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Ho ho ho, ha ha ha

Reading Stef’s most recent entry got me to thinking about how people online present their pasts, frequently pitched to portray themselves as hard-knocks outsiders who by dint of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity, have become the exquisite souls they are today. In these memoirs, you don’t get the story about how the teller convinced her little brother to eat a bowl of mud under the pretense that it was a cup of pudding. You don’t get the donnybrook between the teller and her mother over a pair of $50 acid washed jeans with zippers up the backs of the calves, that the heroine was sure would make her one of the cool kids this year. Fer sher.

Typically, the teller makes herself (or himself, as there are plenty of dudes out there who were preciously precocious, dontchaknow?) exceedingly advanced and prescient for his/her age. Reading chapter books at age 4, skipped a grade, bored in school, maybe did AP, tormented in highschool because of being too mature to take part in the usual teenaged hijinks, sailed through college summa cum laude, pausing only to try marijuana once and not like it, and possibly to read Atlas Shrugged and drink a great deal of expensive and foul coffee and talk too loudly in Starbucks about dichotomies and Sartre.

Well, you ain’t getting none-a that here. I’m freely willing to admit that I learned to read properly at age 7, and while I could read above grade level from 4th grade on, I mostly read kid-lit, and some of it was perfectly dreadful stuff. Taffy Sinclair anyone??? I did innumerable idiotic things, including stick a bathtub plug to my forehead when I was nine and end up with an enormous red hickey in the center of my forehead that lasted the better part of a fortnight. I did all the grades of school in the usual time, and got a number of Cs, a couple of Ds, and was usually reasonably satisfied with school, though of course I’d rather have been reading or drawing paperdolls. Yes, I was unpopular in highschool, by dint of being ugly, having my own take on fashion, having a bizarre sense of humor, and being taken for a lesbian in ultraconservative rural Nebraska. Luckily a decade of repressing unpleasant memories can do wonders for a person’s functionality, and now I hardly even remember the day that Angie stole my poetry notebooks (of course I had poetry notebooks) or the day I snapped at Josh and kicked him in the ass, whereupon his girlfriend kicked me in the ass and I farted on her foot. Where was I? Oh yes, I smoked weed in college. Quite a lot of weed, and dammit, I liked it. And now that I’m all grown up and mundane as I can be, I work as a glorified file clerk, and happily married, and live in a homely little bungalow in Kansas City, Missouri. Not in the least exquisite or extraordinary, unless you consider it extraordinary that I have managed to dye my ass blue not only once, but twice.

Anyhow, in resounding agreement with Stef, I believed in Santa, too when I was a kid–up until I was 8, if I recall, when I came across “the truth” in a book I was reading–probably a Judy Blume. I wasn’t that devastated, ’cause I’d had a pretty good run of it, and my gran gave us great stuff, anyway, so I wouldn’t be missing out on much if our parents decided to give up the Santa ruse. And I remember when I still believed in Santa Claus, when I was 7, and I was wishing with all my might for a “magic kit” out of the Sears catalogue, which contained a number of plastic devices to aid in juvenile slight-of-hand tricks. When this box of gadgets was unsheathed from its wrapping paper, I experienced that little bit of magic that fantasy can generate.

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