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Penomenalies

If you haven’t read True Story, go do that now and guess. Then come back and see if you’re right.

It’s time to let you in on my little secret.

I started piano lessons at six years old. My parents, like most, thought I was a prodigy because I picked out the treble clef of Beethoven’s Fur Elise at age four, which really isn’t that hard. They were informed I shouldn’t start lessons until I could actually read, so thus I began playing the piano at age six. Around the same time, my best friend, Kimberly, moved into the house next door. She had two sisters, and the four of us were inseparable, playing dress up, barbies, riding our bikes, climbing trees, and listening to music. They had a stereo (an eight track player) in their bedroom, so we constantly listened to music in the background while our little imaginative minds explored. It was there that the band, Radical in Red was conceived. It’s true. I was the keyboardist in a band from the time I was about eight years old until high school. We put on one concert a year, on August 7, for Kimberly’s dad as tribute for his birthday, and we invited the entire neighborhood to come to the show. We played mostly Debbie Gibson and Tiffany covers, sprinkled in with some Bananarama and Poison. It was the eighties, and we were Radical. In Red! I promise I tried to find a picture, but I can’t find a single one even though I know for sure there are multiple videos (the VHS kind) of our performances hiding in somebody’s closet.

The founding members of Radical in Red

The founding members of Radical in Red

We, Kimberly and I, decided in college that it only made sense for us to become roommates and to get an apartment. Neither of our parents had the money to help with college tuition or rent, so we were poor, forced to use our hard earned wages on college tuition, rent, and beer books. One day, the grocery store where I frequently purchased our ramen noodles and Totino’s pizzas was having a contest: Win a Year’s Supply of Groceries. I saw an opportunity to use less money for food and more money for beer, so I signed up. A month or so later, I got a call from the grocery store manager telling me that I needed to come collect my winnings. Imagine my surprise when I learned that instead of a year supply of groceries, I had actually won a year supply of tuna. A year supply of tuna equates to two cans a week. They also threw in a jar of mayonnaise and a loaf of bread. To two college girls with no money, this wasn’t the worst thing to win. You would be amazed at how far we could stretch a loaf of bread and two cans of tuna.

During this same time, I worked at the hospital in a department called Transportation. Basically, my job was to transport patients from one place to another. And by patients, I mean all patients. Transportation did not discriminate. We transported both the live and the dead patients. It was called a cart call when we had to pick up a recently deceased patient. I would hear, “71 (that was me), please take the cart to E320.”

“71 copy,” is how I had to reply. Then I would head to the morgue, get the cart (the same one that goes into the drawer where they keep the dead bodies) and take it to the room where I would strip the patient of his/her clothes, tie a special string around his/her head (to ensure rigor mortis didn’t leave him/her with his/her jaw hanging open), and then place the person in the body bag, zip it up, and take him/her to the morgue. It wasn’t all I did, but I was in fact a toe tagger. I have lots of great stories from this particular position.

Kimberly worked at the mall in a trendy girls clothing store. One day, she came home from work full of excitement because she had something so very important to tell me. Turns out, my high school boyfriend (who neither of us had seen in quite a while) showed up at her store that day with his…boyfriend, and the two of them shopped for clothes for themselves. She asked him what was going on, and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ve changed.”  Later, I would learn that he both did drag shows and that he was a stripper. Yes, the first boy to ever get into my heart grew up to become a gay stripper. (How I learned he was a stripper is an even funnier story…that I will tell you all later.) By the way, we still keep in touch, and he turned out to be a pretty amazing man.

