It took seven minutes for the tickets to sellout online.
From the moment the date was announced, there was a collective clamoring for babysitters. The emails have been flying around, fast and furious, about what to wear. Once the women were sorted, the emails sailed around once again, this time asking whether tuxedos or simply shirts would suffice for the menfolk. Then began the chatter about the before parties, and for those with more stamina, the after parties.
Thrown in to the regular hectic schedule of shuttling children to activities and feeding them their vegetables this week, a rush on pedicures at Four Seasons Nail Salon, and an unusual amount of coiffed women walking the hallways.
(I have even made my own feeble attempts at beauty, to be honest. I exfoliated my elbows in the shower yesterday, and last night I slathered self-tanner on my legs, which triggered my eczema to kick in at around 2 am. Instead of getting out of bed to find my cream I scratched and tore at my skin like a madwoman, and woke up with an angry rash all over my calves, and orange palms. My elbows, however, are very smooth and dazzling, so I’m hoping people will look no further.)
The only thing that can whip our little elementary school into a frenzy of this magnitude, and make me worried about my so-white-I-look-sickly skin, is the Fundraising Gala, which is being held tonight at a very generous parent’s swank home. Donations to be auctioned off have been gathered, the tents have been built, the caterer has been dicing all day. Typically the hottest thing on the auction block is the class art projects that our children have laboured over. Tonight, these will be auctioned off at an enormous expense, and this year it is my mission to not get drunk and monopolize, or perhaps sit on, the donation sheet. (If I got out more, and experienced open bars on a regular basis, I would not be like a kid in a candy store with the free booze. This I know.)
It’s not the Academy Awards, but let’s face it, for me it’s as close as I get, which makes it all the more exciting. I am looking forward to drinking champagne and eating tiny little quiches that will burn my fingers and leave spinach stuck in my teeth. I am looking forward to laughing about nothing in particular and not worrying about the soccer carpool. I am looking forward to finding a corner to dance in, although there is no dancing advertised (I scrutinized the invitation). We will do all of this and raise funds for our children’s school, an investment in their future, hoping it will make things a bit easier for teachers, and make their excellent school even better.
The elevated atmosphere around our school and the hype in the air reminds me of the formals my university held every year at a local hotel, way back when I was a student. The big difference being, of course, there were no children to care for the next day while nursing that hangover. But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, we party.
If I’ve learned one thing as a parent, it is how to nonchalantly cajole my children into situations that – if I were in their shoes – would cause me to quiver more than the cellulite on my thighs.
Whether it concerns skiing down an icy pitch or eating lima beans, I begin by reassuring them they will live to tell the tale, and that it will be good for them in the end. In the middle I may regale them with stories (completely fabricated) to send my point home. And although I try to avoid it, it usually ends with a bribe. The turnaround time from patiently explaining attributes to desperately tempting them with candy is about one minute.
I have this act down-pat: “Be brave! You can do it! I watched a two-year old do this last week! Seriously, we will celebrate with Skittles when this is all said and done.” Change a few nouns, adjectives and bribes, and this accounts for most of my conversational life.
Yet, when I find myself in their shoes and on equal footing, I crumble faster than my shortbread recipe. Since the show must go on, meaning they must be tricked into various scenarios, I have resolved to never let them witness my cowardice. You know that old adage, “Never let them see you sweat?” After my recent trip to the dentist, I have adapted this to “Never let them see me with a dental dam.” If they saw how their tough-talking mother behaved, I would never be able to drag them to the dentist again.
My dentist has been wanting to replace one of my fillings for five years. I have put it off for excellent reasons: I’m too busy, I tell him. There are groceries to be bought, children to be chauffeured, nails to be filed. He usually rolls his eyes, but this time he wouldn’t waiver, and booked me for the following day. Something about a crack and an emergency – he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Before I could vigorously floss my teeth to remove a week’s worth of sesame seeds, I was back at the dentist, waiting for the major procedure. Replacing a filling is not as easy as it sounds. It involves needles. And pain.
They called my name and the funniest thing happened: I found I was rooted to my seat, and rendered immobile. I did, however, manage to overcome my sudden nausea and held on to my digesting oatmeal. The dental hygienist was smiling and gesturing, and all I could do was shake my head and babble. The receptionist got involved, and then my children’s hygienist, Molly, walked by. For ten years she has witnessed me encouraging/bribing my children, and she got a kick out of seeing me on the receiving end of the drill. Pun intended.
