Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whether You Like the Weather Or Not

There is not a coffee shop in New York, cafe in Europe or seedy bar in L.A. where someone hasn’t commented, “I love Chicago!” the minute I tell them my hometown. They then proceed to tell me two things: 1) how much they loooove the people and 2) how they could never live here because they haaaaate the weather.

I’ve been living in Chicago for a couple of months now after having lived in L.A. for a number of years, and I can honestly say I don’t regret the decision one bit. When I tell this to my friends in L.A., their response is, “Just wait. You haven’t hit the nasty weather yet.” I’ve always felt it was the nasty weather that helped me to appreciate and enjoy the favorable weather that much more. Although my friend Gus always counters with, “Well, would you cut off one arm just so you could enjoy your other arm?”

It’s not as though I didn’t live in this city for 23 years of my life before I moved to the West Coast. I feel as if I’m pretty prepared for the impending weather that should be hitting us soon. I remember cold and agree that 50 degrees is not pleasant ... that’s cold, right? I realize that the sky can change faster than the number of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s offspring, but that’s what sick days are for. And yes, I am well aware that the summers can bring on some pretty mind-blowing humidity, but I hear frizzy hair is in.

I miss the coziness of blizzards in December and the fear of tornadoes June. I also refer to movies such as “Twister” and “Deep Impact” as feel-good flicks, so my judgment might be a little off here. But I do think a part of the reason Chicagoans are so cool and tough is because they have to endure real danger. It’s one of the only cities where you can die in the summer because it’s too hot and die in the winter because it’s too cold. I actually had a friend pass away last spring. What a namby-pamby.

Studies show that violent crime increases when the humidity is high. So not only do we have the fear of natural disasters and the lurking possibility of natural death, the weather might actually make us kill EACH OTHER!!! This city’s awesome!

I hold a belief that there’s no such thing as bad weather—just bad clothing. While this can sometimes require less fashionable attire, I would prefer to have a guy show up for a date dressed in a snowsuit like the little brother in “A Christmas Story” than all pimped out, Justin Timberlake-style. No offense, J.T. You’re super cute, but I can’t date a guy who’s more fashionable than me. Any and all attraction I have goes out the fedora when I see brand names on a dude.

So bring on your worst, Chi-town! I’m ready for some favorable people.

A Toast

My sister, Bridget, is getting married Saturday and I am co maid of honor with my little sister, Maggie. I still haven’t written my speech.
To add to my stress level, Maggie is a drunk savant and will probably say something so disgustingly charming that I will come off looking like the idiot sava … er … drunk.
In my panic a couple of days ago, I thought I had come up with a brilliant idea to reference the three sisters being like a shamrock and Brad, the groom, making us a complete four-leaf clover. Maggie, thankfully, told me this was lame. I then looked into hiring a Kenny Rogers impersonator, Bridget’s celebrity crush, but he was busy. And cost five grand.  So I started YouTubing “maid of honor speeches” to help get my creative juices flowing.
There I sat, bawling like I was watching a marathon of “Extreme Makeover: The Biggest Loser Edition, Brought To You By Oprah.” My sobfest was interrupted by some terribly corny jokes and obvious attempts to appear on “The Today Show” (was anyone else aware of the trend to rap the bride and groom’s life stories to the tune of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”? )but overall, the speeches were genuine, albeit a bit formulaic.  And they make sure to set themselves apart by all captioning their video “Best. Speech. Ever.”
Maid of honor speeches have a general blueprint. They always start with a “for those of you who don’t know me” intro. This makes the speaker look humble even though she knows damn well everyone knows who she is or that they can look in the program where it clearly states “College friend/Sister /Insecure cousin who would throw an adult temper tantrum if she wasn’t asked”. And if nothing else, it's safe to say everyone can surmise the bride asked her maid of honor to give a speech and not Aunt Judith fromPoughkeepsie who she hasn’t seen since she was 6. She then shares an embarrassing story from childhood that guests politely laugh at while inconspicuously checking their phones. Insert slightly crude statement regarding an inside joke (e.g., “… and you and I both know what happens when you don’t wear clean underwear, don’t we?”) and end with some tear-jerky sentiment of how happy they are for the couple.
So why was I actually moved by watching the videos of these speeches? Because regardless of how cheesy or poorly read or incredibly bland they were, I was watching the bride and in every clip, she was looking on as though she was watching the Best. Speech. Ever.
So I am just going introduce myself, tell an embarrassing blurb with a semi-crude joke, and probably cry as I look on at mybeautiful big sister celebrating the biggest day of her life. And if ends up being the worst toast of the night, at least I was able to use a highly circulated newspaper to publically wish them the Best. Life. Ever.
Top that, Maggie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hookers Make the World Go Round

