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.
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.
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.