Putting the ‘Y’ in Gym

In seventh grade, I had this insane urge to join the lacrosse team. My sister had done it years prior, and my friends were joining. The thing I didn’t realize was that they all had natural athletic abilities, and I did not. I run like Peggy Bundy and get nauseous after the first two minutes. I never got the ball, let alone scored a goal (or whatever they call it in lacrosse). But during the last game of the season, I had a chance to shine. It was a total inspirational sports movie ending, all in my hands. Last couple minutes, down a point against the rival school, I was at the goal… totally open. My teammate tosses/throws/lobs (?) the ball to me and I watch it breeze right by my head in slow motion. No sports glory for me. To this day, when my nephew throws me a ball I flinch as if I’m about to get a Marsha Brady nose job.

I’m terrible at sports. All sports. It’s just not my aptitude, I don’t even look good in a hat. In elementary school I managed to stretch my required ‘run’ of the mile to a stealthy twenty-six minutes, so after the mile I didn’t have to also play basketball. And when I did attempt to put some effort into it I broke my wrist during the shuttle run (you know the one with the erasers?), followed by a nice old vomiting session. So I went back to my old ways, doing everything I could to do exert the least amount of effort in gym class. There was no reason to hurt myself for nothing, I wasn’t going to become an Olympic athlete. So I worked on entertaining myself by seeing how long I could sit in the locker room before being called for, how loud I could yell ‘get the fucking ball!’ to someone before I got detention, and wishing for mono so I could have a couple of weeks off. Those things worked, most of the time. That is until a high school gym teacher forced me to run the time, with her, while she sang girl scout songs. I didn’t think gym class could get any worse.

Today, I know my place. I won’t play football in the park with you, I can’t go ride bikes with you (those things terrify me), and as much as I love it for some reason, I don’t think you want me playing tennis. I’m happy in my natural habitat, the couch, with a beer, watching General Hospital or a Hoarders marathon.

And for exercise? I walk. Just walk. Because I know how to do that pretty well… most of the time.

-xo

*This short post brought to you by the fact that it’s my birthday! So back to enjoying the day, my way.

Can’t Say Nothin’

I have a pretty killer case of laryngitis currently, so I can only communicate through text. I feel like Louis in The Trumpet of the Swan, I should get my chalkboard. Today is worse than yesterday, but I’m pretty sure most medical professionals wouldn’t recommend going to a party - where talking over music and drinking all day is par for the course (my course, at least) - as a health regimen. But I had to go, the party was celebrating my niece’s graduation from high school. I can’t believe my niece graduated from high school, because that means I’m old. I remember getting the call that she was born, I was already in my early teens.

She’s the daughter of my step-brother, a step-brother who was already grown when my dad married his mother, so we were never close. But I’ve always been close with my niece, probably because I’ve been around since she was born. She looked up to me from an early age, even when I was too young to grasp the gravity of being a role model.

She’s been through a lot in her young life. Her family situation has been less than stable, she’s shuffled around from house to house, seen many family arrangements. Yet she’s prevailed and become a great young adult with goals of going to college to become a teacher. Goals that, as a high school graduate eleven years ago, I hadn’t yet figured out (and some would argue that I still haven’t figured out).

High school sucks, I’ve said it before, so it’s amazing that some kids actually have their futures kind of mapped out. Being a teenager is like playing a life-sized game of dodgeball where every hormone, emotion, idea, urge, and desire is being thrown at you at once. It’s no wonder most kids are so confused and angry. Who ever says those are the best years of your life is a pretty sad person, or was a jock who was never able to achieve the amount of stardom in his life outside of the gymnasium walls. I do look back on those years with a tinge of fondness, only because I was able to finagle my way out of most of my high school career so I could live my life. Most aren’t so lucky. Who constantly wants to feel like an outcast? Who constantly wants to feel stupid or under insane amounts of pressure to perform up to the standards of their parents? Who wants to be treated like a child when you’re screaming to be taken seriously as an impending adult?

The only things high school provided me was a place to socialize and nap. I didn’t know it then, but I was conserving all my energy for college.

My niece didn’t take the same road, mainly because she is a totally different person, and I congratulate her for that. She’s smart and determined to make a difference, and I’m so excited to continue to watch her grow.

A party is a great way to kick off the next stage in her life… But then again I’m always a fan of finding any reason to party, laryngitis or not.

