Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember the Good Old Days, When We Lost Touch With People Forever? I Miss That.

Dear Grown-up Woman I Do Not Know But Who Is Now My Facebook Friend,

You don’t remember me, I’m pretty sure.  Some things are best left unremembered, I think. 

I spent a lot of time with you in your house, a long time ago.  You were four and what is euphemistically known as “a handful”.  Maybe you’ve outgrown that now, but it’s hard to tell from your Facebook profile.

I was a teenager.  I came over to your house a lot while your parents were gone doing some sketchy seventies “marriage retreat” thing, which was probably swinging or visits to an opium den, but I don’t like to dwell on that and who are we to judge, right?

While they were gone we played Boggle and Concentration a lot and you cheated,  but I tried to forgive you because you couldn’t actually read yet.  And then after you and your older sister went to bed I would sit on the couch for hours and try really hard to stay awake.  Didn’t you have a TV?  I don’t think you did.  Here is what was on your walls:


Sometimes if your parents were really late from their swinging marriage therapy sessions, I would hallucinate about the cat with the guitar and all the bloody mouse torsos.

One time, as usual, I confiscated a giant glistening wad of Bubble Yum from your mouth before sending you off to bed.  Only this time, unbeknownst to me, you managed to find another tempting pack in a drawer. Apparently you chewed most of it all at once while lying in bed wearing your little summer sleeveless nightgown, and then you fell asleep. 

I wasn’t in your room at the time, I think I was staring at the cat picture and thinking about Michael S, who was so cute and wouldn’t be arrested for Grand Theft Auto for another four years, but pretty soon your mouth fell open, the giant mass of wet gum rolled from your lips and down your chest, and then came to rest gently in the crevice of your right armpit. 

You were so cute wandering out of your bedroom a couple of hours later, all confused and cranky.

“Did you have a bad dream?” I asked. 

Instead of answering,  you just raised your right arm to a ninety degree angle like a little Hitler Youth, and there, under your arm, were long pink strings of gum stretching from your armpit to the underside of your arm.

I wanted to do the right thing, Grown Up Lady, I really did.  I was pretty sure the answer to gum removal was the application of either hair spray, peanut butter, or ice cubes.  At least that’s what you did with clothes, and it seemed like it should be the same for armpits. 

I looked for hair spray, but it was the late seventies, not the eighties, and big hair and arching bangs weren’t commanding large bulk purchases of Aqua Net yet.  Then I looked for peanut butter, but I guess you’d had a lot of sandwiches recently. 

You can see I had no choice.  I gathered up a big bowl of ice cubes from the kitchen, a dish towel for the run-off, and a paper bag for the picked off gum bits, and then I spent two hours icing your armpit and picking little frozen flakes of gum from your skin. 

Sure you screamed some, and maybe, in hindsight I should have found some nice warm baby oil or something, but you and I are beyond that now.  We’re adults,and, may I point out, you are currently free of armpit gum, although this is an assumption on my part, as your armpit is not really visible in your Facebook profile either, and you did really love grape Bubble Yum especially.  It was like a monkey on your back.

Anyway, last week your mother called me after twenty-five years, out of the blue, after hunting me down on the internet, which was a little weird, but o-kay. My daughters are on Facebook, she said.  They’re looking forward to hearing from you. It’s been so long!!

Honestly I had my doubts, but she was so insistent.

See, I meant to just send you a little “howdy-do” message, but apparently I don’t know how to do that without friend-requesting.  You accepted, but my ‘howdy-do’ has been left unanswered, and now I am a silent, unacknowledged stranger on your friend list.  Kind of a mixed message. It’s awkward, is what I’m saying, and I’m now I’m like a stalker, which hurts a little after all we’ve been through together.

Maybe if I sent you some flair, or a pack of gum, just to break the ice?




Wow, that was awkward said...

I wonder what her version would be? Something about you torturing her with ice and how you use swear words in boggle?

I am the last person on earth not on Facebook. I hear you and feel like I'm doing the right thing.