When my friend Jonathan changed his profile picture to a shot of a three-year-old dressed up like Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman, thigh high boots and all, I laughed. Hysterically.  Laughter also tends to be my initial reaction when someone bites it on a slippery floor so it’s asking a bit much to expect me not to do the same when I was faced with this spectacle.  For those of you who have better things to do than keep up with Toddlers and Tiaras (the world would be a better place if we all did) the TLC show is being bashed for showcasing a child dressed like Julia’s character during a modeling portion of the competition. Without going into the obvious indecency of the situation, I wonder if it is possible that the mother was simply unaware that Pretty Woman is a story about a prostitute.

Hookers are everywhere!

I’ve seen numerous talent shows where little girls sing “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables. The character, Fantine ,that sings that song? Hooker. I once competed in a pageant and warbled a song by the hooker, Kim, in Miss Saigon. Maybe that’s why I didn’t win. I also paraded around a stage in my bathing suit in an effort to win “scholarship money”. I wouldn’t doubt that there are some who would consider that hooking.  And I know I wasn’t the only girl to hang up a black and white Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster of Audrey Hepburn in my dorm room. That’s right. Holly Golightly was, indeed, a hooker.

Ever belt out Roxanne by The Police in the shower? You were singing about a hooker. You may think you’re innocently tuning in to Bravo TV when you’re watching the Real Housewives of Orange County, but aside from the one blonde lady who runs her own insurance business, aren’t they all kind of hookers? Kim Kardashian isn’t famous for doing nothing. She famous for doing someone. Jodie Foster, Kim Basinger, Charlize Theron – that’s just a small sampling of the women who have won or been nominated for an Academy Award and not for playing nuns. Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking? Total hooker.

As we speak, women all over the nation are planning their Halloween costumes. A holiday that was once centered around ghouls and ghost stories has become an excuse for girls to dress up as slutty versions of anything from Little Bo Peep to her actual sheep. Alright, I’ve never actually witnessed a slutty sheep costume but I wouldn’t be shocked.

So do I think the Toddlers and Tiaras mom really meant harm? No. Do I think she might be an idiot and by being so inflicts harm to her daughter on a daily basis?  Hm. Do I think there’s a little bit of hooker in all of us? Well, I live with my boyfriend and I don’t contribute to the mortgage. I buy “groceries”. You do the math. I just want world peace.

Being Average Is The New Failure

I’m terrified of having kids. Not so much in an “I’m terrified I’ll lose them like I lose my keys” kind of way, though that is a valid fear. I’m terrified that they won’t grow up in a world where it’s OK to just be a good human being with some character. You know, an average Joe Schmollacky.

The competition begins at birth as mothers compare what percentile their kids fit into in terms of height and weight. Bet that game wouldn’t be so fun if the mommies tried it out on each other.

My girlfriend Becky tried to convince me the other day that her 6-month-old went to the bathroom on the potty by himself.  Did he also excuse himself from the table and announce he was “going to the loo”?

No, he didn't, Becky.

