Looking back on my years as a toddler I was a really slut. More often than not my garden of Eden was exposed for all the world to see. Granted I was four but still I think deep down I knew that taking your clothes off was the key to getting attention from just about anyone. The first time I can vividly remember making anyone laugh I was around 5 years old. My mother and I were playing some sort of game and I recall thinking it would be a fantastic idea to flash her right then and there. I have no clue how the idea got in my infantile mind but it still holds up as the best one I’ve ever had. My mother broke out into laughter and then pulled my shirt back over my washboard chest. I knew even then that it was a cheap laugh, like yo mama jokes, but I persisted flashing my mother again and again every time she pulled my shirt down. She was laughing hysterically now and I loved it. After a few minutes the joke wore old but my taste for laughs had just been uncanned.
Age is just a number, that is, at least until it starts upsetting your faculties. My grandparents on both sides are wonderful and sweet people. But for irony’s sake, I admire them not for their wise and experienced grasp of the world and the wheels that turn it, but rather the racial slurs that occasionally slip through their reason. Now, I grew up knowledgeable to the fact that my grandma had lost her marbles, in the most hilarious, stereotypically, and cute way possible. Just as many elderly people appear to do once they hit 75. But if that was all that qualified age, Sarah Palin would be eligible for the Appleby’s senior citizen discount at her modest age of (45). Rather I hypothesize it is all one big inside joke and they have honestly just stopped caring about making sense or offending others, which happens to be my 2015 New Year’s Resolution. To my pleasant surprise I continue to discover more and more accounts of her offensives, legal and verbal, that prove me wrong. I’ll confirm it here and now, I’ve never been prouder.
My grandmother on my father’s side, let’s call her Gma, was raised by a lovely women who, to give you a perspective of the times, denied Gma the friendship of other African American children. Whenever we poke fun at Gma for her racist tendencies she always refers to that one black friend she tried to bring home, but her mother wouldn’t allow her to play with. “I really tried. I did.” She pleads, “But mother didn’t like them.” So my grandma grew up accustomed to terminology and biases that would get her jailed in the North and the position of mayor in the South, only if she were a man that is.
The most recent instance I can recall of her bigotry ironically occurred at the local KFC. I went with her and my grandpa for a formal luncheon of the Colonel’s cocaine fried chicken and ecstasy infused mashed potatoes and gravy. Now they don’t serve this at the counter, you have to order it off the secret menu from the guy in the alley behind the store, and it’s usually more expensive because it’s organic , at least that’s what the guy says.
So we were eating and a group of Jackie Robinson’s came in. The two girls gave Nicki Minaj’s booty a run for its “Anaconda”. My grandma didn’t look up, didn’t stop eating, but merely said under her breath, “Why is this place always littered with undesirables.” I laughed guilt-free, because out of the six black people at my school I could claim to be friends with at least one of them and was by the ruling of Rodman vs. Jong-un, not racist. And yes, I met her when I played for the JV basketball team.
To add another layer of satire, my one black friend is the most sarcastically racist person I have ever met. Let’s just say her idol is Hitler and she frequents the phrase “It’s cuz I’m black!” No one single person has made me laugh more.
The interior was a little funky looking but comfortable, like relaxed-fit jeans. Wood paneled the floors, walls and ceiling, and took the form of crude tables and chairs scattered throughout the rectangular room. In a diabolical effort to assist the deforestation of Southern America, there were lacquered tree limbs inserted into the walls from which ironically fake flowers hung from pots in the air-conditioned breeze. I gazed around, curious and terrified. We had entered their feeding grounds. When we first arrived in my sister, Dee’s current residence, I admit I had very low expectations for the small town whose Main Street is, literally, their only main street. And with only a handful of restaurants in town I was worried my dairy-free, gluten-free, carb-free, protein-free, nutrient-free diet would be devastatingly compromised. Like most narcissistic people I won’t admit I was wrong, but I was a little less right than Sarah Palin is about the distance from her house to Russia. Not only did her quaint town have a farmers market, it had what I like to call a Community Undergoing Limited Thinking, or a CULT. For some reason, maybe the constant questioning of my religion as a cult status, I have a strange fascination with cults and the like. Fascination as in I have spent many hours reading online blogs and chat rooms conversations about many different religions/cults. The fact that people willing subject themselves completely to a person who claims a divine connection to God or whomever/whatever is frankly illogical, said the Mormon. Due to their conservative and uniform appearance, I deciphered them immediately from the rest of the Hell-bent sinners at the outdoor, family-friendly farmer’s market. And when I met eyes with whom my sister claimed to be the leader, I was disturbingly titillated. The power he had scared me, but the enthrallment I have for their lifestyle left me feeling like a female Chris Brown fan. Dee told me that the leader had on many occasions stared at her the way Tom Cruise stared Katie Holmes down on their first date. As we made our rounds to eat stand I found myself staring again and again in their direction. I had so many questions, like “how do you manage such long hair?” and “what’s life like in a Socialistic community?” and “Is this guy brainwashing you with torture or drugs?” When we returned to my sister’s house we watched I Escaped a Cult and ate DGCPN-free chalk.
