When I was little, my parents said some weird things to me, expecting me to understand. At the time, I didn’t know what “What goes around, comes around,” or “Don’t spit up in the air” meant. I was a kid. The list went on and on. I might as well have been having dinner with squirrels, because I didn’t understand their gibberish sounds either.
“Well, Vickie. You made your bed. Now you have to lie in it.” Ok, how could a small child understand that one? First of all, I rarely made my bed. Why would someone make their bed, and then lie “in it?” I was beginning to think that my mother was retarded.
I decided that the next time she told me something stupid like that, I would have some questions for her. I was always questioning anyway. That’s what hyper little Mexican jumping beans do….. ”Well, Vickie, the early bird gets the worm………Yes, I know they are all up early………the earliest one out there gets the worm, Vickie………Well, then it eats it………..I don’t know if the worm has worm babies that now are alone…Vickie, they are worms………Vickie, quit crying. It’s a WORM…..”
“Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander?” I mean, seriously, Mom. What the hell is a gander? “…..Vickie, a gander is a female goose…….Well, it means that whatever is good for him is good for her…….” See why I was confused? I can still picture my mom, with her semi-horn-rimmed glasses, smoking her Salem cigarettes, talking about a goose and a gander. It just didn’t fit. What a confused child I was. That’s probaby why I majored in Speech Communications in college.
“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched, Vickie……Why? Well, because things may not work out the way you want them…..It doesn’t have anything to do with chickens, Vickie…………Bunnies aren’t hatched……..No they aren’t……The Easter Bunny brings eggs that are candy, Vickie……………Because there is no such thing as an Easter Chicken………….Ok, we’re done here, Vickie……..Vickie, I am not going to discuss why chicken babies aren’t in the eggs we eat….You know what, go to your room!”
I realize I was tiring, but she deserved it. I needed answers and I wasn’t getting them.
One day I came home crying because I was made fun of for being skinny. Sure wish that made me cry nowadays. But, my mom just told me to tell those kids, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I just looked at her. First of all, how was a stick going to break my arm? A neighborhood boy, Eddie K. threw a brick at me and it struck me in the back, and my back didn’t break. And what the hell did that have to do with words hurting me. Of course, words don’t hurt. Stupid, stupid, Salem-cigarette smoking woman.
I have heard the saying, “Don’t be up a creek without a paddle” numerous times when I was little. My mom never bothered to explain what the hell she was talking about. I wasn’t in a creek, and I didn’t know how to paddle. It wasn’t until I was in fourth grade, that I heard my teacher, Miss Emler, explain the meaning. Finally, someone was going to help me understand the insanity of words and phrases.
“I don’t live near a creek.” I replied. It was the response I used with my mom many, many times.
“Ok, Little Missy Foo Foo. You can take your smart mouth and go sit in the Dumb Row.”
She put me in the dumb row. She had a sign in front of a row of those old connected desks that actually said, “Dumb Row.” I wasn’t trying to be funny. I really didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. Why were adults so messed up? So, I started crying. Hard. I went up to her desk, my knees shaking because I thought she was going to hit me with sticks or stones and break my bones.. I told her that I never knew what that saying meant. Told her my mom said it about every day and I was always up a creek without a paddle.
So, Miss Emler told me what it meant. “Be prepared or you will be stuck.” I just looked at her. All this time, and that’s all it meant?
Why couldn’t they just say, “Be prepared ?”
I had to sit in the Dumb Row for not understanding. I guess that made sense.