The 40-Something Ridiculous Crying Thing

It took me by surprise when I went to have a tire patched at Pep Boys last year and drove home from the experience in full, wailing, sobbing, freak-out mode.  Because as much as I have banned myself from ever crying with eye makeup on, it turns out my desire for mascara-free cheeks is no match for 40-something hormones.

I had a nail in my tire, and it was deflating quickly, so I needed to stop by Pep Boys.  When I got to the service desk, they told me it would be about an hour.  An hour later, they told me another hour.  An hour later, they told me another hour.

Meanwhile, everyone in the waiting room around me was watching videos on their phones of TruTV or something similar, where the shows consisted of people screaming and being chased by the police, and for some reason, all of them had the volume cranked to 10, on phones that were seemingly made entirely of broken speakers.  It sounded like a room full of robot parts being dragged across a floor made of chalkboard.  You know, in a bad way.

(Oh, hey, side note:  When watching a video on your phone in a public place, turn the volume down to a respectable level, you goddamned animals.  Literally NOBODY wants to hear it.  Also, don’t say, “Oh man, you gotta see this!” and then make someone watch a five minute long video on your phone when you’re just out to dinner.  NOBODY wants to have an unscheduled five minute long video thrust upon them when they’re sitting at a restaurant.)

I’m hypoglycemic and my blood sugar was starting to get really low, so I reached for my emergency snack in my purse only to find it wasn’t there, so I had to make do with eating sugar packets from the free coffee station in the waiting room.  As I tossed back the sugar packets like someone throwing handfuls of dead mullet at a sea lion’s gaping maw, I couldn’t help but feel it was a classy move by a classy lady.  /brag

When the service guy emerged from the bay three hours later, he handed me my keys and sent me on my way.  I pulled out onto the road and immediately made a wrong turn, which meant I would then have to make a U-turn.

That was it.

I immediately burst into tears and started sobbing like I was having a nervous breakdown.  This went on for the entire thirty minute drive home. I cried so hard that I had burst capillaries around my eyes the next day.  I cried so hard my neck muscles were sore.  Because making that wrong turn was just IT.  Five minutes after I got home, I was fine.

A few months ago, I got into my car after work and burst into tears for literally no reason.  Then I cried even harder because I couldn’t figure out why I was crying and sobbed and shouted at myself, “I don’t know what’s wrooooonng!!!!!”  Five minutes after I got home, I was fine.

More recently, my boss emailed me a couple follow up questions on a long project I had just turned in.  He asked nicely, as always, because my boss is actually a really fantastic boss.  So anyway, he asked nicely, and then the tears started welling up in my eyes, and I had to leave the office to go collect myself in the ladies room before I completely fell apart.  Because he asked me a couple follow up questions.  Nicely.  Five minutes later?  Fine.

One day I was watching a duck waddle across a street, and I burst into tears.  Totally fine five minutes later.

I have melted down in the past year because the dishwasher had clean dishes in it, because that meant I had to put them away, and I was not emotionally prepared to put the dishes away right at that moment.  Sure, theoretically I could just put them away later, but in the meantime I would sit on the couch and it would just gnaw and gnaw at me that I was lying around doing nothing when there was work to be done.  Basically, I cried over clean dishes because I have a really good work ethic.

To summarize, these are the situations that will make me cry in my 40s, along with a visual aid of Dawson from Dawson’s Creek to demonstrate the crying scale:

(1) Making a wrong turn:

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(2) No reason at all:

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(3) Being nicely asked a couple follow up questions:

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(4) Ducks:

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(5) My own work ethic:

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The only thing they have in common is that five minutes later, I’ll be fine.

40-something hormones?  You figure that shit out.  I have to go make sure that in the past five minutes I haven’t started growing a mustache and a dumpster ass like Mike Ditka.

The Dimpling of My Discontent

I live in Florida.  I own no shorts.

Why don’t I own shorts?  That’s a really valid question, what with the “Florida” thing and all.  I would probably be much more comfortable in the summer when it’s around 5,000 degrees outside with 5,000% humidity if I could just throw on a good ol’ pair of shorts.

I don’t own shorts because my thighs look like a Christmas advent calendar where behind every dimple lies a trinket of horror.  THERE.  Are you satisfied?

I, dear friends, am a suffereur of cellulite.  It sounds fancier if you misspell “sufferer”, doesn’t it?  Like auteur, or provocateur, or whoeur.

I really shouldn’t beat myself up over it, I know.  I should beat up all those cruel, evil people who have smooth thighs, especially the ones who are like, “Oh, you should try working out!”

