Archive | May, 2011

That’s What She Said

25 May

Maybe it’s because I grew up with brothers, or maybe it’s because I’m from the generation that gave us Beevis & Butthead (Beavis and Butt-Head | Full Episodes, Photos, Episode Synopsis and Recaps | MTV), but I’m beginning to realize that there’s something wonderful about middle school boys.

Relax. Before you set your Tivo to record my tearful confession of undying love for some 14-year-old (complete with stylish orange jumpsuit and assurances that our love was mutual), that’s not what I mean.

I mean I think they’re funny.

Every Thursday I head to the middle school for a few hours over lunch, to supervise Game Room. It’s a place where kids can come if they want to hang out and play games, away from the chaos of the general lunch crowd. 

The rules are simple. No cursing (you’d be amazed at the discrepancies in what constitutes a swear word), no bullying or running anyone down, if you burp you have to say excuse me (which never fails to elicit an eye roll), and because we’re in a very small room attached to the library they have to keep the volume low (definitely the hardest to enforce). 

There are a few girls that drop in once in awhile, but generally it’s just the boys. The bell rings and they burst though the door in a storm of t-shirts and backpacks, already negotiating for each other’s food.

“Dude, can I have your milk?

“Shut up, you still owe me from last week.”

Come on! I’ll pay you double.”

“Huh, huh. Your mom pays me double.”

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh at shit like that?

They crowd around the tables and devour their lunches, crumbs flying, while they play YuGiOh, which by the way, is very serious business. They wage fierce battles with things like Monster Reborn and Zombie Madness, with Needle Worm and Final Flame. 

It’s like miniature poker night with cheezy poofs and lunchables instead of cigars and booze.

It’s a complete crack up. Life (at least for two hours at lunch) consists of sports and boogers. Who knew things could be so simple? Life with girls is not like this.  

Girls, for example, do not obsessively follow every sentence with the timeless classic, “That’s what she said.” 

Which is kind of a shame, because it’s super funny. And that’s why, much to my daughter’s disgust, I have adopted it as my own, kind of as my new favorite thing. 

It’s perfect. Whenever I’m having a pleasant (and tediously boring) conversation with someone, that one simple phrase is always there to spice things up, like Tabasco for talking.

“So, how was your trip to Atlanta?”

“Nice, except we had a rough landing in Houston.”

“How hard was it?”

Huh, huh. That’s what she said.

It’s like there’s a 12-year-old boy inside me that can’t wait to sneak out and pollute the world with juvenile sexual innuendo. 

It’s awesome.

I haven’t laughed so hard, so frequently, in a long time. In fact, I think everyone should start doing it. (Huh, huh. You said do it.) The next time someone says something even remotely risque (you know, like, “How was your day?” or “Paper or plastic?”) just smile, drop your voice an octave and say, That’s what she said

Try it. I dare you not to smile.

With the school year coming to an end, sadly, tomorrow is the last day of Game Room. No more raging sessions of Uno (which I’ve learned has as many house rules as Monopoly), no more rigorous chess matches, or back room deals for the last half of a chewed on, gooey burrito. I will miss it.

And with my daughter headed to high school next year, I wonder if they’ll ask me back. I hope so. I can’t wait to do it again.

Huh, huh. That’s what she said. 🙂

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Downward Facing Moron

1 May

Last week I tried a new yoga studio.

As I sat on my mat waiting for class to begin, I breathed deep, relaxing in the warmth of the room. Literally. It was at least 85 degrees and we hadn’t even started moving. The moist heat settled around me like a blanket, warming my body, preparing me for my practice. Ahhhh. This was why I had come.

The instructor set the music low and walked to the front of the class. Then she said this:

“I’d like everyone to get up and meet someone they don’t know. Introduce yourself and tell them your favorite childhood story.”

Ugh.

I sat there, unmoving, while everyone else began milling around the room.

Okay, what was my favorite childhood story? Does she mean a book I read, or one that someone else read to me? What the hell was my favorite childhood story? 

And so I sat, for what turned out to be a conspicuous amount of time, preparing for the introduction.

A flash of memory hit me; I’m eight years old, sitting in the back of my parent’s car, reading. The book was blue and hardcover.

Was it about witches? What was it called? 

I didn’t know. The only thing I could remember was that I never marked my page. I started over from the beginning each time. It was like, a thing. I never did finish it.

No way, too neurotic. What kind of favorite childhood story is that?

One minute slipped into two. The rest of the class milled about above, tossing names of books about, all innocence and ease.

“…I loved Goodnight Moon…,” “…and he read The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Oh yes, and remember The Pokey Little Puppy?”

It began to get slightly weird that I was the only one still sitting.

They probably think I’m purposely not participating. That I’m being a jerk or something. But what’s the point of getting up until I have something to say? What is your problem? Books are your thing, jackass.

And then the instructor headed my way.

Great. Now I’m the lonely kid who needs a friend. WTF. 

She knelt in front of me and smiled, her blue eyes drilling into my shallow, story-less soul. “I always loved The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.”

Of course you did. 

“Yeah,” I said, sweating like a kid failing a pop quiz, “that one was good.”

And if my life depended on remembering a sentence from that book right now, I’d be dead.

She waited, those eyes plumbing the depths of my sad little life. “What was your favorite childhood story?”

Yeah, thanks. I remember the assignment. 

Even a Disney movie is fine.”

Now I’m the girl who doesn’t read? Super.

I fidgeted and smiled. I was completely blank. And then, my mind latching onto the Disney prompt like a life preserver, this came out, “I always liked Bambi, I guess. You know, how her mom dies in the fire.”

Nice. 

I wish I could say that I’d planned it. I wish I could take credit for the way those penetrating blue eyes widened, then settled into a curious squint. Sadly, no. There was no calculated manipulation, no purposeful play to appear crazy. Just me being a spaz.

And while it is true that Bambi left an impression on me as a child, it was more because the fire terrified me than because it was a favorite, exactly. But back me into such a tight social corner as an unexpected introduction in a room full of strangers and apparently all bets are off.

She slipped back to the front of the room, watching me a little as she went. As she told everyone to return to their mats, I couldn’t help but smile.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I’d recalled Bambi as my favorite story because the mother dies in a fire, I’m pretty sure that Bambi was a boy deer, not a girl. I had gone from sad and lonely to strange and delusional in about 2 seconds.

So much for the new yoga studio.