Recently, I found out about a preschool called Crème de le Crème. What's next? All That And A Bag of Chips Prep? Don’t You Know Who I Am High School? What happens when DYKWIA North loses to DYKWIA South in the homecoming game? Is it only then that they realize that nobody cares who they are? And seeing as only one can attend I’m The Best University, will the rest have to settle for But Mumsy Always Told Me I Was Special Community College?

Cream of the Crop. That’s right smarties, I speak French too. Maybe these sweet little cherubs will know more about the stock market than I ever will by the time they’re 4, but I’d bet ya dollars to donuts that a kid from Bottom of the Barrel Institute would rob them blind in a game of three-card monte.

My parents afforded me opportunities others didn’t have. I remember doing it for the experience and not the pressure to be the best. Is it no longer OK to just be … average? Because, statistically speaking, we’re all average.

I’m thinking of opening my own school and calling it C’est La Vie. We’ll teach lessons on how to hurry the hell up when someone else is waiting for your parking space and appropriate hygiene on an airplane. Books read before naptime will be “The Little Waitress That Couldn’t” and “Bernie Madoff’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”  And we’ll end every day with a song called, “For The Love of Allah, Zeus, Ra, Justin Bieber or Whatever God or Lack Thereof You Pray To, Fight About It When You’re Dead.”

I’m sure I’ve offended plenty of family and friends who don’t agree with my educational stylings. Fortunately, I graduated from the University of Call It Like I See It with a B.A. in Self-Righteousness so I’m prepared to respond. C’est la vie.

Ask About A Ring, You Get the Finger

Last month, I moved across the country for a boy. People generally reacted one of two ways. There were those who would shriek in excitement for me, and jump up and down as if Madonna’s “Like a Prayer“ just came on in the bar. Then there were those would grab my hand, give me a condescending eyebrow raise and scoff, ”Where’s the ring?”
There were many things that prompted my transfer to Chicago, but saying I was moving for my relationship was met with such a strong reaction, I just started playing into the idea that my life was turning into a romantic comedy. I’d say things like, “Dreams really do come true!” and then skip away, humming like a Disney princess. Strangely enough, nobody batted an eye 10 years ago when I announced that I was moving to Hollywood to become an actress, even though that choice could have easily led to a life of porn and a heroin addiction. The closest I came to either of these was dressing up as Wonder Woman for Halloween in 2005.
If I had told people that I was moving for a dream job, they would have congratulated me. So, why not move for a dream guy? I mean, I didn’t know at the time if he was the human equivalent of my dream job which, incidentally, consists of making $4,000 a day frosting cupcakes and popping bubble wrap while Skyping with Faith Hill as we write her book, “I’m Married to Tim McGraw and You’re Not.” But my boyfriend seemed like a stable career with great pay and I’d be doing something I loved. I wasn’t tied to a contract and the benefits sounded tremendous. And if he fired me, I knew I could probably find another gig.
So why did some people react as though I had just told them I took my life savings and invested it in rotary phones when I said I was relocating without being engaged? I didn’t move to marry my boyfriend. I moved to date him. I swear I’m not saying that so I look like one of those really cool non-needy chicks. Truth is, I’m really needy. The other night my teddy bear told me I was smothering him.
A couple of years ago, I was standing in front of The Comedy Store in L.A. and got into a cab with Gallagher as we headed to an undisclosed location because I thought it would be adventurous. I’m lucky he didn’t smash my head like a watermelon. Point being, I’ve made worse decisions. And if my heart ends up smashed like a watermelon, at least I’ll know it was open to the possibility that I could have my “Pretty Woman” ending, without all the hooker stuff. Though I might have to keep that career path open as an option should I find myself moving back to Hollywood. Just kidding, Dad.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You Hit Snooze, You Loose

It always starts with the best of intentions. I will wake up an hour early and get a good workout in. I will shower and even wash my hair, giving myself a salon worthy blowout. Weather permitting, I will don the well meaning outfit I’ve been intending to wear to appear more chic and professional instead of acting as if casual Friday rules now apply to Tuesday through Thursday as well. Not to be confused with my ‘I’m still hungover from the weekend’ Monday outfits. I will even prepare a healthy lunch from the leftover chicken breast and grilled veggie dinner. The Potbellies lunches have done a number on both my checking account and my waistline. So today will be the day. When that alarm goes off, I will just get up.

