Being one of eleven sure has it’s advantages: I’m not always the one in trouble, siblings are always a source of entertainment, and you never get bored.
I remember being in college and my mom called me up with the weekly news. This week strongly featured my brother Anselm, the seventh child and most creative kid I’ve ever met.
Anselm loves projects. He loves playing with things, drawing things, but most of all, Anselm loves BUILDING things. Being very set on the idea of obtaining a pet fish, and being the seventh child, he knew how to get the job done.
First; ask Mom.
“Mom can we get a fish?”
“Maybe, but not right now, it’s nap time so I have to put the girls down.”
“I would take care of the fish, I promise.”
“Okay, well we’ll see.”
Second; prove to Mom you know what you are doing.
This was clearly a test. Why yes, we shall see…challenge accepted, Mom. Determined to show Mom that he was capable of caring for an animal, Anselm set about creating a home for the fish. He knew he wanted the fish in his and his brothers room, that way he could keep a close eye on it. Where was somewhere that would hold water, and be IN his room….He knew fish needed water and lots of room to grow. So, with much excitement at the prospect of gaining a new friend, he set about unloading his wooden chest of drawers of all his clothes. Now, for the water…
How does Mom always get lots of water? Well, the hose for one…but the hose wont reach here…hmm…a pitcher! YES! That will work.
Gripping a gallon pitcher full of water and hauling it twelve steps provided much more of a challenge than Anselm expected, his six year old arms shook with exertion…but the prize was to great to give up now.
Creeping quietly past Mom’s room where she and the babies were sleeping, he carried pitcher, after pitcher, after pitcher, until finally, all of his drawers were filled to the brim.
Ecstatic over the new fish home he had created, Anselm went about decorating the sopping drawers in order to create a more realistic environment for the beloved fish. He dumped in a good amount of dirt (everyone knows lakes have dirt on the bottom) and grass (to supplement for seaweed, of course) and rocks, the bigger the better!
Anselm sighed contentedly.. and fish would be thrilled to have such a palace to live in, each drawer providing a new adventure, and plenty of room for growth! “Mom will be so impressed…why are my feet so cold?”
Looking down, Anselm noticed that the carpet in his room was wet…soaking wet and spreading….the water was leaking from the fish’s new home!!!
Devastated, he began wildly searching for a way to clean up the mess before Mom woke up, it was only a matter of minutes before she would wake and start making her rounds, making sure no one died in the past hour.
Pelting downstairs, Anselm ran for the rag bucket, grabbed an armful, and ran back upstairs in order to soak up the mess. By then the dirt had started to seep out of the corner, the rags had no chance against the dirt. He only succeeded in smearing the muddy mixture into the carpet more.
Panicing, his mind raced…what cleans carpet?! Suddenly, the answer came to him. Running down the twelve steps again, he grabbed the vacuum and slowly tried to drag it up the stairs. Being six and grossly out weighed by the vacuum, this process took quite a bit of time.
Finally, the vacuum was in his room, plugged in and the hose was out. Anselm had seen his siblings do this many times, all you did was place the hose on the dirt, and it would vanish!
Grasping the end on the hose, he flipped the switch and desperately tried sucking up the mud and grass that was quickly forming a swamp around the room. It didn’t work on the mud very well. He turned his attention to the drawers that still had water in them, plunging the hose into the water, hoping it would suck it all up into the oblivion of the vacuum bag.
The vacuum coughed and sputtered before completely dying, choking on bits of mud and gravel.
The silence was overwhelming.
Sitting on the floor in a puddle, the prospect of a life with no fish was quietly settling on him…life was over. He, Anselm, would never have a fish…
…And then the bedroom door opened….
When I was growing up fast food was a rare luxury because of several reasons:
..My mother gasped in horror at the atrocious mess that was her daughter crumpled over the dryer with a power drill embedded in her hair. I was trying to escape the vicious tendrils clenching the drill to my head. I was unaware of her presence, since I was deep in mourning for my current state of pain and more importantly, my lack of curls for which I worked so hard.
I was awakened from my pit of agony by when I heard the dread words escape my mother’s lips, “We should probably cut her hair.”
My pain was forgotten instantly for, while I lusted after those curls, I knew, with my seven-year-old-sharp intellect, that hair was absolutely NEEDED for those curls to come to life.
Flinging myself off the dryer, I tried to bolt for the door, only to find that I was still attached to the drill, which was still plugged into the wall. I had used up any escape radius available to me and I knew that I was trapped. While my mother went in search of shears, I wailed on the laundry room floor, well aware that my beautiful, luscious pile of hair was about to be shorn. (To this day, I have no idea what sort of other option I thought I had. If I wanted to keep my hair I would have to walk around with a power drill, cord and all, hanging off my head. Admittedly, having that new accessory would not have been altogether unexpected…)
I heard my mother coming back to the laundry room. Raising my tear-streaked, grubby face from the floor, I attempted to lift my head. This attempt failed miserably since my frail neck was getting sore from holding up my mane…and a seven pound power drill. Lying face down on the floor I listened to the evil *snip snip* of the scissor trying to navigate my head. After fifteen minutes, I felt a weight lift off my head and I was able to drag myself up to a sitting position.
