Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fat genes: No skin off my back, only my sister’s toes

Because my mom:

1) has been the general manager of a Weight Watchers franchise since 1995

2) is my mom,

I like to believe:

1) her, on most weight-related subjects

2) that she doesn’t say mean things to me just to be mean.

"I got yo' back, gurl"

Usually, having a mom that knows about nutrition/weight management and doesn’t tease you for fun is a good thing.

It’s not so good, however, when she tells you that in all likelihood, you have obesity genes.

"I got yo' fat back, gurl"

Apparently, scientists have found that certain genes can cause obesity, and according to my mammy, I gots me some.

Now, normally being told you’re destined to be obese isn’t the greatest of news. For me, it’s helped clear up a few things. Such as:

My birth weight.

At 9 pounds, 8 ounces, I was the heaviest baby of the bunch. I was also the only baby who required formula in addition to breast milk — I was one hungry ass mothersucker.

My abnormal rib.

My left rib is big and weird.

Not a nipple-less boob, I promise

It’s meant for protecting a belly full of food.

My appetite inability to not eat everything in sight.

No amount of “one time I ate this much” bragging will ever do a better job of illustrating my deep-rooted gluttony than the following story.

My parents, sister, brother-in-law, and I were all hanging out at the family trailer one day last summer. We were doing what we always do — watching TV and accusing each other of farting — when I experienced one of my run-of-the-mill hunger pains.

Though I’d eaten lunch an hour earlier, I jumped up from the couch, walked the foot to the kitchen, and started rifling through the cabinets for something to eat. I considered potato chips and rice cakes but, after finding a box of delicious Triscuit crackers stashed in the back, opted for thems. A few cracked pepper and olive oil crackers later, I returned to my post on the couch.

It was then that I noticed a tiny potato chip crumb sitting on the armrest. For some reason, I forgot that I’d only eaten crackers, not potato chips, and mistook the crumb for my own. This when ish went down.

Since I was still pretty hungry and I hate to see leftover crumbs go to waste, I picked it off the couch to eat. Half a second before popping it into my mouth, I realized that it couldn’t have been mine — I hadn’t eaten chips. Still, even though I had plenty of time to put it down, I figured a chip crumb is a chip crumb. No matter where it came from, it’d be aiight.

A piece of human skin, on the other hand, is not a chip crumb. And no matter who it came from, it’ll never be aiight.

You know how, when you eat a delicate potato flake, it dissolves in your mouth almost immediately? Well… that didn’t happen with this particular potato chip. In fact, with each passing second, it became chewier and chewier until it reached a state of such chewiness that I had to take it out of my mouth for peeping.

As I peeped what I’d thought was a chip crumb, it became clear that it definitely twasn’t. It was rubbery. And semi see-through. It also had fingerprint tracks on it.

It was human flesh.

I later found out that it was my sister Beanie’s human skin. She’d peeled it off her foot earlier in the day, and thought it was such an impressive specimen that she decided to save it on the couch.

P.S. My mom later amended her “obesity gene” diagnosis to “obesity and cannibal gene.”

P.P.S. This link will take you to a video of my cousin who, despite not actually sharing any blood relationship with me, seems to have inherited the same cannibal genes. Make sure you watch through to the end!

ABCs Part II

In a post a two weeks ago, I asked you to guess the theme, other than my home state, my “ABCs of Maine” poems shared. I’ve realized the hints I gave were way too subtle, so this is to help anyone who didn’t get it.

1. My two favorite Barbie dolls (and the only ones I would play with) were named Aaliyah and Jay.

Aaliyah and Jay's modern day counterparts

2. Jake, my best friend in elementary school, gave me a suggestive Michael Jordan card for Valentine’s Day.

He knew me so well

3. When I was eight, I sent Missy Elliot a letter. I thanked her for teaching me to appreciate flies. Seriously.

We so tight that you get our styles tangled

4. Addy was my American Girl (I got her and her sad bed for Christmas one year! And I know what you’re thinking — an American girl and her bed for the same Christmas?! That’s what happens when your parents let you sleep through your favorite part of Christmas day — Christmas dinner. You get a bowl of chocolate ice cream and an extra present to make up for it).

Nice kicks

5. When I was four or five, the type of boy I told my family I liked best was “big, black, muscle-y men.”

I first did a Google image search for "big black muscle men" for #5's picture. I don't recommend you do the same... ever. Just stick with 50 Cent.