Nine minutes. They seem like such a good idea at the time. Logically, there’s no way to get a decent nine minutes of sleep, let alone six nine minute naps in a row. Why I don’t just reset my alarm for an hour later, or get up for the time I set it for originally, I cannot seem to figure out. What I have figured out is that the number of times my weak wrist reaches over to hit the snooze alarm is usually directly proportionate to how crappy I’m going to look that day. I’m addicted to my snooze alarm. Like a boyfriend who says  “I refuse to watch anymore housewife shows” yet instinctively turns the channel to Bravo, my arm takes on a life on it’s own and all sense of reason flies out the door.

It’s a sick game I play with myself. The first three times I hit snooze, my workout goes from 30 minutes of cardio with some light weights to a set of crunches on my floor as I brush my teeth. In the next two hits, I convince myself that I can go one more day without washing my hair. The greasy look is in. And who needs to shower when Bath and Body Works makes a freesia scent so strong my grandmother in Phoenix can smell me, which is impressive considering she’s dead. My bag lunch gets the sack and the professional outfit I planned on wearing? Maybe I’ll just wait until I’m a professional.

Perhaps the worst thing about my 54 minutes of interrupted sleep is that the whole time, not only am I unable to truly fall back asleep – I usually have to go to the bathroom. So now we have two issues happening, both of which I’m trying to ignore; neither one about to go away. The title of my autobiography should be “That’s Me. Just Delaying the Inevitable”. Maybe tomorrow I’ll set my alarm an hour early to work on my first chapter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

When I was 9, I made an announcement to my parents that I was moving to Hollywood and becoming an actress. I also said I was going to have 10 kids and become the first female President of the United States. I guess I sort of fancied myself as the Angelina Jolie/Sarah Palin type. This wasn’t the first, or the last time, I would make declarations, sometimes just for the sheer amusement of shocking people.  Once in high school, I came home and proudly told my mother I was becoming a Jew. I went to Temple with my friend Sarah, and her dad gave me a book called “Why Be Jewish?” which I would read in the kitchen while attempting to make matzo ball soup. I eventually became Catholic again, though I did have a bit of a resurgence in college when I tried to get into the Jewish sorority.

While I was genuinely interested in learning about other religions and cultures, I’ll admit there was a part of me that was a little tickled that I might shock my devout Catholic parents. But my mother was unfazed. “I don’t care what you believe as long as you believe in something,” was all she would say. She said this again three years after I moved to LA and told her I was becoming a Scientologist, though this time I could tell I definitely shook her up a bit.

I know my mother didn’t mean she didn’t care what I believed in. She obviously wanted me to believe in something good, not become a terrorist.  Generally her response with any sort of hair-brained idea I had was to tell me to go for it. I wanted to write a letter to Reagan to change the voting age to 12 and she typed it up. When I wanted to try out for the high school softball team having never picked up a bat in my life she commented that stranger things had happened. And when I wanted to move across the country to pursue my dream of being on the silver screen, she flew me out, set me up in my apartment, and waved goodbye with a proud and hopeful smile, not the guilt-ridden hug of a mother not wanting to see her baby so far away from home.

I now find myself leaving LA-LA land and moving back to Chicago. Part of my hesitation for not making the move sooner was fear. Fear of change. Fear of looking like a failure. But it was mostly the fear of feeling like I was giving up on a dream. We all grow up dreaming about becoming doctors and teachers and astronauts. Some of us now find ourselves in those exact positions we imagined being in and some of us are on completely different paths. I would imagine a good portion of us have all had a moment of sitting at a desk or taking somebody’s order or trying to soothe a screaming child while thinking, “How did I get here?” And then there are the moments when the business you started from the ground up becomes successful or you discover a hidden talent you never knew you had or you meet the love of your life and you think, “How did I get here?”

