Fond Recollections of…Oh My God – Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel!

Until yesterday, I deluded myself into believing that heatheronarock.com hits from Italy, India, Brazil, the UK and Australia were due to the site’s globally-appreciated, funky-fresh humour and fast-growing popularity. Then I discovered the search terms/phrases which led interweb crawlers to, inadvertently, click on this blog. There were several. Some I can’t repeat due to their high raunch factor. Amongst the tame-just-funny to moderately raunchy, here were some of my faves:

ultra thin yoga mat
black girl boobs pierced
pube changes for teenagers
they f*^# on a soft red satin sheet
letters shaved in their pubes
chase swamp people
sexy love letters
boobs at mudder runs

[That last one is both perplexing and awesome. I invite you, musical friends (mom, you’re still taking piano lessons, right?), to consider using it as your next album title.]

I feel bad for the poor fourteen-year-old dude who just wanted to confirm the normality of his chaotic pubes.

I initially wanted to speak to each search phrase so that the searches were not in vain. But for obvious reasons (hi dad!), delving too deeply into most of these topics would quickly change the tone of this blog. Maybe get me arrested.

So instead I’ll discuss something a little tamer but equally sexy and risque:

My dwindling memory and short attention span.

[Holla if ya feel me.]

It all started four weeks ago when I came home to have my usual 2 pm nap. I was out cold the second my head hit the pillow. About thirty minutes into my coma, I was awakened by pounding on the condo door. I must emphasize pounding because when I nap, let me tell you, it takes just-short-of jumping on my face to wake me.

Anyway, I went out and the guy tells me I left my keys in the door.

Gosh golly, jeez. Thank ya, mister, I said.

[Note: exact wording may be altered to enhance reading experience and better illustrate my preferred recollection of the event, as having occurred in an episode of Little Rascals.]

I grabbed the keys out of the lock and was drooling on my pillow again within thirty seconds.

I woke up about an hour later and was in a panic because I was late for my evening shift at the clinic. I was frantically digging through the fridge for something to take for supper. I moved the hummus. And there, in the back of the fridge, behind the hummus, were my fucking keys.

Yes, the same keys that I’d left in the door.

So what this meant was: I’d taken the keys out of the door and somewhere between closing the door and being unconscious less than a minute later, I opened the fridge, moved items out of the way to get to the back of the fridge, and carefully laid the keys there.

Unbelievable. Especially since I’m usually not even responsible enough to put food back that promptly.

[That’s actually untrue. Fadder drilled into our heads from an early age the importance of putting “the perishables” away immediately after dinner. Sit around as long as you like, sure. Dirty dishes? Ain’t no thang. But for the love of all that is sacred, put those perishables away. I never questioned it. But I am lovingly teased every time I suggest that the barbecue sauce might dramatically “perish”, as opposed to simply “go bad” if left out too long.]

Then, two nights ago, I was borderline feverish and feeling like I’d been beaten with an anvil. I insisted “I need to write” but my hunky-man-love (that’s my personally acceptable word for “boyfriend”. “Boyfriend” is what Selena Gomez calls Justin Bieber.)

[I prove that I’m a grown-up by using mature labels like “hunky-man-love”… And knowing that Selena Gomez is dating the Biebs. *Hangs head*]

Anyway (see what I mean with the attention span thing?)… So yes. The hunky-man-love says, “Are you sure? You don’t look so well. Maybe you should lie down and rest, I’ll get you some ice-cream” (something like that). He opens the freezer. And there are my sunglasses.

[I didn’t end up writing that night.]

And then I worry about my lack of memory. I have a fucking Biochemistry degree and, so help me God, all I remember about biology and chemistry are, 1) the video I made for grade 11 Bio class entitled The Rare Ditch Project; and, 2) the fact that sulphur smells like farts. Respectively.

