clothes contests kids Mom Rick O'Shay whores

My Mama Pimped Me Out Well Before Misty’s Meth-Addicted Baby Daddy Dropped Her on the Corner of Hollywood & Vine

In my youth, a popular comic strip drawn by Stan Lynde called Rick O’Shay ran in the Billings Gazette. Oh, didn’t we chuckle at the exploits of that sheriff and the ragbag crew that staggered across the panels of his life. Lawsy, but we chortled at the antics of O’Shay’s preciously-monikered friends and colleagues in the Western town of Conniption: “Hipshot Percussion,” “Basil Metabolism,” “Quyat Burp,” and, of course, the Native-American “Crazy Quilt. ”

We could hardly wait for the 4:00 a.m. thump on the front porch that signaled the paper boy had delivered our daily dose of cowboy cartooning. Up we shot from our waterbeds, hurtling the Etch-A-Sketch, leaping the Clue gameboard, somersaulting the Lincoln Logs in our quest to be the first to scan that day’s strip. Would Crazy Quilt win the affections Chief Crazy Neck’s daughter Moonglow? Would Stan Lynde have managed to showcase the word “howsomever” in an entirely new way?

This was big stuff for us small fry.

Thus, you can imagine our excitement when a local Rick O’Shay contest was announced. Children from across our arid burg were invited to dress up as their favorite characters from the strip and submit to judging. The winner would win a plaque-ish thing and an interview on the local news. Because Sheriff Rick O’Shay admired nothing more than plaques and news, we knew our participation would please him.

Of course, when one is four years old, as I was at the time, one’s “favorite character” often amounts to “what Mom wants to dress her kid in.” Turns out, Mom had a feather and swimsuit that were itching for an outing, and in this fashion, my character was chosen.

Clearly, my heroic brother, who once held up both hands to stop oncoming traffic on a busy street so that I might cross safely, would be

Rick O’Shay

My five-year-old sister, with her love of shimmying to the tunes of Donny Osmond and organizing girls into teams for popsicle-eating contests, was a natural for the owner of the town’s dancehall:

Gaye Abandon, or, more precisely,
“Madame” Gaye Abandon

For me? Well, Mom had the swimsuit. She had the feather. She understood there was a strip involved. Somehow sensing my future love of pouring shots and sitting on laps, she decked me out as

Sally Forth, prostitute

Baby’s First Mug Shot

Despite my innate sense of modesty, I’ll have you know, friends, that the town of Billings had a Conniption over me. They melted at the sight of a four-year-old streetwalker, so full of promise, with her whole career in front of her. Particularly when my convincing whoreishness was contextualized during the judging, I was a standout: so fresh compared to those hardened 12-year-olds…so Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby…so able to rock the look of garter and heels and locket, the look of a girl who means to communicate “You can have me for ten minutes for twenty dollars; the back seat’s fine. And do you have any Barbies or an Easy-Bake oven?”

Sweet Heidi Fleiss, but you better believe I ended up on the news that night.

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birthdays ham sandwiches Mom

Unwrap This


Roughly forty-one years ago, on March 25th, my mom didn’t know what to get my dad for his birthday. Somehow “a child” seemed more creative than “a Mickey Mouse necktie.”

So on my dad’s 32nd birthday, my mom, spinal-blocked but fully conscious, pushed me out of her girl bits.

Half an hour later, she was snarfing down a ham sandwich.

This was an auspicious start.

Since then, it’s become a point of pride that I’ve never been more than half an hour out from a ham sandwich.

And, except for twice in college, I’ve been fully-conscious each time I’ve eaten one.

About two years later, my poor parents had this on their hands.

Of course, Payback never misses an appointment. Right now, I have this on my hands:

And if your questions at this juncture are along the lines of “Is he really in nothing but his boy-panties, is that his sister’s sweater he’s wearing, and are those his mother’s boots?” the answers are yes, yes and more yes, Sweet Ru Paul.

Instead of just wishing me a happy birthday–which you should do, you gauche clod–tell me something about the day you were born, woncha?

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advice bleach cardigans coats Mom nakedness

Mama’s Best Advice: “Do It Naked”

My mom gifted me with lots of things in my youth: flute lessons, bassoon lessons, piano lessons, ballet lessons, the old Nissan Stanza, her recipe for beef stroganoff, a deep loathing of my body, a fondness for the ocean. Human nature being what it is, however, I’ve also decided that my parenting should compensate for certain things my childhood lacked–I should, in this round of fetching ’em up, make recompense for the Things Mom Never Told Me.