Figure it out?

You really might want to rethink reading this

I’m going to tell you something gross about me. Actually — though my happy trail, yellow stankpits, prescription-grade flatulence, and unnecessary candor about my own repulsiveness come in at a close second, third, fourth, and fifth — what I’m about to tell you is absolutely my most disgusting feature.

I get cold sores.

Or rather, I’m plagued by cold sores.

Before I get into it, though, let me make one thing clear: I’ve had cold sores my entire life. So unless you think I was slutting it up in preschool, then please accept that my cold sores are the generic simplex virus kind, not the STD kind. And if you do think that I was slutting it up in preschool, then know that I didn’t even go to preschool. Jokes on you, bitches!

You really think this girl went to preschool? Or slutted it up?!

Anyway, for those of you don’t know, cold sores are blisters’ older brother and shingles’ rebellious daughter (they’re also hermaphrodites). They start with a tingle, grow to a blister, erupt in pus, scab over, crack, bleed, and then finally heal. They usually only sprout up on lips, though I have had quite a few in my nose, too. One time in high school I even got one on my chin! (I told everyone that I fell down and scraped my face; I did not).

For me, almost anything can induce a cold sore. Colds, of course, do it. Then there’s sunburns, wind burns, chapped lips, excitement, nervousness, unripe apples, smacks to the mouth… even hearing the words “cold” and “sore” can set me off. And when my cold sore ticker is tripped, I always do my best to thwart the oncoming blisters. Then, when the Valtrex/Denavir/Abreva/crushed salt/ice/tears inevitably fail me, I spend the next two weeks hiding in shame. I’ve always assumed this was the normal cycle for cold sore sufferers. Apparently it is not.

Let me introduce you to Looura.

I met Looura (probably spelled Laura, but she pronounced it as a Spaniard would) when I was volunteering at an after school program in Barcelona. The first thing I noticed about her was that she had a seriously gruesome cold sore pulsating on her top lip.

The next few things I noticed about her was that she was a tubby little goon with crisscrossed eyes and yellow buckteeth; and that her speech was close to unintelligible, even to other Spanish speakers; and that the top part of her hair – a bowl cut – appeared to have been gnawed by a rat, and the bottom half – dreadlocks – resembled dirty poop logs.

Okay… I know that sounds harsh, but 1) it’s accurate, and 2) I ain’t sugarcoating nothing when she went around fingering her massive, festering wound and cross-contaminating with her grimy ape hands.

I’m mystified she didn’t know the proper protocol, but let me clarify: rubbing equals spreading. Not just to herself, but to anyone who’s touched something she’s previously touched (especially those who are especially sensitive to outbreaks. Like me).

Throughout the evening, Looura continually molested her giant, throbbing cold sore. And even though the sight of it physically sickened me, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I convinced myself that she was innocently oblivious to conventional cold sore care. So, when her lip started bleeding and she smeared blood all over her face, I stifled a gag and pretended not to notice. When she disappeared and came back with a piece of toilet paper to blot her blood, I swallowed some throw up and kept on tutoring.

But when, 20 minutes later, I went to the bathroom and saw that my own chin had a drop of dried blood on it, I no longer empathized with the cretin.

Dramatization

Since I searched myself and found no possible source of blood, I knew, without a doubt, that Looura was to blame. The blood had clearly sailed across the air while she was spewing garbled goontalk and landed on my face.

So, I guess that’s yet another gross thing about me. Someone once spit cold sore blood inches away from my mouth.

I Googled a Lupe Fiasco song for this title

I come from a family of drivers.

Back in the day when I was young (I’m not a kid anymore) my parents used to drive my three sisters and me down to RI and back every summer weekend. When my sister Meg lived in Florida, she drove over 24 hours non-stop to Maine more than once. Since last October, my mom’s put nearly 30,000 miles on a rental car, in addition to the miles she’s put on her own.

We get our drive on.

That’s why driving 6 hours to Pennsylvania, like I did the other day, ain’t no thang. I just put the AC on blast, get my my seat lean on, bump the radio, and cruise the crap out of my Pontiac Vibe.

But, just because I’m used to cruising the crap out of cars, doesn’t mean I particularly like it. It only takes a few miles into a trip before the air conditioning malfunctions, my back hunches, and Chris Brown’s “yellow model chicks” have me wishing my speakers would blow. Luckily, as I’m known to do, I’ve found a fun way to pass the time while driving: daydreaming.