It’s no secret that I was in a car accident in college. I’ve mentioned that on here a few times. It landed me in a wheel chair, which was only temporary, thankfully, but breaking my hip in three places was not my only injury. I was broadsided by a Ford Expedition, and basically, my driver’s side window crashed through my face. I had a severe head injury, and my face was practically ripped off. Luckily for me, I worked at the very hospital (as a toe tagger) where I was taken by ambulance, and before I even came to, the ER staff called the hospital’s best plastic surgeon in to take care of my face. For hours, he removed glass from both the left side of my face and the soft skin under my chin. Due to the vast amount of damage, he had to do two layers of stitches. One layer of dissolving stitches under the skin, and then another layer on top. It wasn’t pretty. When one of my closest friends came to the hospital to visit me, she was so shocked that she fainted. True story. My high school Speech teacher (who didn’t even realize the impact this statement would have on me) said when she first saw, “I’m sure once it heals, you’ll be able to cover it with make-up.” She even brought me some Mary Kay samples. I had yet to see myself. I could feel the damage and was too scared to look, but when I was finally brave enough to look at myself in the mirror, I counted over fifty stitches. I gave up less than half way into it and vowed to never count them. My brother was in the ER with me and said the plastic surgeon told him it was well over 100 stitches. So yes, I’ve had over 100 stitches in my face.

Two months post accident (I refused to go to a New Year's party in a wheel chair) Look closely at the left side

Two months post accident (I refused to go to a New Year’s party in a wheel chair) Look closely at the left side of my face.

Scars today (no makeup no filter)

Scars today (no makeup no filter)

Hug a Plastic Surgeon of you know one (hardly noticeable)

Hug a Plastic Surgeon if you know one (over twenty stitches here…hardly noticeable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not at all afraid of needles. During the time when I was healing from my accident, I was poked and prodded about fifteen times a day. Any fear of needles that I may have had (which was really minimal) disappeared with the feeling of actual pain and the sweet relief of morphine. I do not have a tattoo, but that’s only because when I was a little girl, I visited my dad’s aunt in a retirement home. When I hugged her, I noticed a cross tattoo in her cleavage. It utterly grossed me out, and to this day, I can’t get one because I can’t imagine myself being a grandmother or even a great aunt with a tattoo.  I think they look awesome…on other people.

So there you have it, if you answered I’m terribly afraid of needles which is why I don’t have a tattoo, you’re correct. That is a lie. Are you confused? I am. This was fun. I wish I had a prize to give you, but you’ll just have to settle for a make-up free selfie. You’re welcome.

 

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55 thoughts on “Penomenalies

    • I have some ideas for a small tattoo, but I’m still toying with the notion that I don’t want to scare some poor great niece one day. It was just a year supply of tuna, so no more tuna for me. And frankly, I’ve only recently allowed myself to eat it again. I kind of got burned out.

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    • What was it you learned about me that you didn’t already know? That my ex boyfriend ended up becoming a gay stripper? Or is it my awesome fashion sense freshmen year in college? It really could be anything.

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  1. BOOM! Thought so. And I’m glad you were in a band – that pic is SO CUTE! 😀

    Now I’m grinning cos I like winning things, even with no prize, and because I was RIGHT!

    Awesome two-parter, and yes – your plastic surgeon did a fabulous job – hardly anything there at all, and definitely not noticeable under your chin. What a good job you weren’t a crappy toe-tagger, and that they liked you!

    Looking forward to the stories which you have yet to write 🙂

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  2. I won I won I won, lol! I never win anything 🙂

    I enjoy reading your posts Mandi!!

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S® 5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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  3. What a fascinating life you lead! I too have had a boyfriend who’s gone on to do gay burlesque, so that was one similarity – albeit a rare one, I think… And I have some pretty ridiculous scar stories, but can’t say I’ve had 100 stitches, just GAPING holes in my face. It was awesome and it happened at the circus, so you know there’s a story there.

    Who would think it was unsuspecting needles. Watch out, you’ve just befriended a tattoo lover! 🙂

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    • Okay, so I’m interested to know about this gaping hole in face from a circus. I mean…this is a story I must read. I actually love tattoos on other people. If a man has a beard and tattoos, well, I won’t tell you what I’m thinking because seeing that we seem to be a bit similar, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

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  4. How you can even make the four truths and a lie into an adorable post, I have no idea. And I’m not even embarrassed by my guess (the stitches are a lie, because you’re too adorable) because even in the unretouched photo you’re age,ess. How is this possible?! (Awesome post!)

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    • Did you just call my post adorable? I think I may love you. And not just because you said I looked ageless. For that, you deserve all the chocolate and the wine and even maybe a hot bearded man…if that’s your thing.

