Why does my blog suddenly (like, “last week” suddenly) look completely wrong in Firefox, but just fine in IE? Is this some sort of cruel, cosmic joke?
Archive for July, 2006
In my family, we usually refer to the genital area as one’s “business.” The idea is that it’s your business and no one else’s.
This is why we smirk every time we hear an advertisement for small business loans. References to someone being “all up in [my] business” are pretty funny to us, too.
- When I was in elementary, I knew a special ed teacher named Tiny Fraily. But no one has ever met the fabled twins Lemongello and Orangello, no matter what they say.
- My youngest sister once rammed her fingers into a broken door and had to have the splinters under her fingernails surgically removed. However, no one has ever sat down in a movie theater, felt a sharp prick, and discovered a needle attached to a note that reads, “Now you have AIDS, too.”
- In his twenties, my father was pulled over by a policeman for flashing his brights at oncoming traffic to give the motorists a heads up about the officer they were about to encounter. But there has not been a single instance in which street gangs choose their marks by driving without headlights at night and then attack the friendly motorists who alert them.
- My friend Billy has six toes on one foot. Anne Boleyn had six fingers on one hand, as well as a supernumerary nipple. Catherine the Great, however, did not perish during a sexual encounter with a horse.
- I once said to a gum-chewing student, “Spit or swallow; it’s up to you.” Yet Captain Kirk never uttered the words, “Beam me up, Scotty.”
My truths are stranger than fiction.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I pass by but don’t immediately recognize the reflection as my own. Instead, I see my younger sister.
And I think she’s beautiful.
The day of her first birthday, my cousin Jetta — a heretofore perfect, healthy child — became profoundly deaf. According to her medical records, the hearing loss was due to either the massive seizures or the incredible spike in body temperature she endured as a result of a nasty case of spinal meningitis. Of course, there was also the issue of a major misdiagnosis early in the affliction and the refusal of medical care thrown into the mix. A (successful) lawsuit, a brief period of grieving over “who Jetta could have been,” and a family-wide crash course in basic sign language followed.
The extended family embraced Jetta’s deafness with something so much more akin to anticipation than pity. I think that, in some weird way, we thought Jetta’s handicap would bind us all in a common purpose so we would no longer each feel like the bad seed in a rag-tag band of misfits whose kin never really even tried to understand them. It was as though Jetta was our Luke Skywalker — our last hope. Those of us who lived near Jetta and her family inserted ourselves into their home and life, practically living with them so we could lap at the fountain of ASL instruction in which Jetta — a toddler by then — and her mother would willingly baptize us. We watched ASL videos. We took field trips to the grocery store and the zoo and through the house to learn signs for common items and actions. Those family members who lived too far away for such literal “hands-on” learning enrolled in sign language classes and would willingly submit to the tutellage of those of us who spent time with Jetta to learn the very basics of sign.
And then life happened. We stopped spending as much time with Jetta’s family. Signing was no longer a part of our daily lives. The last few times I’ve seen Jetta, she seems frustrated with our clumsy sign. We haven’t used sign regularly in years, and it shows. We’re still signing like the five-year-old Jetta was when she taught us.
The last twelve years have not been easy for either Jetta, her parents, or her sister. There were the constant ear infections, the stares by curious and insensitive strangers, the struggle over whether or not to have the cochlear implants, the daily shipping off of a tiny girl on a bus to the state school for the deaf.
Jetta demanded to be removed from the state school mid-way through elementary school and to enroll in the public school system. She has blossomed there, making friends galore. She was on the homecoming court last year — just like you’d expect a leggy, beautiful brunette to be in seventh grade. She makes the honor roll and kicks ass on the volleyball team.
And there’s something else. This spring, Jetta tried out for the cheerleading squad. Her father emailed me a message that said, “Navy and Jetta both made cheerleader. Don’t they know Jetta’s deaf?!?” That was pretty much my question, too. What makes it all the more amazing is that Jetta lives in one of those towns where cheerleading is a religion and most girls who cheer have been taking private lessons since they were old enough to babble. And let’s face it — pretty much all Jetta can do verbally is babble. Apparently Jetta’s going to mouth the words and go through the athletic motions.
Do you think the general public knows that the ASL sign for “applause” is pretty much identical to the “spirit fingers” move the cheerleaders learn in Bring It On? It seems rather appropriate, doesn’t it?
In the current ranking reports, my hotel is ranked sixth in guest satisfaction for the last twelve months rolling. When I came three months ago, we were ranked fourteenth; this month we’re ranked sixth. That’s right. I kick all kinds of ass.
Last night I combed my hair for the first time in more than a year.
It’s not so street urchin as it sounds. I have curly hair. Generally, I wash it, put some gel in it, and blow dry it with a diffuser. Sometimes I might flip my head over and shoot some hairspray in the general direction of my scalp, but I haven’t committed that to part of my daily routine.
My hair was straight as the proverbial board until I was 22 years old. When I was little, my mama would put my hair in a pony on the top of my head (a la Pebbles) and then put the pony strands into sponge rollers on Saturday night. I slept in said torture devices through the night so I could have nice, soft ringlets for Sunday School. But by the time the sermon rolled around I was back to Marcia Brady hair.
By the time I was in junior high, Big Hair was all the rage. Because my hair was so thick and so resistant to curl, it took two perms and many hours to achieve this look — which would inevitably dissipate in less than a month and leave me with hair that suddenly three inches longer once the perm fell out.
I’ve heard of people going through chemo or some such whose hair color or texture or type or whatever changed. That didn’t happen to me. For whatever reason, I woke up one morning during a trip to Texas a decade ago and said, “Wow. My hair is curly.” And I ran with it, baby. Natural curl means way less time primping and preening with multiple products and tool every day. Plus, I can always use “humidity is causing frizziness” as an excuse for bad hair days. Trust me: people totally buy that, even if it’s 40 degrees with zero moisture outside. There’s complete sympathy for the curly girls. Because, see, people pretend they understand your plight, but really they just pity you. But who cares? You’re excused for being lazy about your hair.
I rented a whole bunch of movies today. I’m almost done with The Ringer, which stars Johnny Knoxville as a regular Joe who pretends to be mentally challenged so he can fix the Special Olympics and win money to pay off a debt. This is a Johnny Knoxville movie, so of course it’s supposed to be funny. And it is. But I’ve cried almost all the way through it.
At this rate, I’ll never make it through Radio.