Thus, while still dropping my kid off at ballet lessons (he does love a pink leotard), I will take the parenting a step further and be sure to pass on to my progeny the advice that I wish Me Dear Old Ma had imparted. Specifically, I will be sure to tell them:

1) The ultimate in outdoor entertainment is not acting out the Donnie and Marie show on ice skates. It’s also possible to be a little bit outdoorsy, a little bit country, and quite a bit rock ‘n roll while doing things like grilling pork or rolling old tires through the garden.

2) When you see the letters “MVSEVM” chiseled into an old building, it’s not actually pronounced “MUV-ZEE-VUM.” Instead, them is old-fashioned letterings for “MEW-ZEE-UM,” which is where The Smartie Richies keep the dinosaur bones and gold. Now git in there and fill up this bag. Mama’s collection needs an Allosaurus furcula!

3) In sixth grade, when the father of one of your classmates comes to the school claiming to be a “scientist” and gives the assembled eleven-year-olds a presentation about the mystical powers of pyramids–having you hold your arm up and out to the side while he pushes on it…and then having you hold it up and out to the side while holding a little pyramid in your hand only to discover he has a distinctly-more-difficult time pushing on it–feel free to mess with him and start hollering, “My arm! My arm! That big man hurt me when he pushed so hard! The tip of the pyramid pierced my ligament, and now I think I need to skip the Presidential Physical Fitness Test today, except maybe the Standing Broad Jump, which doesn’t so much involve arm ligaments!” If you need to bump up the drama from there by taking your little show to the nurse’s office and having her call me, I promise I’ll come pick you up in my two-toned station wagon. Meet me out front by the big grey boulder. I’ll slow it down to 10 mph; you and your pierced ligament can hop through the open window.

4) If, in your mid-twenties, Your Long-Time Man announces, “You always say you love me, but I’m not sure I love you,” the correct response is not, “Yea, that sounds about right.” The correct response is, “Well, then, buy me more stuff. I am easily distracted by baubles and Picassos.”

5) When an ad tells you a new deodorant is “revolutionary,” that doesn’t mean it comes packaged with a musket.

6) Chlamydia is not a rare orchid.

Despite wishing I’d been armed with these nuggets of knowledge earlier in life , I do have to give my mom a hugenormous shout-out for handing me one of the best pieces of advice ever: Always bleach naked.

The other night, as always, I forgot to heed her wisdom, and I unscrewed the cap of the Tide Bleach Pen fully clothed.


My intent was to turn the Girl’s pink and white winter coat back to, er, something like pink and white. A winter full of slamming that coat against a dirty jungle gym (dirty jungle gym antics are also a moonlighting gig of mine, incidentally) has rendered the thing dingy, crusted, and leathery. What better, Rapt Readers, than a careful whisk with a Tide Bleach Pen, a thorough soaking in Oxyclean, a deep rinse in Borax Mule-Team Brightener, plus another soaking in Oxyclean to transform it into–crap on a cracker–a garment that is only minimally less dingy, crusted, and leathery?

At any rate, I was optimistic, but not nekkid. Poorly played on my part.

Instead, during the multi-step achromatizing operation, I sported a sassy chocolate brown zip-up-the-front hooded cardigan, one that now sits, riddled with white bleach spots, in a plastic bag labeled “Goodwill Donations.”

More frankly, it sits in a plastic bag. Wouldn’t it be something if I were the type to make a label?

Should Goodwill refuse my donation, screeching “We actually need things in wearable condition” as it hurls the unlabeled bag back towards my speeding car (30 mph in the parking lot; windows up), I daresay I’ll have to find other uses for my now-ruined brown cardigan:

1) Draping it over my poo mounds in the woods, thereby making my natural heaps look twenty-seven times larger and infinitely more intimidating (or enticing) to passing snowmobilers and bike commuters.

2) Using it to strain vermicelli as the noodles hover on the precipice of al dente. Of late, our colander has been taking up too much room in the cabinet, elbowing the pots and pans quite aggressively. But a speckled hoodie is passive–infinitely adaptable to space. I could crumple the thing and store it inside the food processor, alongside my stash of Robitussin.

3) Stuffing it down the throat of the kid who called my Niblet “fat” and “ugly” last summer. Brown is the new gag.

4) Gently wrapping my new boxed set of My So-Called Life in it and burying the whole thing in the backyard, under a full moon, sacrificing a squirrel and incanting the 14-year-old Claire Danes to star in at least eight more episodes before growing up and dating that wanker Billy Crudup who, for Claire, abandoned the knocked-up Mary Louise Parker (little-known fact: the sound of her water breaking masked the little snapping sound a heart makes as it breaks). That’s all my cardigan and I want: just eight more episodes with teen-phenom Danes and a chance for Brian Krakow to go to prom with Angela Chase.

