Misfit. Too literal?
Several days ago, WordPress posted a prompt for bloggers that looked something like this:
Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
Seriously, a dime? My 40+ year old eyes are supposed to read the very tiny inscription telling us the date a dime was made? Hmm, let me hold it really far away … is that a 1, 9, 8 … 2 maybe? 7? Do I dare step across the hall to the 20-something and ask him what year this dime was made? Admitting that I can’t make out those tiny numbers would be admitting defeat, which will never do. So I squint. The real problem here is that the last number is worn down – there’s almost no impression left on the coin.
I’m pretty sure the top of the last digit is curved, which rules out the 7. Besides, this is my blog, so I can pick whichever year I like best, right? I thought so. Though both were fun – when 1982 began, I was a freshman in high school, and when it ended, I was a sophomore. Progress! When 1987 began, I was a sophomore in college, and when it ended, I had moved across the state to live with a cousin and taken a boring job for very little pay. So as you can see, they are both stories worth telling. And in both cases, some things are best left unsaid.
So, 1982. It was an innocent time. I hadn’t yet begun wearing neon, backcombing and Aqua Netting my bangs so they’d stand up by themselves or wearing different (very large) earrings on either ear. I had just begun learning to talk a little bit Valley Girl (ohmahgawd, like, so awesome for a small town, Eastern Oregon girl). I was awesome at Ms. Pac Man, and less so at Q*Bert. I had two sets of Deely Boppers, and wore them. A lot. Actually, because I liked to be different, I had the ones with pinwheels on them, instead of the foam balls that looked like antennae. Like, seriously awesome.
Mostly, I was an average high school kid, getting good grades, obeying my parents, teachers and coaches, participating in volleyball, basketball, softball, Girls Athletic Association (because girls weren’t allowed in the Letterman’s Club until my senior year), Pep Club, FHA, band and choir at my high school, and terrorizing my siblings whenever possible (they started it). I drank Tab because it was the only diet soda that was made. Sometimes, I kicked the Tab up a notch and dropped Lemon Heads in it, again, because it was, like, awesome to the max. School dances were in the cafeteria, and consisted mostly of sitting around chatting with my friends. Also, punch and chips. Possibly rolling my eyes at my sister and her latest boyfriend doing whatever it is that high school kids do at dances when they’re a couple.
I wore my Pep Club t-shirt to all the games to cheer on my schoolmates. You
know the one. White shirt with green trim around the neck, and long green sleeves with “85” on the left arm, and “Ang” on the back. Instead of calling me “Anj,” which is what I believed the back of my shirt read, my family began calling me “Ang,” with a soft g. Not funny, Family!
My sophomore year, I made my own prom dress, and attended the dance with a senior. Because breaking out of my shell meant doing things others might see as outrageous, my prom “date” was a girl. She didn’t have a date, we were friends, we went to the prom and hung out. It was fun. Especially when we left early to get Baskin Robbins.
1982 was the year I first traveled alone, and the first time I flew in an airplane. Coincidentally, it was also the first time I got very bored in a conference, and wished I could be outside shopping, or pretty much anything other than sitting in that room with several hundred high school sophomores.
It was a year of growth and change, with some self-discovery thrown in. It was a very good year.
Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is “Write your own eulogy.” As you might have noticed, I don’t typically write posts based on the daily prompt, and today will be no exception. You won’t be reading my eulogy here.
However, it did remind me of a time when I wrote my husband’s fake obituary. At the time, he was not my husband, he was a co-worker and friend. I was working on a huge project at work, and had several piles of papers and photographs on my desk – all organized in a way that made sense to me. Each item had been placed in a specific pile for a specific reason, and for the most part, the piles were ordered by importance, from top to bottom.
I left the office for several hours to attend a meeting, and when I returned, the piles were gone. Hubby had decided it would be funny to stack everything in one (large) pile, and put that pile into a desk drawer. He was wrong. It was not funny. My stress and frustration was only assuaged by sitting down and drawing a stick man hanging by the neck from a rope, and writing about the fake life and death of the guy who caused it. I don’t recall the text of the obituary, other than I made sure to point out that he died lonely and unloved, and lived a life that was not merely unremarkable, but without achievement or happiness.
He responded in-kind, and as we worked together over the next few years, if one of us did something that frustrated the other, that frustration would be exhibited in drawing form – a drawing of a stick person dying a gruesome death. The drawing would be “anonymously” left on the desk of the offender. At some point, we stopped threatening each other with drawings of murder, but we have not stopped metaphorically writing each other’s obituaries. Every time we change jobs, move to a new home, acquire a new family member – it adds another line to our collective obituary. What started as two unique lives, with separate obituaries, have merged, because we’re in this together. Even if one of us does have to duck a flaming arrow, or run from a winged shark on occasion.