@eloh said...

Oh dear gawd, you made me remember those 25 cent and 50 cents an hour babysitting jobs......oh the horror.

I don't do facebook either, I have been invited here and there but I'm too stupid to figure it all out. Yes, I've tried.

Jules said...

Man, yet another reason I hate facebook. AND totally DESPISED babysitting as a teenager!!!

Peggy said...

Whoa...blast from the past. We used to have a beach towel that had that same cat cartoon on it that I never in a million years would've remembered unless I read your blog!

No tv? No thanks!

That Baldy Fella said...

Hmmm, is this where I say something about Facebook and you point out that I've pretty much ignored you since accepting friend requests? No, I didn't think so, we're bigger people than that...

erin said...

I didn't do alot of babysitting, mainly because I had four younger siblings and I wanted to stay the fuck away from kids.

Irony! I end up with four kids. Oh my. The joke's on me.

Kurt said...

Boggle with the illiterate is a fun game. You have to add so physical challenges though to make it fair.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

The mom facebook set-up is the weirdest. It feels dirty to me for some reason. You should just write random bizarre things on her wall, like "How's the armpit? LOL!!" and "Serves you right for chewing in bed!" like no time has passed between you at all.

diane said...

If the kids are all grown up now, then their mother must surely be a senile relic by now. I bet the kids had no idea what-so-ever that she was requesting you as a friend. Her mind is probably cefruckced, which is my word ver.

Ed Adams said...

The armpit is actually the more preferrable place to store gum while asleep. Works much better than in the hair.

Prosy said...

I hate the ignored facebook message. Its like being bitch slapped by the internet. Except more lonely.

Moooooog35 said...

When did putting gum under your bed go out of style?

Logical Libby said...

My Mom had that cat mug. I still wonder where it went.

Oh, and how do kids get ten bucks an hour now to babysit? I got a dollar an hour, and I was happy about it!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

This is why I let my friends find me on there. And then I deny their requests, because the kind of classy ass that I am. I'm a classhole.

miss. chief said...

Yikes. I've been denying "friends" left and right because I know we have nothing to say to each other. It's just weird, you know?

Miss Yvonne said...

I am totally looking up my hometown Pastor's kids on facebook. I can be all "Hey remember me? The girl who invited her boyfriend over to your house after I thought you were asleep and then made out with him on your church house couch and then it turned out you weren't asleep but instead were spying on me from the stairs with your sisters and then you told your Pastor dad on me? Yeah those were good times."

I bet they will totally accept my friend request.

Soda and Candy said...

Hahahahaha, brilliant. I bet those parents were FREAKS!

(That's an R. Crumb cat, isn't it?)

Mad's mom said...

Maybe she had a secret crush on you back then and has been dying to see how you turned out and now she goes to your page everyday and longingly looks at pics of you and wishes desperately to have something to say that would be half as cool as the things you say and is slowly dying inside as each day slips away since you friended her and she still can't think of how to acknowledge you or show you just what a big girl she is.

Not that I would have any idea what that's like.

Nope, none.

Here from Pearl, why you little...

Your newest fan.

Pearl said...

Very nice, Vic. :-)

I miss the days people lost touch, too!

I'm getting "friended" by people I either don't remember, don't care to remember, or will remember with some prodding.

I'm not so sure that FB is a good thing.


The Jules said...

Have you met someone you vaguely know and asked "Are we friends?" yet?

That's weird.

Vic said...

That's why I only torture 4 year olds, as a general rule. Their testimony isn't given a lot of weight in court. Kidding. As far as you know.

Run away from the Facebook.
I remember one job paid me a dollar an hour for ONE KID. I was in heaven. I also got paid 25 cents an hour for a crazy family with four kids and a dad that always licked his lips at me when I came over.

I thought I liked babysitting, at the time. I'm pretty sure I was just in shock for several years.

I had another family with no TV, just a fishtank. I literally watched the snails on the bottom of the tanks do laps around the perimeter of the tank.