[As I know it would be eating me alive if I were a reader: *ahem* The Rare Ditch Project was the cinematographic end-product of a Biology assignment. I was partnered with my friend, Heather. Each student pair was assigned a “biome” to research and present. We could use any medium we wanted to educate the class about our biome. Ours was “fresh water”. For our film, we (the characters) were surrounded by fresh water bodies and wandering through the woods (late at night, of course) in search of the legendary “rare ditch”. At one point we’re running through the dark woods, spooked by a creepy little voice (altered to super high pitch, compliments of my old-school dictaphone), squeaking, “I am an amoeeeeeeeba…” and continuing to describe its home, the fresh water biome. And, yes, the film both opened and closed with my repeating a single low note on the piano. Heather-squared for the win.]

I thought maybe it was normal that my “memories” contain unspecific flashes of events or scenes at best; that I know the words to a song but couldn’t tell you how I know it or who sings it…

[While clearing away the perishables after dinner tonight, I randomly sang, “it’s all good, baby BAY-bay”. My hunky-man-love grinned at me proudly and replied, “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.” I think I said, “…pardon me?”.]

…Or that you could name a movie and I’ll say, “never heard of it”. Then watch it and realize I’ve seen it a million times. My friend Dee, who’s my age, not only remembers every movie and every character and every actor ever, she’s borderline psychic about this shit. We were once discussing a novel-turned-movie…

[The novel may or may not have been called Twilight.]

…and who we’d pictured playing the protagonist’s father. I swear to you, all I said was, “…I can picture the actor, but I have no idea what his name is… He’s got a mustache”. I didn’t even have it all out. I may have said, “He’s got a mus-”.

“SAM ELLIOT”, she blurts out.

“Who the fuck is Sam Elliot?”.

Sure enough, she Googles him, pulls up an image, and there he is; the nameless dude I had simply thought about. Sam Elliot. The Charlie Swan of my daydreams.

[Dee’s mind is freaky like that. Yesterday she casually name-dropped LeVar Burton when we were fake-casting another novel. “LeVar Burton”, she says! Don’t get me wrong, he is an artist truly worthy of being remembered. But I can’t remember the names of some of my cousins. My abused brain is bordering saturation. I’m tired. And so, with no disrespect, all he can ever be to me is The Reading Rainbow guy.]

For so long (thirteen years of grade school, seven years of university) all I did was force feed my quivering brain more and more and more. And the wrinkly ol’ guy really hung in there, got me through. But I think it got to a point where it just threw it’s veiny, cartoon arms in the air and said, “You know what? Fuck you, man. You’ve gotta reeeeeally want it if you expect me to hold on to shit from now on.”

While my initial theories of brain-tumor and early-onset dementia aren’t disproved, I’m thinking that I just have extremely selective attention. I’m very lucky that I have a patient hunky-man-love who feigns interest when, say, he hears about my early-childhood “throat surgery” (and I demo the voice) for the seventeenth time, because I forgot having told it…

[“Maaaaam. Daaaaaad. Jofo.” (Mom. Dad. Jennifer.) à la Linda Blair, circa The Exorcist.]

…And a dear friend who reads and conveys my thoughts when I cannot.

But I’m not declaring total brain death just yet. I’m gonna stick with the “selective attention” theory for now. And start doing Sudoko.

Sequins of Memory in the Fabric of Time (And the Eternal Shame of Pooping Your Pants)

If there’s one thing that goes with a fine ($11.99) bottle of red wine, it’s peanut butter M&Ms. There are colored, candy-shell pieces between my keyboard buttons as I type.

But that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time and memory. I think it’s because a patient asked me recently how old my nephew, Chase, is. After a moment of arguing with the math, I said, “he’ll be turning four in a few months”. FOUR. That blows my mind. He was just a jaundiced, little wrinkly gnome called “Peanut” who looked uncannily like grampa.  He was just adorably mispronouncing my name and calling me auntie “Ho”.

[It is worth noting that he actually did just stop calling me this. In the beginning, everyone’s name was mispronounced in normal baby fashion. But long after “opa”, “grammy”, “mommy”, “daddy” and various relatives and barnyard animals achieved their correct title pronunciations, auntie Heather was still “Ho”. This provided endless entertainment for the extended family, as you can imagine. ]

I can still remember moments of being four years old…

[And I, like my darling mother, have the memory of a goldfish.]