Sometimes it takes a village, but that day it took an office to get me to walk down the hall to my very own torture chair. I asked William, my dentist, to explain the procedure, and once he finished his detailed answer I asked him to explain it again, slowly this time, at which point they bound and gagged me with the dental dam. Before they snapped the plastic in place, I begged him to be liberal with the happy gas, and encouraged him to be all he could be, professionally, on this day.
I attempted to lose myself in an old episode of ‘Friends’ that was playing on the ceiling as they pricked and prodded and drilled and suctioned. The happy gas made me a little loopy, but it’s no champagne. I tried my best to breathe through the plastic and keep my drool in check, and when things got dicey I quelled my screams by digging my fingernails into the arms of the torture chair they thoughtfully provided. I vaguely recall Molly and the receptionist peeking in to see how I was faring. Finally – sooner than I expected – they were done, and although my mouth was frozen into a sideways elliptical shape, I was free to go.
As I sprinted down the hall, I thought what doesn’t beat you makes you stronger, and congratulated myself on my valiant effort. Then William called after my retreating backside, “The temporary tooth is beautiful – just avoid solids on that side until we do the other half of the procedure.”
The receptionist handed me a tissue for the saliva that was dribbling down my chin. Seeing the sorrow in my eyes, she fed me the same annoying line I feed my children, “Don’t worry, it will be over before you know it!”
My timing is always off. By the time I was done with strollers, luxury all-terrain vehicles were gliding past me on trails. When I was done with maternity clothes, everyone from Michael Kors to Old Navy were in the business, and the tents of my gestation were replaced with sleek skinny jeans. So it was no surprise that I happened across a parenting book that finally spoke to me, just as my children are leaving their glorified toddler years: Go the F*** To Sleep, by Adam Mansbach.
The storm of controversy that followed its release occurred months ago, but I am not particularly well versed in news that doesn’t constitute traffic and weather. In keeping with my poor timing, I’m wading in.
This brilliant book perfectly chronicles every night of my life for the past twelve years. And if you happen to be one of those people who say to me, “Oh, I never have any trouble getting my child to sleep.” Or worse, one of those parents who coo, “My baby has slept through the night since the day we brought her home.” Or someone who has an endless amount of patience, or a prude, then this book isn’t for you.
But for the rest of us mortals, who labour each day to clothe and feed children whose limbs don’t want to be covered and whose mouths don’t wish to devour nutrients; bedtime is a ritual which puts us tantalizingly close to the person we once were, yet hovers out of reach as our children put us through a marathon bedtime session. By the time I’ve finished with the agonizing task, I’ve not only put my children to bed, but myself as well. The carefree, fun-loving interesting person I was before I became a nag remains in hibernation.
You see, the idea of laying down with my offspring to quietly whisper words of wisdom from Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, or Sandra Boynton, until their eyelids droop shut and I tiptoe out of their bedroom sounds magical, but rarely ends with the ‘eyelids drooping’ detail. Every night starts this way, but ends up with me wearing down the carpet between their bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen as I go through the motions of appeasing their every whim and desire they can come up with in order for their eyelids to remain wide open.
I approach each night with both a sassy verve and forlorn sense of hope that tonight, by God, will be different. Tonight my children will not beg for one more book, one more hug, one more snack, one more bathroom trip, or complain of growing pains or monsters under their beds or being hot or cold. Each night I am disappointed.
I come by this honestly. Eating and sleeping were not my strong points as a child – singing and dancing, yes, basics of life – not so much. I remember fighting sleep with every scrawny scrap of my being, so I’m particularly good at empathizing for the first twenty minutes of nocturnal attempts. After that, my patience fades and is replaced by fury. As Adam Mansbach suggests so eloquently, “A hot crimson rage fills my heart, love. For real, shut the f*** up and sleep.”
From the fury, I typically spiral down to self-loathing and personal failure, which again is perfectly and poetically encapsulated in one line: “My life is a failure. I’m a shitty-ass parent. Stop f***ing with me, please, and sleep.”
Like any book worth its salt, and life itself, it doesn’t have a tidy or neat ending, but a more realistic one that is repeated in my household – even still – on a nightly basis.
