The morning of my eighth birthday, I woke up to the sounds of my tone-deaf brother’s singing. See, when I was a kid, my brother’s favorite game was to wake me up as obnoxiously as possible, which meant that that day, I awoke to the lilting strains of “Rise and Shine and Bring Out The Glory-Glory,” accompanied by two pots being banged together for the rhythm section.
“Getthefuckouttahere,*” I mumbled, my mouth still full of pillow.
“OH NO!” he exclaimed. “It’s YOUR BIRTHDAY! You don’t GET to sleep in lazybones!” He then launched into a a-Capella version of “Lazybones” accompanied by one of our dogs howling.
I paddled my way downstairs in my footie pajamas and threw myself on the couch with the funny pages from the Trib.
“Happy Birthday, Rebecca!” my dad boomed cheerfully as he read the sports section of the paper.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, my head still full of The Sleeps and dreams of reinventing the Babysitter’s Club books so that the characters were all mutant zombies that looked a lot like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
“How do you feel?” He boomed loudly, always trying to annoy me with his loud-ass voice first thing in the morning, when all I’d wanted was five minutes of peace to wipe The Sleeps off my face.
“Uh, okay.” I replied, wishing he’d shutthefuckup already.
Knowing he was annoying me, he kept going, “How does it feel to be EIGHT years old? Do you feel any different?”
Finally I put down the funny pages, which had been obscuring my view of my father, in the vain hope that he’d forget I was there and assume that one of the house plants was reading the comics. I let the question bop around in my brain awhile.
Did I feel different? Was I supposed to? Was there some climactic event that happened on one particular day that I should be aware of? What was different about today as opposed to yesterday? I mean, I guess I’m older, but that’s not really much of a deal. Over and over I mulled the question - did I feel different?
At last, I replied with the only answer that seemed appropriate. “Well, I only have one more birthday until I’m in the double digits.”
He laughed before handing me a present to open – more Sea Monkeys for me to experiment upon.
And I went about my day, not feeling even one stinking inch older.
That’s, I think, what bugs me about New Years so much. Not only is the age bracket for having fun between 15-23 (the ages in which puking bar pretzels out your nose is considered “quality entertainment”), but it’s this big pivot point for most of the people I know. This year, I’m going to lose X amount of pounds, or quit smoking, or breastfeed llamas in the Swiss Alps. The resolutions range from the sublime to the absurd.
Take for example, last year’s resolution for me: “DO NOT BECOME LIL WAYNE.” Perhaps this year, I should aim to “BECOME LIL WAYNE,” just to be contrary.
I woke up yesterday feeling exactly the same as the night before, with the exception of my eyes – the sun was being too loud for them. I’d gone to sleep after drinking wee champagne bottles with my friend Paul, who was visiting from one of those states that starts with a vowel. Ohio? Iowa? Kansas City? I didn’t know.
Since I’ve been using “this is going to be our year!” every year since I was a wee tot to describe my beloved Cubbies, who haven’t won the world series in 104 years (if Jimmy Wales is to be believed), so when I see it applied to the new year, I’m always baffled. If the Cubs can’t break a losing streak for 104 years, how the nuts are we supposed to believe that this year will be any different?
I’m not even wearing my pessimistic pants today – I’m just not sure that the changing of the calendar will do anything to make us different and/or better people. I woke up today in the same shape I woke up yesterday and the same shape I’ll wake up again tomorrow. Life goes on. The calendar changes. We keep on keepin’ on because that’s what we do.
Only thing different is that I’m going to have to stop signing checks 2008.
And come up with another absurd resolution, natch.
*As my brother was ten years my senior, my parents allowed me to swear in the house after I’d complained bitterly that he could swear but I could not.
Do you make resolutions, Pranskters? If so, what are they?
Last week, I’d gone outside to get some air because my apartment was approximately 78 basquillion degrees and, quite frankly, I’d gotten a bit tired of playing Batman. Unfortunately, my apartment is no longer nicknamed “FBI Surveillance Van” in part because I don’t have anyone to stalk, and mostly because my kids are all “IT’S THE BATCAVE!” Kids, man. Their originality is bogus.
That being here nor there, I’d been happily admiring the twinkly Christmas lights because OMG SPARKLE IS TOTALLY A COLOR when I heard a BAM! and suddenly half the lights in my apartment complex went out. Now, it had been snowing in the most minor of forms – really a dusting or sprinkling if you prefer, and while it was cold as balls, the conditions didn’t seem quite right for a blackout.
