I’m not a creative person.
I’m not saying that to elicit sympathy or fish for the occasional, “there, there, Aunt Becky, you’re SO creative,” because I know it’s a hot pile of bullshit. I’m not creative.
Take, for example, the time in high school that I took a drawing class as an elective. I sat there, my beret perched neatly atop my head, all, “Imma be an ARTIST,” until I had to actually draw my first picture. A still life of a bowl of grapes looked more like a pile of testicles hovering over a tire than actual fruit. It took a few weeks, but after I realized I had no artistic aptitude, I simply copied the work of someone much more talented sitting next to me – the first and only time I ever cheated in a class.
My desire to be a creative genius, a veritable child prodigy, went back a lot further than that, though.
We always had Lego sets lying around when I was a kid. My brother, the actual creative one in the family and a full ten years my senior, was able to build these amazing creations from a bin of random Lego bits. I figured I could do the same. It couldn’t be THAT hard, right?
One Saturday, as I watched the morning cartoons, I decided to prove to the world – and my family – that my mug belonged squarely on the cover of Time Magazine as the “World’s Most Awesomest Kid” (alternately, “The World’s Best Genius.”) – I wasn’t sure which would be more effective.
I schlepped down to the basement in my footie pajamas, careful to avoid slipping down the stairs, on my quest for the basket of Legos. Tucked away in the corner, right behind the antique butter churn and some ancient copies of the New Yorker, I found it.
I brushed off the dust (my brother had long-since traded Legos for sports cars) and lugged the basket up the stairs. I plopped it in front of the television, marveling at all the ways I could make super awesome stuffs. Like a pirate ship. Or a pony on roller skates.
After, of course, I cleaned the cat pee off the Legos.
I sat there, in front of Jem and the Holographs and started trying to put something together out of the random bits of Lego. Hrms. I couldn’t create a pony – no horse head. Roller skates required wheels, which I didn’t have either. And a pirate ship? Well, not so much.
But I tried.
And after about an hour of blood, sweat, tears and Legos, I looked down at my masterpiece. It was a square box. With one window – no door. Even the house I tried to make looked all janked up. Who the fuck can’t make a house?
Me. I couldn’t.
I sighed deeply. Clearly my “muse” was a lying fucking bitch. Ever since, I’ve eschewed anything Lego-related.
That is, of course, I had children.
My eldest, who has autism, loves Legos. There’s something innately soothing to him about lining up all the wee parts, following directions, and creating something grand. That is, of course, until a piece goes missing. With two smaller siblings and a mess of cats, that’s pretty much all the time. Shit, I STILL can’t find my whore pants, which are, needless to say, much larger than a piece of Lego.
Once a piece is lost, the set is “ruined” and he refuses to play with it.
I’d mostly banished Legos from my house until The Guy On My Couch moved in – there’s too much pressure to make sure the sets are in pristine condition for me to actively buy Legos for my kid.
The Guy On My Couch, he loves Legos. I know, you’re probably all, “so, he’s an overgrown teenager, right?” to which I would reply, “yes, but he also cooks.”
I find his obsession with Legos more endearing than not – one look at my orchid collection and you’d know that he’s not the only one in the house with collecting issues.
He’s been carefully assembling Hogwarts Lego sets and putting the completed pieces in my china cabinet (I will soon have to find a new place to store my china and Cock Soup packets), which has sparked the Lego bug deep within my children. Apparently a love of Legos is created by osmosis. And I get it – the finished kits are pretty fucking cute.
I wouldn’t mind living in Lego Land so much if I hadn’t stepped on approximately 800 Lego pieces in the last week.
I started work at age sixteen (no, not uphill both ways in the snow) in a fancy restaurant. Before I could serve tables, I had to turn 18, so I spent those years as a hostess. I’m telling you – you’ll never learn more about people than you do if you are forced to massage egos – very expensive egos.
It was there, at the now-defunct Mill Race Inn, that I learned about Valentine’s Day.
That’s not to say that I didn’t know about VD Day before working there – I simply didn’t understand the great lengths people went to to create the “perfect night.” I also didn’t understand the ire that was evoked by having a “perfect night” go awry. I don’t know how many people pitched fits when they didn’t get sat at the perfect table, but it had to be in the hundreds. One perfectly normal looking woman actually got down on the floor and began kicking and screaming. In the middle of a crowded restaurant. With no shame.
Valentine’s Day was always a cluster of fuckery.
I personally haven’t had a typically romantic Valentine’s Day regardless of relationship status – one year I ordered us a heart-shaped pizza. Other years, I went and purchased myself something shiny. It never mattered to me much.
Most importantly, it never changed the way I felt about the holiday – I love Valentine’s Day. Pink, puffy, glittery hearts type of love.
