The monster that lived in my close was named Ernie. I knew this because my brother told me. Ernie liked raw meat and eggs and every night I had to feed him or he’d come down and eat me while I slept.

I’d have to yell, “Here Ernie, here’s an egg. Catch the egg, Ernie!” and then I’d run back into my bed and pull up the covers while I waited for Ernie to devour the egg, hoping that he didn’t decide that ickle girl would be a tastier option.

My father told me of my sister, the one who lived in the basement, chained to the wall, living on apple juice and rats. She’d been born, apparently, between us, and rather than let her live upstairs, she’d been too feral, too wild, and she had become a basement dweller.

My cousin would delight me with stories of the little girl who visited the lollipop factory, only to fall into a vat of the sticky syrup, and in a tragic accident, become a lollipop herself.

Less concerned with her fate, I was reassured that she was turned into my favorite flavor, cherry red. This satisfied me, of course. Because if you have to die in a lollipop factory, you should, at the very least, turn out to be sweetly delicious.

And then there are pictures like this. I’m in the bonnet.

Yes, the bonnet, motherfuckers.

You got a problem with my bonnet?

Because I clearly do. Even at 2.5, I seem to be looking at the camera in a “dude, I look ABSURD,” way, because, well, I do. I’m not sure what my mother was smoking to think that a nearly-three-year old needed to be doing walking around in a bonnet, but there you have it. Further proof that I was destined to write about my life on The Internet.

And here, surrounded by my bunnies, I am clearly afraid for my life. Why? Because I had to go to bed soon, where ERNIE could, at any time, come and eat me.

My army of bunnies couldn’t save me from the monster in my closet.

Perhaps I was practicing to be a pirate. Because, wouldn’t you if you had a monster in your motherfucking closet?

The best part of this picture is my “BECKY” barrette. Because I would STILL TOTALLY WEAR THAT SHIT.

This is my father. And my brother. No, I am not kidding. That’s Santa and his Elf, Ralph.

So, no, I don’t EVER wonder why I’m like this. In fact, I often wonder how I got to be so damn normal*.

*normal is relative.

122 thoughts on “Why I’m Like This.

  1. That elf means business. Who’s sittin’ on Santa’s lap? NOBODY! Love the barrettes, though. If I could find some that say Shannon I’d be all over it.

  2. seriously, you were such a cute / pretty little girl. you would totally be stolen from your front yard this day and age (you better keep a close eye out on little Amelia).

    Santa totally means bid-ness. he’s got his gun toting elf posse to keep away the pee’ers, i would imagine.

    arrrr, me matey.

  3. Our Ernie likes eggs and raw meat too! Small world.

    He doesn’t stay in the closet though. He’s fully out of the closet and flamboyantly loving life. I told him he was a fat ass two days ago and now I have deep scratches on my boobies. Ernesto, el pussy gato of DOOM, dislikes boobies because they draw attention away from him.

  4. Oh Aunt Becky,

    I have so many pictures similar to yours. Maybe we’re cousins and our parents like to torture us to get their laughs?

    Good thing you turned out the way you did. You’re the coolest fuckin’ Aunt I have!

  5. Clearly your mother was improvising because she couldnt find your rain hat? Right? I love the pirate look on you too.

    And, the pistol weilding elf? Too funny. (not to mention the black moustache peeping over the white one)

  6. Holy CRAP. I haven’t met you in person, and yet I feel like this post is answering a lot of questions.
    I feel like I should be giving you the number of a shrink, or a shelter or something.

  7. That last photo is priceless. Please submit it to It really needs to be shared with the world.

    We also had our share of crazy family stories told to the kids. There was “The Bum in the Basement”. We were told an angry hobo lived down there and he would beat us up if we didn’t go to bed on time or if we ever went into the basement alone.

    My brother convinced me alligators lived under my bed. I would turn the lights off and then leap across the room onto my bed to make sure they didn’t get me. This only got worse after my brother grabbed my leg one night and pulled me under the bed.

    AND the tradition continues. We currently have my neices convinced that fairies live in both my mother & grandmothers yards. They leave peace offerings to the fairies whenever they visit. Usually little collections of whatever they can find. Berries, snail shells, nuts, little things like that. We must keep the fairies happy, or else. . . .