5) Cloaking Barack Obama in it to make him more appealing to African-American voters. Between Ofrey’s endorsement and my sweater’s browning abilities, he might just convince them he’s black. Plus, his wearing a woman’s sweater would clearly signal that Obama is unafraid to bring change to the White House.

Should none of these alternate uses take hold, I can, of course, always take my mother’s other piece of clothing-related advice: when in doubt, give it to your daughter and make her wear it.

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Elvis getting with the times Mom sex

All Shook Up

My mom graduated from high school in 1953. She graduated from college in 1957. In many ways, she remained distinctly behind the times; for example, when Elvis Presley first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956 and essentially transformed youth culture in the space of 3 minutes, my mom was blissfully unaware that some lip-curler with a pompadour and loose hips had just awakened a generation from a slumber it hadn’t known it was having.

She was at choir practice, you see–that night, and most nights. And when she wasn’t at choir practice, she was at a Bach concert. Although she was deeply acquainted with falsetto and vibrato, she knew not who Elvis was.

Nor did she care a whit for the Beach Boys or the Beatles or any other group that subsequently rocked through the door Elvis had opened.

You see, even when there wasn’t a Bach concert on the agenda, she could always count on Hayden being played somewhere. Indeed, the classical composers kept my mom out of the mainstream, kept her dreamily drifting through a world of scores and maestros instead of twists and shouts.

In other ways, however, she was completely a reflection of the times, of the 1950’s. She was chaste. She was modest. She was provincial. She had a poodle skirt.

True to her roots and poodles, she’s continued to make a life’s work out of sweetly-sheltered naivete.

Exhibit A: She had been married for some years to my father and had given birth at least once before she got her first inkling of what male homosexual sex entailed. She–hand to throat, accompanied by a gentle gasp and a little handkerchief waving about the face–had no idea. Who knew how versatile an orifice could be? Certainly not me ma.

Exhibit B: About fifteen years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, she and I were taking a cross-country road-trip. To pass the time, we were reading aloud a Margaret Atwood novel. Right around the Oregon border, as I relaxed with my feet propped up on the dashboard, holding forth from the book, we encountered the term “69.”

“Stop there,” Mom said. “Now I’ve always wondered: what does 69 mean?”

“Well, um, you know, I could tell you and all, but since I’m squirming at the idea of using some of the words around you, Mom, could we pull over, and I’ll just draw you a picture?”

The brakes were hit. There in a rest stop, I created on paper two very lucky stick people who happily met each other head to toe.

After a few “Oh, well” and “Oh, my” exclamations, we clambered back into the car and zoomed on to the family reunion and some ambrosia salad.

Exhibit C: Just this week, we leapt the Grand Canyon of Uninformedness. Mom is visiting for a week, and it’s been all mellow cross-stitching and caramel-apple dipping, save for one quick conversation held at the top of the stairs.

As Mom returned a few borrowed books to me, she said, “I’m still reading that Julie & Julia one, though. But I can’t read any further until I get a dictionary.”

Why? Well, in this book about a woman trying to cook every dish in Julia Child’s most famous cookbook, there are some, as my mom says it, “sex-sual” terms with which she is unfamiliar. And so she needs a dictionary.

Or a daughter.

“Try me, Mom. I bet I can help.”

“Well, off the top of my head, I can’t remember them all, and I can’t seem to find them here in the book right now, but I do recall one was a word, something like ‘connie-lean-goo-ass.'”

Sucking in a deep breath, I clarified, “It’s cunnilingus, Mom. And it means oral sex, when it’s performed on a woman.”

Thinking further, I added, “Do you know what oral sex is? If not, I can draw you a picture. I mean, I do have some stick people in my portfolio who have been experiencing a pretty serious dry spell. They’d probably be pleased to get a little action.”

But, see, Mom divorced Dad a bit ago. Since then, she’s had a couple boyfriends.

So the stick people will have to remain celibate, perhaps until she asks about fellatio when she turns 80 in a few years.

Mom’s answer? Tittering a little, she informed me, “Oh, I do know what oral sex is for a woman. In the last five years, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I could know about that. I had no idea, but now I sure do.”

It would seem, then, that at age 72, my mom is finally ready to walk through the door Elvis opened all those years ago. She might even be ready to consider the implications of Gene Simmons’ tongue.

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