My life has always been embarrassingly awkward. However, I was never self-aware of being embarrassingly awkward until one day in seventh grade, when I tripped and frantically reached out for something to hold onto, and successfully grabbed onto my teacher’s butt. Yup. Right before I smacked face down into the ground. And then he said something like, “You know, there’s easier ways to get my attention.”
And then I forgot about my disability until the rehearsal dinner at my wedding, where my best friend from childhood busted out a secret notebook she’d been keeping for the last fifteen years and discussed all of the terribly nerdy things I’d ever done, in front of 100 of my closest family and friends. Like how I’d worn Doc Marten boots to every middle school dance. Or how I wore the same two shirts from 5-7-9 every day of my sixth grade year. Or how I danced with my two index fingers out and my head moving nerdily side to side (yes i still dance like that). Yep.
oh, oh, or how about this one? First day of college, sitting in general chemistry next to a nice looking young boy:
Me: Hi, I’m Melissa
Brad: Hi I’m Brad
Me: oh, look at that guy’s funny little hat <points to the back of another boy’s head sitting a few rows in front of me>
Brad: <stares incredulously> Are you joking?
Me: no, look, it’s such a funny little hat! I wonder why he’s wearing it?
Brad: <continues to stare incredulously>
Brad: That’s a yarmalke.
Me: What’s a yarmalke?
Brad: <double take>
And..now, I won’t fill you in on the background, but allow me to recount a conversation I had with my father on the phone about an hour ago.
Dad: Hey Melissa, how’s that hurricane treating you?
Me: Oh, nothing’s happening. Just some wind, couple of rain showers. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Dad: <disappointed> Oh, that’s too bad
Me: well I’m pretty happy about it.
Dad: I thought i was going to call you and it was going to be all crazy and your power would be out and you’d be running around all frantically…
Me: well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed that i’m okay.
Dad: i was just hopin’ for some action. Texas is all dry.
Me: <hopefully> I felt the earthquake.
Dad: WOW! That’s so awesome! Did anybody get hurt? <super excited>
Me: Uh, No. No, nobody got hurt.
Dad: oh. <pause> You know, your brother and I have a bet that the hurricane is going to pick up Obama-long-a-ding-dong and whisk him away to sea and drop him in the middle of the ocean.
Dad: so, did you go to the doctor?
Me: no, dad, it stopped. it went away.
Dad: you know, you should really go to the doctor. Your Grandpa has really bad hemorrhoids, your mom has really bad hemorrhoids. Oh, it is just awful.
Me: uh..well, yeah, i mean, it went away, so I don’t think I need to go.
Dad: your grandpa’s hemorrhoids used to be so terrible. When I was growing up, anytime I ever sat down, he’d be all like, ‘boy! don’t sit down on that rock there! You gonna get hemorrhoids!’ and then I’d get up and move to another rock, and he’d just say it again, ‘boy! you gonna get hemorrhoids! move!’ And you know, I never got hemorrhoids. And I was always sittin’ on rocks. But man, your mom…she’s got ’em real bad. Real terrible. Nothin’ she can do about it. Never went away. Real terrible, those hemorrhoids.
Me: Dad I really don’t want to hear about Grandpa’s hemmorhoids.
Dad: Boy oh boy his hemorrhoids were terrible. Yup. Your grandpa’s got em, your mom’s got em, you’d better go to the doctor. Even if they went away, you should probably still go to the doctor, cause you’ve probably got ’em. I don’t, though. I never got hemorrhoids. Even though i was always sittin’ on those rocks. Man, Grandpa had ’em somethin’ awful. And your mom – <breathes out heavily> it’s just terrible. Hemorrhoids are terrible.
Me: Okay Dad, i’ll go to the doctor
Dad: yeah, even if you don’t have ’em, they can probably load you up with creams and gels and stuff, you know, to prepare yourself for when you do have ’em.
Dad: and even if it’s not hemorrhoids, you should still go to the doctor and figure out what was going on. Cause it’d be scary if it wasn’t hemorrhoids.
Me: uh huh
Dad: but hemorrhoids are pretty terrible, so it’s probably be just as scary if it was hemorrhoids. Woo, you’d better go to the doctor. Promise me you’ll go to the doctor.
Me: I promise I’ll go to the doctor. So, Dad, as great and fun as it is talking to you about my butt health, what you say about switching the topic?
Dad: <silence> <clears throat> <decides to forge ahead> Your grandpa’s hemorrhoids are real bad. Real bad. So, Evan still in California?
Me: <extreme relief at the change in topic>…
that is all.