I weep with love for my children as they lay sprawled in their beds or curled around their teddy bears. I breathe in their sweet aroma and fall in love with them all over again at the sight. But getting them to that spent state takes indefatigable stamina that I can barely muster, night after f***ing night, and finally some angel of mercy has recognized this.
Adam Mansbach, I never seem to bump into parents like you, but wish I did. Thanks for keeping it real, and giving us something to laugh about – it sure beats screaming in isolation. This book is like a giant, group hug for parents who, in pursuit of smooth bedtime transitions, taste defeat nightly.
People are evidently nervous this time of year. I’m seeing a myriad of “How to Survive the Holiday” topics in the blogosphere, and #StuffBetterFast is trending on Twitter. North America is buzzing with hints and tips on surviving this time of year, when we are stuck inside with no choice but to engage our extended family in scintillating conversation.
This can be a terrifying prospect, wherein the only solution can be found in the bottom of a bottle, be it ruby red or palest garnet. I, however, have been handed an extended family which frowns upon such liquids which might put a hint of joy in an otherwise morose day. My sober state has paid off in spades however: I’ve learned how to talk about absolutely nothing with ease, and at length.
If you, too, want to navigate the holidays free of catastrophe, stick to the following topics:
1. The cooking of the turkey. Is the white meat moist, while the dark meat still falls off the bone? Bonus points! This will always vary from holiday to holiday, so bears mentioning, and will allow you to explore the meals of holidays past, wistfully or otherwise.
2. The texture of the turkey. Is it gamey? Bland? Does it melt in your mouth? This can be explored while the gravy is being passed around, and don’t forget the cranberry sauce in the event of an overdone bird.
3. Where did the turkey hail from? Usually good for a tale involving lineups and holiday frenzy. Beware the temptation to sojourn into the topic of organic, free-range turkeys, however, as this can lead to polarization from one’s relatives. Ahem.
4. The turkey accessories. Do the carrots complement the dinner? What is the consistency of the mashed potatoes? Is the gravy perfectly lump-free? Is the group assembled pro-brussel sprouts or con? (For some reason we share a collective forgetfulness with this issue, so need to revisit it each occasion, but it never gets old.) The turkey accompaniments can provide you with minutes of frivolity; play around a little and have some fun.
5. The temperature of the meal. Is everything bubbling hot? The water ice cold? This can naturally send you into another blissfully safe topic to round out the meal: the weather.
Now, if you sail through these topics before second helpings are distributed, or Aunt Betty’s apple pie is polished off, you can always revert to my standby: round table bets on how many dinners will be gleaned from leftovers. Add a quarter to the pot to add excitement and intrigue.
Generally, if you stick to the above conversational points, being sure to lean on the positives of the meal, while downplaying the negatives, you should be able to navigate your way through the entire meal without offending anyone, and you can retire to your football game stuffed, but otherwise intact. (Or in my case, a scene out of 1950, where the men retire to the football game and the women clean up the mess.)
It goes without saying that politics, greenhouse gases, the deficit, the euro crisis, whether fighting in hockey should be banned, ‘who is Kim Kardashian anyway?’, Glee, and anything else that could be considered remotely interesting, are all potentially hot topics which could leave someone in tears. Engage in these controversial subjects at your own risk, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Easter will be here before you know it.
By my third pregnancy, my back protested. No more of this baby business, it told me by way of searing pain.
Instead of being a vessel that sent signals to my limbs and brain, my spinal cord became a rod of fire that roared whenever I was on my feet. And since my other children were four and two, that was a lot. No sympathy from the toddler corner.
I tried to grin and bear it, but that usually manifested as swearing like a truck driver and screaming at my kids.
Since I’m a sucker for punishment but not pain, this would be my last baby; the last kick at the can, the last time my stomach would bump into corners and catch my breakfast crumbs. This caused me the tiniest bit of melancholy, I did like feeling those knees ripple across my stomach and that whole creating life concept.
So I decided, against my better judgment, to have pregnancy photos taken. You know, the black and white classy ones with your private parts artfully shadowed.Then I stumbled across one of those promotions where the photographer would practically pay you to have your photos done: the proofs were free, the 8 x 10′s were free, you just gave her your email address so she could harass you for the rest of your life. Surely this was serendipity.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. (In case you are now gripped with fear that you will scroll down and scream, I haven’t posted any of these photos below.)
I hasten to remind you that Demi Moore had these same photos done and she looked pretty damn good. After that, pregnant women were waddling into photography studios in droves, so this is not an isolated incident of vanity.
