AGAINST ONE’S WILL

My mother once told me I was destined for drama on the big screen. She also told me I was destined to be handcuffed to the oven door handle if I didn’t clean my room. And beating kitchen utensils against my headboard to get me out of bed in the morning didn’t make me move any faster. I’m sure she would have cried if I ran away, although she probably cried when I didn’t. I just hope all my protests I demonstrated didn’t spoil her enjoyment of parenting.

Another thing my creator did against my will was wash my hair in the tub when I was little. Water always got into my eyes. Then Mama added a few sisters, which made way too many Tinkel-belles in the bathwater. Pee in pools and the wash basin is probably the main reason I have all these side effects. That kind of urethra release does not boost the stimulation of any swimmer or bather. I didn’t need the exothermic expulsion of other siblings body fluids. I loved my family, but not when the bathtub was turned into a blemished body of water set for stewing in someone’s juices. Mom told me to stay in the contaminated reservoir until I was clean. Which made no sense to me. Now I take long soothing bubble baths without anyone whom I think might taint my tub.

Playing has long been a pre-occupation, such as dressing the dog in a bonnet and forcing him into a baby buggy when I was eight. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want to be held captive while being whipped around the driveway at warp speeds. He was a little scared of me. Once I found our pooch four blocks away, I held him down again attempting to comb his hair. I also liked playing school in the garage. But my siblings didn’t like being forced against their will to sit there as students, which is the reason they started skipping class. That, and the fact that I made them sit up straight and give me a list of conjunctive adverbs. I didn’t know any, so someone had to tell me what they were. I never paid any attention to my teachers either. Detainees just can’t stand the emotions that we are called upon to endure. Lunchtime was the only thing that induced any kind of pleasure. Although I would have enjoyed my life a whole lot more had I been eating at the beach instead of an educational facility. I asked Mom on several occasions if I could play hooky. But she said hell had already frozen over and was not accepting any more demons.

One time our cat caught a cricket and would not let go without a fight. It was a clear indication of who wanted custody. That bit of weevil and cat tenacity taught me never to be held hostage against my free will. They’d have to threaten me with a branding iron first. Now that I think about it, bureaucratic tax enforcement agents hold me hostage. I will pay what I owe. Even if I have to borrow from the federal government to do it. After postmortem pet lizard, came my mother’s investigation into the postmortem piggy bank. I filled coins faithfully into my pink hog after my parent’s insistence on saving. Coming from a large family, we never asked for anything when Mom and Dad went shopping. One day Mom asked if I wanted to go to the store with her. I craved red licorice at the time, so I retreated to my bedroom searching for the omnivorous container holding the coins that would cover the cost of my craving. Then I ran for the hammer, obviously prepared to bust the bank. I found the nail gun instead. Evidently it’s bad form using this sort of tool with overt aggressiveness thus having metal shrapnel and shards of ceramic poking holes in the lamp shade. It ended in mortal conflict with my Mama. Not to mention siblings hovering with stares and appreciative scowls. If my mother had known I was saving for a Mark Eden breast developer, maybe she would have let me spend my money on licorice. Being thoroughly interrogated, I became troubled with her line of questioning and was forced to stay home. I felt it was a bit hasty, never mind totally against my will to be that claustrophobically confined to my sleeping quarters. I wanted to move to Peru where goats could raise me. Though I doubt goats are that great to live with either.

No one wants to be held coercively. Especially by nail cosmeticians. The last one planted me in a spa chair and submerged my feet into a rushing vat of scalding water made of certain crystals and for all I know, the glands and guts of a desert mole rat. Then she disappeared for the next forty-five excruciating minutes. I continued my spasmodic attacks of pure toenail neglect, brought on by this foreign speaking woman for which I was at her total mercy. She strolled by me several times saying, “I be there two minute.” I started a series of interesting sounds, none remotely pleasant or admired by fellow spa sitters. I would have left had my hooves not transformed into trench feet, plus my nails still needed pruning and polishing. Too much water is just a recipe for dermatitis, unless you need it to build a bay. Maybe she didn’t know my day was filled with other vital activities like the supermarket triathlon and cleaning the cupboard calisthenics. My salonist originally assured me of a prompt time frame, but cheated me out of valuable post office step aerobics as well. I should have been handed a free coupon for my next visit… GOOD FOR ONE RAPTUROUS DAY IN PRISON.

Those spa people sure look at you funny when you leave chewed gum as a tip.

