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.

My Sad and Weird and Angry Milkshake Brings All The Boys to The Yard

I was in ninth grade, sitting on a bench with a friend waiting for the first bell to ring.  The usual group of older kids walked past us from the art room over to the 600 Building, like they did every morning.  There were probably a dozen of them, all friends, boys and girls, with one couple who seemed to be attached to each other as if their limbs were going to fall off and die when they got separated from the host-body of their love.

I always took notice of the couple because she was adorable, like a smiling little elf, and her boyfriend wore one of those hats that guys wore in the early 90s, which probably resulted in a lower birth rate in the early 90s, because those hats were sexually repellent.  This one.

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About four months into the school year, Hat Boy walked by one day, poured across the girlfriend as always, and leaned over and handed me an envelope and walked away.  On the outside of the envelope was written, “To the girl with the beutiful eyes”.

You have no idea how many times I just had to type that to get it to stop auto-correcting the spelling of “beautiful”.

As a professional social leper up to that point in my life, in my stretch denim skirt and turquoise mock turtleneck over my much not-sought-after chest of an anemic 10-year old fetus, I assumed he handed this envelope to me as a joke of some kind, and that if I opened it, a can of snakes would shoot into my eyeballs.

Or maybe it was a case of mistaken identity?  Either way, he was just an intermediary passing this card off on behalf of one of his dozen friends.

I opened the envelope and there was a Christmas card inside, with a cute cartoon chipmunk wearing a Santa hat on the front.  Inside the card it said:

You’re too pretty to be so sad.  I’ve never seen you smile, but I hope you will.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

From someone crazy.

Someone you don’t even know.

Okay, no case of mistaken identity there.  In walking past me every day for four months, nobody in that group had ever seen me smile?  That sounded about right.  I was conceived, gestated, born, and raised with Resting Bitch Face.  These are un-retouched progression photos of me from birth to today:

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I know, it seems impossible that a person could look so permanently sad and weird and angry and not be in prison for life or at the bottom of the East River after plunging off the Brooklyn Bridge.  I know this about myself.  Sad and weird and angry is my charm.  If I were a man, you’d call it “brooding”, thereby making male-me irresistible to women with perilously low self-esteem.

And I should know.  I spent most of my dating-years being that woman.

“This guy seems sad and weird and angry!  Let’s date him and then be surprised at how sad and weird and angry he continues to be!”

I spent the rest of the school year trying to figure out which one of those guys had written this card.  It drove me crazy.  At that point in my life, most guys’ opinions of me were, “I guess she’s kinda funny?” and the notion of any of them desiring romance with me was as laughable as I thought my jokes were.  And by “most guys” I mean literally one guy named Mike.

Nothing came of it.  Their big group of friends still walked by every morning, and I had no idea who was behind this.

Four years later, I was seated at a table at Denny’s around 3am with my degenerate friends, and guess who our server was?  Hat Boy!  He took our order as if we had never seen each other before, brought us our food, and eventually the check.

As we went to leave, I found my nerve and said, “You handed me a card from a secret admirer like four years ago.  Who was it from?”

He said, “It was from me.  Why would I give you a card from someone else?”

I said, “Well, you were with your girlfriend when you handed it to me…”

He said, “And?”

Dewds.

Disney Movies: Experts at Scarring Children for Life

Someone asked me if I was excited about the new Dumbo movie.  I had to restrain myself from responding with one or more of the following:

“I would rather replace every strip of bacon I eat with a similarly sized strip of duct tape that was used to pick hairs up from a crime scene that occurred on a bus station bathroom floor.”

“I would rather be locked in a room with Adam Levine (who I prefer to refer to as “Gonorrhea Jesse Pinkman”) and forced to listen to him wax philosophical about his ab routine for three days straight.”

“I would rather go back in time and replace every Love Boat cast member with a Kardashian/Jenner.  Kylie is the new Gopher!”

But, oh no!  You can’t be honest in those situations!  People get all, “Geez!  Sorry I asked!”

You know, people claim to want honesty above all else, but I can tell you from experience, the last thing most people want from you is honesty.  What people really want is for you to agree with them.

And you know what I don’t agree with?

Subjecting myself to Dumbo for a second time in my life.

Yeah, I saw it when I was five years old, and that was frankly more than enough to emotionally scar me for life.  The only way you could make me watch the re-make is if you were to put me in a straitjacket and hold my eyes open a la A Clockwork Orange.  Even then, I would just try to use The Force to choke myself unconscious.

Don’t act like I’m the only adult who still tries to use The Force.  I attempt it at least a few times a week when presented with “unpleasant situations” in public.  It hasn’t worked yet, but I swear last week a guy in front of me in the Walgreens line started to loosen his top collar button to get some air when he asked for a raincheck on a sale item during rush hour.  Had he turned around at that moment, he would have seen me doing this:

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He continued breathing air despite my righteous efforts of justice, happy as a raincheck-clam to torture all of the people he was holding up in line.  I could deal with it if it were some poor little old lady in a muu-muu and knee-highs, but this guy walked outside in his fancy golf outfit and suede driving moccasins and climbed into his S-Class Mercedes, raincheck in-hand for two canisters of almonds.

I pictured him sitting at a table later that night at Long John Silver’s, complaining that the seafood “just simply wasn’t up to snuff”.  THEN GO TO A REAL SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, JOHN “BUDDY” REGINALD RUTHERFORD-WINCHESTER III.  You clearly have the money and are just playing mind games with the rest of us!  You can pay full price for almonds, you rich prick!

In case you’re wondering, The Force also doesn’t work on making the tires of an S-Class Mercedes explode and rain down from the sky in hot tar ashes onto the tops of someone’s suede driving moccasins.  I place equal blame for that one on: (a) my rejection letter from Jedi school, and (b) quality German engineering.

Back to the Dumbo thing.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then first of all, sorry, and second, you know I was an anxious worry-wort of a child.  A nervous wreck.  A real Sensitive Sally.  I didn’t really require supplemental things to worry about.

So imagine my surprise, sitting in front of a television screen, kindergarten-dangly-legs-happy to see “the cute elephant movie”, when Dumbo appears on the screen, gets mercilessly tormented by all the other circus animals, his mother defends him, and then she gets taken away from him and locked up in a cage, leaving Dumbo to fend for himself in a harsh, cruel world.

Hey you know what I shouldn’t have had to worry about when I was a kid?  My mother being taken away from me and locked up, leaving me alone to traverse a cruel world.  I don’t care if it works out in the end – little kids shouldn’t have to worry about those things.  Yes, sometimes it happens, mothers get locked up, kids get taken away, but worrying about it in advance will do absolutely nothing beneficial for you as a kid.

Same with Bambi.  Kids shouldn’t have to worry about their mothers getting shot by hunters.  How about we just let them cross that bridge when it happens and address it at that time, because odds are pretty damn good that it’s not going to happen in the first place?  In the meantime you’re just terrifying children for no good reason.

If you want to teach kids about things like life and death, forego the Disney films and get them a hamster, and then never, ever, ever, ever, ever let them actually hold the hamster, because having to watch a child hold a hamster is the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever experienced.

You know what?  No hamsters.  Get them a fish with a locking lid on the tank, put barbed wire around the outside of the tank, and keep the tank in a locked room that the kid can never get into.

Children around small pets is just too much for me.  I can’t take it.

“Look how cute Bryson/Greyson/Flotsam is holding the baby chick!”

GET THAT CHICK AWAY FROM THAT KID RIGHT THIS SECOND. I KNOW HE’S SQUEEZING IT.

So, no.  I’m not seeing the new Dumbo movie.