As the date for my debut shoot approached, the temperatures skyrocketed. A hot summer day when you are eight months pregnant is akin to a day in hell. So I spent the weekend submerged in a glacial lake while my husband and children frolicked on the beach.
Monday morning I woke up with what looked like large mosquito bites all over my body. By noon the size of these bites rivaled ping pong balls, and by dinner they were seething with pus. I looked like an overstuffed egg roll with leprosy.
And those little beauty marks weren’t just innocently and quietly oozing away, they were also itching to high heaven. I was so busy trying not to scratch the little buggers that I even forgot about my back pain.
My doctor told me I had swimmer’s itch, but she consipicuously leaned away from me in horror the entire appointment.
I called the photographer to explain my case, hoping we could delay the shoot, but she could only put it off for a day, and then she was going on holiday. I wouldn’t be pregnant by the time she returned, so I was stuck with Wednesday.
On a positive note, my welts had stopped oozing by this point but remained scattered over my torso in an angry, scabbed-over state. It only looked like I had misplaced acne.
The photographer recoiled in horror when I dropped my robe. I laughed nervously and said something about the powers of PhotoShop, but she explained that while it was a useful tool, it couldn’t work miracles.
I have those photos in a shoebox somewhere. To give credit where credit is due, the photographer came up with the idea of draping a white sheet over my belly, thereby disguising my pockmarked skin whilst leaving its bulging outline. (I’m pretty sure she incinerated the sheet and disinfected her studio after I left.)
I stumbled across them the other day while chasing an agile spider. Whereas Demi Moore had looked beautiful, victorious, and a bit defiant in her Vanity Fair pictures, the look in my tired eyes only said please take the damn picture so I can return to my itching.
What have you done that causes you endless embarrassment in retrospect?
I’ve read the Facts and Arguments page in the Globe and Mail steadfastly for years. Truthfully, some days it’s the only page I read; I thumb past the political hoopla more quickly than I should and head straight to the back of the Life section. (The Saturday Arts section is also divine and renders me weak in the knees, but on weekdays I have to satisfy myself with the essay.)
On the Facts page they showcase an essay submitted by random Canadians, and run a clever illustration alongside. Often they are lighthearted musings, occasionally poignant, and sometimes delightfully funny. There’s enough space for the writer to delve into the heart of the matter, and dissect it accordingly.
In retrospect, I should have given more thought about my topic, which unfortunately is my love/hate relationship with the mall, but I’m seeking solace in the fact that Adam Gopnik‘s topic for the upcoming Massey Lectures is simply winter. And he’s speaking for a whole week on that one.
When someone asked Gopnik “why winter?”, he replied he was waiting for a bus on a cold day in NYC when he received the offer to give the lectures, and he decided then and there to talk about winter. Right then and there! Shouldn’t he have perhaps consulted Margaret Atwood or Douglas Coupland? Or at the very least Googled “top ten interesting topics for scholarly discussion”? Past topics of Massey Lectures have included The Unconscious Civilization and Globalism and the Nation State. Winter is so simple it’s profound, perhaps.
(In any case, it works for me: winter holds more appeal for my simple mind, I refer you to my aversion to politics.)
Not to draw similarities between myself and Gopnik, because surely there are none besides sharing a few letters in our names and a country of birth, but I stumbled across my topic in a similar fashion. My daughter had asked me for the umpteenth time that week to take her to the mall, when I felt the bile rising in the back of my throat at the thought entering its revolving doors. Instead of taking this frustration out on her I very maturely picked up my laptop and wrote about them. Then for some god-forsaken reason I emailed it to the Globe, and the rest, as they say, is in today’s broadsheet.
Click here to link to the article, and keep in mind I was using the mall as a metaphor for suburbia itself, of course.
Canuck fever is burning hot in Vancouver, as our beloved hockey team is off to the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup. Blue and white flags are flying from cars and the lions on the Lions Gate Bridge have donned Canuck jerseys. Go Canucks go can be heard from the deepest, darkest recesses of our mountains as even the black bears have boarded the bandwagon.
But I’ve heard almost as much about the antics of the Green Men as the lackluster play by our team’s infamous twins, the Sedin brothers. In fact, these two pranksters have vaulted to popularity during these playoffs as fast as the Swedish twins have fallen from glory.