So as I begin my new adventure, I’m starting to develop new dreams.  Just because one didn’t quite go the way I planned doesn’t mean I need to wake up every day not believing in something. After all, part of life is going after goals and having something to look forward to even if it doesn’t turn out as you hoped. Who knows? Maybe in the pursuit of another, I’ll end up on Broadway or in the White House. The only thing I know for certain is that I did not fail, I did not give up, and that same proud and hopeful smile that left me in California 9 years ago is waiting to welcome me home. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Schmirish!

I’m Irish. Everyone knows this about me. If you asked any one of my friends to describe me, they would probably use the word Irish. A lot of those friends are Irish. As a matter of fact, a lot of people are Irish so this doesn’t make me special.  It’s like saying I have brown hair. My friends just happen to think I have realllllly brown hair.

My heritage was made known to me at a very early age. It’s a bit hard to miss the fact that everything in my house is green and you’d be hard pressed to find a room without an Irish flag or Gaelic blessing on the wall.  We used to go as a family to Gaelic Park and Emerald Society events where we would have shamrocks and pots of gold painted on our faces. The South Side parade was the best, celebrating with the Daleys and watching all the adults laughing just a little too loud and trying to figure out why they seemed to be having so much more fun than us kids. My mother would make us outfits on St. Patrick’s Day, complete with green tights, and I would proudly march around school.  At lunch, I pulled out my green sandwich, green apple, green milk, and the green cookies I had found that morning after I followed the leprechaun footprints leading me from my bed down to the kitchen table. I have very vivid memories of my grandmother singing me Irish lullabies. I remember the sound of her soothing voice and how she always sang with such joy that you would never have known that it was the 4000th time I had refused to go to go to sleep until I heard “My Wild Irish Rose”.  She made an Irish soda bread that melted in your mouth. While my mother never sang me the lullabies after my grandmother passed away (this was agreed upon by both of us due to her “performance anxiety”) she still makes that same soda bread and it’s just as delectable. One year, our family was featured in the town paper for our traditional Irish meal which really wasn’t that difficult to pull off seeing as it consisted of just boiling everything in the house.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if one day someone told us that we had been wrong all along - there had been a big mistake on Ellis Island and we were, in fact, the Killackantonios. My brother, after all, is Vietnamese and it never really occurred to me until I was much older that “technically” he wasn’t Irish (at least not as far as we can tell). Yet he dons the same sense of pride in our name, the same celebration for the holiday, and the same joy for the heritage as all of us. There is no difference. So, what does being Irish, or any ethnicity for that matter, really mean?

As I got older and went off to college, being Irish became more about the drinking and expressing my pride became more about betting any guy in the bar that I could drink him under the table.  So when my dad called me one day and asked me to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Queen’s contest, I laughed it off. However, it’s always been pretty easy to talk me into doing anything where I get to be the center of attention. Throw into that a potential for a free trip to Ireland and loads of other prizes, it was a pretty easy sell. So a month later, I ventured to the city with my dear dad, preparing to walk around plumber’s hall for the next 8 hours with a good girl grin plastered on my face.

It had been a long day and the rounds of the contest were getting smaller and smaller but I was still hanging in there. It came to the part where we had a moment to speak to the judges. I sauntered over preparing to charm the pants off of them and was asked, “So what made you decide to do the contest?” Right before I started to answer with my canned response, I looked up in the crowd and saw my dad. Happy couldn’t even begin to describe the look I saw on his face. Through all my years of recitals and graduations and good report cards, I had never seen him look just so…happy. And for some reason it made me tear up. So I looked at the lady, holding back a little bit of a cry, and said,”I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to hang out with my dad.”

