Psst! Can You Keep a Secret?
To date, I have survived me and I’m proud of it
I had to learn to laugh at myself at a very early age.
It was clear to my parents that I was either a total whack job or, at the very least, accident-prone. One or two family members (artists) tried suggesting that I was a creative, maybe even a genius, (okay, so I made that up), and that I made a lot of mistakes/errors in judgement because I was thinking of other-worldly things.
My parents thought the creative suggestion was intended as a scathing criticism — I remember hearing, “Get your head out of the effing clouds, or I’ll bring you down with… (unintelligible threat),” many times.
Perhaps Father had a tinsy bit of valid concern because I frequently displayed a lack of attention when performing tasks requiring a certain amount of focus.
At ten years of age, I burned a giant hole in the side of the house with Father’s blow torch!
In my defence, I had been tasked with removing the exterior house paint by heating, then scraping it with a sharp tool specially designed for the job. However, something fun was playing in my mind, and I didn’t notice the initial scorching, stinking paint smell, and subsequent burning.
Funny thing, the smell of smoldering lead paint, wood smoke, and the blue/red colour of Father’s countenance is now forever burnt into my auditory/olfactory/ophthalmoception(ory) memory.
(I am very proud of “ophthalmoception” as a word, and sincerely hope the editors don’t want to dumb this down).
Perhaps father’s reaction was because just a week previously, I had dug a ten-foot by ten-foot deep(ish) hole in his vegetable garden to use as an underground hut, which filled up with rain that very night.
The week before that, I had blown the window out of his little workshop!
My brother had a u-beaut chemistry set with which I was enamoured. Wearing my new white Christmas outfit, I took the chemicals out to Father’s workbench, mixed a whole heap of shit together and applied a Bunsen burner.
As a result, window remnants were later found somewhere up the pear tree, and my pristine white shorts outfit was stained yellow with chemical residue. (Mother made me wear the clothes, anyway)! It was her way of saying, “Here is my idiot child. Point and laugh, if you will!”
My problems with both focus and establishing boundaries began very early in life.
The first issue that I fully remember occurred when I was three years old.
I was caught, red-handed, poised to insert a stick into my best friend’s bottom!
I had just come home from a stint in hospital where I had learned how doctors and nurses took infant temperatures.
We were playing doctors and nurses — I didn’t understand the problem.
I did understand that my friend’s mother took umbrage and forbade me from playing with her kid again.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some!
When I was five, I saw pictures in an American comic book, of kids selling lemonade from a stand outside their houses. Genius!
I collected a few lemonade bottles and had my brother fill them with his “lemonade”.
I would have done it, but there were difficulties encountered trying to fill a narrow-necked bottle with girl pee.
My brother volunteered to man the stand as my money-counting abilities were not fully honed.
We completely sold out of product within ten minutes and managed to disassemble the stand, (ten houses down from our place), before complaints came in.
For some reason, there were no complaints. Go figure!
There are too many childhood and teen escapades to recall in the space of a few pages, so I will skip ahead to my teen years where my errors of judgement continued to plague me.
I will indulge in only one incident, which still leaves me red-faced to this day.
My parents left me to babysit my younger sister while they visited with my aunt and uncle a couple of blocks away.
I was hoping my boyfriend would ring so I could invite him to come over, and keep me company. Of course, this was a big no-no at the time.
Sure enough, the phone rang. I answered, listened to my beloved’s voice, then seductively invited him to join me because my parents were out.
A deathly silence followed my invitation. Then my uncle spoke, asking me if I wanted his daughter to come over and keep me company. I almost died on the spot!
It was kind of him to pretend he hadn’t heard a thing I’d said, but my ears still burn when I think of it today. He also failed to tell my parents — so that was a bonus!
Adulthood saw the incidents become more ridiculous — embarrassing accidents rather than calculated indiscretions.
I list a few below:
· Not long after texting became a “thing”, I texted Dee, “Could you pick up a bottle of wine on your way home — I fancy a BBQ and a rudie nudie swim in the pool!”
This was foolish on two counts. One, because Dee didn’t drink, and two, because I accidentally sent the text off to our accountant!
· Getting ready for work one morning, I lavishly sprayed my hair with fly spray. The smell wasn’t the only giveaway! When fluid ran in rivulets down my scalp, I realised my error.
· Not so long after the fly spray incident, I brushed my teeth with Savlon ointment. My immediate cry of alarm was, “Who stole the flavour from the toothpaste!”
· While we are on the subject of toothpaste — a few months ago, I inadvertently swopped toothpaste out for a lady feminine product, and spent fifteen minutes screaming, “Help me!” whilst running up and down the hall.
· I went shopping and bumped into a burly fellow standing on the corner of an aisle, then spent several seconds fervently apologizing to a store mannequin. A few snorts from passers-by alerted me to my error.
· When computers still went ‘bing’ in response to errors, I absent-mindedly apologised to my screen. I was in a crowded office at the time.
Ridiculous things appear to be happening more frequently these days. My son tells me a high percentage of crimes happen in the bedroom. So do a high percentage of stupid accidents.
Last year, I fell over nothing and broke my arm.
Two weeks ago, I called my son to tell him I had taken my annual break — a nasty fracturing of my toe occurred approximately six inches from where I broke my arm, (in my bedroom).
Three separate hospital medico’s examined my right foot eliciting three separate exclamations of, “Oh, that looks nasty,” when pointing to my big toe, resplendent with ingrown toenail.
Could they not see the middle toe was pointing east when it should have been pointing north?
A couple of weeks ago, I sat on my lounge chair with my old fashioned, much-loved journal on my lap. I tapped the cover twice and waited for it to open!
Last week at the supermarket, I meant to tell the cashier that something was lovely. Instead, I muttered, “I love you.”
Dee spends a lot of time shaking his head.
A week or so ago, I submitted an article with lots of lovely links, to Counter Arts. In the middle of the night, I woke up, determined to fix a tiny error before the story was published. My phone was on the bedside table — my glasses were not.
Working myopically in the dark, I successfully deleted my article, and then couldn’t get back to sleep because of the stress of it all.
I’m depending on you lot to keep my confessions close — no huddled whispering in Medium’s padded corridors about how the old girl is losing it.
That is not news.
I have been losing it, whatever it is, for as long as I can remember!