It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
Mothers shield their young children’s ears from hearing stories of it.
Still, it happens to the best of us, and it happened to me just this past weekend.
Allow me to start from the beginning. Husband’s family had a Christmas gathering at a local restaurant and the group was leaving. I decided to use the restroom before we left since we planned to do some shopping afterward.
Normally, I wouldn’t give so many details about my toilet habits, but this is an essential part of the story. You see, I really had to pee. After that long and satisfying emptying of my bladder, I reached for the toilet paper and got this:
Both luckily and unluckily for me, I heard someone in the stall next to me. I had a decision to make: to ask for toilet paper or not?
Many thoughts went through my head. She was rustling around and grunting over there. It sounded like things weren’t going in her favor. Do I dare speak up and bother her in the midst of her crisis of the bowels? The other option left me in a
wet sticky bad situation, as well. I decided that I’d better speak up before she left and I missed my opportunity, leaving me with wet pants.
“Um, excuse me. Would whoever is in the stall next to me mind passing me some toilet paper? This stall is out.”
To my surprise, a jolly Latina accented voice replied, “Yes, but wait a minute, please. No problem.”
More grunting and rustling.
“Sorry, it’ll be just a little bit longer,” she said.
“No problem,” I told her. So I waited. More grunting.
Finally, she passed a gargantuan mass of paper under the stall divider.
“Here you go. Is that enough?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Thank you so much.”
I figured when I walked out to wash my hands and saw her at the sink that we would have one of those closed-lipped smiles, share an awkward knowing glance, and she would be on her way. Instead, I made a new lifelong friend.
In broken English, she rattled on something about her son and needing to get back home. I made the expected polite responses, but I seriously have no idea what we actually talked about. I do remember that we talked about how finding no paper in your stall is the absolute worst. I’m also pretty sure that we exchanged cookie recipes and I have a necklace now with “Best” and she has the other half that says “Friends”.
I walked toward the front door of the restaurant and Husband was sitting on a bench.
“What the hell were you doing all this time? Did you fall in or something?”
“Ugh. My stall was out of paper and I had to ask some random lady next to me for some. It was so embarrassing,” I responded.
Husband gave me a stern, questioning look. “Did you sit down on the toilet seat?”
Ok, cue the scratching record sound for a small back story. Husband and I have had this ‘sitting on the toilet seat’ argument more than once. He’s a true germaphobe at times and one time, the fight was so bad that I finally conceded defeat and promised him that I would never again sit on a public toilet seat. I’m serious.
So anyway, I instantly knew that this funny story I was telling him was going to turn down a treacherous path, and quickly. There really was no escaping the interrogation. I’m a terrible liar, so I couldn’t just say no. And if I said yes, he was going to flip.
“Well, I had to. I had no choice. There was no paper and I had to wait for the woman next to me to pass some, and I caught her at a bad time.” The feeble joke clearly made no difference in his mood.
So, a fleetingly short, but still uncomfortable fight ensued. I had to hear for the 27th time about the dangers of public toilet seats, such as herpes, MRSA, AIDS, and Kristin Stewart movies. I had to promise (again, but really really promise, like for real this time) that the toilet seat and my thighs are never, ever, ever, getting back together. Like, ever.
I fear that most of you who are reading this don’t know what you’ve gotten into.
You see, most of you – I’m speaking to my dear subscribers – joined me this week in response to the post “What Every Music Teacher Wants You To Know.” And you see, that’s not a great representation of what this blog is. The featured post was tagged under “Education” and I’m sure you all expect this to be a teacher blog. It’s not.
“Well then, what is it?” you ask. Shhh. *strokes your hair* I will make it all clear in time, dear reader.
For some yet to be discovered reason, the WordPress gods smiled upon me on Monday and bestowed my very first blogging honor: Freshly Pressed. Of course, that’s what brought most of you here. Let me tell you what life on this blog was like before this week. It was lonely. Sometimes I would have conversations with my echoes. Even they didn’t care enough to read it. I abandoned the blog for many months, after accepting that no one besides my close friends would ever read it. When I came crawling back last month, there were cobwebs on my Stats page. I was down to about 12 hits per day.
I was feeling inspired and ready to write again. I had an idea about ranting about the sorry stereotypes of music teachers, so I clicked “New Post.” The website coughed up a tumbleweed and asked me if I was sure.
Me: Yes, I’m sure. Now give me the damn text box so I can write it.