  8. I don’t know why, but when I was a kid, I was afraid of clowns. When I was small, one Halloween I stood with my Mom as she answered the door. It was someone in a clown outfit. I don’t remember how old the kid was, but I’m sure when I screamed he must have peed himself. Those were the years when the local TV station would have their own kiddie show on the air. In my town, the star of the show was a clown. He was also the star of my nightmares.

    1. Completely afraid of clowns to this day. I don’t think it helped that my mother decided to decorate my bedroom with those sad clown paintings.

  9. Your family was cruel. Why do we think it’s so funny to scare vulnerable little girls (and vulnerable little animals)? If you watch America’s Funniest Videos, you see how much America thinks fear and pain are funny when they happen to others.

    The bonnet photo is adorable. I knew which one was you because you look so much like Amanda.

  10. Everyone’s normal until you get to know them. At least you knew Santa had protection, right? And I’m not sure why, but we have a TON of stuffed bunnies too. They are the bunny minions, led by a bow-tie wearing duck we call The Fowl Father. He has a girlfriend named Rosemarie Chick who has tinsel in her feathers (uh, fur) and makes high pitched squeaky sounds when you jiggle her. Now I wonder if we’ve done permanent damage to our kids or helping their creativity.

    Anyway, remember those crocheted sweaters and ponchos? Yup, I had a few of those.

    1. The creativity is good, I think. The bunnies were my BFF’s and so long as you don’t tell your kids that if they don’t shape up, they’ll be eaten by the bunnies at night, I think you’re all good.

      OOOH! I remember those sweaters!

  11. The Bonnet is awesome, yo!

    My brother liked to tell me I was adopted and that I used to have a sister. Ya know. Before the “accident”. What the eff man?!

  12. Whenever the doorbell rang during dinner, my brother would tell me it must be the Indians coming back to pick me up. (He spent a lot of time trying to tell me I was left on the doorstep by Indians. It was one of his lies that I never believed being as I’m very blonde and look just like my mother.)

  13. I have many similar pictures! There’s one particular picture that I remember…. a horribly itchy Easter dress & bonnet. I hated that dress.
    My guess is that some day my kids are going to look at pictures and say, “What in the hell was my crazy ass mom thinking?!?!?”

  14. LOL! What a great collection of photos. The bonnet picture..that does seem contradictory with your tough facial expression..but that makes it priceless. Wondering why Santa’s elf is packing? In case the Grinch comes by?

  15. #1. I love your bonnet.

    #2. I, too, had name barrettes. Purple, flowered “SARAH” barrettes. If I still had them, I guarantee you, sure as shit, I’d wear them.

    #3. This has nothing to do with this post, but I thought you’d be proud. Fiance and I were talking about something or other last night, and we disagreed. I said to him, “Shut your WHORE MOUTH!” He laughed too hard to question where I’d come up with that.


      1. I’m going to basically home by myself for the weekend. I think this needs to be a thing I do.

        Or! What might be even more fun is making barrettes with names on them that are not my own. One pair of “RACHEL” barrettes, coming up!

  16. WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Sorry, did I just say that out loud. I must have, cuz some little people just came running in asking me what happened. Anywho, that picture of ur Dad and bro is a freakin’ CLASSIC!! *That* needs to be part of the Aunt Beckty Christmas card collection f’sho!!
    Oh, and can I share this pic? It really is too hilarious to keep to m’self. Thanks Aunt B…YOU’RE DA BEST!!!

    1. Somewhere at my parents’ house is a picture of me on Christmas morn, circa 1980 or 81, of me in my “Who Shot J.R.?” t-shirt/nightgown on my kid-size “CHiPs” motorcycle. True story.
      Oh, and bonnets? I got yer bonnets. And pinafore. And “covered” Radio Flyer wagon. In a parade. Every mother-effing 105 degree summer. Known as “Pioneer Day” ’round these parts. Oh, Mormon religion, why you gotta scar a young girl, why?

  17. Wow dude, just wow…

    Going to have to scan some random family photos here too. The Wacky Family phenomenon is alive, well, and documented in America.

