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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Why I’m Cutting Crime Shows Out of My TV Lineup

I think I need to take a break from watching Law and Order reruns.  Generally, I’m a (too?) trusting person and I tend to think that people won’t be mean to me because I’m not mean to people- which is ridiculous, I know.  But, lately I’ve been swinging the pendulum to the other side, imagining that everyone is some kind of deranged killer and that’s probably worse than being happy go lucky.  Last night, I realized I need to get myself in check when I stopped to get gas.  The credit card machine wasn’t working at the pump, so I had to go inside to pay.  Standing near the cashier counter were two suspicious looking guys who were clearly ready to shoot the place up, like an episode of SVU I saw this weekend.  Unfortunately, Ice-T wasn’t lurking in the background waiting to take the bullet for me.

Perp Number One had a backpack (probably filled with body parts OR empty waiting to put my chopped up body in it- either or) with a skateboard strapped to it.  Now, one thing you need to know about me is that when I get nervous, I talk.  A lot.  On first dates, work meetings, awkward situations, you can always count on me to blabber on so much I turn blue because I forget to breathe. Turns out, being nervous about getting chopped into a million pieces is no exception.

“Oh! Look! Your skateboard is missing a wheel!” I exclaimed, pointing to at his getaway vehicle.  I think my subconscious had rationalized it might be harder for him to slice and dice me if he knew how nice I was.  Make it personal, I was thinking.

He looked at me grimly and then slurred out some gibberish through his missing teeth. 

I literally had no idea what he had said.  But of course, I kept talking, gib gabbering away about his broken wheel.  Then, I began to panic.  What if all this “personalizing” made him think I would want to give him a ride or something?  Then what would I say? If I said no, he might want to stab me and cut my boobs off as a trophy and bring them to his Russian mob boss for his body-parts showcase. 

Stop talking, Tracy. STOP!!

I couldn’t stop.

“Yeah, that’s too bad, hopefully you can fix it soon.”

“Uh huh.” (More gibberish).  “I found this glove.” He held up a black glove with the fingers cut off.

“Oh, um. Well that’s great! See- you found a glove to make up for the skateboard wheel!” I exclaimed excitedly.

“I can’t ride a glove home,” he retorted.

I thought about that for a minute.  “That’s true.  Well, I was just trying to find the silver lining for ya….” I trailed off, suddenly aware that Murderer Number Two didn’t seem to be partners with the no-fingered glove skateboard bandit. 

Oh my god.  I’d been chatting up the WRONG KILLER this whole time!!! This skateboard guy was probably harmless and this OTHER fella was ready to blow the whole place up with a semi-automatic and I hadn’t made it personal with him AT ALL.  GAH!

Skateboard guy left without incident. 

My hands shook as I thought of something to say to the other killer.  Nothing came to mind because I was so frazzled so I focused my nervous chats on the cashier, silently begging him with my eyes to call 911.  He didn’t get my telepathic memo so I just settled for blurting out, “Fifty on pump 4 please.”

Skateboard guy suddenly stuck his head back into the store. 

This was it. The ambush.  The jig was up-  and they were about to end it all right now. 

I whispered, “Hail Mary Full of Grace. The lord is something.” I don’t really even know the Hail Mary but I figured if there was ever a time to say a quick prayer, it was now, even if just a little part of one. 

Then, I grabbed at my chest where I had been shot and everything went dark.

No but really I just grabbed my receipt and watched the skateboard guy hand the cashier a dollar while he grabbed a lighter off the counter.  The second guy never moved an inch and I’m still having my doubts about him. 

So, yeah I’m thinking no crime shows for a while- maybe I’ll stick to watching wholesome Cosby Show reruns on Nick at Nite until the dust in my insane imagination settles… although Rudy in her awkward phase might dredge up scarier delusions than the murderers do-  I’ll keep you posted.

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Tracy Takes the Theater

When my brothers and sister and I were kids, my mom was really dedicated to making sure we were “well rounded” members of society.  She made us do a bunch of after-school activities because her kids weren’t going to go through life with missed opportunities like she did.  For that, I thank her.  It was a great gesture. However, as you can imagine, the execution wasn’t always as flawless as the idea.