WordPress: Ooh. Looks like someone’s feeling spunky today. Like anyone is going to actually read this drivel? It went really well for you the last 15 times.
Me: Ok, so it’s not going to become an international phenomenon. I get it. But my 25 or so music teacher friends will probably read it, and maybe even Like it on Facebook.
WordPress: Whatever. It’s not like you have anything else exciting going on here. Give it a shot. Your perseverance is adorable.
And so I published the post. I woke up Monday morning and opened my laptop. My email indicated 160 new emails. Wtf? I usually have about 6. They were all from WordPress. What the hell? I was even more baffled when I logged on here and saw about 43 new comments – more than I had received in all of my previous posts combined. I started to read them and responded to every one. About 10 comments down, I got my answer.
They were congratulating me on being Freshly Pressed.
For a second, I was convinced they were playing a cruel joke on me. My blog is a needle in the haystack of the blogging world. How could anyone think to find mine? After heading to wordpress.com, I realized it was true. There I was, front and center.
Naturally, this has been a glorious week (and for my stats) and I’ve been blown away by all of the kind comments and generous reblogs. I can’t thank everyone enough for reading and taking the time to click “follow.”
But, I feel that I have to come clean.
I’ve deceived you on our blind date. I’m not who I pretended to be. I write about potty humor. After all, my most recent post had the word “poop” in the title. I make fun of people – usually, myself. I tell stories about my family that no one should have to experience, but I do, so I feel that the least I can do is share them with you.
I hope that you all stick around and read anyway. Judging from my stats page, that’s not going to be the case.
Yeah, I know the number on top looks nice, but check out the views on all the other posts. I’m such a one-hit-wonder, I make “MmmBop” look good.
So, whaddya say? Can I have a second date?
When I was about eight years old, I started piano lessons. I really have no idea why I started taking them. There isn’t a conversation in which I remember discussing this with my mom. Honestly, my first memories of piano lessons are of simply being in a room the size of a closet with a 30-something prude who would put check marks and smiley faces next to the exercises that I had mastered in the book.
I still shudder at the thought of those check marks.
Every week, she would assign something as homework for the next lesson, the same way I do now with my band students. For some reason, that check mark was really intimidating to my third grade brain. It was as if she were standing behind me as I practiced, scolding me for bad hand position and missing accidentals.
My main memory of piano lessons actually has nothing to do with the piano. The adult in me says that my audience might not find it as funny as I do, but the child in me says keep typing, so here I go. My family was always very open in our home. We never felt the need to stifle our enjoyment of potty humor and thus, we never apologized for rude noises at home. During one particular lesson, my worst nightmare came true. It turns out that a piano bench, with its flat wood structure and hollow middle for storing music, is a wonderful amplifier for noise. Yes, I farted during a piano lesson.
My teacher looked as shocked as I felt. I’m sure she thought about ignoring it for my sake, but instead she asked, “What do you say?”
I didn’t know.
Normally at home, the response would simply have been to laugh. Now I realized, all too late, that there was some sort of protocol in civilized society for this situation, and I had never been taught.
“I’m sorry?” The look on my teacher’s face indicated I had guessed the wrong response.
“Say excuse me.” And I did.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this little foray into my two year stint in piano lessons is that I never really learned to play the piano. Our piano ended up being repossessed and I had to stop lessons. My piano lessons were a great primer for the instrument I ended up playing for life, which is the flute. Don’t ask me why I chose the flute. I’m pretty sure that I only chose it because it didn’t require reeds and I was trying to save my mom money. (Our family’s financial situation was bleak, to put it mildly.)
So here I am, 16 years later, and it has occurred to me that I should have learned a cooler instrument. I mean, seriously, how often is the flute featured in popular music?
Anyone says Jethro Tull, I’ll cut you. My mom bought me a couple CDs when I was in middle school and I couldn’t stomach it. Now, the Marshall Tucker Band is a whole different story. Badass.
Overall, you never hear the flute used in a cool way. Piano, though, is used all the time. It’s versatile. It’s…just cool.
Allow me to cite some examples of why I probably should have stuck with the piano lessons.
