I think I just had one of them "blogiversaries" sometime at the end of March (though if you were to go by the "Catholic Calendar", my anniversary would be Good Friday (tomorrow) which makes this a day early). I wish I could say for you nice people who read this that this space has gotten a lot more interesting or deep or funny since my first post, an ode to my rekindled romance with Mac and Cheese, but hey, you get what you pay for around here, people.
Things that I have learned since starting this blog last March:
- Spell check is a beautiful thing**. Maybe I could break down and use it sometime.
- Corollary to the above, cheating in Mrs. Merrow's 8th grade typing class (i.e. peeking at the keyboard) is one decision that has really come back to bite me in the ass.
- There are some wickedly funny, creative people out there who really need to move to my block so we can chill sometime.
- I think I am better at the "photo essay" in Flickr which, by the by, looks like no effort at all, but really is a BITCH.
Though the biggest thing I have learned since becoming a blogger a year ago:
- There is no cool way to drop "I have a blog" into conversation. None. And don't think I haven't tried either. It especially difficult when a person doesn't know what one is, as then the conversation definitely takes on a certain "derailing" quality. "So, it's like a journal? Online? Nerd." and you futilely protesting, "No, no, no - you don't get it. All the cool kids have one. Really!" And even if you're able to get past the "you're a geek" bit and they start to buy what you're selling, "So, um, here's my website address if you want to check it sometime." Just typing that makes me feel dorkified. So the people who know me in real life and know of this, you either have a blog of your own (so that's a push in the dorkified arena) or I am comfortable enough around you where I don't think you're gonna give me the eye roll. Or I'm just cooler than you. Whatever.
Anyway, Happy Blogiversary TO ME!______________________________________________________________________________________
I was going to write this post of the worst April Fool's joke ever played on me on April 1st. Well, it's now April 13th. I guess you could say I forgot.
Some background that might be handy:
As a teenager, I was never comfortable singing in front of my peers. I thought singing was "geeky". See, us band geeks could look down our noses at the chorus geeks because, "hey, at least we are MUSICIANS!" Unless a girl was really, really good, maybe I would give a pass, but even the good ones found a way to grate on my nerves often over-singing and often with that annoying vibrato making decent songs sound like they were being sung by a young, female goat. Regardless of my position on singing, I was thrown into having to by having to go to church where, wouldn't you know, other high school kids would be. So maybe mumbling the lyrics to a U2 song in the car was alright by me, but rocking the church tunes in front of these people wasn't particularly high on my list of things to do. I wasn't alone on this one though, and so I, like millions of other teens around the country who attended church with their folks, defaulted to mouthing the words to such hits like "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "Yahweh I Know You Are Near" (and that's if I wasn't feeling particularly defiant and just stood there staring straight ahead doing nothing which always got me "The Look" from my mom). Sure, I was a geek who was in marching band and Jr. Classical League (Latin Club), but even *I* had my limits.
So, it got to be this thing about getting me to sing during church. To her credit, my mom found her choice weapon of "Mass" destruction against moody, would be too-cool-for-school teenagers: Manipulation of Mob Mentality. On the car ride over, she advised my 2 sisters and brother, "we aren't stopping for donuts afterwards unless I can hear Jennifer sing." I have to admit, nicely played. So on that particular Sunday, I made sure that not only would I sing VERY loudly (for one song only) BUT! I would have the last laugh and as I would DEFIANTLY and in STICKING IT TO THE (Wuh)MAN fashion- and sing it BADLY. Yes, the ultimate in passive aggressive Fuck Yous as far as I was concerned. Unfortunately, this only got a laugh from the group, including Mom. Foiled again. But at least we got the donuts!
Enter: April 1, 1989. Me, 10th grade.
The phone rang that afternoon. First, let me state the phone in our house was never for me; it was always for the phone clowns, Kate and Em, who were always making the mad dash for it, short of beating each other to a bloody pulp on the way there to see who'd get to answer it. So when the phone rang, true to Pavlovian form, the phone clowns' fast twitch muscles were summoned and started to make their sprint for their lifeline. That afternoon, however, my mother put the smack down on the 'clowns and but quick.
"I got it."
My mother talked to the person on the other end for a few seconds and then surprisingly handed the receiver off to me saying something about it being a woman from our church about Kate's Confirmation and wanting to talk to me privately. My mom left me alone in the kitchen and retreated back to the family room with Kate, Em and Bri.
I answered the phone and the woman introduced herself as the choir director from Sacred Heart and that for that year's confirmation class, they wanted the kids from last year's class to sing at the ceremony. A touch more than a touch torn about signing for this gig as it went against "everything I stood for" (I was an Anti-ChurchSinger) but 1) it was for Kate and, (sorry Kate) more importantly, 2) my high school crush of 4 years, Kevin Grant, would probably be saying yes to this call and in my mind was, "hey, another clutch opportunity to hang out with him outside of school!" So I nonchalantly committed, sure, what the heck, and almost as an afterthought before we hung up, she requested, "just so I can get a feel for your voice, can you sing a few bars of something for me?"
I assumed this was to determine if I was an alto, soprano, etc. Again, church lady was "testing my limits of cool" but back in the day I was a pretty obedient kid when it came to figures of authority and searched my brain for a song that wasn't U2, REM or what have you. Wholesome church music, if you will....so what did I have in my arsenal?
Which brings me to my song selection. In grammar school, the kids on my block but on a few legit plays to raise money for MS: Annie and Oklahoma! I had all those songs memorized. So I pulled from the archives the song that was easiest to sing and remember lyrically and began quietly to cover my embarrassment but loud enough for the lady to hear:
"The sun'll come out....tomorrow...betcha bottom dollah that tomor-ooooh...they'll be sun...."
Mind you, I'm 16. Old enough to drive. And I'm choosing "Tomorrow" as my song.
The woman said to me, "Thank you, Jennifer. That was lovely. I'll be in touch shortly with the rehearsal dates."
I hung up and walked back into the family room. My mom asked what was going on. "They want me to sing at Kate's Confirmation. Something about last year's class performing for this year's or something."
And that's when everyone busted out, rather dramatically I should add, my song and laughed their asses off. I just stood their looking confused. "Jen, ...(laugh, laugh,laugh) that was Mrs. Niese!" Mrs. Niese was our good friend and neighbor who I would babysit for and worked at her in-house daycare during the summers. Now I'm realizing I hadn't recognized her voice to boot. This joke was just spiraling. Someone I knew well had just heard me sing "Tomorrow" --and without trying to be ironic or jokey. Christ Al-freaking-mighty.
I believe my initial reaction before the blistering-hear-of-a thousand-suns rage set in was could be summed up succinctly: "je suis mortifié" ("I am mortified"). After the mortification that an April Fool's joke had just been had at my expense, I stammered, "I...YOU...I ...WHAT?!...I DON'T...I DON'T BELIEVE YOU GUYS!...I HATE YOU ALL! YOU GUYS ARE ALL ASSHOLES!" and ran upstairs to my room and slammed the door.
After a few minutes of chilling out, I came back down still in shock and disbelief that I had been gotten and intermittently laughing at the joke and calling them assholes, tried to get some details of the joke. Yes, they had listened to every word, Yes, they were surprised I hadn't recognized Cathy's voice, and Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! they were definitely, bonus-ly surprised they'd gotten "Tomorrow" out of me.
I should have realized that the other room got a little too quiet for my family when I took the call. In real life, that would have never happened.
* from a belated birthday card from my father. nice.
** Typepad's spell check really, really sux. The few times I do use it, I am constantly challenging it with Merriam-Webster and am often proven right. (to wit: "proven" isn't in Typepad's dictionary)