1. I took a gun to high school.
Yes, we Ugly Sisters are rebels and a menace to society, but mostly we're just all out sexy with a weapon.
Now, my friend and accomplice, Amy, will tell you different on the details of the gun-totin' incident, but I clearly remember Mr. Selgrath, the principal, stopping us at the door to our high school field house and asking, “That gun’s not loaded, is it girls?” I’m not sure whether we were carrying a shotgun or a .22 rifle, but it was not loaded; it was simply part of our…uhm…“hillbilly” costume for the school's Halloween dance.
It was different times, people, different times. No booster seats in cars, Space Invaders was cutting edge, and two Catholic school girls could walk around packing heat and no one thought much of it as long as you were also known to wear navy knee socks and a double knit polyester skirt. Nothing says, “I’m not dangerous” like double knits and knee socks. (Note to self: use this for upcoming Ocean’s Fourteen script pitch.)
2. I got thrown off a racehorse.
Technically true, though I suppose that this is the fudgiest of the truths.
Again, different times.
Today, there are few places where you could pay $25.00, give a pinky swear that you know which end of an equine is the tail, and then be entrusted with your very own retired racehorse to ride hither and yon, down dirt roads, up mountains, and through some unsuspecting farmer’s corn field.
In my case, I think that there was actually a release form of a sort, but it was a one-paragraph deal that said something like, “I’ll bring the horse back, and I won’t complain while I’m cooling him down, even if my femur bone is visibly projecting through my pant leg at a painful angle and my head is screwed on backwards.”
The stable was owned by a dear and ancient woman named “Grandma”, and she rented out cranky, barnsour Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses to just about anyone who asked for a horse and looked like good folk. My sister and I and various assortments of friends would prod and cajole the horses for forty-five minutes on our rides out into the wilds of Pennsylvania, and the horses would drag their feet, sometimes give a half-hearted buck or two, but basically sulk their way through the first two-thirds of their hire time. However, the moment you turned their heads back toward the barn - and food - all of a sudden they became Seattle Slew.
All rides ended the same way:
First with a renewed vigor as the horses made their way back through the wooded trail where trot quickly turned to canter and sapling branches whipped against your face and arms leaving bloody slap marks. And then upon reaching the open road, the starting gate door would spring open and your previously comatose mount would leap into a dead gallop.
And as you felt the horse gather his muscles under you for the rocket-ride home, all you could do was let go the reins, weave your fingers through the horse’s mane, grip your thighs around the hulking shoulders, and shout out loud the Prayer of the Deranged Cowgirl:
It was all incredibly dangerous, and yes, I ended up on my keister at least once when, rounding a sharp corner on a jumpy mare, the saddle actually slid right off the horse.
However, dangers aside, the excitement of clinging with all my girlish might to a thundering steed as we careered into the blurry horizon brought on emotional thrills bordering on pentecostal rapture, and this alone was enough to keep me from dating boys well into my late teens.
I suppose that this was an acceptable trade off for my parents.
3. I know most of the lyrics to Redneck Yacht Club and sing along in my car.
You wanna start somethin'?
It's not like I'm a total hick.
I still like arugula.
4. I once set my shirt on fire while cooking Béchamel sauce.
This is a LIE.
And by the way KENNY (from the comments), although I never have set my shirt on fire (knock wood), I do make a lovely Béchamel KENNY and if you’re nice to me KENNY, I’ll share my A+ recipe KENNY for spinach lasagna with Béchamel KENNY.
5. I kissed Mick Jagger.
There is a long version to this story that I promise I’ll tell you one day.
The short version is that - along with the madness of allowing me to ride old racehorses without even a helmet let alone a will - during my senior year of high school, my parents sat down and listened to my arguments for getting a job, saving my money, and then buying a ticket to England where I would travel around without so much as a hotel reservation and with the sole purpose of hunting down aging rock stars. I recently asked my mother why she allowed me to do any of this, and she told me that even up until the point where I was boarding the plane, she thought I was joking.
Technically, they could have prevented me from going - I was only 17 years old. However, because I had my older cousin to chaperone me (she was 18 years old), and since my father’s last recollection of Europe was a sort of Disneyfied reminiscence where It’s A Small World played through public loudspeakers and inside every pub, they let me go.