The next day we had a trip planned to what they referred to as the “city”, a college town with fewer residents than a New York City subway car. To my utter and unimaginable delight the town held the address of a wery wonderful, wooden waffle house. We were served by a man who, in the right lighting, could be mistaken for a 1990’s acid user who now thinks a ponytail, button-down and cargo pants with exonerate him from sin. As we waited for our waffles, I noticed that we were drawing the negative attention of a number of modestly dressed people. This was probably deserved as we were loudly joking about the possibility of them drugging the delicious waffles to get more people to “join”, but I don’t know why they seemed so offended when this was obviously a huge compliment to whoever supplied the drugs. When we became bored my sister took us on a tour of the restaurant. We discovered that the rear seating area contained still more wood than any woman over 30 wants to see that early in the morning. On the way back to our table, I noticed a cult community-published newspaper entitled, to my irony fetish’s delight, A New Culture. I stifled my laughter and discreetly showed my company as I sat down, covering the –ure in culture. Either this cult had a hilarious sense of humor, or no one bothered to do a quick read-through before sending it off to print. We took a picture with the paper for the betterment of the internet, flashing C-W with our hands in respect for the delicious waffles we just ate. As we left, I joked about them tracking us down for insulting them, and, just in case, I knocked on wood.
So the first time I realized I had a largely permeable filter was at the California State fair. I went for, as one might guess, the deep fired Twinkies, both the freshly made and the freshly thrown up, but stayed for my niece’s dance recital. And though my niece’s part in said recital was under five minutes, we stayed for the full hour and a half because my family insisted it would be considered rude by the sea of over one hundred spectators, currently sweating out the Napa Valley wine samples and mounds of fried cholesterol they ingested earlier, if we ditched the show. I was actually surprised how entertaining the young girls, and one extra bedazzled boy, were. Watching their painstakingly adorable effort to repeat the moves of their instructor on stage reminded me of a time when I failed just as miserably while I tried to dance along with the big purple dinosaur, Barney, as he said his daily goodbyes, just last week. Eventually, my group found its way through the crowd, swapping sweat with strangers along the way, to the food court. While waiting in a line longer than either the mayor of Toronto or Charlie Sheen has ever done, for what was advertised as a deliciously overpriced Greek gyro, my attention was caught by a bungee jumping ride. A single passenger was shipped skyward in a flimsy, roofless metal crate. With the help of an instructor, most-likely internet qualified, the jumper is strapped by the ankles to a two-digit thread count, stretchy rope. And with one fearless and stupid motion the jumper’s fate is in the hands of soul crushing gravity and my fifth grade jump rope. As I watched the death plunge play out, I gasped, and loudly exclaimed to my friend that “I would have surely peed my pants if I was in her ‘safely’ secured shoes!’ Immediately, the woman in front of me turned to face me. She looked at me as if I were her sister’s annoying three-year-old child misbehaving in a Macaroni Grill on family dinner night, a child she would have spanked given the opportunity. As she forced me into mutual steady eye contact, I shrugged and grimaced, waiting for her to return her mind to her own business. I guess the Joanne’s where she works never told her that when the loud and obnoxious customer wants help, she’ll come to you.