-animated corpses that are coming to destroy your world, it doesn’t do much for the ol’ self-esteem when someone goes to take your picture and says, “Smile!” and then you smile with your mouth closed, and then they say, “No, really smile!” and then you smile with teeth and they scream, drop the camera, run away, and jump into a pool of lava.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten a lot of free cameras that way. The jacked-up grill is not without its merits.

Besides all the free cameras, the jacked-up grill is useful for any number of things, ranging from receiving genuine sympathy while panhandling outside of ZZ Top concerts all the way to winning the spokesmodel category every year at the plutonium-enrichment factory’s “Employee Star Search”.

Heck, people give me a hell of a lot more credit than I deserve for my jug band, especially considering I’ve never been in one.  Any time I jump a freight train to the hills with my carny friends and pick up a banjo made of a bedpan tied to a broomstick, at least half of the contestants drop out of the Hobo Skills Challenge on the spot.

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Not everyone has that kind of privilege, I know.  I’m sure that both the completely toothless AND Sloth from The Goonies see my teeth as a thing to aspire to.  I’m not ungrateful.

So!  It is with great longwindedness that I tell you I’m finally getting them fixed, or as I refer to it when I’m feeling emo and perimenopausal, “Killing my entire identity.”

I’m getting Invisalign this week.  My orthodontist said that either traditional braces or Invisalign would give me the same results (at the same price and duration) given my particular situation, so my vanity went with the option that won’t make me look like a nerd.  My apologies if you have traditional braces, as I do not mean to offend any of you nerds.

I’ve researched this for a long time and have already signed the contract, so please refrain from nay-saying this decision, unless you fear you may die if you don’t say something.  Let’s keep the horror stories to a minimum for the sake of my insomnia.  It won’t do me any good to hear about that time Invisalign dumped you for your best friend and the two of them ran off and became a successful country music duo leaving you with nothing but an empty trailer and a half-empty bottle of Southern Comfort in which to drown your sorrows.  Unless you’ve already put it to music.

The good news is that I’ll be writing about my experience with Invisalign from time to time to let you know how it’s going – and you know I’ll be giving you the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Obviously this is not a paid endorsement situation, as who the hell would pay me to review anything, so I will absolutely tell you if it’s great, if it sucks, or if the trays migrate up into my brain and wipe out all of my tween memories of reading The Babysitters Club while listening to Roxette.

You can really tell who the weirdos are by whether they see the title of this post as being related to The Lion King due to the first word, or related to that other movie due to the second word.

You weirdo, weirdo, weirdos.