First of all, Matt Bellamy of Muse’s Rachmaninov-inspired piano intro to “Space Dementia”:
Regina Spektor’s ballad “Samson”:
Amy Lee of Evanescence begins gently, but turns “Your Star” into a collage of crunching guitar and arpeggiated piano:
One of the greatest piano rockers needs no introduction for “Crocodile Rock”:
Ben Folds is one of my inspirations for improving my piano skills. Here’s “Zac and Sara”:
And yes, it’s cliche, but I have to include the original piano rocker, Ludvig van Beethoven. “Moonlight Sonata” is one of the pieces that inspired me to teach music.
Had I not stopped piano lessons about 17 years ago, I could have been pretty good by now. And much cooler. I guess I need to start practicing again.
Just don’t expect to see any check marks on my music any time soon.
We’re all on a mission of some sort.
For some, their mission is to become a better person, or donate more money to charity. For others, it’s to get to that booger that’s way in the back and has gotten all hard and pointy. Other people are trying to see how many times they can scratch their butt in public without being caught. (“I’m up to five, bro! Up top!”) Some people in my community are on a mission to see how many years they can shun the dentist and still keep that one tooth in the front. I know someone who calls it Chomper. Still, others are on a mission to make all teachers seem to be the human reincarnation of Satan in our country. There’s a reason I remain anonymous on here. (Oh no, she di’int just get on a political soapbox on a humor blog! *z-snap*)
Anyway, the point is, we all have a mission in life.
Chances are, you came to this blog on a mission for porn.
You see, I have a slight obsession with checking my stats. In the past week, about 60% of my hits were referred from a Google Images search. Nearly all of those image searches include the name “Jenna Marbles” and some sort of body part or adjective. Just look:
This list makes me proud to be a woman. I mean, instead of searches for “jenna marbles smart” or “jenna marbles funny,” we have searches for her full body, boobs, under wear (btdubs, it’s one word, you horny moron), and legs. As Jenna has stated in her “How To Get Ready For A Date” vlog, we’re all sexual objects, anyway. We shouldn’t try to be interesting, or intelligent, or wear anything that won’t show off our “sweater puppies.”
So, go ahead, you 15 year old perverts. Keep searching for “jenna marbles hot” and “jenna marbles boobies” (Yeah, I got that one today. They can’t be any older than 14 for that big boy wording). Continue to type things like “moms cleavage” into your Google search box.
Back up the freaking Oedipal train.
Someone was searching for moms cleavage and found my blog?? And I thought I had issues. I bet they were really disappointed when they clicked here. This is probably the same kind of kid who was breastfeeding until age 6. Ah, mom’s cleavage. Makes me feel so cuddly, warm and safe. Amirite???? (And covered in baby powder.)
So, thanks to the 10% of you who actually stop by and read. To the other 90% of you, keep searching for your porn. I admire someone who has perseverance. I hope you achieve your goal. (Crossed the line?)
Let’s travel in time to this past Saturday, shall we? My work-out buddy (hereby known as E, until I decide a better moniker for her) and I had our initial session with our new trainer, Heather. E and I got to the gym right on time for our 12 pm appointment, and waited. And waited. Heather finally decided to stroll toward our table around 12:10, plopped into her chair open-legged, and began talking with absolutely no introduction.
“Mbghio bfji rghio gthjiob tihhjri. Bdfijiti bhi ghign?”
That’s all I heard for two reasons.
You know those girls who make you do a double-take when they talk because their voice sounds like Barry White?
The second reason is that she was mumbling in her muffled baritone toward the table. No eye contact. Something about metabolism, and water, and what do I eat. I answered her in my usual intelligent manner, making eye contact with the side of her face:
“Uhhh…I used to eat bad stuff….like…fried stuff and whatever, but now I eat good stuff, like fruits and vegetables, and like, turkey and stuff.” Man. I should really think about going into the nutrition field if this teaching thing doesn’t work out.
This intelligent exchange continued for the next five minutes or so, as Heather muttered into the table and shoved papers toward us to sign. I started to wonder if she would notice if I started answering her questions using only Barry White song titles since she seemed so uninterested in my answers.
Heather: So, what are your goals?
Me: Staying Power.
Heather: Have you had a trainer before?
Me: You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.
Heather: Do you have any specific areas on which you’d like to focus?
Me: Honey Please Can’t Ya See? You See The Trouble With Me.
Heather: Ok, we’re gonna go over here so I can measure you.
Me: I’ll Do For You Anything You Want Me To.
On Tuesday, it was time for our first workout. Heather led us to a corner of the gym and
adjusted her package demonstrated the leg circuit for us. After the third time through it, there was a nuclear war happening in my thighs. She wanted us to do it ONE MORE TIME.