Screw you, Patsy.  I work out two times a day like a freaking racehorse and that stuff is still very much present and getting worse by the year.  I’m sure at this rate in another ten years I’ll have to get rid of even my ankle-cropped pants and just wear a long tube of fabric that ties off under my feet and I’ll have to crawl across the ground like an inchworm to get around.

“You should cut out dairy!”  Yep.  Tried it.  No dice.  Still dimpletown, but then the matter was further complicated by not having access to those little Babybel cheeses that I crave night and day.  I’ve gotta tell you, dimply and angry are two bad looks that look bad together.  You can check the research on that.  It tracks.  Sometimes cheese is the only thing that gets people through the night, you heartless bastards.  Don’t take it away from innocent people who are just trying to live their lives when your science is junk at best.

Oh, oh!  And you people with your “Well, I guess I must just have good genes!” can go cram it, too.  Are you saying that I have bad genes?

Because I do.  Nice catch, there!

If you put my DNA under a microscope it looks like a couple of rabid raccoons went crazy with a trash can full of expired silly string and Mountain Dew at a Pink Floyd laser light show.  I’m surprised my internal organs are even on the inside at all and I don’t just have to wear them around my neck like a charm necklace.  I truly, deeply, envy the posture and physical grace of the average gutter possum.

My bad romance with this dreaded dimply condition started when I was 11 years old, when I weighed less than 100 pounds, and was very physically active.  One day I looked at the side of my right thigh and went, “What the hell is THAT?”  It happened at a water park, too, with witnesses.  I wanted to deal with this humiliating matter as reasonably as possible, so I went back to the water park later that night and burned it to the ground.  I put up a tombstone where it once stood that read “RIP Maggie’s Non-Dimpled Thighs 1976 – 1987”.

I hate to be Negative Nancy here, except that I don’t hate it because I excel at being Negative Nancy, but I’m here to tell you that there’s no hope.  If there’s a cream, gel, patch, lotion, exercise, diet, witch doctor, magic spell, or animal sacrifice that’s been purported to reduce cellulite, I’ve tried it.  I’ve tried it and it failed.  I should have just taken all the money I doled out for these remedies and spent it on something that actually makes me happy, like another vintage Donny Osmond lunch box or my drinking habit.

So far the best solution I’ve found when faced with bare-thighness in daylight with witnesses is to create a diversion on the other side of the room, back slowly out the door, and run for my life.  This is why I carry a sack of pre-filled water balloons and an airhorn with me at all times.

I tried throwing a handful of sand into the other person’s eyes one time like a cellulite ninja, but that got “hostile” really fast.  People are all, “Oh my god you threw sand in my eyes!  Oh mother of all things holy!!!  I’m blind!  I’m bllliiiiiiiind!!!!!” and you’re like, “Did you see anything before the blinding?!!  This lighting is really unflattering in here you know!”

I realize that literally 90% of all women have cellulite, and that it’s perfectly normal and something that nobody should be ashamed of, but how is it that all of the women who don’t have it are the ones who end up on television, in movies and magazines?  If you follow the stats, that means every single woman who doesn’t have cellulite ends up being famous.  That’s science!  Or photoshopping.  Either one.  My math may be slightly off there, but SO WHAT?

Do these women have a secret club??  Is there a special knock that leads to a secret room filled with women have the thighs of young amphibians?

Because we need to find that room, and lock those bitches in.

In Defense of Hair Bands

This, dear friends, is the exact moment that a frontman in a hair band locked eyes with me for the very first time.  (Please note the super boss Metal Edge magazine t-shirt.)

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This particular frontman is CJ Snare from Firehouse.  A great triumph of mine in recent years was finding a karaoke list that included Firehouse “Don’t Treat Me Bad”, and I sang the shit out of that song.

I’ve drifted apart from many things of my youth – things that I thought I’d love forever.  Winn-Dixie Superbrand individually wrapped cheese slices, white Fayva high-top sneakers, respect for Corey Feldman as a dancer, but the one thing I’ve never parted ways with is hair bands.

If you’re wearing red and black tiger-striped spandex leggings and suspenders with no shirt and preening around a stage singing songs about (a) strip clubs, (b) the Sunset Strip, or (c) strip clubs located on the Sunset Strip, then hell yes.  Count me in.

If your band name is filled with deliberate misspellings and needless accent marks, names of cities in east Asia even though you’re from Scandanavia, or is simply the last name of the person who has the coolest last name in the band – I’m all about it.