I mournfully looked at my mother who peered down at my with a look I knew well, “Oh my….well, I’m sure it will grow out…” This did not bode well. Not well at all. Sensing the significant amount of weight difference, I knew the haircut must have been substantial. What made matters worse was that my mother would not let me even look at myself until the next morning when I was “in a more reasonable state of mind..” whatever that meant…
I fell asleep quickly, not a surprise I thought, considering the emotional agony of not getting the curls I so desperately desired. I woke with a sense of annoyance since I did not see the flowing locks I was sure I had (I thought I achieved Rapunzel status while asleep). Then, the happenings of the night before started trickling back to me. Catapulting myself off my bunk bed, I raced for the bathroom mirror.
My mother’s words rang in my head as I stared at my image. I was to horrified to scream. I just stood staring at the ugliest creature I had ever seen.
My mother had tried to save as much hair as she could, but considering my utter commitment to the curls, I had successfully wound ninety five percent of my hair in the power drill.
My curls would never be a possibility…
I would never look beautiful again…
Vivid images of Gollum raced through my seven year old imagination while my eyes widened, staring at my head. Little tuffs were barely protruding at different length all over my skull and, as I leaned forward, I saw the worst…a bald spot right in the center of my head exactly where I had placed the tip of the power drill.
I looked like one of my dolls that my brothers cut all the hair off of….but worse. I looked like a tonsured monk, or one of mom’s chickens that was molting. It was clear…I was hideous.
As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I realized I would never have curls. Curls came to those pretty girls that had flowing hair and smiling faces…and I was a chubby girl-monk.
My mother walked in and tried to comfort me and I wailed out my grief, “I’m so sorry honey, I tried to make it look okay, it’s going to be okay though, it will grow out and then you can start all over.” She walked out to continue her search of other appliances I might have misused during her two hour absence the night before.
Start all over…hmmm. I stared in the mirror and realized that my brothers had short hair and that they had to get hair cuts every two weeks because it grew so fast. A small hope sprang anew in my little mind. Mom had always said that their hair grew so quickly because she “buzzed”it. I didn’t know why, but it didn’t matter, it always worked, their hair grew so fast and it was so thick!
I summoned the courage to grin at myself in the mirror, despite the hideous creature staring back at me, because I knew…
I knew how I was going to get my hair back…and fast.
There was a time in my life when I had very, very long hair. When I say long, I mean classic backwoods-homeschool-down-to-my-butt hair. I took care of my hair in the good ol’ fashioned way…as in I didn’t take care of it at all. I chewed on the ends (don’t ask why, I have no idea), rarely combed it (or washed it for that matter) and I screamed whenever my mother came near my head with anything resembling a taming device.
Needless to say, I had worked up a good rat’s nest on my head, which I only got away with because we lived on farm and people rarely saw me. At the time, I regarded this lack of socializing as a normal way of life and it never bothered me, it was only later that I figured out I was being spared from my utter lack of intelligence…or rather, the world was being spared my utter lack of intelligence. If I had been more exposed to the outside world at that point in my life, I have no doubt I would be sitting in a white room with my arms tightly wrapped around me.
By age seven my hair was in such a state that I could have comfortable housed a family of rabid bats and never noticed. One evening, my parents went on a date and my siblings and I had a babysitter. This was a great occasion because it meant we were allowed to watch a movie. Since movies were such a coveted prize in my house, I would do pretty much anything in order to savor that hour long delight. My calculating babysitter knew that the rabid bats would have to be driven from my hair at some point and used the movie as collateral.
As much as I hated my hair being in a recognizable form, I decided to sacrifice my head to the agony of soap and a brush in order to enjoy all that the cartoon The Sword and The Stone could offer. After my babysitter underwent an ordeal that has probably spared her any time she have to ever spend in purgatory, I peered at myself in the mirror with red mopey eyes.
The ordeal has been excruciating for my seven year old self and I felt that an ample amount of self pity was due. To my surprise, I was quite taken with the object in the mirror! Golly, I was just the cutest little thing with no front teeth and a wet mop of mousey brown hair!
With my hair wet and plastered to my head, I thought, “Why curls in my hair would make me the prettiest girl in the whole wide world!” After admiring my beauty for a full three minutes, an idea occurred to me…I will look even BETTER! In fact, I will lookBEAUTIFUL and FABULOUS!!!
