Saturday, June 19, 2010

The God Damn Clown Defense-Mayhem in a New England Town

The God Damn Clown Defense
Mayhem in a New England town

When I was about 23 years old, I moved back briefly to my parent’s home. I had been physically assaulted by a raging psychotic shvatza that lived in my subsidized apartment complex. This man, who had a young son that always seemed to have either an arm or leg in a cast at all times, chased me to my car. As I opened the car door to get in, he pushed the car door against me so that I was pinned and unable to get all the way in. I was in all honesty terrified. I mean my father had warned me all of my life about “those damn shvatzas.”I had my dog Max with me. Max was an amazing little grey Shitzu that was my roommate and confident. He was my friend and protector. I loved that little guy. My neighbor began to scream at me and Toto too. I believe he was ranting something about hating small grey Shitzu's. Max growled at him but his under bite made him less then convincing. When my father found out he and his brother Bert, who had an ice cream truck, had me and all of my worldly possessions moved out by midnight. If I had been battered by a white man, they probably would have let me pack up and make the move on my own.

I was still working as a cocktail waitress part time in the evenings at a Mafia run night club, attached to a bowling alley in my home town. It was an awesome club with two bars and three dance floors. My boss's names were Harry and Paulie who had a glass eye. His nephew’s name was Junior and he weighed in at about 400 lbs but it was mostly water retention. Their associates Tony and Vinnie frequented the establishment often. Tony, a homely Italian man of small stature with a large afro and matching nose carried a small card in his wallet that said “I had a vasectomy”. He felt this would up his chances with the ladies. Unless Tony had a face transplant he didn't have a chance in Barstow with the ladies. Tony had about as much of a chance of getting lucky with the ladies as Junior did in winning a wet tee shirt contest.

I started dating a boy named Vince. He was built like Tarzan and had sandy blonde hair. He looked like what I envisioned a California boy to be but would later learn that he would have had to been a Mexican to fit that role. Vince had a really cool way to meet women. He would sit at the bar and look completely depressed as if he just lost his best friend so that women would come up and console him. I fell into the trap myself. “What’s wrong” I asked one evening. The rest was history.

Vince liked to drink. Now that I look back he was a raging alcoholic. One evening we were driving home from ‘Spanks’ night club in Vince’s bright yellow, pristine 1972 Mustang. I kept telling him to hurry up since I was living back home and I didn't want to upset my parents s too much. I harped and harped on him to hurry. So he took a short cut. The house was on a corner lot. He drove across the side of my parent’s house, over the lawn, under their bedroom window, whizzing by the lilac bushes and down the front yard and onto the street. Did I mention there was about 4 inches of fluffy white powdered snow on the ground? The next morning, as I lay in bed tormented by my hangover I heard my father screaming “Betty, what the hell is this?” “Jesus Christ, God damn it, there are tire tracks going across our lawn!” “What God damn clown did this?” I giggled, felt the throbbing pain in my head and then went back to sleep.

The following weekend, this same boy and I had gone out for Chinese food. We were eating Chinese chicken wings in Vince’s dazzling yellow mustang in front of the house during the wee hours of the morning. Due to the alcoholic consumption, I was unaware that we were tossing the chicken wing bones out the window and onto the driveway. The next morning, as I lay in bed tormented by my hangover I hear my father screaming “Betty, what the hell is this? “Jesus Christ, God damn it there are about 100 chicken wing bones on the driveway. What God damn clown did this?” I giggled, felt the throbbing pain in my head and then went back to sleep.

It's hard to fathom the thought that there was no such thing as a DUI back in the 70's. Happy hours and drunk driving went hand in hand. As previously mentioned, I had the most awesome 1968 mustang. It was beige with black pin stripes that I applied myself. It had black and tan shag carpeting in the rear window, an awesome 8 track tape deck with speakers in the back and real ‘mag’ wheels. My father made a great contribution in the purchase of this, my very first car. He drove me to the used car lot. I remember that my car payments were $68.00 per month for my 1968 mustang. That’s pretty much the amount today to fill my gas tank. Damn I’m old!