To me, being Irish means far more than the roots of our family tree that my parents have been tracing for years. More than the traditions in our home and similiarities of our freckles and green eyes. And yes, even more than getting to the bar at 9 am on St Paddy's Day to get plenty of hours of Guinness drinking in. It's a reminder of a time when my family was just together. It wasn't about obligation or giving gifts or celebrating someone's success but we were together and that was all that needed to be celebrated. And today I celebrate them and the Irish in all of us. Slainte!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cloudy With A Chance of Perspective

I love natural disaster movies. I know this may sound weird. It’s not that I enjoy watching people die, I enjoy watching them try to escape death. There’s something about witnessing a force that is so beyond our control that makes it a much more satisfactory ‘feel-good’ flick for me than a Julie Roberts movie. I mean, which is more likely to put your troubles into perspective? A city being infiltrated by a thick flow of scorching lava; or a hooker with a heart of gold? A galactic meteor hurling towards Earth in the next 4 days, or a famous Hollywood actress falling in love with a common British chap? While I do enjoy my share of cheesy movies, there’s nothing that can quite match the excitement I get from watching the imminent danger of the world (or even a small town) coming to an end and defeating it. Although my mother has always said, “If you were ever in a real tornado, I think the last word you would use to describe it is ‘exciting’”.

My mom did us a disservice in a way by making us feel safe during harsh weather conditions. With so many of us having band practice and dance lessons and play dates, sometimes it seemed that bad weather was one of the few times we were all home. I remember one specific tornado. My sister and I shared a room and there was a period of time we were messier than our brothers who roomed downstairs. My mom was convinced that she had really messed up raising us “two pigs” and one night she just let us have it. Our things were thrown into the middle of the room and after a lecture (a nice way of saying she yelled and thrashed about our room for 20 minutes as we stood there shaking) she ended with the famous, “And you’re not coming out of here until this place is spotless!” and proceeded to slam the bedroom door. A moment like this could not have been timed better if you tried because the minute that door shut behind her, a tornado siren went off. Bridget and I just stared at each other, too terrified to move. Not necessarily because of the tornado, but because we had just been specifically told not to come out of our room by Mephistopheles. Well mom must have taken a brief second to compose herself because not more than 2 seconds later that door flew open like the gates of heaven and she said in her nicest June Cleaver voice, “On second thought, why don’t you ladies go down to the basement?”

Forces beyond our control are not only capable of changing our planet and wiping us all out, but they also have the magical ability of changing Bridget and I from pigs into ladies and transforming my mom from Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters in search of the Keymaster to Mrs. Doubtfire,  appreciating every moment and using every ounce of imagination to bring smiles to her kid’s faces. My family had so much fun in that basement, we were almost sad when it was time to come out. To this day, every time I start to see the sky turn a little green or read the scrolling text weather warnings running along the bottom of my television screen, I am oddly warm and fuzzy inside. I have felt one earthquake since being in California but, unfortunately, the last place you want to go during one of those is the basement and you're lucky if you can even find one. You also don't see those coming so you don't really get the satisfaction of intense build up followed by a the success of making it through the battle. Maybe this is why I find it silly when I hear people say “Chicago’s my favorite city in the world but I’d never move there because of the weather”. I think the weather has a way of bringing people together, and not just families. Strangers on the street who help move each others cars or the teenager who helps his elderly neighbor shovel her driveway.  Because it's us against it, not each other. 

