the time i sang back up with wanda

Wanda needed a back up singer for this one. Strain, and you can hear me.

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the time i made pussy fun

Also featured on catsupplies.com as well as numerous porn sites.

the time i administered a swim test

Lifeguards are terrified of their first rescue and I was no exception. After I got certified, I spent every waking moment anticipating the ‘save’ that I’d inevitably have to one day execute.

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The day it happened I was stationed  by the deep end at the local pool (see “the time I was hit on by a special ed minor”) when a small, brown haired, five year old boy wandered up to me and asked if he could please take the deep end swim test. He had a little speech impediment and was cute as a button.

I was eighteen at the time and this other lifeguard, Ben, was lurking about 10 feet away observing me, and the little boy. Ben was a couple years older than me –  the kind of local NC guy who had an unapologetic sprawling southern accent and yelled thing like ‘whoo boy!’ while blasting the Allman Brothers during pool clean up.
float Ben and I exchanged a look, both knowing what was about to happen. I asked the boy if he was sure he wanted to take the test, praying he’d say no, but he nodded emphatically and said, ‘Yeth.” I told him to enter the pool by the wall and swim from one end of the deep end to the other. As he swam, I stood on the edge of the pool, holding my red padded flotation device.

I was relieved to see his doggie paddle was pretty strong…for about four seconds. As the kid neared the halfway point of the test, he started to lose speed, floundering and getting closer and closer to the edge of the pool. He put his head back, his face looking straight up and started splashing, insanely. I expected him to scream, but that would take too much energy. He was quiet. Then he sunk below the surface, splashing and pounding back up, gasping for air.

I stood over him, trance-like, staring down and thinking about the life-guarding book. He was currently in the “active drowning” stage and I was amazed to see he looked exactly like the hand drawn descriptions I had studied in order to pass the exam. Uncanny.

Then I heard Ben with his smooth honey accent.

“Meghan. Get in the water.”

I didn’t move. I couldn’t.  My heart was beating against my head and I had no idea what to do. I was petrified and could only stare at this child.

“Meghan. Git in the water.”

I looked at Ben, desperate. He repeated himself loudly, his face turning red. Seconds passed. I couldn’t. He reached for his own float. Then he screamed,

“MEGHAN GIT IN THE GOD DAMN WATER.”

Pool for website So I did. As soon as my feet hit the pool I remembered exactly what to do. I went to the kid from behind, put the float between our bodies, scooped him up under the armpits and swam both of us to the edge. As soon as I grabbed him he stopped flailing. Kicking, splashing, nothing. He just relaxed and was like putty in my arms. I  helped him out. The whole thing took about 20 seconds.

Ben and I put a towel over him and asked if he was ok. He nodded shivering. Then the kid threw the towel off and ran to the shallow end, jumped back in and started playing with his friends. Ben just stared and me and shook his head slowly.

Finally he said, “That was a textbook rescue… once you actually got into the water.”

The next day all the lifeguards indulged in teasing/ insulting me about the rescue. No one could believe I’d waited so long to get in the water, yet they were simultaneously impressed by my “textbook” performance.

When our head lifeguard (and my brother’s best friend), Eddie (see ‘the time i got hit on by a special ed minor‘) found out, he looked up from applying tanning oil to his forearms, and gave me a withering look that I remember to this day.

I felt like shit but there was nothing I could do. I’d panicked. At least I’d gotten the kid out…

The second time was better though. The second time I jumped right in.

the time I got a black eye… with the help of my brother

Like many young children I was totally obsessed with my older siblings. I used to sit outside my sister’s door and scream for her to open it and hug me. When she wouldn’t oblige I’d move down the hall to my brother’s room and do the same. Eventually he’d open his door, kick me, yell for my parents to come haul me away, and slam the door in my tear-stained face.
Homey the Clown As a result, the attention he did pay me was very important. We used to watch In Living Color together. After numerous episodes featuring Homey the Clown, I was ecstatic one afternoon when my brother filled a soccer sock full of gravel in an effort to replicate the “Homey Sock.”

