Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Explanation of Things that are Gross

Worms wriggle.
Watching, wishing
waging war with
women who—


walked where worms
waited wounded, weak   

                Worms absolutely, irrevocably, always, always gross me out.  I have this insane fear that if I step on a worm, it will undeniably split in half and continue to reproduce until there is an army of angry worms skootching up the side of my building to kill me in my sleep.
                In my younger years, I would refuse to use worms to bait my own fishing hook because of this same ridiculous fear.  My mom used to send my sister and me into our garden and dig up some worms for our fishing trips.  I would steel my heart, shielded with a gardening shovel and Osh Kosh B’Gosh denims and trample out to the garden to join Sarah.  Sarah, dressed in only cotton shorts and a tee shirt, would pick them up by their tail (head?) and swing them around and fling them towards me.  That may have been the start of my aversion, but maybe not.  Then we would arrive at our fishing spot.  We all would pull out our fishing poles.  I, still in my overalls, would bring my 3-foot long Snoopy fishing pole, and look at my mom expectantly. 
                “Mom, I’m ready!” I said, batting my eyelashes.
                “Katie, when are you going to learn to bait your own hook?” Mom replied, a little exasperated at trying to keep my sister from hooking herself with her fishing pole and me unable to touch worms.
                Scrunching my nose, I would say, “Hopefully never.  Worms are all wiggly and smelly and covered in dirt all the time.”
                “Well, so are you, but I keep you around,” Mom chided, “For goodness sake, Sarah, you’re going to kill yourself. Sit down.”
                “Hey,” I cautioned, realizing that she just called me smelly.
                “Alright, Katie, this is the absolute last time.  Next time, you’ll just have to watch us catching all the fish, sorry cuz you can’t bait your own hook.”
                “Mommy, please?  I’ll be a big girl next time.  I’m just not ready yet.  They’re gonna be sad that I stuck a knife through their tummies and then come back for me,” I looked around, scared that the worms might think I impaled them. 
                “But they’re not going to come after me?  Why not?”
                “You’re bigger than me.  I am just a little bit bigger than them.  I could be their snack. But you, no way. You’re so tall.  They wouldn’t mess with you,” I explain, as if it was the most obvious answer.
                Every fishing trip went a little something like that.  My sister, fearless in her baiting of hooks, and me, timid irrationally scared. My parents baited my hook until the embarrassing age of 13.  Then I learned how to use lures—one: they’re prettier, two: they’re not going to kill me, and three: way, way, way easier to attach to a fishing hook instead of winding a worm eighteen times around the hook.    By the age of 15, I realized that fishing all together is not quite my recreational activity.  Live bait creeps me out, and I have no interest in eating, touching or caring for fish. 
                Now that I am older and have stopped fishing, worms still bombard my life, and creep up in the oddest moments.  On rainy days, during my college years, I would leave 20 minutes early for a class a block away, clad in my raincoat and pink plaid rain boots.  Carefully, I tip toed through campus avoiding the beached worms searching for oxygen in the air as opposed to their flooded home of underground.  I would dart from open patch to open patch to avoid stepping on the worms.  Because campus was beautifully green, with a lot of open space, there were many worms seeking refuge, which made my journey perilous. 
                I think this may just stick with me, regardless of its fantastical nature and will never happen.  I am not a superstitious person.  I just like rules and patterns.  If I change this constant in my life, how can I expect the rest of my life to stay together.   It is as if this absurdity glues together my Crazy, or perhaps, it’s just the tip of it. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pocket of Pretension

First and foremost, I would like to wish a super de dooper Happy Birthday to my friend Annie.  She is a rockstar.  I would also like to wish my friend Jessie and fantasmerific birthday as well.  She is a champion.  What is most weird is that they do not know each other, yet have both left the cozy nook of South Eastern Wisconsin to attend post-undergrad on the east the same city.  Personally, I think they should be friends.

Mike Johnson, who is my very favorite submarine hero, is also having a birthday today.  I am sending a head butt full of love to you for your birthday.

And the always remarkable, incredibly loving, fearlessly caring mentor, Julie Massey is also celebrating a birthday.  Wow, August seventh has been a busy day.  Phew!

On a completely unrelated note: Pretension is is annoying.  This comes from a completely pretentious party: me.

I was teaching summer school English 9, to all those students who didn't love it the first time around, and a college student came in to observe the lesson.  His skinny jeans cuffed, and plaid shirt rolled, the first thing out of his mouth is about Proust.  Immediately, I flashback to the critically acclaimed show Gilmore Girls and Lorelai shouting about Proust and how pretentious then fiancee Max was.

I pulled myself back to the classroom and commented, "Oh, I have never read him."

To which Cuffs McGee responds, "What?! Oh, you've got to. His prose is fascinating and development is--

"Let me see where Proust fits into this curriculum.  Ah, yes, right here between S.E. Hinton and Harper Lee. I think those authors would bookend Proust nicely.  What do you think, Cuffs?"

It is at that point when pretension become annoying.  Pretension and pretentious acts, however, can be fine.  One example is when you're the youngest guest at a dinner party, and the other guests jammer about politics and religion as if they're experts.  You can  seclude yourself in your own pocket of pretension fully aware that you are the most learned person there.  Only douchecanoes assume they are the smartest person in the room. In this situation, dear friends, feel free to toss in a snarky remark to remind those other guests that they are being pompous and condescending.  You, dear friends, know how to be the right kind of pretentious--rain boots and all.*

*Please refer to the poem "Pretentious Rain Boots" not yet published or written by K.M. Bots

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Maiden Voyage

What kind of tip is looking at your elbow?  Is that a joke in the same vein as "I will give you 100 dollars if you lick your elbow" or  " 'knock knock.' 'who's there?' ...."? No, it is the bonafide way to get a perfect high five, every time.
Here's the trick:
1. Establish a partner
2. Make eye contact and raise your hand in a universal sign of an "up top" high five
3. Shift your gaze to your partners elbow, and make sure he or she is looking at yours.
     a. This can be done by a silent affirmation or a rabble-rousing shout of "The Elbow! The Elbow! Look at the Elbow!
4. Bring your hands together with similar velocities.

Upon doing this, you should hear a resounding and satisfying smack. (Or pop.  I am having difficulty correctly identifying the most apt onomatopoeia.)  There should also be a moderate to severe tingling feeling following the sound.

That, dear friends, is how to give a proper high five the first time, every time.

PS If you are consuming mature beverages, please account for that and adjust the focus of your gaze accordingly.