ESTROGEN-ARIAN ALLIES

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” John Burroughs

Girlfriends are like having a fresh-load-of-laundry thrown at you, without the static cling. My friendly playmates and I understand that in times of desperation, friends don’t let friends drive over a cliff. Plus calling each other 77,000 times a week does not imply stalking. It just means we have to tell each other something. BADLY. It’s best to find good girlfriends in case our male mates leave us. We have often thought about a Golden Girls scenario where we’ll spend the rest of human eternity under one roof engaging in some high-spirited shenanigans. We like referring to each other as desirous seasoned hussies. The moment you realize most of your friends share the same debauched sense of humor, you’re not exactly sure whether to be pleased, or petrified.

We have never questioned why we weren’t born boys. We like being delicate flowers. What we don’t like is the wilting and drying out. Here’s the thing about old girlfriends. You can rely on them to carry a pursed inventory of mints, moisturizers, Macy’s coupons, personal pan pizzas, flasks, and keys to a hidden hideaway if you need a place to flee. If you go shopping together, they will carefully examine sizes and styles as if they are border inspectors. They will safeguard you with persuasive mammogram screenings, promising that they won’t turn your boobies into radioactive beaver tails. I went more willingly when a friend bribed me with lunch. If she treated to breakfasts, dinners, or Prada pumps, I’d get mammograms more often.

My girlfriends make me colorful cocktails and relish the opportunity to hold mine while they distract me. They have stood by me through thick and thinning hair, and I love the fact that I can tell the same story five times and they will switch conversations so I don’t look like a stupe. We’ve never been into mind games, although words frequently forgotten may force me to act them out through Charades. Life doesn’t always supply us with every amusement, so we invent new ones. But I’m really a terrible phone conversationalist. It’s probably the only time I give someone the silent treatment. My friendships have been built on the firm foundation of loyalty and the talk of one day getting physically active. We aren’t the world’s most watchful calorie counters. I come from a long friendship line of bakery loving beauties who continue to avoid opportunities to bench press. It’s not their fault that they bypass the gym and end up at Costco, and go home with extra large containers of pastries. Eating at their homes is like eating at a large town buffet. I never go home hungry. Or thirsty. Not that healthiness doesn’t run in my circle of chums. Nobody runs in my circle of chums. Paraphrasing Sinatra, “I’ve got you and your hydrogenates under my skin.”

We all have our vices. Without concealing names, I’ll give you a slight character portrait of my pals. Virgo taught me that tire irons have many uses. Leo says size does matter when it comes to Mai-Tai’s. Gemini is rich. Platinum teeth, copper tan, lead feet, iron in her arteries. Pisces believes that extreme shopping is not a mental illness and that everyone needs to buy four outfits per day. Scorpio is always late, but worth the wait. The IRS may not put up with her, but I do. She’s got this theory that it’s better to be late than to arrive looking awful. Then there’s Libra. Through every cell of her saintliness can become Rambo rigorous and raring to take on someone who crosses me. Sagittarius shares this idealized image of us atop shiny mares riding away from all evils. Although we will probably end up horse thrown and burning somewhere in the afterlife. Taurus can get suicidal. Her mood depends on where she is in her life cycle. If she’s slim, she’s ecstatic. If she’s the slightest bit overweight, picture Goddess-zilla.

I have my worries about new friends. Heaven forbid if I invite them for drinks and dinner they have olive or peanut butter sandwich allergies. Hopefully they will still like me after the allergic reaction. It would be my greatest last dying wish to say, “I’m leaving you ten grand under the…” and sincerely hope I don’t croak before compensating them. I make friends fairly easily, with certain exceptions. I was at a dueling pianos eatery when I asked the darling insightful teen waitress and possible future friend of mine what a hanger steak was. Which I found out later is a cut of beef prized for its flavor and derived from the diaphragm of a steer. This girl told me, “Geez lady, it comes from a cow.” Not to mention she got my drink order totally wrong by bringing me a very little liquor filled martini with a lime instead of my usual 99% vodka with five cherries. I had this feeling, woohoo, that the night was going to be a good good but long night. I quickly summed up that I had enough children friends in my life.

I value one lady friend who is 82 years young and an absolute charm. She phoned to inform me that she has a terminal condition. I froze. Then I heard, “The condition is called old age.” She must have giggled for three solid minutes. Lassie used to be my idol. To all the females now that I adore…I’m glad your parents were reckless with birth control. And thanks for keeping an array of precious cargo in your purses. I hold a special place for you half a millimeter away from my pulmonary valve. We’ll be friends till we are senile, then wear friendship bracelets to remind us that we are friends.