Grinning to myself in the mirror, and thrusting my jaw out (because my bottom teeth fully made up for my front teeth being missing for nine months if I smiled like this) I decided that curls were just the thing to top off an otherwise flawless beauty. I pondered how to achieve these most necessary curls. The only object that I had ever seen make curls was my dad’s power drill. When screwed into wood, the shavings from the drill bit came out all crisp and curly. It made complete sense. I knew what I had to do.
Luckily for me, I knew exactly where dad had left the power drill that day, right on top of the dryer, plugged in even, as if to say, “Yes young girl, go curl your hair and become the beauty you were meant to be!” I scampered up the dryer and grasped the heavy drill with both hands. I had seen my dad use it a millions times and was fully confident in my skills. As I heaved the drill above my head with my scrawny arms, I thought, “If I place it on my head, all my hair will my curled, at once!” This seemed like the most efficient way to go about it. I placed the drill squarely on the top of my skull and pulled back the trigger. It took about half a second for me to realize that this was not going to go as planned.
I did not have the strength to push the drill down hard enough for a hole to be deposited into my cranium but the drill succeeded in whurring all my hair into a tornado of pain atop my head. I could not pull the drill off since my hair was all caught in it, letting go would pull all my hair out. My hands were stuck gripping the drill to keep it from penetrating my skull and my hair was doomed to all be swept up and returned to it original form; a bat’s nest.
My screams filled the house and at that moment my parents came home. I do not know what disturbed them more, the fact that I almost gave myself a lobotomy, or that I thought a power drill would curl my hair. Neither said much for my intelligence. After I was untangled amid tearful wailing, I heard the dreaded words, “We should probably cut her hair…”
My Hair Part 2: The Haircut
If you are currently in college or have difficultly recalling those days because it was so long ago, I’m sure that there are things you learned that you will never forget…even if you try…
Things I’ve Learned in College
1. No matter what school you attend, the student body still has only one goal: burn as many brain cells as possible with illegal substances. This applies to the following schools:
School 1: This is the school that you’ve always wanted to attend because you believed it would make all your dreams come true and therefore gave up partying in high school in order to get good enough grades to attend.
*Note: You got in, now feel free to work harder than you did in high school…for worse grades.*
School 2: You cried when you got this acceptance letter from The University of Wetakelosers because it was the only school you got into.
*Note: You will probably have more fun here than anywhere else because they clearly don’t care how badly you do in school, and they don’t really expect much.*
School 3: This is the school your parents went to and now you are attending because you feel an obligatory sense to “carry on tradition.”
*Note: That tradition you feel such a strong urge to fulfill is you puking on the sidewalk after your first jungle juice party….just like you mom did 20 years ago (even though she will never admit it). That’s school pride for ya.*
2. Everyone who tells you it is not smart to consume alcohol the night before a test is lying. The evil truth is that it is impossible to learn anything in one night, so don’t bother trying. It is a much wiser decision to study two days before, get hammered the night before the test, boot, rally and then take your exam with a relaxed calm mind. Anyone who tells you differently has already figured this out and is trying to achieve a curve on the test. Do not fall for it.
3. If anything is on your dorm door/doorknob, do not go in. This rule applies, but is not limited to, socks on the handle, a tie on the handle, a cute note from your RA, plastic wrap, soda cans, or a voodoo doll of yourself stuck to the door with pins.
Socks and ties are obvious, even if you think they’ve been there awhile, don’t take your chances…unless you have some sort of viewing agreement with your roommate.
Any sort of note from your RA is a lie. Even if it is sprinkled with, “You are suchhhh a good dormie!!!! Teehee!!! XOXO!!!” Do not be fooled, it is a lie. Your RA is probably in your room waiting to ambush you will fictitious violations which you have no hope of petitioning. RA’s are a rare breed that derive energy from sucking the life and soul from college students. They are not actually human. Avoid contact at all costs.
Plastic wrap and soda cans are all signs of some sort of merciless prank. At this point you have probably made the stupid mistake of studying in the library and have thus left your living space a viable war ground which will no doubt lead to the death/disappearance of your possessions. Do not be tricked into thinking that a locked door will stop a bored college student.
If you happen to find a voodoo doll pinned to your door, you have bigger problems than those listed above. I suggest finding some sort of counter hex as soon as possible.
4. C’s DO get degrees. No one cares about your college GPA, unless you consistently fail underwater basket weaving. Other than that, you’re fine. You may feel the same amount of accomplishment as any honors student at the end of those fours years because those pretty colorful cords worn at graduation that show how *awesome* you’ve been in college really don’t mean jack in the real world. If they are for some reason, important to your parents, you may purchase them on ebay for much cheaper, and a whole lot less pain and agony. The graduation committee never notices anyway. When the announcer mentions your degree but looks confused at the rainbow around your neck, feel free to make up whatever strikes your fancy. After all, you’ve worked hard, you deserve to have a “Periwinkle” for “Excellence in Class Distractions.”
Welcome to my new digs. This is where I will be posting from now on. A new post is coming soon. STAY TUNED!