Liar, Liar: The Big Reveal!

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but….

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.

I do.

So what.

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’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.)


Angela said...

Wow you were wild
Sounds like fun said...

"were" being the operative word.

These days, "wild" is me eating an entire bag of gummie worms by myself.

I roll crazy like that.

Anonymous said...

hoollllllllly shit! I am completely losing it about that Mick Jagger story - I thought you were yanking our wanks with that whole long story and then, boom! Picture! So.... Awesome! I am lollerskating at your coolness. Roflcoptering!

Mrs. G. said...

Having gone to Catholic schools all my life, I can completely believe that bringing an unloaded weapon to school would have been A-OK. But if that plaid uniform skirt was too short or you were wearing lip gloss, holy hell-you were in some serious trouble.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm not going to let my teenagers read about how trusting and cool your parents were. 'Cause I so am not! said...

"I'm not going to let my teenagers read about how trusting and cool your parents were."

You know, I'm still going through a long process of trying to reckon my parents. On one hand, yes, my sister and I were allowed to do some things that seem more than a bit reckless. On the other hand, my dad was a complete worry-wart to the nth degree about other things. Both my parents had pretty long fuses, but there did seem at times to be a bright line and when we passed it...well, let's just say those times I did pass it, my mom was anything but cool about it.

But you know, seeing kids riding bikes without helmets and not always being strapped into seat belts and riding in the backs of pick-up trucks on the highway and it not being perceived as something that shouldn't happen due to increased risk, I suppose it wasn't such a far leap to allowing the horseback riding and driving.

Me? I'm trying - like most parents, I think - to strike a happy medium between being realistic about the risks and teaching safety and precautions, and my "no" does some a lot quicker than my parents' did, but I am trying to let out the lead line on my kids and allow for bumps and bruises. In 20 years, my eldest daughter might say, "My mom let me practice lutz jumps for a half hour straight, landing on my hips and head - what was she thinking?"

But, you know, ask me again in seven years when it's time to get the first driver's permit.

anne said...

"Will you add these twenty francs to the seven you have?"

"With pleasure, sir; twenty francs are not to be despised. Tell me what I am to do for this."

"A very easy thing, if your horse isn't tired."

"I tell you he'll go like the wind, - only tell me which way to drive."

Chris said...

I want to know what other aging rock stars you hunted down! And which ones escaped.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

You KISSED Mick Jagger! I bow to your greatness.

Mary Alice said...

Is it bad that I want to kiss you now so I can say I kissed someone that kissed Mick?? Just kidding. Great photo...did your Mom believe THAT when you called to tell her?

Julie Pippert said...

I had prior knowledge to know the Mick story was true but how could you have kept a similar gun story from me? LOL

Anonymous said...

OMG! That's you and Mick! That's awesome! I can't believe your parents let you go!

Also, I drove through a fence when I was 15 in a Ford Gran Torino (Starsky & Hutch car). Kind of like a TV.

Carey said...

This is great! Ok, so this weekend you probably know, was Greek Fest and I saw something with "Béchamel" sauce, what is it?

And the whole Mick Jagger story, is your cousin name Karen? Cause a friend at work told me a very similar story...she loved to chase down the "old rockers." Cool stories! said...


I was at the Greek Festival Friday and Sunday! You probably saw me stuffing my face with galaktoboureko!

Bechamel is a basic white sauce which is generally scalded milk, flour, butter in some combination. You then add to it to make other sauces.

And no, my cousin's name isn't Karen, but it doesn't surprise me that there are similar stories. In fact, I think that kissing Mick Jagger is sort of a six-degrees-of-separation thing: if you've ever kissed anyone, it's a pretty sure bet that you've kissed someone who's kissed someone who's kissed someone who's kissed someone who's kissed someone who's kissed Mick Jagger.

Anonymous said...

well, this whole experiment was kind of fun. only problems are... amy still questions the gun thing, the photoshop pic of mick and you, funny, but the bechamel sauce, i bet you get it straight from a can. something like knorr's instant bechamel sauce. just add hot water and serve. the powdered milk will thicken upon standing. is your famous spinach lasagna from stouffers? ken said...

Awwwwwww, Kenny....c'mere and I'll give ya a hug and a consolation cookie. It's a Stouffers bitter lemon bar. ;-) xxoo

Anonymous said...

