The Mighty Me
November 7, 2008 § 3 Comments
Now that Charlotte is a little older, we can start watching a little more “fun” cartoon shows rather than the horrendous horrendous teletubbies. Look, I’m not one who thinks they’re evil or gay or Aryan or some other bizarre hyper conservative “subliminal propoganda” nonsense, I just…can’t stand the repetition. I like the songs in the beginning and at the end when we’re saying “bye bye” to that hideous baby, and I like “Big Hug”, but what’s with the vacuum that harrasses them, and the ‘custard’ that comes out of a faucet. Hey, I love custard. I am a fan of any eggy, creamy meal item: pudding,custard,flan,brulee,zabaglione,rice pudding,tapioca pudding,cream filled anythings, a big bowl of vanilla frosting, confectioners sugar icing just poured in my mouth, but even I would have to draw a line of sensibility and maturity at a faucet, a never ending faucet that dispensed those treats. I mean, I’d have to draw that line in public, for the benefit of the children. Besides, I like the little skin they form on top, and you don’t get that with a pudding faucet.
Folks, this isn’t my point.
The point is that I’m tired of being Suzie Derkins. In my youth and old age, I read Calvin and Hobbes voraciously and I always liked to tell myself that I was indeed the grown up girl version of Calvin.
Yes, I tried to write my life story at age ten, talked to my invisible friends aloud and with pride and had a wild and colorful imagination, which could spur countless hilarious novels, movies and plays, but sadly…has not. But then the sad truth was revealed to me after college, when I was married and living in Chicago. I’m sitting here trying to remind myself who called me Susie Derkins. Could it have been my loving and honest husband? Indeed, I believe it was. But he wasn’t alone. Co-workers, castmates, strangers off the street indeed called me Susie Derkins. Why? Why this barrage of slaps in the face? It’s because I’m a tattletale. Because I want very badly to please the teacher, and the mother, and father and clergyman and random elder that walks by. I am not ashamed to say that as a student, I often raised my hand to remind teachers of the fact that we were supposed to have a quiz today, or that the book reports were due and I’d lke to go first when we’re reading them aloud. As I’ve reported in the past, I slapped Mindy Andrews across the face in fourth grade for being a bad Mormon and wearing lipstick at school. I WAS PUNISHING PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS FOR THEIR SHORTCOMINGS IN A FAITH I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. It was my impression that by tattling I rose in the ranks to best loved gal of all adults. Turns out I didn’t. Turns out Mr. Brainerd thought I ‘babbled babbled babbled like a brook all day long’.
:: cough ::
The trouble is, I thought I was cool. And that’s where I take leave of Susie. Susie had no illusions of being popular or cool. She was lonesome and studious and told herself it would all be worth it some day (trust me susie, it really won’t. Get cool…now.) Susie, as it happens, is a total drip.
And that’s where we meet The Mighty B!. I practically beg Charlotte to watch this Amy Poehler cartoon on Nickelodeon. It’s about a girl named Bessie, a girl who is popularity challenged. She’s in a Girl Scout type organization called the Honeybees, and believes that once she earns all the possible Honeybee Badges she will turn into a superhero: The Mighty B! I can see myself as a kid believing that sort of thing. I believed the world was a magical place. I truly believed that life, even adulthood, was focused on fun and creativity and surprise. I woke up every morning wondering what was going to happen…what COULD happen. Could we leave on a vacation today? A surprise vacation? Would there be a little wrapped present on my breakfast plate? (sometimes, yes…that’s how great my parents were) I always looked for little notes in my lunch, a package in the mail, a holiday, a party, an event. I remember getting up before dawn to watch Princess Diana get married. It was exciting to think that everyone was up that early, watching the same thing – that we were all huddled in our living rooms in the dusky morning while it was bright happy daylight across the ocean. I put together time capsules, intending only to open them ten years later, but quickly grew impatient and opened them within the week, marveling at how the world had changed since I’d put Sunday’s comic section in a sticker covered shoe box.
Just this morning, while opening a new tube of toothpaste, I remembered how, as a kid, I thought that anything in relatively tiny writing was a secret message. So when I looked at the toothpaste tube and saw the tiny writing that said “For best results,squeeze from the bottom and work your way up”, I thought it was
basically, like a fortune cookie for all of us, although I was unable to translate exactly how it applied to my life as a nine year old.
Bessie is kind, thoughtful,loves doing reports,selling Mary Kay and lecturing about pickles. She throws her friend a birthday party filled with candy, turns on the music and yells out “LET’S RAGE!”. Indeed. I always thought I was raging. When I invited seven of my friends to El Torito for my sixteenth birthday and was told I could order ANYTHING on the menu AND Fried Ice Cream, you can bet I thought I was raging. When I was putting together a latchhook rug of a hawk on a branch while listening to Muskrat Love, the only thing running through my head is, MY GOD AM I RAGING. I had a rock tumbler, I made chocolate candy, I started a small puppet business, I sold green beans door to door. My youth was filled with entrepreneurship and fresh ideas and I pushed forward, assuring myself of a life as a child prodigy, either in the field of 30 Page Novels, Home Made Greeting Cards, Acting, or Home Decor.
In short, I don’t ever want to lose the tattletale, book report loving, tea party hosting Susie Derkins side of me who made me the well rounded adult I am today. But in addition, I would like to nurture the Bessie Higgenbottom side of me, with big plans, great ideas, and the ability to walk into any party, let loose and rage.