March 10, 2010

Life In These United States

When I was a young man in my "tweens", I had great ambitions to become a writer.  By the way, what is the "tweens" anyway?  I think it was coined to describe that period of time in a young persons life when they are not a child anymore, but not yet a young adult.  But what would that time be?  You're either not a teen, or you're a teen.  So, the "tweens" has to be precisely 12 1/2 years old.

Anyway, I had a lot of dreams in my "tweens", and by in large, they were crushed.  The writing thing went the way of Fat Sam when I took my first English Composition class in college and realized I sucked gas.  I recovered later in life, but the result is this blog, so I think the description "crushed" still applies.

But back then I was full of hope and ambition, and was actively looking for someway to break into the word biz. In 1964 (aka, the Bronze Age), I figured the best way was to send articles to magazines.  However they couldn't be any real good magazines, because those editors were highly sophisticated and  would no doubt recognize the musings of a pre-pubescent kid at 100 yards.

At the time, we had a subscription to Reader's Digest magazine, and each new issue was proudly displayed on our toilet tank in the bathroom next to the box of EZ Stryke Matches.  Incidentally, I was 10 years old before it came to me why the matches were on the toilet tank.  I knew my parents always lit one after they had used the facility, but I thought it was some mystic ritual that I would be taught when I grew older.  And then one day, it hit me that the smell of sulfur covered over the horrendous stench after either my mother or father had unleashed one of their cabbage stuffed devil dogs.

I always considered Reader's Digest to be kind of lowbrow, but this made it a perfect choice for me to show off my writing chops.  Even though it sort of sucked, I did like the little features they contained like "Life In These United States".  There were a couple of others that were almost identical, but I forget what they were called.  So, I thought long and hard and crafted together a couple of anecdotes, which were of course, totally fictional, but what did they know?

I never got up the nerve to submit them, but a few months ago, I ran across them in a box of papers in the basement.  Rather than burn them, I thought I'd share ...
Halloween is a huge event in our neighborhood.  Spooky decorations, free candy and great costumes.  In fact, many of the adults dress up in costumes when they accompany their kids trick-or-treating.  On our first Halloween at our new house, I answered the door to group of kids whose mother was dressed up like a pirate. I complimented her on her choice of costumes as I distributed treats to her children.

About a month later, I bumped into the same woman at the grocery store.  Imagine my embarrassment when I realized that she was, in fact, a pirate.
Early one morning, the phone rang, and I sleepily answered it.  "Hello?"

My girlfriend at the time, who was on the other end of the phone replied "Hello!"

"Who is this?", I asked, still extremely out of it.

"It's me.", she replied.


"Your girlfriend!"

"Yerg Irlfred?" I said confusedly.

"Your girl ... friend!"  She was sounding very annoyed.

"I'm sorry, but I don't know anyone by that name."


"I think you have the wrong number Yerg."  I said before groggily hanging up the phone.

I guess you had to be there ....

I wonder if they still publish Readers Digest?  Just maybe ...

1 comment:

  1. I hate LOL, but dude, I am laughing out loud. And picturing a pirate-housewife. Awesome.

    I, too, used to fantasize about getting my hilarious jokes in RD.

    If you haven't read it - go buy a copy of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." He's a tween that you could relate to.