…We lived in Curling – a posh, 1980’s suburb of the booming megalopolis that is Corner Brook, Newfoundland. I was standing on the front step of our little green house with my sister and our babysitter’s daughter, Naomi. Desperate to impress these older girls, I decided it was a good time to say my first curse word.

I said “dirtbag”. Specifically, I said our neighbour was a “dirtbag”.

This was a huge moment. This was the worst word we knew. And it was so out-of-character bad-ass of me. I still remember the lightheadedness and the conflicting guilt/pride of that moment.

To think, Chase will soon be remembering things; carrying moments into his adulthood.

Two things have hence gripped me:

#1. I really need to stop swearing around him. And pretty soon “mother-fuaaaaaather” just isn’t going to cut it.

#2. The reality of Time and Her ephemeral ways. And the flood of memories…

She’s Not Pretending to be Daddy, That’s Really Her Voice

I guess I was about three years old. I don’t recall the exact details but my parents decided there was something wrong with me. I think the fact that I talked like Joan Rivers with testicles threw them off. Voice-wise, I was mannish for such a wee child. Sure enough, I had “singer’s nodules”; blobs of uselessness on my vocal chords. This meant two things: 1. My career as a Bette Midler cover singer in Vegas was out the window, and 2. That shit had to be hacked off.

Obviously I don’t remember the surgery. But I remember being in the hospital. I remember having a band-aid from my IV. And I remember being devastated when it was taken away. I remember that.

[No one (except Nelly) has ever loved band-aids as much as I did (do).]

The story ends there. I just think it’s crazy that I was three and I still have flash-backs of being that version of me.

[Also, when I overdo it with singing now, my mutilated vocal cords still break down and I wake up sounding like I sucked helium.]

Shame Frogs

I guess I was about six years old. Grade one. I went with my sister and her friend deep in the woods looking for tadpoles in big puddles. I really had to poop. I almost made it home.

I don’t wanna talk about it.

Dame Edna Does Poetry

I don’t think I have ever been as motivated in my life as I was at elementary school speak-offs. And I can still remember the grade four event. This was more than a poetry contest. This was do or die.

[My archnemesis, at the time, went on to become a Rhodes scholar. So I feel my sense of threat was legit.]

Despite being a good student and having an unbreakable, competitive spirit, I had the poetic cunning of a poodle. Hence, my choice of poem: My Dog, by Emily Lewis. Sweet? Sure. Ammo for a big win? Questionable.

Unless you enunciate to the point of having a British accent.

Which I did. And I think the judge/teacher and my classmates were so shocked by a nine-year old reading something as trivial as “…hide your mats and put your meats upon the top-most shelf” like the Queen Mother, that it was Heather for the win.

[You may have won the Rhodes scholarship, Paul, but there’s a cardboard participation ribbon that says that, for a hour of an afternoon in the ‘80’s, I was better than you. And also a flamboyant, British monarch.]

Old People are Cool as Shit

I guess around the same time as my public speaking victory came my realization that my Grampa was the funniest human alive. I never hid the fact that I was obsessed with our grandparents’ pliable skin and old teeth. I recall running to Grandma immediately, at one visit, blatantly ignoring her customary questions and comments, rolling the skin on the back of her hand between my fingers and asking her, matter-of-factly, “are you gonna die?”.

And their teeth. They were my favorite. Grandma’s, for her one black tooth. And Grampa’s for their perfect falseness. One day, cool as a cucumber and without warning, Grampa said, “I’m a cash register”, pushed his nose with his finger (“ding!”), and shot out his lower dentures.

Jennifer screamed, ran away bawling and remained utterly horrified for quite some time. I had never been more impressed. I may have peed a little. This, I knew, was comedy at its finest.

Wanna Dance? No? Oh, You Have a Girlfriend? And She’s My Sister. And You’re Dancing with Her Right Now? Oh… Wanna Dance?

In elementary school, the most happening events on Friday nights were Cabrini dances. Cabrini was an abandoned high school from  the ‘70’s/80’s which wreaked of catholicism and poltergeists. It was an ideal place for pre-teens to have socially acceptable boners and jam their hands in each other’s back pockets for three minutes of a Guns n’ Roses ballad before retreating to the canteen for a bag of Humpty Dumpty chips and a Big Turk.

