Saturday, February 28, 2009
Anyone who has ever had back surgery just automatically cringes while watching these boys being twisted into human pretzels. And to be body slammed or have a hundred-plus pounds collapse on top of me...forget it. I can't even tolerate the cats leaping onto my belly. But the agony doesn’t end there. During my tenure, there were nose bleeds galore, and once I recall a wayward tooth sliding my way. There’s a waste basket at the corner of each mat to collect various body fluids. Ah, athletics at its finest.
One of our school’s big bruisers, for some reason, would almost always have his matches interrupted with a pseudo medical emergency. I always knew that when he was wrestling, I’d have time for a bathroom break because he’d have to recover from a head injury or busted leg or an insult to his inflated ego. Another kid was well known as a bleeder. It got to where he’d just show up for each match with wads of cotton sticking out of each nostril.
The worst part of attending the wrestling meets for me, though, was "deadly gym stench." Wrestlers must have some rule that deodorant is for sissies. The air pollution level increased with the size of the tournament. Two or three teams wasn’t so bad, but an invitational was a doozy, and regionals and state were murder. Entering the arena, one could take a knife and cut right through the sweat. There were times I thought I’d need an oxygen tank to breathe.
Now that I’m retired, though, I don’t mind reading the wrestling results from the safety of a personal computer. There’s no assault of the senses from my semi-trusty Dell. I don’t have to hear the grunting and groaning or see the grimacing inflicted by the painful agony of defeat. And if there’s any body odor piercing the air, well, sniff-sniff, I'll only have myself to blame.
Sunday P.S.---We have a state champion in our fair burg! Devin Frye won the 125-pound division in 3-2-1A.
My favorite paragraph from the newspaper wrestling coverage this morning was about a Wichita kid who lost the 6A, 112-pound title by one point. "He threw his headgear as he lay in pain after separating a shoulder. He then ran off the mat and kicked over three trash cans." I hope his coach made him shoulder his responsibility and sent him back to clean up the mess he left. Believe me, no custodian deserves to wrestle with all that toxic waste!
The best names listed as medalists were Tim Wrestler from Chanute and Tank Burns from Columbus. Tank was a 4A state champion in, of course, the 285-pound division.
Friday, February 27, 2009
I was too young to act grown up like Big Sis and Beans and too old to act like the babies who were eight and nine years younger than I. It didn’t help that the older sibs were nitpicky neat freaks and the little ones were gosh-darn adorable. “Oh, look at Little Jon smearing his face with chocolate frosting! Isn’t he cute?”
Mom probably disciplined me more than the other four put together, and rightly so. I just never knew when to shut up. The mouth raged on and on and on. When I got too old for paddlings, she started using threats with me, like: “You’re going to drive me crazy, and when I’m sent off to Osawatomie (the mental hospital upstate) you’ll have to go live with your father!” or: “Arthur Anderson (the school principal who worked across the street from our house) is going to hear you and call the police!” My standard response to the latter threat was to throw open the window and yell, “Do you hear me, Arthur? Call the cops!!!”
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good
She was very good indeed
And when she was bad
She was horrid
But, eventually Mama Bore got wise. When I was around 14, she finally got the better of me. I was having another rant about something…I can’t remember what…she probably wouldn’t let me go out with my friends until I cleaned the landfill of dirty clothes from underneath my bed. Anyway, I was in my room hollering, when she calmly walked in and dumped a large glass of ice water over my head and said, “Here. Cool off.” She smiled and walked back to the kitchen, leaving me drenched.
I was dumbfounded….and very wet and stupid looking. She was a genius. Ever since that defining moment in my life, I was a changed child. I highly recommend the ice water method of behavior modification for all parents. It’s totally effective--cheaper than hiring a child psychologist and safer than a spanking. The only bruises left are to the ego!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
“Aunt Nancy, can you judge at our school’s forensic tournament March 6th and 7th?” He said he would earn “lots” of points for every person he rounded up to help out with the big affair.