When Ben was a baby, my best friends and I found ourselves (rarely) single at the same time on VD-Day. Rather than mope about our doomed relationships, as we could easily have done, we decided that it was high time to start a new tradition: Lesbian Valentine’s Day.
No, no, we didn’t do a Four Girls One Cup kinda thing – that’s for amateurs. Instead, we fed my (now-deceased, overly large and awesomely adorable) cat bacon cheeseburgers. We ate Wendy’s there in my living room, the lot of us together, laughing and talking until late in the evening. They’d interrupted my studying for the evening – something that I rarely allowed to happen – and we had one of the best Valentine’s Days ever.
So what if we weren’t drinking Cristal atop the Hancock building? So what if no one had purchased us baubles and trinkets? So what if we didn’t have a special someone to tell us all the reasons we were worth loving?
We had each other.
We had Lesbian Valentine’s Day.
We also had Big Pink.
Yep, my best friend bought the lot of us Big Pink – the world’s best vibrator.
I will tell you here and now, it was by far, by FAR, the best Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever gotten. Even better than the heart-shaped pizza and the diamonds.
Although, I’d have been pretty happy with a Shut Your Whore Mouth Shirt (that’s the perfect VD Gift, I’ve seen), had I created any at that time. P.S. I started a Zazzle Store, which I’ve been working on in pieces. That shit is confusing.
What’s your favorite VD-Day memory?
I’d reached the point where I was simply praying that my middle son was going to find a particularly nice young man to room with in college – the kind who didn’t mind occasionally changing my son’s diapers.
I figured that there were plenty of people in the world who liked to poop into diapers (after watching Hoarders, I now know that there are plenty of people who like to poo into bags AND THEN SAVE IT. Best of all? YOU KNOW IT TOO, NOW.)(You’re welcome).
I mean, there was that crazy astronaut lady who drove across the country to kill her lover’s wife or something WHILE WEARING ADULT DIAPERS. Clearly, there’s a market for that stuff. And clearly, my kid was going to join into that market.
Okay, so maybe that wasn’t a good example. Hoarders + Crazy Astronaut Lady don’t = great sampling size.
Either way, I’d resigned myself to it. It was that, or pull my hair out one by ever-loving one until I had a bald spot the shape of Alaska on my previously hair-covered scalp.
So yesterday, still sick as a motherfucker, I tried again with the potty training. As my son admired the tiny Lego Hogwarts that The Guy on my Couch (who firmly believes he will no longer be known as The Guy On My Couch once he does not, in fact, live on my couch) had lovingly put together, Alex asked to play with it.
As The Guy On My Couch tried to pick up his jaw from the floor (one does not, it appears, play with The Guy On The Couches Lego sets), where it was handily collecting cat hair, I seized the opportunity:
“I will buy you that set AND have Big Ben put it together with you, Alex.”
His eyes opened as wide as saucers as he looked at me. He’s too young to know that statements like that are always followed by a rather unpleasant, “if…”
“…if,” I continued, “you go poop in the potty.”
“No.” There was no room for argument. Guess that wasn’t the currency the kid wanted to dabble in.
“Okay, if you poop in the potty,” he giggled as I continued. The word “poop” is always cause for much ruckus and merry making in my house. “I will take you to Chuck E Cheese TODAY.”
I’d been promising them a trip there as AMELIA had already dropped her deuce in the shitter – but I was going to hold off until whatever bug is currently eating away at my soul decided that my feeble immune system was actually going to kill it. Going to a Chuck E Cheese on a Sunday is worse than waxing the cat or picking out stray pubes one at a time with a pair of tweezers.
His siblings, also in the room with me, chimed in, all pressing the kid to take a shit on the crapper. After a couple minutes, an overwrought Alex protested so loudly that we all stopped and then went about our day (read: tried to stave off a headache, while the banshees chased each other about). My eldest, Ben, continued pressing his brother.
Twenty minutes later, Alex was actually perched atop the porcelain throne and five minutes later, he dropped his first deuce.
The whole house erupted into cheers as the small ones scurried to find pants to wear to Mouse Hell, Where A Parent Is Reminded To Take Her Birth Control, to eat Mouse pizza.
Ears still ringing from the sounds of Mouse Hell, I looked at Dave sheepishly, as we pulled into the toy store after our hour in Mouse Hell (happily, I noted, firearms are not allowed there), and shrugged. I had promised the kid a zillion hundred dollar Lego kit.
“I never thought he’d do it,” I said.
“Me either,” The Daver replied.
And that is how Your Aunt Becky learned to never, ever bribe a kid – no matter how unlikely it is that aforementioned child will actually perform a feat.
Turns out, I am as stupid as I look.
How was YOUR weekend, Pranksters?
(I have to apologize – I’d been planning to start writing my Go Ask Aunt Becky column again – I have plenty of questions, but I was beyond sick on Saturday)