To my utter delight, he chased me around the yard wielding this death sock like a lasso and bellowing “Homey Don’t Play Dat,” while I ran, just out of reach, screeching bloody murder. Fortunately he never succeeded in actually hitting me, as it would have undoubtedly caused brain damage.

One afternoon we were in the living room throwing a basketball back and forth. I was a gymnast and in between throws I was doing front somersaults on the couch. My brother, bored with our simple game, decided it would be more fun to throw the basketball at my head as hard as he could while I was upside down. He made this decision while I was mid-air.

The ball hit me somewhere in the stomach area throwing me off balance. I landed partially on the couch, partially on the floor, fell over and hit the side of my face on the coffee table. I burst into tears and may have blacked out.
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That night my parents came home to discover I had a black eye that took up about a quarter of my face with a small gash right below my left eyeball.

The next morning my black eye had turned from black, to purple with tinges of yellow. I selected my favorite sunglasses; hot pink and black with diamond studs around the rim, and prepared for school as if nothing had happened. Even at nine years old, I’d watched enough early 90’s Lifetime movies to know that when a woman gets a black eye she wears sunglasses to cover it up.

As horrified as my parents were, there was no reason to keep me out of school. I didn’t feel bad. In fact, I was a little excited about demurely revealing my black eye when other kids asked me why I was wearing sunglasses in the classroom.

The morning passed with a flurry of attention from my fourth grade friends. By the afternoon the yellowing bruise had started to spread and it looked as if someone had vomited on my face. I was sitting alone in the hall reading (during ‘Sustained Silent Reading’) when the guidance counselor walked by.
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“Hi Mrs. Kelleher!” I said, from behind my dark lenses.
She smiled absently and then did a double take.  “Meghan? Why are you wearing sunglasses inside?”

I became bashful and was overcome with the feeling I was doing something wrong.

Mrs. Kelleher leaned in.
“Meghan. Take your sunglasses off please.”
I did. She inhaled sharply.
“Did someone hurt you?”
“I hit my head on the coffee table.”
I suddenly felt like one of those women in the Lifetime movies. I could feel her disbelief, her judgment. I felt dirty, like I was lying, like I’d done something wrong. The thing was, I wasn’t lying and I hadn’t done a damn thing except flip on the couch. But I could tell Mrs. Kelleher didn’t believe me. She thought I was hiding something.

She wanted me to come to her office to talk. But I insisted, no, I was fine. I had actually hit my head on the coffee table. Finally she let it go and I went back to reading.

At home that afternoon my brother gave me the heartfelt apology of a 13 year old not entirely sure if he almost killed his little sister. As a peace offering he let me chase him through the yard with the homey sock.

This time my parents came home from work to find their pony-tailed fourth grader with a yellowing bruise now encompassing half her face,  chasing her brother through the yard, and trying to hit him with a sock full of gravel.

At least I was laughing, not crying.

the time i became a romantic

I was on the playground in first grade, and girls were organizing themselves into groups to go behind this big oak tree and see Dusty’s penis. Dusty was a pudgy kid with a shaved head and an unintelligible little boy country accent. At six years old, he’d found his calling, and all the girls were reaping the benefits.

The Clearing Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the first or second group selected for viewing, so I had nothing to do but use the playground for playing. I was pissed too, standing there in my culottes and Keds, watching the oak tree beyond the clearing. Girls were coming out from behind it in droves, whispering and cackling, screaming ‘Eww’ and falling all over the place having just viewed Dusty’s junk. I wanted to see what the big deal was, but there was a very specific selection process and I had to wait my turn.

Instead, I got roped into a game of tag that encompassed a big playground structure full of platforms and balls and jungle gym stuff.  I was reticent to get involved in something else –I didn’t want to miss my chance to see what Dusty was all about—but I quickly got immersed in the task at hand, running around, screaming and tagging people.

