As every little girl did, I used to keep a tiny pink locked diary. In it, I would write about girls at school that were “super annoying,” wonder why I didn’t like boys, and ask Jesus for my sister’s early death. The one thing that I remember most of all from this diary was writing in it one night after my mom and I had a row about not finishing my dinner and not doing my homework, or whatever (I never did either of those things as a kid). Anyway, I wrote in it something like, “Mom thinks meat makes you responsible,” in what I can only assume was a super-haughty pretentious kid voice.
Other than that, I swear, I was the best kid.
That’s me on the right during my first year of Jesus camp. I went for four summers. I’m sure it was just the style at the time, but looking back, the prairie dresses were kind of weird. Also I never did grow into those ears.
When I was a kid I never wanted to get married, because I was terrified at the thought of having to kiss a boy in front of my parents at our wedding. I think I’m over that at this point, so the only two things that I am still deathly afraid of are pregnancy and stigmata.
In no particular order, except for number one.
1. Monster Jam, a monster truck rally featuring “Grave Digger” (twice).
2. The Harlem Globetrotters (but I don’t remember this).
3. Cow-pie bingo, where a cow poops on the ground and you win prizes.
4. Tractor pulls, wherein a tractor is literally just pulled. Fun?
5. A Steppenwolf show with my dad.
6. Every hot rod show in the tri-state area.
When I was a teenager my mom told me I was conceived at a Grateful Dead show. This wasn’t even remotely true.
OFFENSIVE THINGS I USED TO DO AS A CHILD:
1. I used to pretend to walk with rickets when I was out at the store with my mom and I got bored.
2. At one point I could do a really great impression of a deaf person speaking. I also used to do this at the store with my mom when I was bored.
My mom, sometime in my pre-teen years: “You know, you can tell me if you’re a lesbian. I wouldn’t get mad or anything.”
Before my uncle died and my cousins moved away, my aunt lived in a beautiful white colonial house with horse stables and a forest of pine trees. It was the type of house that had two living rooms, and one of them had a fully stocked bar. They kept busts of former presidents in the formal dining room.
My mom used to take me over to go swimming and feed the horses. When we got there, on this one particular summer day years and years ago, my aunt was hysterical. Her horse, Dolly, was sick.
I guess I sort of grew up with Dolly, a white horse with little gray spots. She was the first horse that I ever rode. The day that we stopped by, she was an old horse.
My aunt was crying, and Dolly would lay down on the ground and not get up, which, if you know anything about horses, is not a good sign.
"Get up! Just get up!" she shouted, as if she could will him to live for just a little while longer.
We stayed with my aunt until Dolly had passed away. After that, my cousins were called in, and my mom took me home.
I was raised vaguely-Catholic, by which I mean that we went to church only on the Sundays that my very-Catholic grandmother was visiting. Still, I went to CCD every Sunday, and was baptized, communionized (I am making this word up) and confirmed. For some reason, though, my FAVORITE things to play with as a kid were creepy little plastic statues of saints. Like, they would go to the mall with my Barbies and ride on my Breyer horses. They had bleeding hands and eyes rolled into the backs of their heads, but I still thought they were fun. I made them little dresses, too!
My mom still tells me that she always thought I was going to grow up and become a nun, because I was obsessed with those dudes. Well, it almost happened (hey future kids, there’s your whore mom on the left!), except in a completely different spiritual setting that almost gave my grandmother a heart attack. Just kidding.
Back in New Jersey, my family used to go to my dad’s friend Pete’s house every year for the Fourth of July. His front yard had an unobstructed view of the town fireworks, and also a pool, natch. As kids we got sparklers to hold and had watermelon seed spitting contests. We caught fireflies and drank gallons of root beer. But what I remember the most about those Fourth of July’s was that my dad’s friend used to proudly display three cardboard cutouts in the front lawn every year: George Bush (senior), Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen.
I hope to carry on this tradition one day.
My very first AOL screenname that was all my own and that I didn’t have to share with my mom was “NoDoubt26.” I had really wanted it to be NoDoubt69, because I really liked the way the number 69 looked. Like a yin yang, right? Obviously I had no idea what it meant, and my friend Sue had to take me aside and let me know that this was an awful idea.
I guess No Doubt were pretty popular when I was in middle school. Maybe 7th grade? To my credit (no), I don’t even think I knew what regular sex was.
In high school I did not give a fuck about college and thought it was stupid and whatever, so obviously I did not study for my SATs or take prep classes or open any books at all. Not because I was cool, because I was a dumb teenager. But anyway, I had to take the SATs, because god, how would I survive in the real world without a liberal arts degree? Right? So on the morning of the SATs, my friend Kim picked me up and we drove to our town’s other high school in Freehold Boro to take the test, and we listened to Dr. Dre’s “Chronic 2001” album.
I did really really bad on my SATs. Like, I would print my score just to laugh at it, but it’s so bad that it’s not even really funny.
My sister is about two years younger than me. Or is it three? Anyway, she used to have a friend named Louis who was kind of weird and also super nerdy (this is when we were super young kids, so no one was really “friends,” more like “classmates who said more than two words to each other.”) So she was invited to Louis’ birthday party, which was held at an arcade. My mom took me along to drop her off, but when we got there we found… no party. Well, I mean, there were streamers and balloons and cake and pizza, but no other kids besides Louis and his mom and whatever weird uncles showed up. So Louis’ mom asked if I wanted to stay for the party and hang out, which like, duh I did. It was a fun day, but I remember feeling really sad for Louis. I actually think about him every one in awhile. I hope he is a wealthy CEO or a tycoon or something.
One summer my parents didn’t know what to do with me, so they signed me up for a hip-hop dance class at the town’s rec center. If you know anything about me today, you know that I am an awful dancer who basically moves like those inflatable things at a used car dealership. Anyway, our class was going to perform a rendition of Boyz II Men’s “Motown Philly” during our big recital at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, my teacher had realized how gangly and awkward I was, and therefore I was relegated to leaping in the background. Yes, leaping. Anyway, I’m a little drunk, so that’s all I remember from that.
My first job ever was a summer camp counselor in Allentown, New Jersey. My sister worked there, too. I made some friends my age, finally. I taught one of the little boys about my favorite anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, and probably ruined his life by turning him into a nerd. What I remember most about that summer though, was one of the counselors who used to tell us all jokes, all of the time. He was seriously a never-ending well of jokes. I don’t even know where he learned them all. I don’t remember his name anymore, but he was very tall and he also had brown hair. Anyway, a little while after the end of that summer, he went hiking and fell off of a cliff and died. That was the first time that I knew someone my age who had died, and it was weird.