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    • You’re too kind, Balroop. Eventful? Well, I guess you can say I like to keep it interesting…and not on purpose. I wish I had a photo of my face with stitches to help make it more believable, but at the time, I shied away from all cameras.

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  5. I can’t believe I made it so far without learning to play an instrument or getting stitches or winning anything at all. I did get tattoos, though.

    Btw, you did a fabulous job of writing this post. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat going oh please don’t let the stitches one be true! Sorry it happened that way, girl. Love and hugs!

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    • Hey, the accident sort of shaped my life. You know the whole almost dying thing will make a girl appreciate her life, so no need to be sorry, but I will take love and hugs all day long. And like I said, I love tattoos on other people, and part of me sort of wants to get one, but the idea of it being there forever, and ever just terrifies me a little. Okay, a lot. I think I may have just realized that I have issues with commitment.

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  6. Good Lord you’ve been through a lot. About the toe tagging job—–my hubs did that too for a bit. Loved the job (because nobody could talk back to him) but the pay sucked so he had to quit. LOVED getting to know all these delicious facts about you. You’ve certainly led an interesting life! 🙂

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    • I did not make much money toe tagging. In fact, I barely scraped by, which is why I also worked as a secretary and also a proof reader for college term papers. I don’t know if I would say my life has been interesting, but it’s definitely been full, and I’m grateful for it, particularly after the accident.

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  7. I can’t believe you were really a toe tagger! What a job but now that I understand you were a poor, struggling college student, it makes more sense. Over 100 stitches or not, you are still a beautiful person….even if you are a great big liar! With a pretty interesting life. This was great fun. I really do need to think about doing this…..if you don’t mind me thieving your idea?

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    • I don’t mind. It wasn’t my idea to begin with. I thieved it from Beth. Who I think thieved from Aussa. I don’t know. It is a lot of fun. Can’t wait to read yours. And thanks for saying such nice things.

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    • I was really a toe tagger. I have some awesome and not so awesome experiences from that position. I certainly didn’t write this post so that people would tell me I’m beautiful, but I can’t lie and say it isn’t nice to hear. I forget about the scars most of the time. I owe it to a skilled plastic surgeon. I will forever be grateful that they didn’t let some ER doc hack on my face.

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    • Thank you so much for your nice compliments. I was incredibly banged up, but it was one of those life experiences that helped me to realize how very precious it is. I will forever be grateful to the people in the ER. They saved my life. The seat belt I was wearing helped too.

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  8. Damn, you are so much more interesting than I am. And you were very cute with your faded jeans and tucked in shirt. I haven’t worn a belt since last century. You are an awesome liar, but an even better storyteller.

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    • Oh puhlease. I am not that interesting. I can just make mundane things sound interesting. You’re the only person to comment on my incredible fashion sense. Faded jeans and belts were all the rage back in 1996.

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  9. So you don’t like tattoos but it’s for a different reason and has nothing to do with being afraid of needles, right? Interesting in a Wow sort of way. 100 stitches. You’d never know it to look at your beautiful face. I see great strength of character in all it’s glory. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    • You are so sweet. Thank you for stopping by to read and for commenting with such nice words. I promise I didn’t write this post fishing for compliments about my face. I’ve grown comfortable with the scars and hardly even know they’re there much anymore.

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    • I hope you had a good Labor Day, too, Phil. I’m sorry you’ve had some difficult times in your family. I hope you and the rest of your family have been able to find some comfort and some peace.

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    • I have lots of fun stories from working at the hospital, Aussa. It wasn’t a mental hospital, but that didn’t mean the patients were sane. I have a really good one that I’ll write around Halloween. It was the scariest night of my life….dun dun dun….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm..I love Arie and all, but Brooks is my guy. If Brooks asked, I would consider. I’ve actually thought several times about getting one, but there’s just nothing that I feel like I want to live with for the rest of my life. The gay stripper story is funny. I’ll write that one out soon and let you know it’s posted. Thanks for stopping by, girls. Take care of each other. Hope all is well for both of you soon.

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