Monday, June 22, 2009

Misadventures of a Misspent Youth, Part III

Here’s yet another installment of shameful things I did as a kid. Except in this one, I really wasn’t a kid. I was 19 years old. Which by some definitions of the law made me a legal adult. (Meaning I could vote or join the military, but I couldn’t pick up a case of Cuervo at the store. Not that I ever tried. I don’t even know what Cuervo is. Really.)

It was the fall of 1990. My sophomore year in college was well underway. Then something notable happened. A dating relationship I was in ended rather badly. I don’t mean “badly” as in having an unpleasant conversation and deciding to part ways. The kind of “badly” I mean is more like the way WWII ended badly for Japan. Or the way that little volcanic eruption ended badly for the people of Pompeii. Or the way a few dishonest business decisions ended badly for Ken Lay. The way this relationship ended badly was of biblical proportions. Ask anyone who knew me then. It’s true.

What made this situation worse than it had to be was that after it ended badly, it kept ending badly. The guy (let’s call him… oh, I don’t know. Wait, I’ve got it.) Dick Cheney started being mean. Just plain mean. He talked smack about me to people I was friends with. He folded up my photos and sent them back to me through campus mail with an ugly note attached. Once, when my bff Carol and I walked past him, he yelled the “b” word at me. (OK, there is a little more to that story, but that’s the version I like to tell.) All of this silliness was BUGGING me. I just wanted to get on with my life. But I also wanted to get him back for all the harassment.

One weekend, I came up with a plan. Something that wasn’t illegal or even that big of a deal, but something I knew would annoy Dick Cheney and give me a nice sense of satisfaction. Dick Cheney happened to be what we then called a “metalhead” or “headbanger.” If music didn’t have people screaming and farm animals being slaughtered in it, he didn’t like it. On this weekend, I knew Dick Cheney was going to be out of town. So all day Saturday, I kept calling his phone and playing Debbie Gibson (someone he found particularly annoying, but didn’t we all?) on his answering machine until I filled up the entire tape. When I called one last time and only heard a “click,” I knew the tape was full and my work was done.

But you know, this still didn’t quite do it for me. He had been SO MEAN to me. I had to do something else. I thought long and hard about sugar in his gas tank. Oh yes, I did. But rational thought prevailed and I decided to do something less destructive. One night, my friend and I saw Dick Cheney’s car in a campus parking lot. (Once again, I must emphatically declare that this friend was not my bff Carol. Carol would never dream of participating in something so juvenile and… well, illegal as what my other friend and I did that night.) Let’s call my friend Marilyn Monroe. Just for fun.

So Marilyn Monroe and I spotted Dick Cheney’s car. I said, “Hey, let’s steal his gas cap. In a few days we’ll put it back. Just to mess with him.” So we did. Stole his gas cap. A few nights later, we spotted his car again. We opened the gas tank cover to put the gas cap back, and wouldn’t you know it, he had bought a new one. So we took that one, too.

Marilyn Monroe put the two gas caps in a box and they moved around with us from dorm to apartment to apartment over the next couple of years. Then we graduated and Marilyn Monroe took them home to her parents’ house in Missouri. (Where her perplexed mother discovered them one day.) Marilyn Monroe and I had talked about waiting 20 years or so and then mailing them to Dick Cheney from some random address in a random state. I’ve stayed in touch with Marilyn Monroe and just about every time we talk, she says, “You know I still have those gas caps.” And now it’s been 19 years. So I have a year to figure out if I should mail them to Dick Cheney or not. I’m not the type to hold a grudge, especially over a relationship that ended so long ago. But I am just obnoxious enough to think that mailing the gas caps to Dick Cheney would still be pretty funny.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In tha HOUSE

Jenna goes to free Baptist daycare (also known as VBS) for 2.5 hours this a.m., and I'm using the time to clean the house like a madwoman. Julia is going to help me. (She's still asleep and has no idea, the poor kid. HA HA) I was going to make a list to check off as I go, and I decided that going public with it would be more motivating. So today I'm going to see if I can:

empty all the trash
clean the bathrooms
clean the wood floors
sweep and mop the tile
fold some laundry
check Facebook a few times (might as well be realistic)

before I leave to get Jenna at 11:40.

