Tag Archives: 1970’s

Making People Cringe

It never fails.  Inevitably, I end up in a group setting where people are exchanging stories about their childhood, stories of mom’s cookies, Santa Claus, and sunny bike rides through picket-fenced neighborhoods.  It’s usually a group of nice, normal people.

One woman, smiling as if chocolate has no calories, says something like, “At Christmas, my Uncle Jack would dress like Santa and fill our stockings.” Everyone laughs that warm, sort of fake chuckle of agreement.

Someone adds, “My grandmother made the best gingerbread men.” The people around her nod in agreement because they understand what grandma-made gingerbread men taste like.

People tend to become uncomfortable when it is my turn to share because I offer things like, “I remember one Christmas when my mother knocked over our plastic Christmas tree and screamed, ‘MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS!’ There were glass fragments and tinsel everywhere.”  Everyone gives me the sideways dog look of confusion.  So, I just take a sip of wine and give a little smile.

At this point, I should just be quiet.  But no.  I go on.  “Yeah, and then she stole her boyfriend’s credit card because she found out he was married.  We Christmas shopped the heck out of that Eckerd Drug Store.” I take a gulp or three of my wine and look down.

Usually, some smart person changes the subject.  Someone in the group might mention a recent trip to Disney World. Someone else chimes in with, “We took the twins there over the summer.  The humidity about choked us, but the girls really loved meeting all of the princesses.”  Some people nod and smile.

Hearing the words “Disney” and “Princesses” brings up another childhood memory.  EVERYONE takes a drink as soon as they see my lips move. “I shit my pants on Main Street when I was 4.” I stop, and take a big gulp of wine, noting that I am almost out. “Yeah. I was on antibiotics or something, and we all know what they do to your bowels.” I go on.  “My mom cleaned me up in the bathroom.  She was able to get most of it off of me.  Then, she brought me back outside and Snow White was there.  Snow White gave me a hug even though I probably smelled shitty. Those Disney princesses are great.”

I can almost hear people thinking, “Oh dear lord, she is talking about pooping herself in Mickey land. Can she just shut up?”  People begin looking away, hoping if they avoid eye contact I will stop sharing my 1970’s afterschool special memories. Others leave.  This is my gift – making people cringe.  It will go on my tombstone along with “She did laundry.”




Raw Hot Dogs and Dough

In the Duplex on Taylor
In the Duplex on Taylor

Back in the late 70’s, I was a latch key kid who had a list of chores and a healthy fear of her fierce single mom.  I was given strict orders to do my chores and homework (they didn’t kill elementary kids with homework in the 70’s), and stay in the apartment and not answer the door, which was easy for a young hermit.  At the time, we lived in a duplex on Taylor Street in Hollywood, FL.  Since I was not supposed to go outside or have friends over, I did a half-assed job on my chores and then turned on the TV.   This was before cable. So, I had to find a station with cartoons, and then move the antenna around on the TV until the static cleared enough for me to see Hercules or Deputy Dog.  Young people: antennas were skinny metal rods that used to be on top of TV’s – the fat, heavy TV’s – never mind.

At some point, usually during a Publix commercial, I made a snack.  I didn’t reach for fruit, even though we usually had apples and bananas on hand – not bad for a single parent household, eh statistic people?   Nope.  I would eat things that are gross to me now.  Once, I grabbed a cold hot dog out of the fridge and sat on the floor in front of the TV, just munching away.  Most of the time, I ate a serving bowl full of some sort of Captain Crunch type cereal.  A bowl is a serving, right?


Once I got into middle school, AKA the most miserable time in my life, my snacking got weirder.  One afternoon, after learning about protein, or “muscle meat” as my sixth-grade health teacher called it, I grabbed a leftover cooked chicken breast and ate it cold, with my hands, over the sink.  It was like I was in a zombie trance.  Must eat muscle meat.  That same year, I tried to make cornmeal mush afterschool.  No, I’m not sure why. Since we didn’t have Google or live in the Deep South, I just dumped corn meal, flour, salt, and milk in a frying pan with melted butter.  Boy, was that a nasty snack.  I ate it right over the frying pan; it was salty and carby.  I started eating cookie dough about that time, too, sometimes homemade, but mostly the Pillsbury kind in the roll.  I still do this and it scares my husband.  He’s worried about raw eggs, or something.  Carbs are like drugs to me.