We did, in fact, track down several aging rock stars, with the possible highlight of Groupie Tour 1984 happening one afternoon in some western, Thames-side suburb of London where my cousin and I were waiting, hopefully, for Mick Jagger to appear...and he did! He drove up, got out of his gold Rolls Royce, eyed with some trepidation the two girls perched giddily atop a pipe fence along the sidewalk, but after all - in true rock star form and upon my cousin's coquettish bidding of "Yo! Mick!" - he was of course compelled to cross the street toward our teenage mojo.
He continued to look a bit wary, although maybe it was more bemused, as he sat on the fence next to us as asked, “Do I know you?”
Do I know you?
I can only assume that Mick Jagger was acquainted with many high school girls from America, especially ones that looked as if they had just stepped off the set of Square Pegs.
We chatted for about ten minutes or so about I can’t remember what. I think I remember making fun of his white jazz shoes - or maybe it was his gold Rolls Royce - and I’m sure at one point we all talked about the weather. Anyway, by the end he seemed thoroughly amused by us and told us that he thought that American girls were “crazy” - which was hard to refute at that moment - and then we posed for photos, exchanged kisses, and said our good-byes.
It was all very platonic.
Believe me, the old racehorses were more…stimulating.
6. I ran over a television with my 1966 Mustang.
Again with my dad.
My dad, from what I can guess, wanted a sporty car (if not quite a sports car.)
However, I’m also guessing that since he couldn’t justify buying a 1966 baby blue Mustang with Pony Interior for himself, he bought a 1966 baby blue Mustang with Pony Interior for his newly 16-year-old daughter to drive to school. And other places, as it turned out.
For an 80s nerd, I was still a bit of a wild child, and my parents were far too trusting. What I needed at 16 years old were more chores and a hobby with a strict and rigorous practice schedule. Or a horse.
Instead, I got a teen dream car that made me an instant hit with some of the girls and many of the boys in spite of my bad perm and plastic-frame glasses. A few days after I was driving a practice run up and down the back alley, my neighbor - a 15 year old, tall, blond, popular, and seriously wild child - called me on the phone and suggested that we start hanging out together as soon as possible beginning this Friday night, and this hanging out would take the form of me driving her to Shenandoah (the next town over) and spending five hours or so cruising the main drag.
We’d cruise up Main and wave at the groups of kids congregating on the corner of Lloyd Street outside the Bargain Annex, follow the line of cars to the Acme parking lot where we’d make a big U-Turn, and then drive down Main Street where we'd wave at the poor, carless suckers again, continue down to Poplar, loop around, and do it all a second time, third time, fourth time, thousandth time, etc., etc., ad infinitum or until the cops broke it all up. Occasionally, we’d park the car and deign to grace the unwashed masses with our very hip presence - my tall, blonde friend instantly attracting hordes of football players and high-profile burnout dudes alike, while I carried her train and her cigarettes and sometimes got a flirt from one of the water boys.
Once a month or so, we’d hear about a kegger*, and this would take place always, usually, and mostly down the strippins* or up the pole line* or sometimes in Lost Creek patch* at someone’s Babci’s house while she was in the hospital having a hip replaced. (*please consult CoalRegion.com’s Coal Speak Glossary.) This particular time of which I did not lie, the party was out some rocky road on top the mountain and - as you can imagine - what with there being no street lights on that there mountain, well, that there road was dark. And what with that there town dump charging what it did, well, that there road was strewn with sofas and fridges and console television sets. And, well, just put those two together and you’ve got yourself a 1966 baby blue Mustang with a Pony Interior and broken tie rod.
I tried convincing my dad that I had accidentally run over a cement parking block, and he actually went for it.
Then he found the TV antenna lodged up under the engine.
My mom still has the car in her garage, and as far as I know, the title is in her name.
I suppose that I could try to beg the Mustang from her if I really wanted.
But honestly, I think I’m still grounded from driving it. I can’t remember if my dad said 990 years or until the Ice Capades played in hell.
Thanks for playing along!
I think that only Amy guessed the lie. Was it Amy?
Anyway, you can collect your prize right here.
It's a listen to another great song that everyone should know the words to (no matter what my husband says.)