-xo

Educating Roni

I never thought I’d be here at thirty, way back when I was a teenager. Hell, I didn’t even know thirty existed for me when I was a punk-ass fourteen-year-old wearing knee-high combat boots, mini skirts referred to as ‘wash cloths’ by peers, and bright dyed hair in the colors of red, purple, or pink depending on my mood. (PS. Not much really has changed.) I didn’t think I had to look that far ahead because either all of my idols died before the dreaded thirties, or were rock stars with the ability to continue acting like children. I was going to be a rock star, nothing else made sense.

I spent all my free time, and time that should have been dedicated to school work, listening to, singing along with, dancing to, reading about, and thinking about music. Every square inch of my room, including the ceiling, was wall papered with torn out images of my favorite bands from magazines. It inspired and comforted me years beyond moving to New York, until my mom took it upon herself to tear it all down soon before one of my visits home. I still can’t believe it’s all gone. But then again, those kind of superficial attachments may just be the kind of stuff I should talk to a shrink about.

I wasn’t a great student, but that’s because I wasn’t interested. I was smart enough to know how to get out of big projects, to not get in trouble for skipping class, even how to find a way around actually having to show up for my senior year. I made friends with the right teachers, and sworn enemies with the ones I hated. I did my best sleeping in chemistry and math, my best arguing in english class, and my best goofing off in shop or art.

I hated high school as a whole. I never attended a prom or school function, and the night of graduation my parents took me out to Red Lobster for shrimp scampi and a margarita. Throughout those four years, I was certain that college wasn’t for me, but I changed my mind last-minute. Literally, the last day of registration at the local community college the fall after I graduated. I thought it was worth giving a try. And I loved it. (Except for one teacher I reported to the Dean for being a total ass. He didn’t take kindly to me challenging his unfairness and fondness for randomly changing the rules in class, to the point of making it personal. He failed me, but I take comfort in the knowledge that I didn’t take it sitting down.)

I did the community college thing until I had the crazy idea to move to New York to finish off my college career. I applied to one school, and got in, planning to start the fall of 2001. My housing fell through, forcing me to defer a semester while I searched for a new apartment. Then Sept 11, 2001 happened. I suppose the fact I couldn’t move up there when I wanted was a blessing in disguise. I don’t envy anyone who had to function in the days, weeks, and months after that event. But I was determined and did make it up there to start the spring 2002 semester. I haven’t looked back since.

I thrived in college. I enjoyed going to class, even participated in those classes, I took summer school just to get extra credits out-of-the-way, made the Dean’s List a couple times, did my homework! Granted, I took my time graduating (any attempts at true expediency would be out of character), but at least I did it.

Now, I’m not saying I was an amazing student. I did my best. I absorbed the most I could and made it worth my while.

The sad fact is that college degrees don’t ensure any extra ease when searching for a job these days. So far, my education has only afforded me the opportunity to be a substantially qualified errand girl.

-xo

I’ll Never Forget The Lyrics, Dad.

I love trivia and I love music so it’s no surprise that I’m a huge dork for the game show Don’t Forget The Lyrics. When I found out it was back on in syndication I was pretty stoked. A little sorry for Mark McGrath’s career (not that I really cared about it ever), but happy for my trivia starved brain. There aren’t enough music/pop culture game shows on TV anymore and most of them don’t last very long. (Remember The World Series of Pop Culture? Oh man, that was my shit!) I love them because I enjoy proving to myself that I haven’t wasted my life being a huge music sponge. When I was a struggling student in middle and high school my dad would ALWAYS say to me, ‘you can’t remember the important dates to this history test but you can remember every lyric to every song on every CD you own. What is wrong with you?’ In my head I was always like, ‘yah, dad. It’s, like, because the Revolutionary War is stupid but this Hole album is sooo awesome!’ (I was never a valley girl, but saying it that way just sounds so must better.)

I want to go on this show, because maybe I could prove to my dad that almost not graduating high school was worth it when I win $50,000 because I know all the words to ‘It’s a Love Thing’ by The Whispers. But then again, there are those episodes when all the options are Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand type artists and I’m totally lost. I don’t really want to make an ass out of myself on national TV and give my father bragging rights for the rest of his life. He’d never let me live it down and then I’d probably be forced to work for him the rest of my life. So I play the game in the comfort of my own home, and my cat is totally impressed with my singing ability as well as my lyrical knowledge. After all, I really do live only to please my cat.

-xo