There was this boy, Zack, on my team and he was pretty cute but I’d never really noticed him before.  The game was getting intense and somehow he and I ended up stranded on a platform at the top of this big jungle gym thing looking down at our cohorts being ravaged on the playground below. We were alone and nearing the point of surrender, not really sure what to do. firemans-pole_LO_RES

For a second, I thought I was Rapunzel. I wanted to let down my golden hair so we could both climb down it. There was only one exit from the platform—a fireman’s pole that went all the way into a sand box roughly fifteen feet below. Our enemies had noticed us at the top of the platform and were rapidly ascending the far side of the structure. I looked desperately at Zack. What were we gonna do?

He took in the situation and then, in the ultimate Prince Valiant move, snaked one arm around my waist, reached out and grabbed the fireman’s pole, pulled me close and launched us both down it.

Time stopped for an instant.

I was Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I was in a forest wearing layered dresses and I had porcelain skin and real breasts (not socks), shoved into a bustier and long flowing hair that I could toss around, and no bedtime, or homework, or forced vegetable consumption. I was in a fairytale. I was the fairytale.

Zack and I made it down, a pile of child’s limbs thudding to a halt in the sandbox, tearing away before the other team could catch us.

Recess ended but, for me, it had just begun. I stared, starry eyed at Zack as he ran over to the water fountain wiping his muddy palms on his shorts.

I never saw Dusty’s penis. Shortly thereafter he was busted and his peep-show practice terminated. I was bummed, but a year later, I saw this other boy’s and decided it was something I was in no hurry to see again.

However, my experience with Zack, I couldn’t wait to replicate.

the time i lost my virginity to myself

In fifth grade, my best friend Lyla and I existed in a world all our own. We were brilliant together, making up games, writing songs and poetry, outsmarting teachers and crushing on boys who’d made the leap from elementary school to the bowels of junior high. We wrote a country cover of Michael Jackson’s “Hold Me” changing the lyrics from “Hold me, like the river Jordan…” to “Hold me, yo’ Mama done told me….”  Lyla taught me every word to Tupac’s “Dear Mama,” which I can recite to this day.
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One of our games involved making up weird characters with convoluted narratives, and talking in grating redneck accents while riding bikes through the woods near Lyla’s house.

I was “Daphne” who’d been abused by “Grandpappy” and was running away Heidi-style. Lyla was “Tutti-Frutti,” my best friend who was coming along for the ride.

Other times I was “Cranberry” pronounced “Cranburry”, a retirement home escapee. We’d yell thinks like, “Come on Daphne, Grandpappy’s gon’ catch you,” and, “Tutti-Frutti, put that pack back on yo’ shoulder, girl,” while pedaling ferociously through the wiles of Chapel Hill, NC.
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One day, Lyla and I were riding down the asphalt hill outside her house. We were in the throes of a particularly harrowing role-play in which Grandpappy was sure to jump out of the woods and molest me. I was riding Lyla’s brother’s  ten-speed and was having a bit of trouble steering the thing. As I pedaled down the hill I lost control, veered off to the left, and drove the bike directly into a huge oak tree.

I was thrown forward, my crotch slamming into the ‘banana’ part of the bicycle seat and tossed onto the ground, a comatose and crumpled ball of pain.

Excrutiating. Pain.
oaktree
I held my poor little self, screaming and seeing double, having no idea what had happened. Lyla, hesitant to depart from character, hovered over me drawling, “Cranburry? You gon’ be ok?’

I may have blacked out.

After several unbearable minutes, the pain subsided and I was able to crawl into the house to the bathroom.

Later, when I was upright again, I told my mom that there’d been some red spots in my underwear. She informed me that I’d started my period and gave me a HUGE 80’s-style Kerr Drugs brand maxi pad to wear.