Over the past 22 years I’ve perfected the art of daydreaming. It’s helped me through countless boring classes, boring jobs, boring workouts, and other boring occasions. If you’re looking for a way to get through something boring, let me suggest the daydreams I always find myself back at:

1. I save up for years to buy a $600 video camera. Hours after buying it, I let my sister Beanie borrow it to do some filming at the beach. She, the spazoid she is, drops it into the water moments after I hand it to her. She looks at me with horror (and, at the same time, remorse). But not to fear! I’m not going to beat her up (though she knows I could), ’twas only an accident. I won’t even make her buy me a new one! I’m that nice!

2. I’m a really good dirt biker and can travel really quickly by jumping from roof to roof.

3. I’m a really good skateboarder and can travel really quickly by latching onto the backs of 18-wheelers.

4. As I jalk (jog/walk) down a remote dirt road, I see a bear emerge from the woods. Though I’m initially scared, I sense a kindness in his eyes. And it’s a good thing I do! Turns out he’s not only kind, but also fluent in English. We become fast friends. By the end of the day he introduces me to his newborn cubs.

Picture I took while babysitting

5. All the cars in the northbound lane are fleeing from a giant in a hammock somewhere in Rhode Island. Apparently they don’t know that giants in hammocks are never violent.

Hope this helped — if you need more suggestions, let me know!

P.S. I’m not trying to pretend that 90% of my daydreams 90% of my day isn’t spent daydreaming about serendipitously running into Patrick Stump/other studs, falling in love, and getting proposed to prematurely. I just didn’t think anyone needed advice on how to daydream about that.

When Pedigree turns deadly/How dog food can put you in the hospital

Chico turns two today! And after his recent bout of kennel cough and squirt of skunk stink to the dome, I’m sure he’s excited to get buck wild his birthday. I’m planning on joining in on the celebrations — I love that little mufugga.

"This leather smells fab."

I love almost everything about him — I love him all the way from his beady monkey eyes to his wagging tail stub. The only thing I don’t love about Chico is that, when it comes to eating, he’s a bit of a prima donna. Nothing’s ever good enough for his sophisticated puppy palate.

He’s such a picky eater, in fact, that sometimes my mom gets so frustrated with his dogorexia that she flops herself down on the floor and feeds the little diva by hand. I find this troublesome.

But it’s not the sight of my mom spoon-feeding the dog that bothers me so much; it’s the fact that the food she spoon-feeds him is wet dog food, not dry dog food. I really like dry dog food.

Or, to be more specific, I really like the smell of dry dog food.

I first discovered my love for the smell of dog food with our old dog, Halle. She was the opposite of Chico – both physically and foodically.

She was giant; Chico is mini.

Halle’s meals were stored in a trash bin and consisted of Pedigree dry dog food. When she got hungry, she’d knock her aluminum bowl with her Schnauzer schnoz, and wait for one of her faithful Conns to come a-running. I tried to always be the one to answer her calling. Not only did I get to serve my precious Halle, but I got some quality dog food-sniffing time. Sadly enough, this lovely habit ended with a night in the hospital.

A Cautionary Tale

My junior year of high school, I was the V.I.P. of the high school basketball team. I balled out of control so hard — blocking and rebounding and boxing out and whatnot — that I swung between varsity and J.V. They needed my talent for every league, and I was happy to comply.

One night, as I shot around during halftime of a varsity game (and after totally dominating a J.V. one), my chest started hurting something awful. Every inhale of breath was as sharp and jagged as my pointy chin.

Contorting my jaw like that really hurt.

At first I decided the chest pain was just fatigue; after all, two intense games of basketball back-to-back ain’t for the faint of chest. Then, when I remembered that I’d played lazily during the J.V. game and had yet to play even a minute in the varsity one, I decided physical exertion couldn’t have been the cause.

I did the only thing I could think of doing — I whined to the coach and the athletic trainer. They both ignored me (and why wouldn’t they? I wasn’t actually the V.I.P… just the space cadet who wore men’s size 13 moon boots to practice), so I toughed it out for the rest of the game by not moving (this was surprisingly easy).

By the time the game ended and I got back home, my chest was hurting worse than ever. Though hopeful that it was just a boob spurt, I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. I knew, boob spurt or not, I needed a doctor’s opinion.