I went back inside where my kids were screaming about the DC Superfriends or something, and as I sat on the couch, preparing for my role as Poison Ivy, the power flickered for a second, then went out completely.
My kids, being lovers of light, were all, “Oh Em Gee, what the hell happened?” to which I responded, “I think it’s a rolling blackout.” I really just wanted to sound smart in front of them, because I don’t actually know what a rolling blackout is – I assume it’s some sort of black ball that squashes people until they black out before moving on to squash someone else.
They looked at me quizzically, or at least I think they did – I couldn’t see anything beyond the flickering of the candle I’d been burning before the night became oh so exciting.
“Okay,” Alex stated, taking uncharacteristic charge of the situation. “Let’s play the Wii.”
“Um,” I said, as I was looking for more candles and feeling mighty dumb about not owning a flashlight. “The Wii needs electricity, J, and we don’t have any right now.”
The two of them frowned in my direction before deciding to change tactics: “How about My Little Pony?”
“Guys,” I said, as I panicked, realizing my phone had been left uncharged and the kids had been using it to watch Curious George, which always baffles me. Why would you want to watch television on a screen roughly the same size and shape as a pack of cigarettes? I can’t get a straight answer out of them, and they don’t seem to mind that it drains the phone’s battery like WOAH, so I just let ‘em strain their ocular muscles and shit while I watch the television-shaped television. But that meant my phone was near-death and my only means of communication with the outside world.
Naturally, I panicked.
“What about dinner?” they whined, having forgotten that we’d eaten ten minutes before, as they headed to the refrigerator.
“Guys, we can’t go in there right now – we have to keep the cold inside the refrigerator until the power’s back on.” They moaned histrionically, before deciding that the source of their ire was, in fact, electricity, or lack thereof.
“I hate electricity,” Mimi declared in the candlelight, her arms crossed and eyebrows furrowed so deeply that I couldn’t help but giggle. She’s hilarious when she’s mad.
“ME TOO,” Alex chimed in. “It’s so stupid.” I imagine he rolled his eyes as he said this, but my back was turned, lighting yet another candle.
“This is fun!” I tried to explain, knowing that this did, in fact, suck ass, especially since it was likely we’d be without power for awhile, which meant no Internet porn, no House, MD marathons, no phone calls, and no, well, dinner.
The three of us gathered at the window, noting the shiny red/blue/white cop car lights clearly sitting in front of the entrance to our complex, because we ALL know that gaping makes the power return faster.
“Wow,” they breathed in. “That’s pretty.” And they were right – between the snow slowly falling from the sky and the shiny lights flickering nearby, it looked sorta magical. Or it would’ve if my heat was capable of returning The FBI Surveillance Van into a toasty oven again.
“Mama,” Mimi said. “I’m cold.”
“Me too,” Alex chimed in.
“Me three,” I replied to them both. “Let’s bundle up and snuggle in bed like baby kittens.”
And so we did. We fell asleep together in a pile on my bed, huddling under the blankets for warmth until 1AM, when the power was magically restored. Awakened and entirely freaked out by the sudden blaring of the television and lights, I peeled small people off my person, and went to turn off the appliances.
I turned up the heat on my way back to the bedroom, laughing quietly when I realized that the two small people had taken advantage of my absence and had filled my empty spot with their spider-like limbs.
Carefully, I disentangled their limbs and crawled between them. As I was closing my eyes, ready to head back into the land of nod, Mimi, then Alex, each threw one of their gangly limbs over me. I smiled as I drifted off to sleep, the sudden increase in temperature making us all sweat like we’d been running a marathon, happy to be firmly ensconced between two of my favorite people on the planet.
Until, of course, they began kicking my kidneys with their sharp pointy toes.
Can’t win ‘em all, right?
Once a year, every year since dinosaurs typed out blog posts with their wee flailing dinosaur hands on their gigantic Stone Age laptops, I do a Meme. Generally speaking, I do not like Memes. I do not think that my Pranksters give a fucking shit how I best like my coffee or what is in my purse right now.
I am compulsive. And since I do this every year, I do this EVERY YEAR.
