Archive for the ‘the younger years’ Category

festivus-seinfeldBack in high school, seven of us started a tradition.  Every Dec. 23, regardless of whatever family emergencies or weather advisories might be in place, we celebrated Festivus, the fake Seinfeld holiday.  This consisted of all of us squeezing in one of our barely working cars, driving to the train station, and spending the day walking around Chicago, shopping, dethawing in Borders, and taking pictures with giant indian sculptures.   No matter how warm you dressed in preparation for this day, sorry, you were still going to freeze your ass off.   I don’t know how many of you have been to the Midwest – but don’t plan on having an ass by the time you leave, cus you won’t.

As usual, it was me and the guys.  That has kind of been the story of my life.   They’re so much less bitchy and jealous.   Every year, as we got off the train and the blustery snow started whipping across my face, I said, ” this is the last time I’m fricken doing this.”   But it never was.  And of course, we always had to take the latest available train home which was around midnight.  Always.   On the 5 year anniversary, we all sprayed our hair silver and carried around an aluminum pole.   This went on for several years until parts of the crew started getting married or having illegitimate children – both of which resulted in them dropping off the face of the earth.


But ah, good memories.

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It’s a day for introspection, my friends…

Before, after, and during my college years, I was told by many a new agey individual and philosophy teacher that I needed to “discover who I was” or “find myself” or “get in tune with my inner person” or whatever.  The only thing about myself that I ever knew for sure was that I liked to write, I liked to make people laugh, and I didn’t want to rush off into marriage and five kids like the rest of my friends had.  I didn’t believe in all that inner self crap.  So although I was pretty confident that I knew who I was [after living with myself all those years] it sounded kind of entertaining… maybe, I’d find that I was cooler than I’d originally thought? 

So as I set out on my self-discovering journey, I realized that trying to find myself was really just a whole lot of “hanging out” and “gaining weight” and “drinking coffee while having delirious late night conversations” with random other people who also couldn’t find themselves.  This all resulted in alot of deleriousness, altering of career paths, meaningless friendships, and relationship choices that would damage me for the better part of my life, which I would inevitably spend undoing all the things I’d done while finding myself. 

 Every person who is trying to find themself thinks that they must live somewhere other than where they are currently living.  You cannot possibly find yourself in your hometown, you have to go far, far away.  I was no exception to this rule.  Even though I’d never been on a plane and I couldn’t even drive to my next door neighbor’s house without getting lost, somehow, some way, one of my meaningless friends talked me into getting out of one of my damaging relationships by moving to Europe… this took place over a late night cup of coffee, of course.

[more on the ridiculous European excursions later…]

After going away, traveling the world, partially losing my mind, realizing that Italy was all I had hoped it would be, turning down a proposal on the Eiffel Tower, and then coming back with a newfound sense of whatever, I had quite a bit going for myself.  I had “discovered” a strapping young British lad who followed me back to states and was quite taken aback by my charming American accent [and the cheap cost of Midwestern living].  I quit college and started my own business.  Little did I know that strapping British lads are also quite good at disgusing the fact that they are millionaires, heroin addicts, and manic depressives. oh well.  I gave it the old college try.  Then after years of cleaning up after the British invasion, which consisted of almost being sued, being robbed and stalked by drug dealers, and hiding it all from my family- I decided to quit my business, go to massage therapy school, and write.  Massage Therapy is a stress-free occupation right?  Well, then I quit massage therapy school, and started another business which consisted of…writing.

So here I am, and after all these years of self-discovery I’ve come to realize the same thing I always knew.   I’m a complicated, indecisive, and independent girl who likes to write, and all of my experiences have led me back right to where I started…  Well.  That sure was a waste of time.  But it was fun.  Sorta.

By all means, everyone, please go find yourselves.

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Throughout the ages,  many philosophers have attempted to answer the question, “Why would I rather be tied up in a glass box and left for dead in the Sahari desert than go to the Dentist?”

For me, it started when I was six.  It’s bad enough that I inherited my mother’s unbelievably awful teeth, and I always had an average of three cavities EVERY visit and they could never get the novocaine right.  As horrible as that was, it is not what drove me to camp out by the mailbox so I could tear up the “time for a checkup” postcards the minute they arrived and bury them in the garbage before my mom would notice. 

Flouride.  Do any of you recall having trays oozing with grapebubblegum” or “mint flavored flouride shoved into your mouth to protect your teeth from cavities?  Then once the trays were in place you had to sit there struggling not to gag as the slimey goo (which resembled windex more than it did any of the above mentioned flavors) started trailing down your throat,  all the while you’re gasping for air because that ridiculous vaccuum was sucking it from your airway.  I remember each visit (which ended up being once every two years, when the postcard sabotoge went according to planlying there, staring up at the ridiculous poster of toothbrushes hidden in the forest,  shuttering in fear, and wondering if maybe – just maybe – they would forget the flouride this time.  But they never did.  It’s as if they possessed some other -earthly -futuristic -robot memory. and i didn’t stand a chance.  Eventually, I started pleading with them.  “come ooooon, my teeth are going to have cavities no matter what, don’t you see?  Look at my mom.  That’s just my lot in life.  I’ve made my peace with it.  it’s time you got on board.”   But all my attempts proved futile.

Flossing.  I have done this section in red.  Red, for the color of the blood that my gums have shed at the hands of various hygenists throughout my childhood.   As i grew into my adult teeth, I was relieved to find that flouride would no longer be a part of my torture.  FREEDOM AT LAST!  That was until I discovered a whole new world of anguish. Flossing.  Throughout the duration of high school, every conversation with my hygenist would follow this format:

her: “hmm..  how often do you floss?”

me: “bout once every couple days.”  [lies. lies.  all lies. straight from the pit of hell!]

her: “you really need to do it at least once a day.  not flossing can lead to Gingevitis and gum disease.  do you know how to properly floss?”

[then she does the whole demonstration with the index finger blah blah]

me: “yea.  yea I know.  I just forget sometimes.”

her: “hmm.. I’m a little concerned.  do your gums normally bleed when you floss?”

me: “no, no actually they don’t.  only those times when I tug on them with the power of Hercules and probe them with sharp metal objects.”

Root Canals. Finally, when I was “of age” and “of my own insurance” I could choose my own dentist.  So i set out with my suitcase in hand and all the optimism in the world.  I didn’t stop searching until I found a guy who specialized in gentle, no drill dentistry.   plus, he was chinese.  I don’t know what it is about chinese people, but I automatically assume they are smart.  This guy won’t be shoving tubes down my throat and destroying my gums for no good reason, he’s above that.  He also informed me that ALL my fillings were leaking and  and that the reason I couldn’t chew on the left side of my mouth for the past two years was because my root was dead and I needed a root canal.  Smart dentist? maybeMore costly than adopting my own chinese baby and putting him through dental school?  definately.

After shuffling around to the better half of all the dentists in the white pages, my dad recommended his childhood dentist,  Castrogiovanni.   On my first visit, I was pleased to discover that Mr. C’s hygenist was as gentle as a feather blowing in the summer breeze.  I smiled on the inside..  Could it be?  Then the dentist comes in and as he’s examining my mouth I realize he’s not wearing a mask, his face is really close to my mouth, and he is really old.   afterall, he was my dad’s dentist.  Thats ok, that means he has lots of experience.  Experience? maybeHalitosis? definately.

The search continues…




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