The doctor’s opinion, of course, was that I was overreacting. Still, she humored me by X-raying mah shit. And boy, did my X-rayed shit offer some insight into mah shit.

Basically, my lungs were popping off, literally.

The alveoli on my lungs had burst and were leaking air throughout my body. The leaked air had my neck sounding like Rice Krispies and some important organs on the verge of collapse. Afraid my entire system might snap, crackle, and crash, the doctor lady had me spend the night at the hospital. She wanted to monitor my vital signs and, since she’d never seen it before, do some research on my condition.

After a restless night of Roseanne reruns and poop-inducing machine beeps, the doctor came back to tell me her findings. Apparently, popped lungs are common amongst crack smokers — the way they inhale crack so deeply sometimes causes their alveoli to explode. Since I hadn’t started hitting the pipe at that point, the doctor attributed my own case of popped lungs to my intense basketball regime.

But the second she said “inhale really deeply” I knew what had caused my episode: dog food.

Like I’ve already mentioned, every time I’d refill Halle’s bowl, I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as humanly possible.

I’d whiff her dog food as intensely as addicts inhale crack.

I’d whiff her dog food intensely enough to send me to the hospital for the night.*

Now, thankfully (and heartbreakingly), with Chico and his vile wet food, I’m no longer at risk for dog food huffing. I will admit, however, I still enjoy an occasional waft from the pet food aisle at the grocery store.

*Ben Gay may have played a small part in my popped lungs, too.

P.S. The smells of dry horse, cat, and rabbit food are also delicious.

Una Jarcha de Amor

Two years ago, I started experimenting with Spanish poetry. Since I’m so artistic and deep and everything, the majority of my experiments fared pretty well. The most successful, I’d say, were my jarchas — short, sassy love poems. Here was my crowning glory (continue reading for the English translation):

Madre, hermanas y amigas, escúchame,
por favor, escúchame.
Mi amado se fue,
y ahora, quiero morir.

No sé sus razones.
No explicó a mí.
La sola cosa que yo sé
es quiero morir

Le amo con toda mi corazón.
Pasé todos mis días con él.
 ¿Me comprendes, madre?
Este hombre fue mi mundo.

Pero ahora no tengo un mundo.
No he comido desde se fue,
no voy a comer.
Voy a llorar por la pérdida del mi querido.

Para el resto de mi vida,
Lloraré por mi amado.
Mis ojos nunca se secarán.
Tendré dos mares sobre mi cara.

Porque le amo, le amo, le amo
Y me odio.

Its English translation:

Mother, sisters and (female) friends, listen,
please listen to me.
My beloved is gone,
and now I want to die.

I do not know his reasons.
He did not explain them to me.
The only thing I know
is I want to die

I love him with all my heart.
I spent all my days with him.
Do you understand, mother?
This man was my world.

But now I don’t have a world.
I have not eaten since he left,
I will not eat.
I will mourn the loss of my dear.

For the rest of my life,
I will cry for my beloved.
My eyes will never dry.
I will have two oceans on my face.

Because I love him, love him, love him
And I hate myself.

P.S. This masterpiece of shiz was actually for a Spanish literature class my junior year of college. Imagine how proud I felt when I got to read it aloud to my peers!

P.P.S. It’s about Patrick Stump.

My best (and only) action figure is also about Patrick Stump. Thanks, Gregg!

ABCs of ABC

In my bedroom closet in Maine, jammed between Happy Meal Inspector Gadgets, mini-skateboards, and homemade Benjamin Franklin puppets, sits a poetry book titled “The ABCs of Maine.” Its author is me, circa 1998, and its concept is simple: each letter of the alphabet begins a Maine-related word. For example: A is for Appalachian Trail.

In it are activities like watching Chickadees (Maine state bird), tracking scat (Maine animal poop), and cutting zucchini (Maine produce). All the poems, however, have something other than Maine in common. See if you can guess what it is.

"H stands for hunting, getting those deer; those darn hunters don't even care!"

"I stands for ice, during a bad storm; it sure isn't very darn warm."

Can't see the poem, but I bet it started with "R stands for racoon" and had the word "darn" in it.

"T stands for tree. You may think trees are in every state; ??? but those states were discovered too late!"

"I pas dere first, Arnold."

Can you guess the theme?

(I’ll give you a hint… it has something to do with the type of boy I told my family, at age 4 or 5, I liked best.)