Now, we all know how full my social calendar isn’t, so I told him to sign me up. I well remember my own sorry days as a struggling debate and speech student and the quest for earning points toward the tiny, silver National Forensic League (NFL) pin and the coveted “gems” (as in, glass) that went with them. We’d start out with an emerald, then go for the sapphire, ruby, etc. Teachers were also awarded points, based on how many their students won. Our instructor, The Bat, (see May 2, 2008 blog) had been working on the Grand Poobah Award, the double diamond, since the invention of dirt.
My first year on the team, I earned enough points for a pin and emerald, thanks to being paired with a stellar debate partner, also familiar in fine blogging circles as the razor-sharp Literary Diva. The second year out, I had just reached the sapphire level when tragedy struck. I’d been having fainting spells, thanks to a case of what is now popularly known as anorexia nervosa, and a blackout chose to hit me at a debate tournament at Wichita Heights High School--the one-time academic home of Big Bore, when he wasn't busy skipping classes.
I light-headedly approached the lectern to deliver a rebuttal when the lights went out. “I can’t see!” I freaked. Someone escorted me back to a desk, but I never recovered composure enough to continue, so we had to forfeit the round. The Bat was not happy, and she became even more furious the following week when I told her I was quitting the team, orders from my doctor and Mama Bore. I’d gone from 150 to 96 pounds, was having chest pain, and I had to get well. I sacrificed receiving the sapphire, since I was a "let the team down" has-been on The Bat’s Black List, but that was a small price to pay for getting back my health.
Fast forward 30 or so years, and I’m telling a high school speech-teaching friend about my lowly, abbreviated career as a public speaker, joking about my dismal experience.
“I knew that woman!” he said of The Bat. “When she retired, I was hired to replaced her! It was hell!” He explained that he was fresh out of college and ill-prepared to step right into the steely spike heels of God’s Gift to High School Speech. The Bat delighted in his failure, he said, and he was not re-hired to return for a second year.
A few months after our conversation about my crisis from 1966, my teaching pal came into my classroom with a little box in his hand. “I have something for you,” he said. Unbeknownst to me, he’d contacted the office of the National Forensic League. My name was still on its registry and lo and behold, I was listed as a sapphire recipient. “Here’s the pin you should have been given 30 years ago.” He made the belated formal presentation, I gave a dramatic acceptance speech, and we had a great laugh.
Come next weekend when I go to Bo’s school to judge at the speech tournament, I’m going to attach that fake silver and sapphire pin to whatever I’m wearing and strut my sassy stuff. It’s somewhere in the bottom of one of my jewelry boxes in the bathroom. I just hope it doesn’t take me another 30 years to find it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
After three months of long rehearsals, Bo was psyched up and ready to “break a leg,” as they say for good luck in the acting world. There was just one HUGE problem: his dance partner got in a car wreck Thursday night and broke not a leg, but her neck, for god’s sake!! Fortunately, she survived and is not paralyzed but, of course, she couldn’t perform from a hospital bed. What to do?
Well, the show must go on, so Bo did all the dance routines solo…except for the big dance party scene where he ended up being a wallflower and had to sit on the gym bleachers with a few other rejects. Boo hoo. Can I ever relate to that!
I took his picture and had him autograph his picture in the playbook. I told him when he’s famous some day, I’ll sell it for big bucks.
It’s important to make fun memories out of one’s high school days. They go by so quickly. Years from now Bo can look back at the time he survived try-outs, slicked down his hair, took to the big stage, pretended to be a student at Rydell High, circa 1959,--and then got stood up!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Now, I went to a movie house a grand total of two times last year (Batman: The Dark Knight, only because I was with a teenager, and Tropic Thunder, because my car was being worked on and I had some time to kill), so I consider myself a theatrical expert. I have the subscription to Entertainment Weekly to prove it.