  18. You’re pretty lucky that your feral sister was chained up in the basement. My feral sister was allowed to roam free – in fact, I shared a room with her. And, on holidays, our mother would make us (and my two older sisters) matching dresses – there must have been a bulk discount on fabric. And then she would put our hair in rollers and make us sleep on them. You know, bristly rollers with plastic pins embedded into your scalp? No bonnets, though; and no gun-toting elves.

    My aunt, however, wouldn’t let us leave the main floor of her house (mainly because she and my uncle are hoarders – not in the gross food sense, but they collect A LOT of stuff). So she told us there were alligators in the basement and mice upstairs. Well, the mice upstairs may have actually existed, since they live on a farm and have mice everywhere else.

  19. (1) Best Santa. Period.
    (2) I think that’s one major difference between us, i.e. the bonnet. I demanded a bonnet from a souvenir shop circa 4th grade (I KNOW). AND WORE IT. Proudly. That was right after my civil war soldier hat phase (Union!), which ended tragically. Bottom line: me = far too susceptible to the allure of the tourist gift shop.
    (3) I never could have anything with my name on it, for obvious reasons (see name, above). Until my dad found a place where he could put the little plastic letters on himself, that is. Which he did, on a piece of kiddie paraphenalia made of purple and unicorns, and I totally still have it. However, I am still extremely jealous of your Becky barrettes.

  20. I blame my current state on the fact I could never ind pencils with my name on them. Your beautiful barette just brought back all those bad memories

  21. I totally love the bonnet and don’t you act like you didn’t love every second of wearing the bonnet, I’ve read too much from you to think otherwise. Didn’t you want to dress up like a princess in your fancy clothing looking for your extrememly rich ‘real’ parents? Bonnets are for the rich, don’t you know?

  22. Uhhh…I started writing and then my comment dissapeared! WTF? Those goddamn bunnies ate my comment! (Along with your pants.)

    Anyway, I was saying: YOU ARE SO CUTE! And Amelia looks just like you. The picture of your dad and brother (hello, Santa and an elf holding a gun?) KILLED. ME.

  23. Um, only problem with the barrett is that kidnappers now know your name when they want to lie to you and tell you mommy said you should go with them.

  24. Cute kid. That Xmas pic is a classic Awkward Family Photo. The gun-toting elf, the paddle on the wall…that is one fucking mean Santa.

  25. Well, We currently have my neices convinced that fairies live in both my mother & grandmothers yards. They leave peace offerings to the fairies whenever they visit.

  26. Duuuuuude!! There is a picture of me wearing a bonnet just like that somewhere. I obviously need to dig it out the next time I visit my parents’ house. I never had Brooke barrettes (because when I was young you couldn’t find my name on anything anywhere but Disneyland), but I did have 500 Honey Nut Cheerios Bee pencils with my name on them. Take that, sucka.

  27. Yeah, my aunt – who used to live in my room in my bed (’cause shit got passed down in my family!) – thought it would be good to tell me about the ghosts that haunted our 150 year old farm house (which creaked like a MoFo) and how they used to wake her up by kicking her while in bed. Oh yeah, and then my 6th grade motherfucking TEACHER (no lie) also thought it was a good idea to read Amityville Horror to us. Yeah, I pretty much grew up without sleeping. EVER. Which is why I read every book known to man by the time I was in high school. Guess that’s why I’m such a reader to this day? Only since I had kids and can fall asleep with my eyes open while driving have I been able to go to sleep without reading for an hour first. Still can’t watch ghost movies though. Bastards. What, you mean that’s a weird way to grow up? Ooops.

  28. Eggcellent pictures! Not creepy or weird in the least. Except in the GOOD way of those things. Right? Right!

    Also, sorry I haven’t emailed you any questions for the newsblog thinger. My friends haven’t…gotten around to starting that shit up again and I am totally in the dark. Jeez Louise.

  29. Normal is definitely relative. I’m going to have to break out my pics now dammit!! I need some barettes that say Becky on them, do you have any extra?

  30. Is the elf holding a pistol in that photo? Was Ernie coming after elves too that night or what?

  31. DUDE!!!! Oh my god. I would say that you and I have a very similar life. The only difference is that me at the age of oh…FUCKING 40 YEARS OLD, gets into fights with her oh….FUCKING 45 YEAR OLD BROTHER, when I try to nab pictures that are so much like yours, but older. Much, much older.