UPDATE: I did everything but the wood floors. And folding laundry. Hey, I'm pacing myself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


And now for Part Deux of my internationally-acclaimed blog series “Clothes That Changed My Life.”

Part One featured my Wal-Mart Miracle Shoes. (Moment of reverent silence, please.) Now let’s move on to… my Guess jeans.

Guess jeans were all the rage in the mid- to late-’80s. They weren’t just the “in” thing to wear; they were a requirement. Especially at a yuppie school like mine. I don’t think I can stress enough that you JUST HAD TO HAVE THEM. For social survival. Ask anyone who was in high school during that time. It’s true.

Like everything else that was all the rage in the ’80s (like the Porsche, Michael Jackson concert tickets and cocaine), Guess jeans were expensive. They ran about 50 to 60 bucks, which was a lot of money for a pair of jeans back then. It was even more money to my minister dad and teacher mom. They didn’t just hand me incredibly overpriced jeans. I had to work for them. I had to make good grades. Which I did. To get Guess jeans. Because I HAD TO HAVE THEM.

So I made the grades and my mom and I went shopping. Now you didn’t just go buy any old pair of Guess jeans. They had to be the tapered leg with the zippers at the ankles. And they had to be the tiniest size you could possibly fit into. They had to be painful to wear. Because this was the ’80s and your jeans were supposed to look like you had been poured into them. I actually knew girls who carried pliers in their purses so they could pull their jeans back up after going to the bathroom. I did not personally do this. Well, I did pull them back up after going to the bathroom. But I did not use pliers. This paragraph just took a rather awkward turn. Let’s move on.

I had a close friend who could fit into the very smallest size of jeans that Guess made. And I hated her for it. Because that’s what girls do. They hate their friends. Ask any female. It’s true. I had to settle for the second-smallest size Guess made. I pouted briefly and then got over it. Because now I had them. Guess jeans. I would now be complete.

On some other blog somewhere, maybe a blog belonging to someone who seeks deeper meaning in things, this story would now take a turn like this: I would say that after I got those jeans and wore them for a while, I learned that I was still not truly happy and that true joy does not come from material things. Then I would quote a few Bible verses, watch Pat Robertson and turn in for the night.

But not at Deanaland. I’m here to tell you that those Guess jeans made me very happy. And it wasn’t a silly, shallow teenage girl kind of happiness. This was a happiness that came from the very core of my being. There was nothing like pulling those things out of the dryer while the ankle zippers were still hot. Just putting them on meant my day was going to be a little better. Especially if I put them on with my pink Hard Rock Café shirt (New York City), pink scrunchy socks and white canvas Keds. Those jeans got me dates. They got me glares from the popular girls who knew I looked better in my Guess jeans than they looked in theirs. Those jeans were not just something to wear. They gave me purpose.

I wore those things through the last half of high school and then they went with me to college in 1989. During the fall of my sophomore year, I was hanging out with some friends when I went to sit down on the ground. And with that, my beloved jeans gave up. I almost heard them say “We cannot do this for one more second” as they ripped along the bottom of the back right pocket. (The pocket with the upside-down triangle logo.) Thankfully, I was wearing a long (Guess!) shirt.

My Guess jeans may have been done with me, but I wasn’t done with them. When I got home, I took a pair of scissors to them, ripped them up and wore them a few more years. Finally, around the time I got married, they had to go. They had served their purpose. They died a valiant death.