The Green Men have become an institution in Vancouver since 2009, when they first appeared on the scene in seats beside the opposing team’s penalty box. As their name suggests, they appear in the stadium wearing skintight green lycra suits. Whenever a player sits in the sin bin, the Green Men come to life, taunting and cajoling the player.
The home crowd generally loves them, they are more interesting to watch than Finn, the official mascot. Their object is to get under the competitors skin, in the hopes that it throws them off their game. If you’re a Canucks fan, this seems noble enough. If you’re on the other side, it seems rude and unsportsman-like.
Thus the clash of controversy.
Nevertheless they have grown in popularity, and are now not only a fixture during home games, they traveled to Nashville to continue their pranks beside the penalty box.
But recently our bonafide mascots have come under fire. The NHL has asked the Green Men to stop doing handstands and banging on the glass.
The Green Men responded by bringing a cardboard cut out of themselves to the next game, and inverting their likeness on the glass so that they weren’t doing the handstands, only their cardboard selves were.
Don Cherry, Hockey Night in Canada‘s hilarious and outrageous commentator, weighed in between periods in Game six of the Vancouver/Nashville series, with a message to the Green Men: Don’t be mean, keep it clean.
He was referring to the Green Men’s recent gag, bringing a cardboard cutout of Carrie Underwood wearing a Canuck jersey. Underwood is married to a player on Nashville’s team, and they taunted him with the picture when he was in the penalty box. Don felt they crossed the line of acceptable behavior by bringing a player’s wife into their act.
Love them or hate them, they are stirring up controversy and bringing another element to the game that Canadians are already passionate about. They are providing entertainment for the lower bowl and much fodder for the news outfits and local radio shows.
For ardent fans, it begs the question: how much is too much? Are the Green Men taking away from the game, or adding an element of fun?
Tell me again, why should I care?
Since the British Royal family lacks real authority, it can only come down to nostalgia for a time when when women were even more marginalized by beheadings and corsets.
Of course, Britain has everything to gain by calling attention to an uncharacteristic rosy moment amongst its Royals. Hotel bookings alone have jumped 400% for the upcoming weekend spectacle. Not only are they selling commemorative spoons and plates, cell phones, condoms and barf bags, they are selling more magazines and newspapers. The wedding of William and Kate is expected to pump $1 billion into the British economy.
So they persist in shoving it down our throats.
No wonder they are riding this event into the Royal Mint for all they are worth. But we, the unsuspecting suckers for punishment, can fight back. We can ignore this spectacle for what it is: a desperate plea for legitimacy. Together, we commoners are powerful, and can send a message to those stuffy, tea drinking, jewel wearing royals to stop spending their money on pageantry.
Here are some tips to figuratively flip the bird to nobility, so that we can get back to Charlie Sheen and the Kardashians:
1. Do not, under any circumstances, turn on your tellie during the Royal Wedding.
2. When in line at the grocery store, turn your face away from the British tabloid magazines like Hello!, and instead pick up National Geographic and educate yourself about the African Bat Biodiversity Project.
3. Refrain from buying anything commemorative, including the temptation to buy the Kate and William adorned condoms as a gag birthday present for your friend.
4. Do not talk about the aforementioned event on Friday. Stick to more stimulating topics like weather and hockey.
5. Most importantly, don’t click on any links, share on Facebook or tweet about anything remotely royal. Unless, of course, Kate trips going down the aisle or leaves William hanging at the alter; in which case tweet away.
This is our chance, as commoners, to shine. Ignore this pompous ceremony, in the hopes that William and Kate disappear into obscurity, thereby returning true gems like reality television to prominence in our media.
I am a bit of a freak. I’m just realizing that my ex-boyfriend, so long ago, was right all along (but this was the only thing he was right about).
I have some peculiar tendencies which I had thought made me original, but in fact they make me just peculiar.
Christmas decorations make me claustrophobic. Even knowing I have boxes stashed away with ribbons and lights and stale gingerbread men missing limbs makes me uneasy. I realized when I swept up the last of the pine needles from the tree that must have been cut in June and took my first full breath of pine-free air that it wasn’t the shopping I abhorred as much as the infringement on my personal space.
