Well it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I once paid fifty cents at a fair to see the World's Smallest Woman. As it turns out, it was just some shriveled old short lady with no teeth. She gave me nightmares for months. I can still see her sitting on the floor of that circus trailer gumming an imaginary peanut butter sandwich and crocheting a blanket.
Wish I'd never done that.
When I was a little younger, I came to the conclusion that I had inherited enough of my Mother's gift for dramatic hair styling to do something new and exciting to my own hair. I not only cut it myself, but I bought two colors of hair dye at the store. One strawberry red, the other blonde. I just knew I was on my way to trend-setting with what I thought would be striking red hair with very natural looking highlights.
Not really. My hair was actually closer to a beautiful shade of Pepto-Bismol and mud. And the style? Let's just say I looked like Raggedy Ann did on last week's episode of COPS after Andy got all liquored up and decided to cut her hair with his rusty pocket knife.
That wasn't smart.
I spent my entire senior year of high school thinking of new ways to cut school. My friend Kaye and I were so good at it, we could have written a book and sold it to everyone we knew.
Looking back, I have to wonder why social services wasn't called in to investigate. According to the excuses my Mother wrote, (who strangely enough lived in Kentucky and yet could still jet back to North Carolina on a regular basis to write notes to get me out of class), I had some very severe problems. It was common knowledge I'd had a constant period since Freshman year gym class. And then my senior year, all my relatives began dropping dead at an alarming rate. I think my sweet Uncle Ted may have passed away twice. That's especially distressing considering I didn't have an Uncle Ted.
I pretty much spent 1982 either menstruating or attending funerals.
Probably should't have done that.
When I worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I received a call from a woman crying hysterically.
"Someone just hit a skunk on the road in front of my house!" she yelled into the phone. "Can you please send someone right away?"
"Is the skunk still breathing?" I asked.
"I don't know. Do you want me to go look?"
"Yes, why don't you do that. I'll stay on the line while you check for a pulse."
After several minutes she returned. "It's too late. He's gone."
"I'm sorry, ma'am," I said as I tried to stifle my maniacal laughter.
That probably bought me some bad karma.
I used to get tickled in church at a man by the name of Johnny, who was good as gold but severely mentally challenged. He loved the Lord and sweet as he was, he always had something to confess when the pastor gave the alter call. He'd hear, "Just As I Am" and jump out of his seat like the last train for Heaven was leaving.
Anyway, once in awhile the spirit would move him to sing in the choir and of course, he had to be on the front row. My sisters and I would try so hard not to laugh, but the harder we'd try not to, the funnier it became. He'd start to beller some make believe words, stopping only long enough to wave and say "Hey" to people he knew in the congregation and we'd get to laughing so hard we shook the pew.
When I get to Heaven, I'm going to have to look him up to apologize for that one.
I was fixing Mexican food for supper one night and as I dumped the refried beans in the pot, my little boy wanted to know if he could taste some of that chocolate.
I could have told him it wasn't chocolate. And I thought about it when I was holding a huge spoonful up to his mouth.
He still won't eat refried beans and will probably require some manner of therapy when he's older and doesn't understand why he freaks out every time he hears the word taco.
That wasn't very nice.
I used to have a perfectly wonderful and well behaved dog named Poochie. She was a mutt that I had rescued only hours away from her scheduled execution at the puppy prison. There were two things that you noticed right away about Poochie. She wasn't pretty, but she sure was ugly.
We lived next door to a fine specimen of a German Shepherd. Highly trained and bilingual even, King was quite the big dog on campus. All the girl dogs wanted him. I saw Poochie looking at him with that "if only" look on her face.
So, one hot California afternoon when Poochie was in heat, I decided to hook her up with King. It was only one time and I figured that even ugly dogs needed love. I was afraid I might have to get King drunk, but it turns out male dogs are not that discerning when they are in the mood for love. I've noticed that the kind of dogs that walk on two legs are often that way as well. (Just a little joke at your expense, guys.)
Their eyes met and the next thing I knew, my neighbor was going to have to call the fire department to bring the big hose over because they were stuck together like Siamese twins. Their love eventually subsided, but something strange had happened to Poochie.
She had turned into a common slut.
This timid, precious dog would now dig her way under the fence every single time she went in heat. She was seen all over town hanging around bars, putting the moves on any mongrel that couldn't run fast enough to get away.
When she had her litter of pups, there were six of them. And all six were sired by different fathers. I had succeeded at turning my mild mannered Plain Jane dog into a tramp.
If all dogs really do go to Heaven, I'll have to say sorry for that one, too.
I used to tell my kids that Elvis was not really dead. I told them that, much like the Great Pumpkin, he would come back one day for all those that truly believed in him. I took them all the way to Graceland and I even bought my young son a Shake, Rattle and Roll rattle.
And then one day, my step-daughter Hannah came home from school upset with her teacher. It seemed that she had tried to tell the class about the LATE Elvis Presley and Hannah wasn't going to have any of it.
"He's not dead!" she told the entire third grade class. "My step-mom says he'll come back one day if we keep believing."
That probably wasn't the best parenting choice I've ever made.
(By the way Elvis, if you're reading this, I'm still waiting faithfully.)
Speaking of Hannah, she asked in fifth grade to have two gerbils come live with us that her class had been raising for the year. I relented, even though I knew nothing about the vermin, on the condition that she take care of them.
She came home from school one day and I sent her to the basement to feed the rodents and clean their cage as per our arrangement. I quickly figured out something was awry when she ran screaming up the stairs with tears pouring from her eyes.
It seems that gerbils have no problem with having babies and then eating them. Who knew?
That may have messed her up a little.
So I may have screwed up a time or two. The good news is, I'm feeling much better now.
Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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