That Baldy Fella,
You and I have a mutually respectful facebook quietness. It's soothing. I do hear a lot from Jay Croot, however. Not sure who he is, but he's a good communicator. :)

My sister was the same way. Hated babysitting. Hated kids. She's had a hand in raising eight now. Oh, the irony.

My favorite game is actually Charades with the autistic. I liked a challenge.

I think the mom has it in for me. Probably a big set-up all along, like the old people version of Punkd.
I haven't actually brought the armpit thing up yet. I'm saving it for a special occasion, like a "how well do you know me" quiz, or something. I'm thinking it over.

Neither one of them asked who I was, though. Maybe you should try and friend them, just as a test. If they accept you and then ignore you we'll know they have a thing for strangers...

There was some in the hair too. That was much easier because you can just pull the hair out of the head if necessary.
Aren't you glad I wasn't your babysitter?

I know! I need a Facebook For Dummies book, just so I can figure out all the social rules.

Or on the bedpost. After awhile it's modern art.

That cat freaked me out. I can't believe how much babysitters get now either - you practically have to offer a benefit package or they go work for the neighbor.

That sounds like fun - I'm going to try that. By the way, did I mention I'm on Facebook? Just in case you wanted to find me... :)

You are a wise woman. I think you were probably cooler than me at birth. I fell right into this trap.

Miss Yvonne,
I talked to those girls mother, I'm pretty sure, and they're really excited to hear from you!!
This story is one more reason why I love you. In a "non-making out on the couch at the Pastor's house" way.

Soda and Candy,
According to Google, it's a B. Kliban cat. I don't know who that is, but they're definitely sick.

Mad's mom,
Probably that's exactly what she's thinking! Either that, or "how the h*ll do I get rid of this sad person who has so few real friends she has to stalk ex babysitting clients?" Equal odds, I think.

Really glad you're here!

Facebook may just be a harbinger of the end of civilization.

Sometimes I'm a little dramatic. Will you teach me some yoga? I clearly need it.

The Jules,
No, but I know that day's coming. I have one person on my "friend" list right now that I don't recognize. At all. How did they get there? It's a mystery.

Jocelyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

That was excellent. I was wiping tears from my eyes and then I had to read it out loud to my wife because she kept saying what? What?

About the pop. Don't offer them a monetary bribe, just take the stuff away from them. Now that the year is almost up, we told them we are not going to go back to the old way. They didn't seem to have a problem with it. And if they do, then they're not telling us about it. I guess we got that going for us.

Gaston Studio said...

This is too funny! I'm sure she'll respond as soon as she gets over remember how you tortured her with ice. After all, it's only been 25 years.

Amy said...

That post just made my day!! I so can relate! I am 40 and have a "grown-up lady" friend on FB I used to B/S in the early 80's. Once I fell asleep in the Daddy's easy boy and the parents had a time waking me up to undo the latch on the door. thanks for the laugh this am.

just making my way said...

Yikes, babysitting stories! I was watching kids by the time I was ten. TEN! Like who would hire a ten year old these days?

I ditched facebook some months back. Have to say I mostly don't miss it.

Fragrant Liar said...

Um, did I miss something? How did a four-year-old get gum stuck to her armpit. Did she have pit hair already? I feel like I've missed a valuable growing experience.

Mrs. Holly Hall said...


That was so funny! Laughed so hard tears came out, slapped the knee and everything!

so effin' funny!!

facebook sucks for stuff like 'weird friend/x coworker/ x boyfriend that i never every wanted to hear from again' stuff.

god that was such a funny post!


Nanodance said...

Most excellent post. I just got a friend request from a long lost childhood friend. I was so happy. I posted a nice little note on her wall- It's been so long, how are you, kind of a thing. And no response. Nothing. Makes me feel like I am just being used to up the friend count. I had been looking forward to reconnecting with this person for so long... at least losing touch forever has the plus side of that you can imagine how great it will be to be in touch again.

lakeviewer said...

Hi, I came from Savage Reflections. What a clever, funny post this is. Loved it.