With those credentials, I’ve entered an Oscars contest sponsored by the Wichita Eagle, submitting my predictions for the winners, and, come tomorrow, I expect to receive an email that I have won the grand prize, which I think is a movie pass good for the rest of the year. With what it costs nowadays to get into the theatre and buy a box of popcorn and a soda, this should be worth millions!
In my younger days…much younger…I used to get together with Library Lady and some other pals for an Oscars Watch Party. We had an official code of attire: dress like a character from the Oscar-nominated menu. My memory sort of escapes me, but I think pretty much every year I dressed as a hooker because loose women roles have always won raves with the Academy, and I owned this great, tight, pink and purple satin hooker dress that I could only wear for special occasions.
The party guest who showed up with the best costume won our Oscar (a bowling trophy.) I never went home a winner, but one year Library Lady took top honors for Gandhi. There’s a picture in one of my photo albums to prove it, but it isn’t accompanying this blog because Library Lady is a reader of The Flaming Bore and we wouldn’t want to lose her friendship by giving her a heart attack.
If I was to dress up for tonight’s big event, I’d probably pick the movie The Wrestler for my costume theme. I’d pull on a pair of tights and shorts, slip on a ripped-up T-shirt, rat my hair into a nest, pull out a few teeth, and be ready to make the scene. But wait!! The wrestler guy has a stripper girlfriend who is a nominee for Best Supporting Actress! And I still have the satin hooker dress somewhere in my closet! I may have to drag it out tonight just to see if I can still shove my body into it. If the buttons don’t burst off from the strain, “The Oscar for Best Costume Special Effects goes to: The Flaming Bore!!”
Friday, February 20, 2009
Because I am retired, today I was able to sleep until 8:30 AM, slowly eat breakfast while reading the morning paper, go to the library, do the laundry, write some book reviews for the newspaper, make home improvement project plans with some contractors, attend the Garden Club luncheon, walk four miles, and piddle at the computer.
In a few hours I’m meeting up in Wichita with my Best Ex-Sister-in-Law, Nurse Barbara, to see a musical revue at Oldtown Cabaret. Barb earned her Best title for two reasons: she doesn’t take it out on me that her ex-husband is one of my brothers PLUS she held the barf bucket for me in the hospital two years ago after I got my gall bladder removed. That’s definitely going above and beyond the call of ex-in-law duty, in my book.
I’ve been going to the Cabaret for almost 12 years. The first time was when I joined some gal pals for a night out to forget about the fact that my marriage had gone kaput. We saw “Pageant,” a drag queen show of sorts, featuring six guys/gals competing for the title of Miss Glamouress, including Miss Deep South, Miss Bible Belt, and my favorite, the roller-skating accordion playing Miss Industrial Northeast. I laughed myself silly and knew that night that I would survive divorce and be okay.
I have also managed to survive retirement so far. The aches and pains of getting older are no fun, I admit, and I miss jogging like I used to do all the time, but the benefits of freedom are nice. As I grow older and wiser, it doesn't take much to get me excited. I'll be turning 60 in a few months, and I'm already looking forward to more senior citizen discounts. Bring 'em on!!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
What the hell is this? Well, it was some sort of beauty pageant for little girls. I forget the name…Little Miss Perfect Southern Charmer, or some such nonsense. There were three judges, two women and one man who was the head judge, proclaiming that he was looking for beauty and personality. Yikes! As if he wasn’t creepy enough, one of the women had a Chihuahua attached to her. She’d take notes with her right hand, while her doggie friend lived in the crook of her left arm.
The mothers of the mini contestants, who were ages 1 through 4, were mostly pathetic pageant rejects of years gone by. They’d sit in the crowd and mimic all the gestures they wanted their little darlings to perform on stage…shimmying, strutting, throwing kisses, and the like. Scary. One mother said that she’d spent $1,000.00 for each of her daughter’s three competition outfits…sportswear, party dress, and western wear.