I was thinking about it last month when Anne and I went to see Poison for the tenth time, or as most of my “cool” musician friends refer to them, “Do you seriously like those bands?  I have lost all respect for you.  Don’t ever talk to me again.  Ever.”

Fact:  The only reason I ever took my Poison door poster down was to put up a Skid Row one, that I promptly covered with red lipstick kisses.  The Skid Row door poster was surrounded by posters of Kip Winger.  I bear no shame, and I shame no bears.  Related, Kip Winger is an unapologetically hairy man.

My cool friends will often accuse me of just trying to be “ironic” by liking these bands, even after I assure them that I’m not, and pull out my collection of Winger t-shirts, much to their horror, as proof.  My love for all things hair band runs as deep as the swimming pool in the L.A. Guns video for “The Ballad of Jayne”.

It blasts forth from my heart like a fire hydrant in the Slaughter “Up All Night” video.

It is as pure and platinum as Matthew and Gunnar Nelson’s long, blonde locks.

That’s right.  I’m at Nelson level hair band fandom.

Nelson.

I feel like you really need to know the depths to which my feelings lie, or else this entire conversation will be for naught.  I don’t want you walking away from this thinking I’m talking about rock bands like Van Halen, a band that managed to be the perfect hybrid of wicked fun and incomparable talent.  I don’t want you to think, “Hey, that Maggie sure does like AC/DC!  What a cool lady!” and then call it a day.

Motley Crue is, in fact, the most cerebral band I like from the 80s.

I want you to know what you’re getting into here.  If you put on an Enuff Z’Nuff video, my eyes will glaze over and I will sing along.

Hair bands came along at a time in my life when things really couldn’t have been worse.  Poison, in particular, came around when I was in middle school, the literal worst.  The god awful, miserable, worst of the worst.  The onset of the hideousness that was puberty, living in a house with caved-in bathroom walls and falling-down ceilings, carpets blackened with ground-in cigarette ashes, and piles of old furniture rotting in the yard.  Where when you flipped on the kitchen light, you could be assured that at least 200 cockroaches would scatter for cover, and at least one of them would stand there, defiantly, like “Fuck you, kid.  This is my house,” and you’d know that, deep down, they were right.  Getting shipped off to live with out-of-state relatives when the shit really hit the fan at home.  Getting groped in school nearly every day when the going attitude was, “Ignore it.  Maybe all these guys with their hands all over your body just like you!”

Having a goddamned perm at the exact same time as 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner became popular.

Mr. Belvedere being cancelled.

Middle school in the mid-to-late 80’s:  It was a real crap festival.

No matter how shitty things got, when I turned on the television, I could be assured that Bret Michaels would be there wearing leather chaps, fingerless gloves and a bandanna, literally humping his way up a microphone stand while singing about bops that were unskinny and dancing with laser beams in the shape of ladies.  You could always count on fun times with those bands.  And as a matter of fact, as a singer my entire vocal affectation can be directly attributed to the thousands of hours I spent singing Poison songs as a tween/teen.  I wanted to be Bret Michaels.

Fun was always part of the package with hair bands.  They were like a candy necklace around the bag of garbage that was my life.

I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy for my troubles.  I’m telling you this to get your sympathy for hair bands.

Hair bands provided me with an escape from the misery of my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I know it because I can see it on the faces of the thousands of people who still show up for the reunion tours, who still scream like it’s Beatlemania when Kip Winger walks out onto a stage in his leather pants, and to women like me who feel proud to see Lita Ford still tearing that shit UP.

It’s the pageantry.  The wink-winkiness of it all.  The pointy guitars and choreographed moves while ripping out scales at nearly supersonic speeds.  The men in frosted pink lipstick and thigh-high red boots and the women in flamey leather jumpsuits pouting for the photographer in Circus magazine.  The frontman wearing a pair of cow-print chaps and doing high-kicks onstage.  My god, how could you not love it?  How could you not love every single second of it?

I mean, it’s just rock ‘n roll. Why you “cool people” gotta be so uptight about it?

And I’ll tell you this much, smartypants, the fact that I love hair bands doesn’t detract from my love for “ooh serious bands” like Wilco and Dinosaur Jr even one little bit.  Just because you love sumo wrestling doesn’t mean you can’t also love greco-roman wrestling, or professional wrestling, or mud wrestling.  The love for one thing doesn’t detract from the love for all the other things.

That being said, if Jeff Tweedy from Wilco and CC DeVille from Poison were both tied to train tracks and I could only save one of them…

I’m just saying the guy doing the high-kicks in the leather pants is probably not going to be the one who ends up becoming train meat.