(As proof that I do not actually have a life, I offer this: 2010 here, 2009 here, 2008 here, 2007 here, 2006 here. I have 2005 somewhere in an email list, which is where I’d gotten this stupid meme in the first place)
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I started over again. Oh, wait. I said “again.” Hrms. *thinks* I bought a headboard for my bed, which is actually the first headboard I didn’t receive as a hand-me-down.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’m not much of a “resolutions” person, so no, not really. Last year I (jokingly) vowed for total world domination. This year? I hope to read more and stress less. I hope to find stability and look for wonder in the smallest of places.
Okay, that was deep. SOMEONE GIMMIE A FART JOKE.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
If my timeline is to be believed, I’m pretty sure The Twitter was pregnant. All of it.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My good friend and coworker on The Band Back Together Project passed away on Christmas Eve. Misty, we’re already missing you.
5. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A bejeweled princess telephone.
6. What countries did you visit?
My head is a scary enough place to exist.
7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:
July was the month of change.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I can effectively figure out how to work the television.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I’ll allow the Internet to pick that one apart. Let’s just say, “a lot of things,” and leave it at that, Meme.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had the flu. It was pretty awesome if you’re into the whole “sweating balls while you sleep.”
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new microwave. It sounds like a jet plane taking off.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Since I can’t name one person without naming everyone, I’ll go with my daughter, who began to sing a song called “Stubborn Asshole,” a phrase she did NOT pick up from me, which means that she’s going to become a magnificent swearer.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I always hate this question – it’s so 7th grade. If I wanted to write a slam book, I would. Thankfully, I do not.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Moving-related expenses – turns out, moving is kinda a bitch.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Learning to use the television. ALSO: Band Back Together Project is NOW a federally-recognized non-profit (501 (c) 3). That’s pretty rad.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
With Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Some days are better than others. Some minutes are better than others.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Erms. Can I answer that? I don’t feel it’s appropriate.
Okay, Meme, let me take a stab at that:
i) more or less like Justin Beaver - less, obvs. Don’t have the kicky hairs.
ii) more or less likely to decide inanimate objects looked like boobs - more. Bring on the boobs.
iii) more or less likely to watch Glee – More – I can accept how bizarre the show has become.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Pranking The Internet.
Taking over the world.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sweating from my eyeballs.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family, Dave and the kids. I even got a pashmina afghan, although it was not, in fact, nautical themed, which was probably wise, considering that we were not on a boat.
21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.
I’ll make up my own question:
Why are you so annoying, Aunt Becky?
Baby, I was born this way.
22. Did you fall in love in 2012?
23. How many one-night stands?
Every year, I feel like less of a floozy when I have to admit that I had none.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Reruns of NBC’s Life. Fucking shame that show got canceled.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
26. What was the best book you read?
And, of course:
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
28. What did you want and get?
Coffee. I learned to make coffee.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I’m not a movie person in the same way I’m not a sandwich person – but I did see the last of the Batman Trilogy, and while I have no earthly clue as to what it was about, there were some rad action scenes.
That sucked. I’m going to make up a new question:
Where are your pants?
Like I fucking know. Ask Siri. They’re probably on their way to Vegas with my sanity.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32 and had a nervous breakdown. It was not, perhaps, my best birthday ever. I think next year, I’ll aim for a December birthday and ignore the month of July entirely – it’s a bullshit month.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A more comfy pillow. Hey, it’s the small shit in life, Pranksters.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
“It’s totally okay to wear pajamas out of the house.”
34. What kept you sane?
Um, I write a blog on The Internet where I call myself “Aunt Becky.” I haven’t been “sane” in years.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The ShamWow guy.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The great “Get up” or “get down” debate.
37. Who did you miss?
My sanity? Oh, you said “who.” Hrms. My pants? Wait. No. Um.
OH LOOK A BLUE CAR!
38. Who was the best new person you met?
You. You, mah Pranksters. Always you guys.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Snorting Smarties does not, in fact, make you smarter.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
The rest of the meme says I should tag some people but, eh, I don’t tagging people. It makes me twitchy. Mostly because I’ll forget someone and then, then I’ll feel sad in the pants.
I’m tagging each of you. If I can do one Meme a year, SO CAN YOU, Pranksters. DO IT. It’s full of the awesome.
Happy Happy New Year, Pranksters.
I added a linky for you guys to add your posts, if you do this one! Why? Because obviously we want to hear about YOUR year, too.