I don’t know if you’ve read my earlier blog entries, but… Despite having healthy calves and confident sideburns, I didn’t always “have someone to dance with”, per se. And it didn’t help that the man-boy I had a heart-on for was taken. By my sister no-less.

And so I remember, clear as day, slow-dancing with Jennifer and her “boyfriend”, Bubba. The song was More than Words can Say, by Alias. I couldn’t make this shit up.

There is, again, no real reason for telling that anti-climatic horror story other than to say, “holy shit. That happened. And I can’t, for the life of me, seem to forget it.”

Who’s That Scarlet-Lipped Beauty?

…Is what I had to convince myself the other kids would say when they saw me on my first day of junior high school.

I was twelve. And I may or may not have slept in my sister’s bed until I turned thirteen (or high school) because I was afraid of the dark.

The night before my first day of junior high was full of excitement/anxiety. As we lay in bed, I kept singing to unleash some of my pent up energy. Jennifer, a year older and way cooler, wasn’t having it.

[In her defense she told me to shut up at least eight times. And she may have even given me the heads up that the punch was coming. But that didn’t stop me.]

I don’t remember the song. But I remember the hit. It was skull numbing. She got me with a deft back-hand. The swell-burn spread quickly and I thought my face was melting. Not realizing the impact, Jennifer didn’t even bother turn to see where she’d made contact. And, stubborn as shit, I didn’t say a word. I waited for her to look at me.

Clearly, I thought, my lip is bleeding. God knows, I can’t feel my mouth. Once she sees my bleeding lip, oh…she’ll feel bad.

I lay there for quite some time, unable to move or to cry because I was determined to have her look on her own time. And when she did, the result was even grander than I had hoped.

I’m pretty sure she screamed when she asked, “WHAT IS THAT?”.

“You punched me in the face!”. It felt so good to finally say it, although it seemed my mouth-coordination was not on par with my in-ya-face attitude.

“There’s no way I did that”, she retorted.

Suddenly her genuine panic registered with me. I dove out of bed and ran to the mirror. I was not ready for this.

My entire lower lip was one giant blood blister. A pocket of face blood is so much less cool than active bleeding.

End of story. Obviously I survived day one as well as every other day of junior high school. I know, my story-telling here is the shits. I guess memories are often simply moments – sights, sounds, smells, sensations – and don’t always make for ground-breaking narrative.

I Know The Police

…is was dad once said when a boy called (Jennifer) in seventh grade. I still remember listening on the upstairs phone and wanting to melt into the floor.

Are you Beyonce?

No. No you’re not. So don’t dye your fuzzy black hair blonde and hope good things will come of it. But I remember looking in the mirror that first time. And falling in love with my RuPaul-esque sexuality.

Sewing My Wild, Spanish Oats

Having buried myself in books my whole life, by the ripe old age of 18 I was dancing on my fair share of speakers. But the universe quickly put me back in my place and stole my ticket to par-tay. Literally.

At the time I was shocked and mortified. But in hindsight, perhaps it makes sense that the Halifax bouncer didn’t believe I was a black woman named Susie Payez.

I should have practiced that signature.

It was then that I decided it was time to return to Newfoundland and nuzzle back into the familiar nook of the textbooks.
____________________________________________________________________________

And the craziest thing of all: that last one was twelve years ago. Jeez…

I now say things like jeez. And take naps daily.

Sometimes I get lost in the clouds of memory. And panic a little when names and faces start to blur. But that’s a silly tendency because the only thing I have for certain is this moment. Right now. As I type this.

More than I hope that Chase will carry these moments into his adulthood, I hope he’s stoked by this very moment. And if it’s past his bedtime (it’s Newfoundland, afterall), I hope he’s having one sweet-ass dream where he’s tall enough to reach the cookie cupboard.

So in honour of carpe-ing the shit out of the diem, I’m gonna close this laptop, top up the vino, suck the life outta these M&Ms until the peanut butter melts, and stare at the fire.

And yes, I’m listening to “More than Words can Say” by Alias right now.