It’s hard for me to relate to this kind of absurdity. I didn’t wear make-up until I was 14, and the most I’ve ever spent in my life on any one outfit is $118.00. Growing up, I might have been a good candidate for Little Miss Perfect Tomboy. I could run and jump and climb and get dirty with the best of ‘em. And if any weirdo in a tuxedo had tried to romance me with an icky Elvis song, he would have been slugged. That’s about how much beauty and personality I had!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
When I told Big Bore about my brilliant idea, he was skeptical.
“What would she do?” he asked.
I sashayed next to the TV set and demonstrated, making various exotic hand gestures around the categories.
“Below each dollar amount would be a button, and she’d press it to show the answer,” I explained.
“I’ll have Obnoxious Presidential Nicknames In Other Words for $600.00, Alex,” the contestant would say.
“Press the button, Jeopardy Girl,” Alex would dramatically order.
The assistant would follow his command. “Another name for Slippery Bill,” she’d reveal, eyes wide, licking her lips.
“Who is Slick Willie Clinton?” the contestant would respond, Jeopardy Girl clapping her hands enthusiastically.
Big Bore doesn’t think Alex will go for having a chick helper with whom to share the spotlight, after having gone solo after all these years, but he thinks having his own button pressed is a mighty fine idea, no question about it.
Monday, February 16, 2009
She’s started her own website, and I’ve checked it out, of course. All it has on it, though, are pictures of the litter she had, plus links to send donations and make comments. I decided to spare her of both.
I don’t usually criticize anyone who has children since I have none. I did have a dream one time, though, that I had a baby. I put it in a cat bed in my closet and went on to work, so I guess that little sleeping escapade pretty much spells out my maternal instinct. I woke up in a cold sweat, sooooooo relieved that I wasn’t really having my cats acting as day care providers.
Playing with other people’s babies is fun, but I’m always ready to hand them back when the going gets rough. You know the scenario: crying, upchucking, diapers gone bad; I have those little bundles of joy back into the arms of their parents in zero seconds. I cannot imagine, even in my absolute worst nightmare, trying to keep up with the pooping and peeing of eight babies all at once. --I can’t afford that much kitty litter!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to my readers! XOXOXOXOXOX
Here are some words of wisdom about love that I found on the Internet, written by some grade school kids. Perhaps we could learn a few tricks from them:
WHAT MOST PEOPLE ARE THINKING WHEN THEY SAY "I LOVE YOU?"
"The person is thinking: Yeah, I really do love him. But I hope he showers at least once a day." --Michelle, 9
HOW A PERSON LEARNS TO KISS
"You learn it right on the spot when the gooshy feelings get the best of you." --Doug, 7
"It might help to watch soap operas all day." --Carin, 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?"
It's never okay to kiss a boy. They always slobber all over you...that's why I stopped doing it." --Jean, 10
HOW TO MAKE LOVE LAST
"Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work." --Tom, 7
"Don't forget your wife's name...that will mess up the love." --Roger, 8
"Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the garbage." --Randy, 8
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
"Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one." --Angie, 10
"I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn't supposed to be so painful." --Manuel, 8
"No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That's why perfume and deodorant are so popular." --Mae, 9
"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." --Mike, 10
"It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I'm just a kid. I don't need that kind of trouble." --Kenny, 7
My Valentine is calling. Kenny and I have to go grab an Excedrin...extra strength. :)
Friday, February 13, 2009
My consideration of this possible resolution was interrupted when I got about a block from home and saw Big Bore sitting on the porch steps, his right hand moving toward his mouth. I stopped dead in my tracks. Holy crap! He’s not sucking on a cigarette on his one-month anniversary of not smoking, is he? Say it isn’t so!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I had to be in Fredonia yesterday, so I took some afterthought pictures of the old Mound School grounds that I blogged about. The steps look to be in a crumbly state of disrepair, but the Run Horse, Run corral/cedar tree is bigger and better than ever. The new owners of the grounds have trimmed it up so it no longer looks like a hideaway for wayward horse girls.