On one occasion I misjudged the driveway at my parent’s house and ran down the aluminum trash cans with my car which were curbside. Damn those things make a racket on impact. On another occasion I misjudged the location of the garage door and drove my front grill right into it, leaving three horizontal foot long cracks. I learned quite quickly why they say that alcohol impairs your judgment. Both of these incidents went unreported and were blamed on some God damn clowns. Then there was the time I came home in the wee hours of the morning acting twelve kinds of crazy due to my alcohol level. I walked down the hallway of my parent’s house holding out each arm and dragging my hands along the walls to keep me from falling. I made it to my bedroom, through the orange and yellow crystal love beads that hung in my bedroom doorway and I took what I thought was a Mark Spits quality dive onto my bed. I missed my bed and landed face down on the floor. As I lay there with a bloody nose, I hear my mother’s voice from her bedroom. “Don't think I can't hear you in there, I know you just got home.” And I hollered back “What God damn clown moved my bed?”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My graduation from the Little Bo Peep Kindergarten was quite a big fĂȘte. Formal invitations were sent out to the elite of Brockton. Only the highest of the social order could attend. All of the 5 year olds were draped in classic pseudo ‘Gucci’ black caps and gowns. Each graduate had to speak in front of the auditorium full of eager guests. I was so nervous about the speech that I was selected to give. I stood in line with the other future Bo Peep alumni. I was experiencing my first episode of ‘as the stomach turns’. I was sweating profusely from multiple glands pacing back and forth wearing a permanent path into the plywood floor with my infamous orthopedic shoes, rehearsing my lines over and over. Would I get it right? Would the audience be impressed? Would I leave a lasting impression? Would I make my mark on the world? Slowly the procession moved forward like a Russian toilet paper line. We were going on stage alphabetically, and having a last name that fell at the end of the alphabet I had to be patient. Why couldn’t my last name be Aardvark so I could go up first and get this nightmare over with?

Finally my moment had come. I was up next. Oh my God I was so excited and terrified at the same time. I stepped carefully onto the stage with my heart pounding out of my chest and into my throat which was deafening even with the buzzing crowd before me. My hands were trembling, beads of sweat were dripping down my stout face and I felt as though my feet were made of tangerine Jell-O and were going to give out from under me like they did many years later after drinking 8 shots of Drambui and attempting to launch from a bar stool at the Westgate Lounge. At any moment I could land flat on my behind which I preferred not to do twice in the same year. And then, courageously I took off my graduation cap, gently pulled out the small strip of paper that was nestled inside of it and with the conviction of a great actor, I said “Q is for Queen.” And a star is born.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Little Bo Geek

Little Bo Geek
Making my Mark

Being a competent and adept student with a year of Nursery school under my belt I knew that kindergarten would be a snap. I quickly caught on to the ins and outs of school house socialization and became quite the little chatter bug. This did not please the teacher who apparently had a low level of tolerance for chatter and on one particular day I was instructed to put my head down on my desk for what is now referred to as a Dr. Spock inspired “time-out”. This being my first experience of the utmost embarrassment and humiliation I chewed the Peter Pan collar off of my pale pink cotton Salvation Army dress at the Little Bo Peep Pre-School. I was crying and chewing on my collar simultaneously. This was my first successful attempt at multi-tasking.

One winter morning that very same unforgettable year I wobbled out the front door of our modest suburbia home as I did each and every school day morning. This was a particularly frosty winter morning. The kind of frosty morning that stung your skin like the proverbial jelly fish. I stepped out onto the driveway which evidently was a complete layer of merciless ice. Out of the blue my Woolworths rubber fisherman goulashes, the kind you wear over your orthopedic shoes went out from under me and I proceeded to slide all the way down the precipitous drive way on my 5 year old rotund buttocks. I glided all the way down to the bottom at warp speed and landed right in front of the Little Bo Peep school bus full of 5 year old miniature Brocktonians who watched out the windows of the short bus and laughed uncontrollably at the expense of my lily white ice parched tuchas. I ran back up beside the driveway in the snowy front yard not knowing that the back of my dress was now stuck to the top of my tights revealing the underpants marked Tuesday when it was in fact Thursday and ran into the house too embarrassed to get on that ghastly bus. I used the excuse that the freezer burn on my butt would require immediate medical attention from the likes of Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby M.D. or my favorite heroine, Nurse Nancy and that it would be far too painful for me to submit this derriere to a full day of being one with my school house chair. This childhood nightmare could have been avoided if only the rock salt was on sale that week.