I was an avid gymnast and that night I had practice. I stuffed the bulky pad into my leotard and went to class only to discover that, in the blinding neon light of the gym, it appeared I had a penis. I didn’t know what to do, cowering as the other 10-year-old girls, checked out my bulge.

After class, I divulged the bike story to my mom.  She seemed relieved, said I hadn’t actually started my period and, in vague and confusing terms, informed me I had popped my own cherry. I was allowed to remove the pad and, not long after, Lyla and I resumed our role-playing activities.

A year later I actually did start my period. Although not as physically painful as the tree scenario, it was an equally horrifying experience. I had no idea what the fuck was going on and was convinced that I’d unwittingly shit my pants.

the time i discovered the adult onesie

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the ultimate redneck getaway, and when I was fourteen my family went there to vacation. As we passed billboards for South of the Border (a decidedly racist ‘resort’) and Jesus Christ, (yes, there are entire billboards devoted to Bible quotes) I grew increasingly excited about spending some time in this white trash Mecca.

real myrtle beach ferris wheelLike many southerners who move to other parts of the country, I have a love/ hate relationship with the south.

I both loathe and celebrate my roots—relishing the iced tea, array of accents and slow sweltering summers,
while hating the rampant closed mindedness and militant Christianity.

Of course, every part of “the south” is vastly different and as far as I was concerned Myrtle Beach was like visiting the circus.

It turned out to be everything I wanted and more; huge Ferris wheels, bumper cars, tourists with no teeth, vats of cotton candy consumed by people of unparalleled obesity, tattoo parlors on every corner and a fabulous selection of mullets, skullets and chullets drinking Ice House beer while bobbing in Jacuzzis with women clad in Budweiser bikinis.

a real skulletYet, of all this sensory magic, the following takes the cake.
I was picking up sea shells during a late afternoon walk with my mom when I spotted a woman. She was bending over, about 30 feet ahead of us, making a very specific shell selection. Possibly in her mid-thirties, she had a leathery tan and bleached blonde hair preceded by several inches of black roots (later rocked by SJP in Sex and the City). It was her clothing that nearly stopped me dead in my tracks.

She wore a large piece of blinding neon pink, yellow and green tie died fabric stretched across her entire body. The fabric was sorta loose with openings for the legs and arms and head. A scrunchy coil of elastic connected the fabric across her back.  I was trying to figure out what exactly this contraption was when she suddenly stood up revealing a phrase emblazoned in HUGE capitol neon orange letters across her entire front:

“I WANNA SEX YOU UP”

She stood there, eying her shells,  in all her tie-dyed glory.

I was looking at a onesie on an adult.

Also, she was pregnant.

I wanted to stop and ask this woman about her wardrobe selection. I wanted to understand, really get, at what point in her preparation for the day she looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m ready.” Most of all, I wished I had a camera.

I kept walking, wondering, never knowing, and a few seconds later the woman gathered her shells and headed on down the beach.

Nowadays the adult female onesie is all the rage.  My friend Stephanie just got me one for my birthday (solid black, no words) and I see ladies rocking them all the time.
modern day onesie
In the same way she set the precedent for the SJP roots exposure, I secretly credit “I Wanna Sex You Up” pregnant woman for  bestowing the crude template for the modern onesie on the world of  mainstream fashion.

The south is a lot more progressive than you think.

the time i caught my kitten hanging herself

People always say cats are easy. They just hang out, eating and shitting and don’t need a lot of attention. Kittens, however, are a challenge that seems to be conveniently left out of the equation. I recently adopted two (Bucket orange, Lola, black and white) from the local animal shelter and had no idea what I was in for.
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Between the litter training, malnourishment, meds, sleepless nights, requests for attention and unprecedented cuteness, I’ve gotten a glimpse of motherhood that makes me perfectly content that the real thing is nowhere in sight.

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I’ve never been solely responsible for another living creature and it surprises me how quickly I’ve fallen completely in love with these babies. Just this moment Bucket, the little stumpy fluffy one, made it into the windowsill for the first time without missing and splatting on his face. Victories like this make all the diarrhea blowouts worth it.