An old classmate who now lives in Oklahoma emailed me to say she’d read the blog, which threw her back to the terrible time she broke her leg during one of our famous Mound School recess periods. We were in 6th grade playing softball in the flat area east of the school building. (Look at the cedar tree picture, and the scene of the crime was in the area between the first two sandstone walls in the foreground.) Barbie was up at bat and hit a grounder down the 1st base line, which wavered between being fair and foul. Like a trooper, she ran it out. No one would want to be caught standing still at home plate hoping for the ball to go foul, after all. Well, as she approached 1st base, the damned ball still wasn’t sure which way it was going to go….fair or foul, and it suddenly rolled right into the base path. She tried leaping over the ball but, instead of clearing it, she made contact with one of her feet and she went tumbling down. Ouch!!!! Time out!!! Somebody go get the principal!! Quick!!
Now it’s what happened next that I’d either totally forgotten or wasn’t aware of, but Barbie, bless her, had full recollection. Back in those days, there was no 911 to call for emergencies. When you got hurt, a parent was called (and not on a cell phone) and you sucked it up. Yes, the principal made poor Barbie and her broken leg limp all the way to his office to call her mother. We’re talking two sets of steps up the sandstone walls, then up a set of stairs into the building, then up the curved stairway to the office. Good lord! It’s a wonder the leg didn’t fall off by the time she made it to the phone!
I asked Barbie if any of her caring classmates helped her maneuver all those steps in her broken down condition, hoping so, although I had a sick feeling to my stomach that none of us did. Back then, all we cared about was getting in our full amount of recess time. There was probably a call to “Play ball!” again before she ever made it off the field. That’s about how long sympathy lasts with 11-year-olds. I’m still awaiting her response, but I think I know the answer to my question: “Hell, no!”
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The other day I was driving by a grade school just as recess was beginning. How did I know? Because a group of boys came bursting out a side door, racing to the basketball court as if there was no tomorrow. I well remember the feeling. Heaven forbid if a nano-second of recess was wasted on the idle.
Now, our playgrounds at Mound School were the absolute best ever. Even by adult standards today, I marvel at its immensity. The school, built in 1880, was set upon the side of the South Mound in Fredonia. Just to get up to it, we’d have to walk up a steep series of maybe 25 steps, then a wider series of larger steps. Once in the building, there were more steps to get to the first floor, and kids in the upper grades had another stairway to use to get to the second floor. It was a decent workout just to get to class.
But we weren’t there to learn. We were there to play!!!!! Mound School had layers of fun. The smooth sidewalk encircling the building was great for roller skating, jacks, and jumping rope. There was a basketball court behind the building and a big sand pile on the southeast corner. Steps adjacent to the sandy area led up to an unused door. We had strict instructions NOT to jump from the steps onto the sand pile, but as soon as a teacher moved to patrol another area, you can guess what went on. Bombs over Tokyo!!!
There were scads of other playground rules to be broken. “No running down the steps--you might trip and fall!” “Don’t cross the bridge to the trash bin--snakes!” “Don’t jump off the walls--you’ll break a leg!” “Don’t slide down the south hill to the swings and teeter totters. A boy once did this, a stick went up his butt, and it killed him!” The teachers felt we were stepping onto a booby-trapped land mine with every recess period, but we didn’t care!
This leads to the worst rule ever created at Mound School--the one that banished playing Run Horse, Run. Our version of this rowdy chase game was for the girls to be the horses and the boys to be the ranchers trying to catch the horses and then take them to the corral--a large cedar tree in the central playground area that had an opening, which sort of created a teepee effect. Once put in the “pen,” a horse (girl) had to stay there until freed by another horse.