I’ve had lots of jeans since those Guess jeans. I’ve loved a lot of them, including my current favorites, my Lucky jeans. But my high-waisted, tapered-leg Guess jeans will always hold a special place in my heart.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


My Whole Entire Life Story still had us living in Baytown, so I updated it.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Teen-aged Deana Strikes Again

Inspired by the comments on my last post, I have now decided to pull out a deep, dark moment from my past and post it for the world to see. What you are about to read, my friends (and/or stalkers), is an account of the most dishonest moment of my life.

First, a disclaimer. Let me assure you that I have been an unbelievably honest person my entire adult life. I’ve left stores without paying for things on the bottom rack of my cart because I forgot they were there. And I have always marched right back inside to pay for them. I have corrected cashiers who have mistakenly tried to give me too much change. I even found a $20 bill on a street in my neighborhood one day in 2005 and took it directly to our church to contribute it to the tsunami relief fund. I’m certainly not perfect and I have my weaknesses, but I am not dishonest. Making stuff up and passing it off as truth is just not part of who I am.

But there was a day long ago that it was. That was the day all honesty flew right out the window into the refinery-scented air of a town called Beaumont, Texas. I was a junior at Beaumont Christian High School in the spring of 1988. I had a teacher who I will call Mr. ZXCVBNM for the sake of this story. I liked Mr. ZXCVBNM at first. He was a nice guy and told funny stories. But we students soon realized Mr. ZXCVBNM was out to get us. He was almost obsessed with finding reasons to give kids detention. His big hang-up was candy and/or gum. If you had your purse open and he glanced inside and saw a pack of gum, you got detention. If he could prove you had any kind of candy or gum on your person, you got detention. If you had Skittles at lunch and were just chewing up the last mouthful on your way to his class, you had better swallow it before you walk through the door because, believe me, you were getting detention.

One day our class had gone to study hall in the library. I was sitting on the floor with some friends and we were studying. One friend offered me one of those jumbo cinnamon-flavored gummy bears. It was still in its wrapper and I was going to save it for later. But I was in the middle of writing something down when my friend handed it to me, so I rested it on my knee until I could get to the end of my sentence to put it up.

But I didn’t move quickly enough. Mr. ZXCVBNM walked by, saw the gummy bear, and I was busted. But instead of detention this time, he had another idea. Handing me a razor blade, he told me to scrape all the dried-up gum from underneath all the chairs and tables in the library.

Naturally, I was not happy about this. As I sat under a table scraping off wads of gum, something occurred to me. This teacher had just handed me a razor blade. If I were to somehow accidentally hurt myself with it, he could get in big trouble.

Now for another disclaimer. I was not a cutter. No one even knew what that was back then. In those days, the most self-destructive thing I had a habit of doing was skipping a couple of meals on Friday so I could slide into my super-tiny Guess jeans for a date on Saturday. And that was out of sheer vanity. (Oh, how I loved those Guess jeans. I’ll blog about them later in my “Clothes That Changed My Life” blog series.)

So this was not the self-mutilation you read about. This was simply vengeance. Situated beneath a table and out of everyone’s sight, I sawed back and forth on my left thumb until I had a pretty convincing three-inch long cut. I placed the cut strategically because my story was going to be that my right hand slipped while I was scraping and cut my left hand. I got it looking the way I wanted it, said nothing about it at school, went home and showed my dad what had happened.

That’s all it took. My dad freaked. He called the school. Didn’t they know I was in my ninth year of piano? Didn’t they know I was considering a college career in music? What if I had cut a tendon? What kind of teacher hands a kid a razor blade?

So yes, Mr. ZXCVBNM got in trouble. He even pulled me out of class the next day and yelled at me for getting him in trouble. And he didn’t even know the cut was not an accident.

I waited until the guy got fired (the year after I graduated, he got caught in the locker room in a compromising position with a 16-year-old girl) before I told my parents what I had done. By then, everyone was so disgusted with him that my parents really didn’t care.

Yes, I did a bad thing. But do I feel bad about it? Not really. I feel worse about not feeling bad about it, if that makes any sense.

And I still don’t think teachers should give kids razor blades.