When Romance Becomes Horror

, , , , , , , | Related | October 7, 2019

(When I am 19 or so, my taste in books is a bit, well, trashy. I read “bodice-rippers” pretty much exclusively. My mother hates this and nags me constantly to “stop reading that garbage and read something good, instead.” I tell her to leave me alone; I enjoy those books and I am not harming anyone. One day, my dad approaches me:)

Dad: “My coworker is in the hospital, and she phoned yesterday to say that she could really use something to read. Do you think you could lend her some of your books?”

Me: “Really? Sure! What do you think she’d like?”

Dad: “How about those?” *points to my pile of romance novels* “I bet she’d like them.”

Me: “Well, I don’t mind, so long as she knows they’re just on loan.”

Dad: “Don’t worry about it. She’ll return them once she’s done.”

(I pack up all my trashy novels and give them to Dad. Weeks later:)

Me: “Dad, is your coworker done with my books yet?”

Dad: “Hmm? Oh. No, not yet.”

Me: “Really? It’s been ages. Surely she’s not still in the hospital?”

Dad: “No, she’s out now, but she’s still reading them.”

Me: “She does know that I want them back, right?”

Dad: “Yes, of course.”

Me: “Well, okay.”

(A few weeks later…)

Me: “Dad, can I have your coworker’s phone number?”

Dad: “What on earth for?”

Me: “I’d like to ask for my books back.”

Dad: *getting angry* “For Pete’s sake! I told you she’ll return them when she’s done.”

Me: “But–”

Dad: *loses temper* “ENOUGH!”

(This went on for months. I’d ask Dad to bug his coworker for my books, he’d make some excuse, I’d persist, he’d lose his temper and yell at me, and the cycle would repeat. I finally gave up when it had been more than a year. In hindsight, I can’t believe I was so naïve; there was obviously no coworker. This was a scheme cooked up by my parents to rid me of that “garbage” for once and for all. Joke’s on them, though; I now read Stephen King constantly, which disgusts my mother even more. Oh, well. I’m 55 now, and I’ll read whatever I darned well please.)

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Getting Gradually Less Spooky

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 5, 2019

(Through a local placement program for untamable ferals, my family adopts a very wild cat who hates other cats and people to help with pest control in our barn. We keep her in a special caged-off stall for a few weeks to try to get her more friendly, but she is having none of it so we resign ourselves to giving her the best life we can while she lives wild on the farm. For a whole year, she avoids us and we only see fleeting glimpses of her. Then, she starts watching us from the rafters as we do our chores. Then, she starts sitting on the shelf where we feed her, well within arm’s reach. Finally, one day…)

Father: “I pet Spooky today.”

Me: “You what?!”

Father: “I pet Spooky.”

Me: “No way.”

Father: “Oh, yes. And I picked her up.”

Me: “You picked her up?! You picked up the cat who almost tore our hands to ribbons through canvas gloves?”

Father: “I did. And she was purring!”

(We have no idea what clicked in her mind, but from that day forward, she became a totally different cat. She even goes to the vet without any fuss! Unfortunately, she still hates other cats so we can’t bring her inside — we have two indoor cats — but we’ve had her for eight years now and she enjoys a privileged position as the barn manager, chief pest control officer, and official farm greeter.)

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Having A Word With God

, , , , , | Related | October 5, 2019

(When I’m in elementary and middle school, I compete in an annual school spelling bee. I get very tired of participating very quickly, because I always pass the writing “tryout” with amazing scores but struggle to spell out loud, and I hate having to study words when I could be playing or reading books. I also happen to go to a religious school, so I end up having to memorize and be able to recite quite a few Bible passages. I’m talking with my mother, who is much more enthusiastic than I am about my academic endeavors.)

Mom: “I don’t understand. You don’t even want to win. Think of how cool it would be!”

Me: “I don’t know why you care so much.”

Mom: “Because I get to brag about my smart daughter!”

Me: *quoting a Bible verse that popped into my head* “’Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth–’”

(My mother doesn’t let me finish before she runs out of my bedroom and looks towards the ceiling.)


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Going To School Makes Things Extra Confusing

, , , , , | Learning | October 4, 2019

This occurred when I was five and starting my first day of primary school. For a bit of background, my single mother had just moved to Melbourne with me and my older brother after living in a few semi-rural towns. As a result, I was pretty independent due to being allowed to explore all throughout the day (with boundaries and rules). This was the first time I had lived in a capital city. Additionally, the last town we were in had a wonderful kindergarten that was very similar to a classroom setting, so I was already pretty familiar with what school would entail.

My mother drove into the school parking lot where we could see, up a hill, all the parents and kids in a waiting area in front of the classroom; the school had individual buildings for classrooms instead of one large building. Knowing what I’m like and what I was used to, she pointed to it and said that was where I needed to go. She didn’t even pull into a parking spot; I just hopped out of the car, grabbed my bag, said bye, and went up there.

I remember standing around, seeing all these crying parents and children, and not getting what the big fuss was all about. I was more confused about why we were all just standing around and not getting started, and why all the parents were around. I don’t recall any parents approaching me, but I wonder what they thought seeing this one girl on her own looking bored while they’re trying to ready their children.

After a while, I turned my head and was incredibly surprised to see my mum standing there! I was so shocked and said, “What are you doing here?!” and she, apparently not quite getting what the big fuss what about, either, said, “Well, I saw all the other parents up here and thought I should come up here, as well.”

And while I still didn’t get what the big deal was, I was happy I got to spend a bit more time with my mum before school started. When I brought this up to her recently in my mid-20s, she said she forgot she even came up and thought she just dropped me off until I reminded her.

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Those Brownies Will Become Greenies

, , , , , , | Related | October 2, 2019

(When I’m in eighth grade, my class does a large project for what is a combination bake sale and running a small business. We do months of work to plan, design business cards, create stock emails, sell stocks to teachers and other students, and calculate everything from unit costs to how much we’ll need to earn to break even. The only fun part of this entire ordeal is selling our baked goods, which is scheduled to happen on a Friday. Then, a few days before the sale, I come down with the worst case of the flu I have ever had. Even though I’ve been out of school all week, I’m determined to go and sell my brownies, even if I have to sit on the floor wrapped in a blanket and holding a bucket. On the morning of the bake sale, however, I’m bent double over the toilet, insisting between retches that I can go to school.)

Mom: “For the last time, you are not going to school like this!”

Me: “But I—“ *vomits into toilet* “—have to! I—“ *gags again* “I can’t miss this! This is literally the only fun part of the entire project!” *vomits again*

Mom:No! You’re throwing up and you have a fever of a hundred and three! I’ll bring the brownies to school for you and see if someone else can sell them for you.”

Me: “But I need to—“ *gags* “—sell—“ *gags again*

Mom: No! You are staying home today!”

(She eventually managed to convince me — however begrudgingly — to stay home. She got a friend of mine to sell the brownies for me alongside her own treats. To this day, I’m put out that I got so sick that I wasn’t able to sell my brownies.)

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