    Seriously, I love these pictures and will live vicariously through them.

  32. I TOTALLY had those orange drapes in my bedroom for my entire childhood. I thought I’d never have to see them again. Must. Wash. Eyes. Out.

  33. I was practically raised at my grandparents house, where my aunt and uncle (8 & 11 years older than I) told me that there was a gator living in the furnace room. The furnace room that had a door in the bathroom, so I had to pee less than a foot away from the furnace room.

  34. My dad was a Presbyterian minister. Rather than give much money to the church, members of the congregation would give clothes to the pastor’s family. I had a dress made of canvas with splatters of paint as the design. Pretty sure some mom of a teenaged hippie gave that away on purpose and then I GOT TO WEAR A PAINT SPLATTERED BAG!! This is why I am like this now.

  35. THAT BONNET….Rocks! But the story about the basement living, egg eating thing? WTF? I totally get you now.

    You should make a barrette like that. For real. It rocks.

  36. Dude, at my Nana’s house there was a BEAR room, and a LION room. NO ONE could enter those rooms. My sister and I were scared shitless of them. There was something else in the basement there, but I am failing to remember what she called it to keep us out of there…it must have worked, because I don’t think I ever stepped foot down there.

    I had recurring nightmares as a kid of Bert and Ernie. Bert was super clean, and everything was white. Ernie was dirty, dirty and everything was black. I would wake up so anxious it would take hours for me to fall back to sleep. If I am having a particularly stressful time in my life, (like sending my oldest kid to college in 3 weeks!) this stupid dream comes back, and does the same shit to me that it did when I was a little kid. Is that fucked up, or what?

    Somehow, I don’t think demented Bert and Ernie are in anyone’s dream books for me to look up the meaning…

  37. 1. That should absolutely be your Christmas card photo this year.
    2. My bff is preggers and she asked me to sew a few things for her new baby. Then she gave me two different bonnet patterns with 6 unique designs per pattern. I’m not excited.
    3. My birthday is on Leap Day so I only have a read bday every four years. My cousins traumatized me by convincing me that I would never get older, that i didn’t have a real bday, that i couldn’t get bday presents, that i wouldn’t be able to get my driver’s license until i was 64… assholes.

  38. Basement sister sounds sorta awesome, actually. I probably would have wanted to make a nature documentary or something about her. My big worry was that the basement was totally HAUNTED. Thank god we only lived somewhere with a basement for two years. I could’ve gotten a complex.

  39. I’m gonna guess that your brother had Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein. His version was that Ernie lived in the ceiling, but otherwise, it’s almost word-for-word. If you’ve never read it, you really, really should.

    And my grandmother told us to stay out of the cedar chest in her room thusly: “You know what’s in the box? GRANDPA’S in the box!”

    Grandpa had been dead for almost 20 years.

  40. I, too, have told my oldest daughter (who is now 17) about “Wendy” who lived in the attic. At night my daughter would hear noises so I told her that was her sister Wendy who lives up there. My daughter’s name is “Lindsey” and I had her convinced at a young age that I would give Wendy all of her toys, clothes, etc if she were to act bad. Just the mention of Wendy’s name could make my child straighten up and fly right. This worked…for quite some time…in fact, I’m not so sure that if I were to bring up Wendy today my daughter wouldn’t turn white with fear.

    Soooo…save her a place at the blod table. She’s going to need it…and a side of therapy too.

  41. 1. You are rockin’ that bonnet.
    2. Wish I could have had barrettes with my name on them.
    3. Sorry, but your dad also looks like Kip(like your uncle with the Tull album). So now we know how Kip would look as Santa. Best photo ever!
    4. Love the Stones reference.

  42. Clearly you’re mastering the art of scanning childhood photos! I need to master that. I adore the bonnet and would totally put my 2-year-old daughter in it. She would probably spend several minutes insisting that she is a flower (always a flower, no matter what she’s wearing), then remove it and try to eat it in a fit of (justified) rage. She makes me laugh.

    And the gun-toting elf? Awesome. Almost as awesome as your pirate face. Do you ever see that exact same expression on your kids? Because it looks like a face I see my kids make sometimes, and I wonder, is that “screw you, I’m a pirate” face inherited, or is it just natural to all kids?

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