2021/05/18

2021 – Day 138: Double Nickel Edition

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I can’t drive; I’m 55.

I made it! I made it. I made it? No, yeah. I MADE IT! I almost said “I made it, motherfuckers!” but that seems unnecessarily profane, especially as I’m saying this to you, my friends. You are not motherfuckers. For the most part. I mean, technically, some of you are literally fucking mothers, though I’d hope not your own because that would be, uh, erm, different and unexpected. Definitely unexpected. And very different. Not that I’m judging you. I have so many other things for which to judge you. I don’t want or need to know that part of your life and I’m totally good with n.e.v.e.r. knowing that part. Not that I’d judge you for it.

Back to this day. This momentous day. This day on which I hit a milestone of fifty-fucking-five years of age!

Mr. Andruski, wherever you are, fuck you. You said I’d never make it. Hell, you didn’t even think I’d be alive long enough to graduate high school. Well, I did graduate high school, college, and while I didn’t realize my dreams as I’d dreamt them high school, I most certainly realize many others I’d conjured along the way. All without your “valuable insight and guidance.”

Can you believe the vice principal of a high school would say such things to a teenager and to her mother? Those words — and “you’re gonna wind up a wasted slut lying face down in the gutter if you don’t watch yourself, missy!” — actually led to one of the worst moments of my life: my dad slapping me across the face and my nose pouring out blood by the bucketsful! To be fair, my dad didn’t intend for it to happen. I don’t think he’d ever would’ve done it if not for my mom and I yelling VP Andruski’s words at each other. My dad only heard me screaming those words and thought I was saying those about, and to, my mom. He stormed into my bedroom and smacked me, just as I was turning my head, which is what led to the spurting of blood from my nose (all over the bedroom, which included the white chenille bedspread and the yellow and orange medium shag carpeting). I was 14, I was angsty, I hadn’t been the most well-behaved teenager (is there such a thing? Has there ever been such a thing in the history of the world?), and I was mouthy as fuck. And yet, despite the fact that I’d been ditching school and had run away at least twice at that point, this was the only time I can recall my dad raising his hand at any of us kids. Definitely the only time he’d ever done so with me. And I was the problem child of the family.

This is where I feel it necessary to tell you a couple of important facts:

1. My dad was a yeller and had a horrible temper. But he wasn’t violent. No beatings for us! He’d just scream and throw vile words our way.

2. My dad did NOT like blood. The very sight of blood made him woozy. Even the mention or, rather, the description of blood was enough to make him go green or ghostly pale.

With these two factors in mind, imagine him raising a hand to one of his daughters, actually going through with the impulse, his hand making contact with my nose instead of my cheek, and a profusion of blood issuing forth from my proboscis. The shock of the violence and the sight of all that vivid red against the white bedspread and yellow carpet caused my dad such agita that he yelled louder, stammering and sputtering, all while going green and turning quite pale. He stomped out of the room, as much as one who is close to fainting can stomp, that is, slammed the master bedroom door, and left my mom and I staring at one another.

Forget our argument (for the time being). I was shaking, crying, and holding my hands over my nose while the blood seeped through my fingers. My mom went into full parental mode. She wrapped her arms around me, doing her best to calm and comfort me. At some point, I don’t remember her doing it (maybe she used some form of maternal magic I never learned), she’d grabbed a t-shirt or dustcloth and had me wipe the blood from my nose and mouth and chin while holding it gently but firmly to my nose to stanch the bleeding. I think she was just as shocked as my dad was, as I was! And I know she was as concerned for him as she was for me. She sent me in to the bathroom to clean my face while she went to check on him.

Long story not-so-much-shorter, we all survived that incident, no thanks to Andruski. It never would have occurred had he not spoken that way to me and my mom. Regardless, we made it through that and many other incidents over the years. Years that asshole predicted I’d never see.

But I have. So, take that and shove it, Mr Vice principal! (I’m sure he’s dead by now, but I feel so much better having said this!)

So, yeah. I’ve made it to 55 and I’m proud of it!

My life has been full of extremely interesting moments. Some were terrifying, some exhilarating, some dull as dishwater, many unexpected, but all mine. And that’s more than many people get. To be cavalier about or take for granted any of these moments would be disrespectful to those gave me life, to those who never got to experience what I have, or even to myself.

To quote from my favorite conversation on getting old (from the movie ‘The Guardian’): “Hell, I’ve always been old, Ben. You know what, though? I don’t mind. I mean, if my muscles ache, it just means I’ve used them. If it hurts to walk up them steps now, it’s just ’cause I’ve done it a hundred times to lay down next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I’ve laid under thousands of skies on sunny days. I look and feel like this, well, because I drank and I smoked and I lived and I loved, I danced, sang, sweat, and screwed my way through a pretty damn good life, if you ask me. Getting old ain’t bad, Ben. Getting old, that’s earned.”

I’ve earned this. I’ve been annoyed, tormented, pestered, plagued, molested, worried, badgered, harried, harassed, heckled, persecuted, irked, bullyragged, vexed, disquieted, grated, bested, bothered, teased, nettled, tantalized, ruffled, bent, broken, spindled, and I’ve lived, damnit! I’ve earned all this.

So, hey there, 55. Nice to see ya.

4 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a wonderful day!

    Comment by pam — 2021/05/18 @ 08:59

  2. Hi Joannie, Are you aware that JB (Jeff Baxter) passed away Jan. 15, 2019. This is the obit page:

    https://www.riosfuneraldirectors.com/obituaries/j-jeffery-baxter.

    Belated Happy Birthday, This was the only post I could use in the comments section.

    Comment by Linda Grant — 2021/05/25 @ 18:35

  3. Thank you, Linda, for sharing the info. I’d lost touch with JB years ago. Before Rob died, even. I always wondered what became of him. He’d closed down whatever the latest incarnation of his blog and switched email addresses more times than I can recall and never knew where or when he’d pop up. And then he just stopped popping up. As my second blog friend ever, I was saddened by his disappearance, but I also knew he had his reasons. I hope he was able to find some peace and happiness in his life before he died. That’s what I hope for everyone, but especially for friends.

    Thanks, too, for the birthday wishes! Please don’t be a stranger around these parts. Stay safe!

    Comment by Da Goddess — 2021/05/25 @ 19:07

  4. Pam, it was really nice. Thank you! My friend got me a lemon cake (which did NOT last long enough to be photographed) & the young girl who was staying here for a couple weeks made me the sweetest card. The only way the day could’ve been better is if my family had been here. As it stands, they’re all healthy and safe and that’s the best gift ever.

    Comment by Da Goddess — 2021/05/25 @ 19:11

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