Whenever I would stress out about an upcoming test or performance, my mother wouldn’t tell me not to worry. Instead she would say that if I’m going to worry, I might as well chose to worry about the things which I have control over. I can control whether or not I study or whether or not I practice, but I can’t control what questions are asked or what the audience had for lunch that day that might put them in a bad mood. This is why when I feel stressed or have a bit of the blues, nothing makes me snap out of it quicker than grilled cheese and tomato soup, followed by a medley of "Twister", "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Deep Impact" (Deep Impact over Armageddon only because of the special effects but I do agree the love story is bogus and Steve Buscemi should be in it). And while it's not really natural, "Titanic" is always a colossal way to end the night and really lift your spirits. 
There’s something to be said about things that are so much bigger than us. Whether you’re religious or not, watching an extreme weather condition is a reminder that we could all -  that this could all - be gone at any time and we should appreciate the moments we have. Natural disasters can be and have been absolutely devastating so my intent is not to be insensitive, but rather to point out the wonder. Hearing about this Chicago blizzard right now makes me want nothing more than to be in the basement with my family  playing board games and trying to keep warm while hearing my dad complain about shoveling and smelling my mom making something yummy. Instead, I got the damn sun in my eyes, sand stuck in every crevice of my body, my margarita's melting, and I haven't seen a waitor for 20 minutes. 
What's that I was saying about perspective?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Speak For Yourself!

I have always had a difficult time complaining about a service. At a restaurant: “I asked for medium and I think this is a little rarrr….you know what? It’s fine. Never mind” and then I don’t eat it. Getting my make-up done: “It’s beautiful. I love it” and then I wash my face. Having my house cleaned: “It looks great. Thank you so much” and then I clean everything myself (note: I’m fully aware I should be cleaning my house myself anyway but every once in a while I treat myself to a professional.) I feel as though a service, even if you pay for it, is like a gift and I don’t want to make the giver feel bad. How often have we received a present we hate but pretend to love it. You don’t look at the person and say, ”Wow….I really hate this.” It’s also partly because I think I’m not very strong about communicating what it is I want because I don’t like to seem demanding. And I know exactly when it started.

All I wanted when I was 9 years old was to have the Debbie Gibson “windblown” haircut that was on the cover of her “Electric Youth” album. I found an advertisement for the album in a magazine and promptly tore it out and showed my mom. Two days later, I was sitting in Fantastic Sam’s ready to be beautified. When they called my name to go to the chair, I handed the photo to my mom and asked her to show it to the lady. “You’re a big girl,” she said. “You’re perfectly capable of telling her what you want.” Sheepishly, I handed her the picture and half-pointed at Debbie. She took it, looked back at me and said, “Are you sure this is what you want?”. I looked at my mom who gave me the ‘why are you looking at me?” look, and nodded my head at the woman.

I managed some idle chit chat about the happenings of the fourth grade and watched the hair fall. I was so excited about the prize I was going to get when I put all the fallen hair in the Fantastic Sam magic box, I stopped paying attention to what was happening. It wasn't looking quite like the picture but I hadn’t been styled yet. There was a moment, however, when I realized that something had gone horribly wrong. My excitement soon turned into a nervous stomach as I began to piece together what was going down. I looked again at the picture on my lap. Next to the advertisement for “Electric Youth” was also an advertisement for “Married With Children”. The hairdresser wheeled me around for the grand unveiling, and staring back at me in the mirror was a 9-year old version of Peg Bundy.

My mother’s eyes were wide in amazement (and amusement) as I was escorted back to her. “Is this what you wanted?” she asked. I nodded, trying to hold back the tears. “You’re sure?” she reinforced, giving me the chance to fix it. I pulled it together and said to the nice lady, “Thank you very much. It’s just what I wanted.” And proceeded to cry the entire car ride home. My sweet mother, who was trying to be sympathetic, couldn’t stop laughing at me. “Well Kate,” she said, “I guess you just need to be a little clearer about what you want.” Hearing her retell the story to my dad through fits of giggles didn't make it any better. But then she combed it out and put a headband in and I began to look somewhat normal again. And then Dad took me to Colonial Café for a sundae and all was well in the world. While I still have issues to this day expressing my dissatisfaction, that was the day I discovered that a bad haircut isn't going to kill you and that ice cream truly does make everything better.