When faced with abundances, I turtle. I can’t eat at buffets, and I run screaming out of Sephora and never EVER shop at department stores. I once drank only grapefruit juice during a trip to Vegas with my parents when faced with buffet after buffet. They thought I had an eating disorder until I enthusiastically dug in to my plane food. And need I explain Sephora? Surely everyone feels the same waves of panic when presented with endless walls of makeup, or in fact any display of makeup with more than lip gloss? I’m sweating just thinking about it.
When faced with underground parkades (the Canadian term for parking garage, did you know?), the only question is do we really need to park? Whatever errand I’m running, friend I’m meeting, broadway show we’re going to is immediately in question when I’m behind the wheel and a parkade is involved. They terrify me. No matter how short my car, and how many times I have been there, I am convinced my car will hit the roof. If you’re my friend and I’ve parked in one of these in order to see you, I must really like you. This is the real reason I live in Suburbia: a distinct lack of parkades. If you google ‘parkade syndrome’ you will find a picture of me.
And where to begin with Disneyland? I will only say that everyone should be wary of a place that bills itself as the happiest place on earth; very wary. This is a whole other blog for another day. My children didn’t win the lottery of mothers, needless to say.
I previously thought everyone felt this way about all these issues and continuously lied, but I noticed people taking half a step back from me when I described my joy at taking my tree to the chipper. My friends look at me quizzically when I suggest I just circle the block rather than enter the parkade. I’ve met normal people – adults, no less - who claim to LOVE Disneyland (I immediately think: liars!).
Putting two and two together, maybe I really am a freak, and not just the cool minimalist I prefer to label myself. My oddities are not something I can seek a prescription for, yet if left unchecked could become exaggerated in my old age, leading people to whisper about that strange reclusive cat lady.
Who’s kidding who, if I can’t stand pine needles, imagine cat hair. And they’re already whispering.
Look! Below is a nice little blank form where you can write what makes you
a freak original too. It might work like a confessional, where the instant you write it you will be exonerated from your freakiness. Or it might not, and your friends might start avoiding you, so use at your own risk.
I had a tough audience to impress when I was a kid.
I was the youngest by a long shot in a litter of nine children, so by the time I got around to doing things they were old news. No one batted an eye when I started kindergarten, for instance, I think my mother wondered why I wasn’t under her feet from the hours of 9-3 one day and put it all together.
I desperately wanted to inhabit the world of my older siblings, who always had more interesting drama in their lives than me winning square ball at recess. Their lives consisted of mystical things, like getting jobs and getting fired, boyfriends or girlfriends and getting dumped, getting the keys to my parents car, and partying. I couldn’t compete. I put my Fisher Price Little People aside and just watched them coming and going instead, it was infinitely more interesting.
Finally I started Junior High, and on the much further walk to the bigger school some of my classmates lit up a smoke. I had finally reached the Big Time; I had joined the ranks of my siblings. At thirteen, I was a bona fide adult.
Feeling high and mighty with my new half locker, my class schedule carefully taped to the inside, lock combination written on my hand, I entered my geography class as the grade nine students cleared out. If I was now an adult they were virtually grandparents – I was awestruck by the whiskers adorning the top lips of the boys, and downright perplexed by the concealed pimples on the girls.
Settling into my seat, I noticed a student had written something in loopy handwriting on the board. It was profound. Deep. I was memorized by its multiple meanings, inspired by its possibilities. Would I be this smart when I was in grade nine? The teacher entered and erased the board, but not before I had committed the quote to memory. Finally, I had something worthy and wise to contribute to the dinner table discussion that evening. My siblings would be astonished with my insightful prose, and ensured of my step into adulthood.
As I crammed into the least desirable spot at the dinner table, the corner spot that necessitated either climbing over one of my sisters or climbing under the table and over my dog, a permanent resident under foot at dinner, I bided my time for making my announcement. I waited for a quieter moment, which only ever happened when everyone’s mouths were full of clam chowder. As the spoons rose to their lips, I left mine in its place and took a deep breath.
“So I read this really cool quote on the board today at school: It’s not the size of the ship, it’s the motion of the ocean.”
My father almost choked on his chowder, and my sister’s went flying out of her mouth and across the table. I was startled; this had more impact than I had imagined. But before I could inwardly congratulate myself, the entire table burst out laughing, and I knew my error in one horrible second. My whole face turned pink, then red, and finally purple as I stared into my clam chowder, wanting to disappear into its creamy depth. My naivete set me firmly back into my barely teen-aged self, the lesson being don’t pretend to be something you’re not.