My downfall is pasta.  It’s a gateway drug for me, or a trigger food, or whatever the cool kids call it.  It makes me eat like a killer whale. Once I start eating pasta, especially with pesto, it’s like I can’t even see.  I think this is called disassociating, but I didn’t end up majoring in psychology.  Carb-induced disassociating is probably the cause of many restaurant and grocery store thefts.  People eventually run out of pasta, so they must go out and steal more.  It’s only logical.


I wish I could say that all of this is behind me, but it’s not, not totally. I have found that if I eat mostly low carb things, I do better.  Every so often, I have a weird craving.  Today, it was salt.  It started out innocently enough; I was having an apple with peanut butter, and I sprinkled a little salt on the apple.  Then, when the apple was gone, I wanted more salt.  So, I just ate like a quarter of a teaspoon of pure table salt.  I’m glad there are no cameras in my house to witness things like this.  Actually, I could probably make a lot of money if I had my own reality show.  TLC, are you reading?

Note: I was inspired to write about my own dance with food by this great article by an old school friend.  

Lucky for Amy,  she never witnessed my strange eating.

Silent Battles with Cat Hater Woman

I went to a party last Saturday night.  No, this is not the beginning of a Lita Ford song.  I actually went to a party on Saturday night.  It was a lovely birthday party for a woman who is as nice as she is beautiful and smart.  You know; one of those people you can’t even hate for being gorgeous.  Anyway, the food was great, the drinks were interesting, and the people were nice.  Well, MOST of the people were nice.  Yes, I’m talking about you cat hater woman.

I really liked cat hater woman at first, before I knew of her feline issues, even though she “demanded” a show when she found out I used to do stand-up.  I hate when people do that.  I QUIT doing comedy seven years ago.  Demand all you want.  It ain’t happening.  Once, she accepted that, she was great to talk to.  She has two teenagers, and I have one.  So, we had that in common.  I didn’t quite catch her name because it was noisy and I have the hearing of an eighty year-old.  I thought it was a feminine version of a popular male name, but my husband informed me that it’s actually the name of a liquor that rhymes with that.  Either way, it’s a stripper name, but I wasn’t thinking that yet.  I still liked her.

I didn’t even say anything when she stood there, in a somewhat thin, linen, halter jump suit (think Miami disco club circa 1977) and complained of being cold.  I was thinking, “Do you not have the Weather Channel, or local channels, or a door, or windows that you could consult before getting dressed?”  But, believe it or not, I held back.  Kept my mouth zipped.  We were having a great talk about kids and their horrible boyfriends and girlfriends.  We were mom bonding.

I don’t know how the subject of cats came up.   We were probably talking about my new Black Lab/Great Dane 50-pound puppy when I professed my love for cats.  Knowing my irritation with the moose dog, this is probably how it happened.  She replied with, “I hate cats.”

This always throws me when people say this, but I’m used to it.  Most people I have met love dogs.  A lot folks have this false belief that cats are not friendly.  I WISH my three cats were a little less friendly. This belief is why so many cats are in shelters, and are euthanized.  Though I have heard many people talk about not liking cats, I had never really asked someone WHY the hatred.  So, I asked liquor name stripper girl, “Why?”

I was expecting a real answer about a horrific childhood experience about how she lost a beloved pet hamster to the hungry jaws of an alley cat.   I got, “I don’t know. I just really hate them.  I would run one over if I could.”

I had to hold my breath not to physically reach out and either grab her by the top of her halter jumpsuit or choke her, or both.  There were so many things I wanted to say to her, like:

  • Are you aware that the host and hostess of this party have two cats that they love dearly?
  • Did you know that if I ever became a millionaire one of the first things I would do is build a GIANT indoor cat sanctuary and save as many cats as I could for the rest of my life?
  • RUN ONE OVER???  What the hell is wrong with you?
  • How can you hate an entire species?  Are you one of those idiots who think all Muslims are going to blow up a building?
  • You have a stripper’s name.
  • Put on a sweater if you are cold.  Your shoulders aren’t all that.
  • RUN ONE OVER??? Do you know who you are talking to?

I didn’t say any of that.  I said nothing.  I channeled the Dalai Lama somehow.  It wasn’t my party and I wasn’t going to ruin it.  I think she picked up on the fact that we disagreed on creating feline road kill and she excused herself because her husband was flirting with some young “short skirts.”   I wonder why.