All four of us kids had to take dance classes: ballet, tap, jazz, whatever.  Back then, my coordination level was about as awful as it is now, except it was slightly less noticeable because we were kids and there were a couple of other sucky kids in the class to mask just how sucky of a dancer I was.  Now, when I say I was sucky, I wasn’t just a few beats off from the rest of the class….I was horribly off and spinning around in dizzy circles while the rest of the class was busy doing tippy toe pirouettes or whatever they were practicing at the time.  I spent more time on my ass than I did doing the fancy formations we were being taught.

All I really cared about was being out of class in time to watch my favorite show, Party of Five, which happened to always be airing on the nights that we had dance lessons.  If we went a minute over, I would freak out that we were missing seeing a riveting storyline where orphaned teenagers lived alone and took care of each other. I always wanted to be like Party of Five- you know, live alone without my parents and take care of my siblings, because OBVIOUSLY I could have done a better job taking care of myself and other kids as a teenager than my parents could….(parents are so stupid.)  But I didn’t really want my parents to die like in the show because that would have been awful so I would instead wish that my dad would get a job in like Russia or something and then leave us to take care of the house because THAT would have been a totally realistic scenario. You know, me in charge but my parents not dead. “See you later, kids….you got this, right, Tracy?” Right. It’s absurd, but I was 12.  So anyway, on those nights that we were running late to see Party of Five, I would yell at my mom to drive faster to get home and I swear she drove 3 miles UNDER the speed limit the whole way, just to piss me off.  Thankfully, my father who was/is a 13 year old girl in the body of a middle aged man, always had it tuned in when we got home under the guise that he didn’t want me to miss any of it, and could always fill my sister and me in on the first 7 minutes we could have caught if Mom just would drive like a normal human being.

Anyway, there was always one night during each session that the parents came to watch us and on those nights, I extra wanted to die.  Even though I knew that each parent was watching their own kid, I felt like I was being scrutinized and then I would grow a 3rd left foot and all my inept left feet would keep bumping into each other, making my performance even more embarrassing than usual.  That was NOTHING compared to recital days though- up on stage, a fool for a whole auditorium to see…..

Our first recital was definitely the worst.  They sent home a notice to our parents that we had to wear “dark makeup” so it would show up on stage.  My sister Mandy and I were so excited that we got to wear eye makeup-mascara and eyeliner and whatnot.  When my mother went out shopping for makeup for our performance, we couldn’t believe it.  MOM’S LETTING US WEAR MAKEUP?! We figured Mom would come up with some crazy reason that we wouldn’t be allowed to and how no child of hers was wearing adult makeup, even if it WAS for a recital. But, shockingly, she was totally into it!!!

The day of the recital, we got into our fancy ballet costumes and let mom makeup us up.  First Mandy went. As mom went to work on Mandy’s face painting her up with all kinds of goo, I was waiting for her to look like a beautiful princess.  Maybe makeup worked differently than I thought?  Maybe it took some time to kick in?  “Mom?” I asked, as I picked up a bottle of full coverage foundation, marked ‘Dark, for ethnic skin’, “Umm, are you sure this is what they meant by DARK makeup?”  I giggled as she gooped more onto Mandy’s porcelain white skin.

“Yes, this is what they want you to do. I was in the drama club and you have to wear dark makeup so they can see you on stage!” Mom emphatically responded as she gooped more goo onto my sister.

But where was the eyeliner? Where was the lipstick? Where was the mascara and the princess makeup? Mandy looked like she had fallen face first into a pile of mud.  A few minutes later, so did I.  What the heck? We had been so excited about wearing makeup but instead Mom had made us look like Ooompa Loompas!!

The whole ride over, we were wiping at our faces, trying to minimize the goop factor but mom kept yelling at us not to touch it.  Mandy and I had really started to panic the closer we got to the school auditorium.  “Mom, we look ridiculous!”  We whined.

Our suspicions that we looked ridiculous were validated when we walked into one of the backstage rooms and all the other little non-gooped up faced girls turned to stare at us.  “Moooooooommmm!!!” we hissed, “We TOLD YOU this isn’t what they meant by ‘dark makeup.’”

“Okay, okay,” she reluctantly acknowledged when she saw all the other princess- makeup-faced girls. Unable to completely admit defeat, she added, “But still- that’s how they do it in the THEATER!”

The good news is, all that dark goo took the attention off all those left feet….

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