Since I’m paying for this, I want to give it my all. I’m not giving up. (Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up) I powered through the fourth time, huffing and puffing, wiping my nose on my shirt sleeve, then dropping the kettlebell to the floor and guzzling water. My heart rate was somewhere in the 340 range. That may have been slightly exaggerated.
We started to walk toward the bench press and I was feeling like a champ. I made it! My 11-inch thighs are gonna be ripped!
Then, things started looking a little strange.
White spots filled my vision. Stomach churned. Room was spinning.
Great. Instead of impressing Barr…Heather with my outstanding endurance, I’m now sitting on a bench, breathing deeply and wondering if she would crush my head between her thighs if I puked right here. I’ve always been good at first impressions.
“You ok?” (What Am I Gonna Do With You) “You’d better take a walk.” (Baby, We Better Try To Get It Together)
Three days later, my legs are still sore. Barry’s on a mission to kill me, but if it gets me ripped, I can handle it. Just don’t expect me to look like one of those female bodybuilders. I haven’t had time to stock my baby oil supply
Shiny, metallic pants must have been all the rage when I was in eighth grade. At least, I thought that was the case because I had three pairs of them in a variety of colors as my complete wardrobe that year.
Have you ever gone through old journals or pictures of yourself and thought, “Who allowed Richard Simmons to be my stylist?” or, “What would compel me to chronicle the details of eating at Frisch’s with my family as a quality diary entry?”
Going through boxes of childhood memorabilia can be a very humbling experience. Everyone tells you while you’re a teenager that you’re young and dumb, and of course that’s the last thing any kid wants to hear or believe. I went through a box of old stuff the other day and was appalled at how inane my writing was. The evidence that I encountered in that box argued that this is probably true. I decided that I must have been the most annoying thing on Earth in 1998 aside from Beanie Babies.
Exhibit A: Me at the pool with a friend, my grandma, and my sister. I’m probably about 10 or 11 here and if you could see Grandma’s “WTF” expression, you would know even she thought I was a lunatic.
Another poor life decision. Someone needed to have a unibrow intervention with me. (Just imagine brows like Bert and Ernie.) Also, sneakers should never have been worn with that outfit.
You see, the root of the problem is that my only example of fashion at this point in life was my mother. Mom dressed me until I was in fifth grade. There are pictures of me as a fourth grader sporting sweatsuits with cats, hearts and glitter on them. Even in 1995, this wasn’t acceptable. That was the day of bowl cuts, Michael Jordan jerseys, and flannel shirts. Wearing purple cotton from head to 4-inches-above-toe was how Mom thought I should roll. With that being said, we move to another disturbing image that I foreshadowed earlier.
There are almost no words for this. As I mentioned before, I had three pairs of these metallic pants in silver, pink, and gold. I owned no other pants besides these, as those who haven’t blocked middle school memories from their minds can attest. We won’t even go into the wig and hat.
We now move to the high school years. It came time for my freshman homecoming dance and my mom volunteered to do my hair. This ended up being the one and only time that my mom did my hair. You would think that the fact that she, to this day, has a mullet as her choice of hair style would be a gigantic red flag. However, it happened, and for hours that night, my friends had a multitude of laughs at this:
I was teased almost as much as my hair was that night.
Unfortunately, that was far from the end of my poor choices. This last gem falls into the “awkward prom photo” category. The best part about this one is that I coerced my now-husband into growing out his hair for my prom. Thus, I created a tragic image for both of us to treasure for life.
There are so many places to go with this one. Starting with the obvious, you have the awkward prom pose. Next, you have my horrid dress color choice, which blends into my pasty albino skin. Then, the decision to wear gloves which are too big for my spindly arms and a tiara, which no one should ever wear unless their mother is the queen. Finally, you can see I forced him into growing a circa 1999 Justin Timberlake white boy ‘fro, which speaks for itself.
Luckily, I attended Miami University (aka J. Crew U) after high school, where I learned that you never match your eyeshadow to your shirt and wearing screen printed tees with clever sayings is not as attractive as you might think.
I would call the subject of this post my awkward phase, but it’s not exactly a phase when it lasts for 20 years, is it?
It makes me feel better to know that everyone can relate with feelings of shame about your younger years. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?
Awkward pat on the shoulder, at least?