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The first time I got a glimpse of this kind of love was with my childhood kitty, Spoon (RIP lil’ angel). My parents got her when I was eleven and she was a petite little thing that looked like a Holstein cow.

Spoon wasn’t your quintessential lap kitty but she made up for it by being completely crazy, tearing around the house, talking constantly and attacking things like dust bunnies and wall hangings. Her crazed reptilian expressions, juxtaposed with her tiny fluffiness, warmed my little girl heart.

We used to set up “stations” where Spoon could entertain herself. One station in particular was called the ‘yoyo station’. It was simple, really. An unwound yoyo tied against the wooden slat of the back of a dinner chair. The  round yoyo part was high so Spoon could bat at it. The string was sort of intertwined within itself dangling, taunting. Spoon loved this station and spent much of her free time there.

One day I was sitting in my room when I heard a long low yowl that quickly escalated into an unbearable wall of sound. I went tearing out to the kitchen and found Spoon, wrapped in her yoyo, dangling from the back of the chair by the neck. She’d somehow managed to get tangled and stuck while suspended mid air. My dad and sister arrived on the scene and my dad yelled for me to get the scissors.

I did, and in a valiant effort to be the hero, I ran up to Spoon and attempted to cut her down from the neck. It didn’t occur to me to just cut the string she was hanging from, instead I tried to finesse the scissors past her struggling limbs into her neck fur and cut the very part of string that was choking her.  She flailed and yowled and I took my time concentrating on getting the scissors around the string by her neck.

Just before I could miss and cut her head off, my dad wrenched the scissors out of my hand and cut the string from the chair.  We pulled the remaining yoyo parts off her neck and body and Spoon, barely affected, wandered away to attack something else.

After that incident we discontinued the yoyo station for the duration of Spoon’s life.

Lola and Bucket have not encountered any yoyos in their home.

the time i should have gotten my ass kicked

Middle school is like a war zone and my school was in it to win it.

It was the mid 90’s during the height of the Tupac/Biggie feud and my peers had designated the left side of our 7th grade hall “west side” and the right side “east side.”

Every day when classes changed all the students — black and white, male and female– would run into the centrum and start screeching ‘west side’ and ‘east side’ and throwing up their best attempts at gang signs. I participated, not just because everyone else was, but because I had a huge crush on Anthony, one of the instigators of this little gang simulation.

Anthony was about 6 feet tall, black and looked like he was 20. I met him in 2nd grade and since I’d hit puberty he’d been paying me special attention.

Unfortunately, Anthony already had a white girlfriend who didn’t really want him getting another one. Brandi had a perm, braces and an attitude that would not quit. When Anthony dumped Brandi and started “talking” to me, Brandi expressed her anger by screaming obscenities at me in the hall.

I’d scream right back, calling her bitch and ho as she repeatedly threatened to beat me up. Sometimes my friend Rebecca, who was a center for the basketball team, would report things back to me that Brandi said at practice. This would only fuel my anger.  Brandi and I kept screaming at each other for several weeks but she never actually pulled a punch.  I genuinely believe she was scared of me.

Then one day I was sitting in social studies class when I heard a scuffle outside and then a scream. In those days fights were as common as the class bell but that didn’t lessen the desire to witness one going down. Undeterred by our teacher, the class ran out into the centrum and joined the dozens of other students that had torn out of their seats to see who was getting beat up this time.

There was Brandi, standing in the middle of the hall, holding this girl Amanda by the hair. Amanda howled as Brandi used her free hand to punch, slap and claw Amanda’s face. Then Brandi let go of Amanda’s hair, kicked her to the ground and started pummeling her. Brandi picked Amanda up again—by the hair—and went for her face, this time beating her with an open handed fist.