Well, the problem with Run Horse, Run was that it developed into too much of a contact sport, in the eyes of the teachers and principal. We horses did not just roll over and whimper when a rancher caught us. Oh, no. All hell would break loose. We would kick up a storm like a regular wild stallion, neighing and snorting and fighting to break free. Our 6th grade body parts apparently co-mingled too closely for adult comfort. The game was banned and, for a while, girls and boys were segregated on the playgrounds. Man, were we ever chapped about that one!
So, the other day when I saw those boys dashing out the school door, memories of my own playground days flashed before my eyes and I had to chuckle. I knew that when the bell rang for recess to end, those speedy, little legs would suddenly go into slow mode. No way were they going to race back into the building to eagerly start on a math lesson. They’d barely be moving and then they’d have to stop for a drink and to wipe down the sweat. I know the routine all too well.
Mound School was torn down many years ago and a nice home was eventually built in its place, so the grounds are no longer public property, which is a crying shame. I’d do anything to sneak back up all the steps and to jump off the sandstone wall--not to irritate a teacher but just to prove that I could!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Scrabble is probably my all-time favorite board game, although our long-ago family entertainment nights also included Sorry, Clue, and Monopoly. My closest sibling in age, Big Brother Beans, was hard-pressed to find a way to cheat in Scrabble, which may have been why I preferred it over the other games. It required a bit of skill, more than just rolling dice, so the playing field was equalized. In fact, Beans rarely played Scrabble, probably because he feared I could whip up on him with my amazing command of the letters.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
BB saw a cat in the backyard last night, so I went out to investigate--hoping it might be Annie, Mama Bore's missing-in-action darling that I am supposed to be fostering while she's in the nursing home. It wasn't. I did, however, make a friend for life with a gray, short-haired cuddly puss. When I went back inside, BB's first words were, "Well, what did you name it?"
When I mailed back the old Tracfone (Crapfone, Trashfone, you name it) to its headquarters in Miami a while ago, I included a copy of my Feb. 5 blog rant. It made me feel soooooooo much better!
I was thumbing through a catalogue last night and saw a back-supporting bra that I might want to order, as it claims to improve slumpy posture like mine. I got out a tape measure to see if I'm still a 32-A, like the store clerks at Victoria's Secret and Dillard's claim I am. 34-C. So there!
It's another gorgeous, warm winter day! Time to quit clowning around, go for a long walk, and then get ready for the KU basketball game. Have a wonderful weekend!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I have recently decided that there are not enough swear words in the English language (press dos para espanol) to describe how much I hate my semi-new Tracfone.
Last month it just quit working…shut down with 16 minutes of quality conversation left. No amount of charging would help. Thinking perhaps I was wrong about having time remaining on it, I went online and purchased 60 more minutes for $19.95. Stupid move. The phone remained dead.
So, it was off to the 1-800 service number. After being on the line with Ramon for an hour, still nothing, so his stumped supervisor told him to send me a replacement phone. I’d keep the same number and 76 minutes would be transferred to it. Okay. Problem solved. So I thought.
The replacement phone arrived within a few days but, of course, I’d have to call back the service folks to get it “activated.” According to the cheery chick on the Tracfone recording, this process would be “quick and easy.” Yeah, about as quick and easy as lancing a boil on my butt. You get the picture?
It took four calls over the course of three days, totaling 3-½ hours, to get activated. I lost track of how many times I was put on hold by Manual, Cyril, Martha, and Anthony. But I’ll give ol’ Anthony credit. He finally got me up and running, even though he had to give me a new number.
The goofy end to this story is that in the course of Cyril dinking around with trying to change the existing phone number to the replacement phone, the old phone magically came back to life! It still has the 16 minutes left on it, but I’m returning it to the Tracfone Headquarters, as I’ve been directed to do. They can jam those minutes through the Customer Service Manager’s headset, for all I care--as long as the process is not “quick and easy.”
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
“Can’t have what?” I asked.