Wednesday, April 05, 2006


The recent advent of April's Fool's Day and Laini's current posting has inspired me to try a little mockery and since I'm too much of a coward to mock anyone else, I think I'll try mocking myself. This should be an interesting exercise in megalomania and self-hatred. What have I done worthy of mockery?

Well, despite fifteen years of driving I still cannot parallel park and managed to knock over two garbage cans in the attempt yesterday evening. I was also convinced this week at lunchtime that I could cook a mini quiche (the ones from Trader Joe's) on its paper tray in the toaster oven because the temperature only went up to 350F, and---as all we literary types know---paper only burns at Fahrenheit 451. Of course I tried this out in the office break room to disastrous results.

I once bought a very expensive pair of shoes because I liked the egg yolk yellow of their leather. I brought them to the cobbler because they were scuffing and he scoffed at me and said, "these shoes are not meant to be walked in." I suppose they were created for someone who had an army of handsome young men to carry her where're she went. I now keep the shoes on a glass shelf with a glass bell over them.

When I was in gradeschool, I quoted Bugs Bunny to a group of boys who were teasing me: "You're MUD spelled backwards." They didn't hesitate to tell me that "dumb" had a "b" at the end. Bugs had let me down.

Several years ago I asked a Parisian baker in French if he used "preservatifs" in his pies. "Preservatifs" in French means condoms.

I was once asked to introduce a fellow in front of a large crowd. I presented everyone to Daniel Boone, told them who he was, what he did, and where he lived, what his interests were, things about his family. It was only after I was finished with this little speech---which actually lasted a good ten minutes--- that the fellow, looking somewhat red-faced, leaned over to tell me that his name was not, in fact, "Daniel Boone" but rather "David Boone." I had apparently forgotten his name and remembered the Alamo.

In my thesis paper for a Master's degree in French Studies I referred twice to the current president of France as M. Giscard d'Estaing. The president was, and still is, M. Jacques Chirac. M. Giscard d'Estaing had been president thirty years earlier. I believe my advisor passed me simply because she did not want such a nitwit in her program.

My boss told me recently that she felt I was the type of person who attracted disasters. She said it with a mix of humor and a little---or did I imagine it?---contempt. I actually don't get into half as many scrapes as I used to as a kid. My childhood memories are one long string of catastrophes. The tragic part of it all is that I always had the best intentions---whether it was giving an anonymous dead cat a proper burial (the day before my father used a roto-tiler on the yard) or keeping tadpoles as pets (how was I to know they were cannibals). I felt strongly as a child that the universe was quite unfair to put me through these things.

To tell you the truth, it's actually kind of refreshing to admit to one's stupidities. I highly recommend it to everyone reading this. In fact, I'll create and post a representative drawing to everyone who will respond to this post with their own stories.




Laini Taylor said...

Oh my god, this is so funny and horrible -- the rototiller thing... I'm going to have to try and remember some childhood horror and shame. I had a fantastic professor at Cal whose name I completely forget, who talked about shame being the only emotion that can be as powerful in recollection as it was at the moment it happened, and I think it's so true. Anger, love, happiness, all those things, when we remember moments of them, we're not FLOODED with them like no time had passed. But shame... our cheeks grow hot, our pulse quickens, we get that visceral feeling that I don't know if it even has a name beside shame. The other thing about shame is... it can be so funny! This was such a good read!

JP said...

Oh my dear sweet friend. I would list my crazy mistakes on here, but then you know most of them already(I do save some choice ones the occasional party banter). You are right though admiting our mistakes make us human, and why people love us. Embrace your mistakes, it really is the only way you will learn to avoid them.

megg said...

hello there! I just found you via Laini and I needed to tell you how much I loved this post!! I absolutely loved it. In fact, I may steal your idea and mock myself in a post soon. There's so much soul searching on here sometimes that it's nice to read the honest warts-and-all stuff! I will definitely be back to read more!

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Greetings from Laini's husband! Great post full of well-written self-mockery. Your "Bugs" story reminded me of when I was about 6 or 7 and some kids were calling me "carrot top" and I looked at them like the eventual losers I'm sure they turned out to be (don't all bullies end up as train-hopping hobos?) and I told them: "Carrot tops are green!" Well, they may not have felt "schooled" by me or anything but I'm sure (SURE!) that it haunts them to the point of sleeplessness now! -- erm, maybe? Okay, probably not--it's probably just the sound of the trains that keeps them awake nowadays, not me.

Ooh! Hey, I just thought of what you could have said when those young dorks said "Dumb has a 'B' in it!" -- YOU could have responded by saying: "Yes, and it also has 'U' in it!" KAPOW!!!! Huh! How about that! :) (you get it right? A "u" or a "you"... maybe I should just stop for now...


Rampian said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Megg, Jim, it's a pleasure to meet you both! (Though, strictly speaking, I guess I met Jim brieftly at that SCBWI conference which seems like ages ago now.) "Carrot top"? Ugh, couldn't they think of something more original? The sound of trains is too good for them---let's hope they're living in a condo with a balcony overlooking Interstate 80. I was sadly miserably slow in the comeback department, which is why I had to rely on Bugs Bunny for my sparing words. But I'll try out the "it also has a 'u' in it" rebuttal on the next mofo who messes with me!

Alexandra S said...

I have to admit to my stupidities as I can't hide them! And don't feel too badly about the trash cans- a couple months ago trying to speedily leave my workplace, I backed right into a pole and took off my entire side mirror. I've been too lazy to go and get it replaced and so I carry it in my cardoor sidepocket in case i get pulled over! And when I was in Peace Corps I made the most embarassing vocabulary mistake in Bulgarian in front of my high school students! I was trying to say how absolutely delicious this new dish I had eaten was, and it turns out that the word for this tasty dish was excrutiatingly close in sound to "vagina,' little did I know, so needless to say, by the end of my day, everyone in the village heard about it and laughter followed me everywhere i went! (Glad to hear about your blog! Laini told me last nightto check it out and I'm glad you are joining the blogging world. I haven't been able to post much lately but hope to again real soon!)

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Hey no problem. Helping others battle the mofos -- that's what I do :)


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