Amanda was helpless, squawking and screeching but not quick enough to get in a single punch, scratch or even kick. Brandi was like a wild animal unleashed.  Her movements were rapid, methodic, precise. This was no fight. It was a full on ambush and Amanda didn’t stand a chance.

People began laughing and inhaling sharply and I wasn’t sure why until I noticed Amanda’s pants. She had peed herself.

Finally some teachers sauntered over and broke up the fight, dragging each girl separately to the office. I stood there totally shocked wondering, Why wasn’t that me?

Later Rebecca met me at my locker. She told me Brandi had been dying to beat the shit out of me for weeks but that Rebecca had intercepted and told Brandi that if she ever touched me, she’d have to deal with Rebecca.

At age 13, Rebecca was 6ft 1 and stronger than any girl I knew.  Nobody fucked with her.  I was speechlessly grateful, staring at the spot on the floor thinking how easily I could have been the one peeing myself.

The bell rang and the throng of students throwing up gang signs disappeared into their classrooms.

I never did date Anthony but 2 weeks later he and Rebecca got together. They dated for six months, which, for middle school is like an eternity.

the time my grandma taught me how to steal

My grandma is the kind of person everyone wants to be like when they get old.  She has a response for everything and her ability to drop a dry witted/totally offensive one liner has only slightly waned with age.

At dinner when I was eleven years old, Grandma leaned over and hissed, “Bill doesn’t need Viagra,” as my grandfather entered the room.  Another time, she confided in me, “I hope your mother doesn’t develop irritable bowel syndrome like I did.” When her cat started giving preferential treatment to my grandfather, she justified it with, “Oh, Ollie’s just a homo.”

And finally, at the tender age of fourteen, during a visit to her home in New Mexico, she made me a dessert called “better than sex cake”. Hovering over me as I took the first bite, she demanded, “Well? Is it?”

During that same trip she insisted on taking me to Albertsons grocery store.

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When we got there,  she led me down the long main aisle and announced, “I’m going to teach you how to steal.” We came to a section of the grocery store with a  huge display of  individually wrapped candies. She stopped so I did too, both of us eyeing the sea of assorted deliciousness from chocolates to peppermints to taffy and lemon drops.

Grandma let out a sigh of excitement, then leaned over the display unwrapped something resembling a candy corn, and popped it in her mouth. I figured that eating within the confines of the store didn’t really qualify as stealing so I joined her.  A cashier walked by, eying us suspiciously but my grandma just waved and moved on to the lemon drops. For the next ten minutes she proceeded to shovel candy into her mouth.

Taffy

Then she  transferred the shoveling process to the inside of her purse.  Handfull after handfull until no more would fit. Struggling to zip it, she turned to me, still chewing, and said loudly, “Put some in your pockets.”

“I…”

“Go on, open your pockets and put some in there.”

Reluctantly I started filling the pockets of my jeans shorts with candy, continuing to cram in every tiny piece until Grandma said I could stop.

Next, she led me over to the  frozen meat section and selected a large steak. My curiosity  turned to horror when I realized she might try to walk out of the store without paying for the meat. I trailed her towards the exit and at the last possible minute she veered towards the check out and slapped the meat up on the counter.  I think she figured that actually buying something would be a diversion of sorts.

Grandma unzipped her purse unaffected by the crowd of Albertson’s employees that were now watching.  As she dug around for her checkbook she removed a handful of candy, put it on the counter, wrote the check and then put the candy, followed by the checkbook, back in her purse.

As we headed towards the exit, I waited for the inevitable; to be stopped and arrested.  After all, a roomful of people were watching this elderly woman with her steak smuggle hundreds of candies out of the store via her purse and the pockets of  her teenage granddaughter. Someone was sure to call the law.

But no one said a word.

We stepped out into the pounding desert heat. I watched my grandma, waiting for some sort of explanation for what had just happened.

But all she did was pull out her huge sunglasses, pat me on the arm, and say

“That, sweetheart, is how you take things.”