I’ve been having an incredibly hard time with this lately. I’ve been depressed many times before, but this isn’t depression. This is different. This feels like death, grief. After 25 years of holding on to this, an integral part of my existence, letting go, and having people walk by this without immediately glancing, or pointing, or laughing (at or with), kills a part of me. But beyond that, the mere fact that this is over, that I have published the words, leaves a void, a hole that I must fill, and I will. My words made my memories concrete. The pages are no longer in a white binder, or on a hard drive, real to only me. The proper tools reside within and my consciousness knows that this will get better with time. Depression is the opposite. That would be knowing that this would never get better, only worse. Depression would be experiencing this every minute with a ten ton truck on your back, a gaping wound in your chest, your head in clamps, and an ulcer in your heart, locked in a small dark closet—alone. This is not a pity party or a call for help. This is nothing new. This just is. This.
Everyday, my kids do something that makes me question their sanity and wonder if they’re not just weird, psychopathic, alien creatures sent to destroy the Earth one adult at a time. To comfort myself, I am listing some of the weird, goofball stunts, and hobbies I was into as a child. After all, I turned out semi-quasi-sorta-conditionally okay.
Eating entire heads of iceberg lettuce whenever I could get my hands on one.
Biting a chunk out of an onion like it was an apple.
Playing “soup” with pink-stained brush cleanser that was discovered in a mason jar in my backyard (probably gasoline or turpentine) and a straw.
Eating Chapstick (any flavor, but preferably cherry), notebook paper, facial tissue, chalk, crayons, toilet paper (clean), decorative candles, cough drops, cardboard, paste, glue sticks, liquid Elmer’s glue, construction paper, paper plates, waxed cups, dirt, Play-Doh, banana peels, orange rinds, and watermelon rinds.
Chewing on but not ingesting: wood of all kinds except particle board (my crib, the dining room table, random sticks on the ground, pinecones, toothpicks, and popsicle sticks), my father’s lounge chair, my hair, and glass Christmas ornaments.
Smearing Elmer’s glue on my skin so I could pretend my non-existent sunburn was peeling.
Faking breaking my right arm in the second grade by wrapping an ace bandage around it. That day, I pledged allegiance to the United States of America with my left hand.
Getting my hair caught in a remote control car by pretending it was an electric razor and buzzing too close to my hairline.
Cutting off all of my hair achieving a length of one inch.
Sleeping with a cut-out picture of Nick Rhodes.
Trying to break an arm or leg by repeatedly jumping out of our mimosa tree.
Sending my brother in the U.S. Air Force an April Fool’s letter stipulating that our old, beloved, pain-in-the-ass cat had died, days before it actually happened.
Practicing flying off the top bunk.
Making multiple red dots with mercurochrome on my tongue to prove my measles infection. Fun fact: mercurochrome contains mercury.
Testing Fisher Price’s child-proof, unbreakable tape player by catapulting it from the top of a tree. Results: totally not kid-proof.
Playing Amelia Earhart on Dawn Rosheka’s garage roof.
Playing Santa Claus by first filling a trash bag with toys and then wrapping it around my neck.
Using a cooler as a row boat in a drainage ditch.
Weaving a crochet hook in my grandmother’s rug until it became irretrievable.
Playing gas station with my father’s riding lawnmower, a garden hose, and water. I don’t remember the repercussions.
Tasting Dawn dish detergent.
Playing grocery store which required alternating from being the shopper and working as the cashier.
Playing bank. See above.
Peeing myself in the third grade because I was to terrified to ask to use the bathroom.
Collecting potato bugs off tomato plants and observing them procreate.
Collecting bottle caps, particularly from alcoholic drinks. I had 2/3 of a brown grocery bag full.
Carting home a used, water-buckled Playboy magazine that was found in the middle of the woods when there were plenty available in the basement.
Asking my little sister not to tell mom that I insert activity here.
Storing my prized stolen science textbook under the pine tree in the front yard .
Painting my lineolium bedroom floor with bright blue latex paint.
Allowing my uncle Francis to place my sweet little hermit crab named Olivia Newton John into his brief case and then violently shake it causing her premature death. Suspected cause of death: heart attack.
Making skis by adhering toy race tracks to my feet with rubber bands.
Donations of stupid kid shit will be greatly appreciated so I can use it in a later post/list. All names will be confidential unless specified otherwise.
Presenting Maxwell’s not-yet #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Night of the Living Sponge. Front cover title and page number typography credits to his older brother Simon. Translation coming soon.
Maxwell currently attends a public full day pre-kindergarten program. He doesn’t have a MFA from Arizona State University or a high school diploma. Night of the Living Sponge is his first graphic novel.
After reading this week’s Theme Thursday homework, depression set in. The topic: My biggest vacation disaster.
Despite being on this planet for nearly 4 decades, my life’s been sheltered. I haven’t visited as many places as I had planned; therefore I haven’t had many disasters. Writing about the time an old boyfriend and I drove a thousand miles to Graceland on my school loan money crossed my mind, but I’m not particularly into bashing exes…even if he did cheat on me at a Boy Scout camp. Yes, I said a Boy Scout camp.
So, I delved even further into my past.
At age 12, my parents decided that my sister (then 9) and I were old enough to be shackled in a car. We began taking vacations every other year to the same place. We left our two street, population 283, muskrat-infested Dorchester, NJ and headed to more populated New York.
These trips have been compiled into what I now consider my biggest vacation disaster in both quality and quantity.
How could visiting a wonderful place as New York, the greatest place on Earth (sorry Paris) be disastrous? Oh, no, no, no. This isn’t a post about New York City. I’m talking about Portville, New York. And although census reports claim that 3952 reside there, the only people I saw were my grandparents.
After packing clothes-filled grocery bags into the trunk, my family would embark on the glorious 7 hour drive.
My father was prepared. Not only did he bring snacks and fill his thermos with coffee, he brought along the empty Maxwell can to fill up with his urine. Why get out and pee on the side of the road when you can do so in the comfort of your own vehicle? This saved time. My Dad would occasionally make stops so the females could empty their bladders and so he could empty his can.
We ate at truck stops with stuffed animals on the walls. This gave him the opportunity to share his unique sense of style with the tri-state area. His belt never prevented his butt crack from invading the outside air and he frequently wore his Red Neck hat and his Life’s a bitch, then you marry one t-shirt.
During these painful car rides, I was caged in the back seat with my sister who always took up more room than she was worth. Having her feet reclining in my lap was not enough. She needed to occupy my auditory space. Not knowing the words to the songs on her Walkman didn’t prevented her from sharing what she thought they might be with me and everyone else in an eight mile radius.
My father perfected placing his armpit directly in front of the air conditioning vent providing my sister and me with an olfactory treasure.
My father viewed his vacation/sick/personal days as time to accomplish many tasks; a view I’ve unfortunately found myself sharing. While at my grandparents on vacation my Dad relaxed by cleaning the gutters, painting, fixing my grandfather’s car, and weed-whacking. Anything that would keep him out of that house and away from his parents, he did.
While there, my sister and I:
-tried to go to sleep while Lawrence Welk played at maximum volume
-slept in an uneven bed
-walked down the road
-partook in delicacies such as German potato salad, goulash, and instant coffee
-made a music video for Guns and Rose’s I Used to Love Her
-dug up bones in the pond behind the barn (not human)
-watched my grandfather’s pants hit the floor
-went for rides because we hadn’t spent enough time in a car on the way there
-climbed the mountain in front of the house
-climbed the mountain behind the house
-climbed the other mountain
-plotted each others death