Once again, I’m stealing a page from Paul Cornell’s playbook (because it’s fun!) and doing a series of Christmas posts, starting today! Last year, The Twelve Posts of Christmas were pretty ecclectic. This year, I wanted them to have a theme…
Christmas, in addition to being a religious holiday, is generally a time of year when we stick close to family and friends, reminisce about the past year, and find comfort in tradition. Christmas always makes me feel a little nostalgic, whether I’m doing something Christmassy or not, and so for this year’s Twelve Posts, I’m going to recount some of my favorite (or, most notorious) childhood memories. Because, while Christmases growing up were great, the other 364 days of the year were pretty epic, too. 🙂 These will all be memories from my early childhood, pre-teen and younger. Prepare to laugh – and be slightly embarrassed for me…
“Go to the Bathroom, Get a Tissue, and Don’t Do That Again”
Back in the mid-2000’s, when I was working at a job in corporate sales, I remember talking to my coworkers about what the title of my potential memoir would be. After much thought, I burst out laughing and said, “Go to the Bathroom, Get a Tissue, and Don’t Do That Again.” Why? Because I realized upon thinking about my childhood that this phrase, or variations on it, was kind of a common theme.
Yes. I got told that more than once. Usually by my sister. (Why she was always the lucky one catching me doing weird stuff, I have no idea.)
1) Here’s the thing. Kids pick their noses. The second a kid realizes that his/her finger fits in that face-hole, there’s no stopping it. They will, at some point, stick their finger so far up there that they practically touch brain. Now, there’s a logical progression here. There will come a point in that kid’s life when he/she wonders what his/her snot tastes like. If you say you never wondered this as a kid, YOU ARE LYING. I mean, how could you not wonder? Picture it: you’re about 5 or 6, sitting there picking your nose – I mean, really going to town, right? All of a sudden, you feel something more solid than usual. It’s clogging a very major breathing passage so you, of course, think, I need to get this out of here. So you dig and pull, dig and pull, until finally, there’s this big glob of greenish-clearish-yellowish stuff on the end of your finger. Whoa, you think. That was in my nose! And you stare at it, marveling at the colors. And you know you weren’t supposed to pick your nose in the first place. After all, your mom has already reprimanded you and/or slapped your hand away several times. But what she doesn’t understand is that, sometimes, the tissues are way over there. You can’t be expected to just get up from watching She-Ra, can you? I mean, come on! Pick and wipe, knowwhatI’msayin’? ‘Cause I got TV to watch! But sometimes what you pick out of there is too big to wipe. And so you stare at it. And it looks squishy, and is of a consistency you’ve never really seen before. It kinda looks like a gummy bear.
And that’s when you wonder. Hmmm. I wonder what this would taste like…
Long story less long, I ran the greenish-clearish-yellowish globule across my tongue. And immediately. Started. Crying. It was fucking gross. Also, salty.
My sister walks into the living room as I’m standing there, mid-cry, with a big ol’ bugger on the end of my finger. Well, slightly less of it now that some of it was in my mouth. I remember her being very calm, but also giving me a look like What the fuck is wrong with you? She was in her twenties, and I was in elementary school. And that’s when she calmly said something to the effect of “Go to the bathroom, get a tissue, and don’t do that again.”
You’d think I’d have learned to not stick my finger in holes in which they don’t belong…
2) Here’s the thing. Kids like sticking their fingers in things. Generally, because their fingers are small and fit into a lot of things. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Kids also have amazing imaginations. It’s sad, actually, how much imagination most of us lose as adults. As a kid, you can easily imagine things like having a robot arm…or being in the jungle while buried in pillows on your living room couch…
Or your finger being a pencil.
So, my sister is an artist, and growing up, I remember her having art supplies all over the house, including a pencil sharpener for her drawing pencils. It was one of those plastic ones with a clear cover on top for the shavings, but it was slightly more fancy because she got it at Pearl Art Supplies and not at, like, Woolworth’s, right? Anyway, so I had her sharpener – I forget why – when I suddenly, and for no reason at all, wondered what would happen if I tried to sharpen my finger.
I imagined my finger coming out of it looking like a flesh-toned colored pencil, and I thought that was cool. I remember holding my index finger up and looking at it, wondering if I’d be able to draw with it once it was sharpened. Apparently, the logistics of skin and fingernails and bone hadn’t yet sunken in by the time I was 6-ish.
I stuck my finger in and turned the sharpener. Hard. And immediately. Started. Crying. It hurt like a mo-fo, and suddenly, under the plastic cover, there was a long curly-cue of skin that looked rather like a pencil shaving, but not, BECAUSE IT WAS MY SKIN.
Once again, my sister – who I’m realizing is truly the tragic figure in all of this – walked in on me in the living room as I was crying. This time, though, I had something of hers. She told me to take my finger out, and I cried that I couldn’t, so she helped me. I don’t know what she did with the sharpener after that, or what ended up happening with that curly-cue of skin, but she said it again: “Go to the bathroom, get a tissue, and don’t do that again.” I did.
I don’t remember very many incidents of me randomly sticking my finger in stupid things after that.
But that just left me wide open to be involved in all manner of other stupid shit.
And for the next eleven days, you’ll hear all about it. 🙂 Merry Christmas.