Saturday, August 22, 2009

Everyone's Crazy for a Sharp-Dressed Man

I was killing time at a bookstore today and was looking through the book, "FML" which is based on the website of the same name (which in turn is based on a website created by a group of French friends.) The title stands for "F*** MY Life" and is full of purportedly true incidents, usually only a sentence or two about horrible situations that have befallen the narrator and they end each with "FML." The book was sort of amusing but there are way too many entries about "I found out via a mistaken text message that my boyfriend was cheating on me - with my best friend! FML" or "I asked my mom if I looked fat in this dress and she said I'd look fat in anything! FML." FML is overrun with cheating boyfriends, cruel moms and people with bad acne. That it's now out in book form can only mean one thing: the toilet read. Okay, perhaps I am being cruel and you can bring it out at a party but I think the amusement would end quickly after the fifth "My boyfriend dumped me and asked if my sister was single. FML." story.

The one thing the book "FML" did do was make me think about some of the embarrassing things that have happened to me over the years. It's a blessing and a curse that I have a memory like a steel trap. On the one hand, I am able to remember dates and incidents; I am the family historian. On the other hand, I remember times when people have hurt me or even worse, when I have been cruel to others and caused people pain. It would be nice to forget about all of those time by taking a pill, sort of like an "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" because really, I can still feel badly about things that I did YEARS ago. I feel my face turn red and it's as though the incident happened yesterday. Much like the story of the brown corduroys in 7th grade.

Remember corduroys? Not the wide cord kind, but the thin cord kind we wore in the 70s and 80s that would make the "vhoop vhoop" sound whenever we'd walk? The kind that would wear out at the knees and the behind but they were so comfortable we just didn't want to give them up? I wore a lot of corduroys in 7th grade (the 1983-84 school year) and preferred them to jeans. One particular morning, I was tearing about the house trying to find pants to wear and I couldn't find any clean clothes. (Too many incidents like this precipitated my mother giving us all laundry baskets when we were in our early teens and saying that our personal laundry duties were up to us now.) But at the last minute, I did manage to find pants in the dryer, a pair of tan corduroys. A lucky break! I put them on and went to school.

Junior High was not the high point in my school career: kids were crueler, teachers grew meaner (and nuttier.) There were all sorts of adjustments I had to make to get used to life at Kiley Junior High and I was only, at this point, (March of 1984) starting to get into the groove. But on this day, after lunch, the kid behind me (his name was Jason. Where are you now, Jason?) was laughing and pointing to my butt. A word about my butt: I don't really have one so that can't be what the amusement was. I wondered if my pen had exploded in my pocket; that had happened earlier in the school year but I didn't carry pens in my back pocket anymore. What could have been so funny that he was laughing and calling somebody else over to take a look? Were the pants torn revealing my underwear. A cursory feel back there revealed that no, the pants were intact. Thankfully, the line started moving and nobody else came to witness what was on my ass.

I then forgot about it. Jason didn't press the issue and the day went on. But when I was about to go home the day, one of the girls in my class looked at me in that oh so serious way only a twelve year old can muster and said, "Chic is for girls." I had no idea what she was talking about but something was going on and I was just glad to go home and find out what it was.

I got home and my sister, who is two and a half years older than me, yelled at me because I was wearing her pants, her "Chic" brand pants. I had worn them to school. And then, worst of all, she and my brother started laughing at me. You see, dear reader, those were NOT my tan corduroys in the dryer that morning, they were my sister's "Chic" tan corduroy pants. I had worn my sister's pants to school and all day I had the "Chic" label emblazoned across the back pocket on my ass. I was so humiliated by my siblings laughing at me that, in a rage, I overturned a small table. So then the day, which had been bad enough, ended with me getting punished because I had knocked over furniture. Something like this could only, only happen in Junior High.

And the worst thing about it all? That entire day I was going around wearing girl's pants, I never noticed any difference in the way my sister's pants fit me as compared to my actual brown cords (which, as it turned out, were still in the dirty clothes basket.)

I may as well say it: FML.

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