I can't believe i was the only one to pick the bechamel incident. As for the firearms going to the highschool dance i do remember your pop taking photos of us in our "hillbilly" (good one) costumes holding some large firearms prior to leaving but taking one into the dance had been a little vague until you said that we were questoned by mr. selgrade as to if it was loaded or not. that sounds vaguely familar and i'm sure your brain cells are in much better shape than mine so i'll go along with it. I don't think the "racehorse" was too much of a stretch, you did always choose to ride the "spirited"(skitzy) old thoroughbreds. Still can't believe you didn't sustain a major boo-boo that day. I also remember one wild sprint back to the stables where your horse looked like it was going to fly right through some sort of hedgerow brush thing and i had to do some kind of wild west move and lean really far out of my saddle and grab your horse's bridle to whip his head around and come to a screaching halt. It was downright cinematic. Did that really happen? did i dream it. What made you choose smooching mick jagger over sitting on roger daltry's lap while eating an icecream cone. Too risque? love -a said...

Amy -

"I had to do some kind of wild west move and lean really far out of my saddle and grab your horse's bridle to whip his head around..."

Eys, the definitely happened, too. And it was Twenty Francs (as per my Seestor's reference) who tried to buck me off in the field one day. I know that someone else fell off as a big buckskin took of through a field - who was that?

And, uh, yeah...since I mentioned that I was only 17 and since other members of The Who have already had some questions regarding prurient "interest in children", I thought I'd skip that one out of respect for Baba O'Riley.

anne said...

That would have been a cremelo named Sunny and that would have been me falling off on the ol' Saddle Whoop Dee Doo trick.

And I think the incident A is referring to happened on Fancy, the red roan Arab.

Man, that was some crazy shite.

Krista said...

I cringe to even ask why the hell you know the lyrics to that honky-tonk's funny but painful.

but i hear you cluckin' sister on the catholic school uniforms and the supposed "prim and proper" that's is expected to accompany that! i myself am a prodcut of TWELVE years of parochial school (yes you read me right...all the way through my freakin' senior year of high school!) and i am now 37 and just recovering. and i'm in the 37-step recovery program which pretty much entails NOT every stepping foot in a catholic church again as well as trying to find a rational explanation for my kids when they ask me what god is all about! Jeez!! Oh, the scars...

Mom101 said...

Okay so I don't want to overlook every other bit of awesomeness and general hilarity here, but OMG MICK JAGGER.

And how very fab that he was referred to as "aging" even a quarter century years ago.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Not nearly as cool as your story, but at 17, my parents let my best friend and I go to the Cape for the weekend with two guy friends. They really and truly were just friends, but it blows my mind that our parents would let us go away alone.

Loved your true stories! Although that song about the Redneck Yacht Club is pitiful!

Jen lleras said...

Sometimes I wish that times were simpler like they were back in the day when you could pack heat in school. I am pregnant and every mom I know my age ill tell you that you cant do anything but eat whole grains and sit with your feet up. My mommom told me the other day that she smoked while giving birth in the delivery room. Her kids turned out ok, I had a pink mohawk in high school, was I expelled for disruption, NO! I fear the days of gun toting, pink mohawks and smoking preggos are over, alas I will still try my best not to become one of "those" moms. Needless to say I loved this post. said...

"My mommom told me the other day that she smoked while giving birth in the delivery room."

I think that if you can prove that you've eaten enough whole wheat and folic acid throughout your pregnancy, you should definitely be allowed to have one smoke while in the delivery room. Maybe even a martini.

Tania said...

Funny stuff! You had me at, "Square Pegs".

Paula Lynn Johnson said...

OMG. What an arsenal of great stories you have!

I love the bit about the shotgun. My high school mascot was/were "The Mighty Hillmen" -- tough hillbillies, if you will. I remember one year the head cheerleader dressed up in a FUR bikini with a Daniel Boone cap. She used an unloaded shotgun as a baton.

Good times.

You should read Susie Gilman's "Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress" for another Jagger encounter.

Kelly said...

How come you weren't at my Catholic school? We had our share of fun, for sure, but...

Do you have the picture of you and Mick blown up and framed? I mean, shit, how cool is that?

mamatulip said...

Dude, this is like, the best thing I've read in a LONG TIME. You totally rock.

Anonymous said...

Mick Jagger?!? I got my picture taken with Geraldine Ferraro back in '88. Not quite the same thing. And she didn't kiss me.

Ginger said...

What a cool game! Found your link and decided to play too:

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