Recommended wine for today’s entry: Rather than recommend a wine for you today, I’m going to give you a link for a recipe that will be perfect to serve over the holidays: Hot Spiced Christmas Wine. This will not only smell delicious (and, in my case, cover the odor of the burned dinner rolls and wet Labrador Retriever) but it will also offer a warm “glow” to all who imbibe. Give it a try! http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/hot-spiced-christmas-wine/Detail.aspx
Remember how excited you’d get in middle school and high school the day before Christmas break? The lunchroom served turkey and the trimmings that stunk up the entire building, everyone gave the teacher a stupid coffee mug, and all the girls would exchange toe socks and Lifesaver books and those massive candy canes on steroids that ended up, four days later, as a sticky wad of red cellophane that stained your French provencial bedside table. There’s no denying that pre-Christmas break in the 70s was a true extravaganza.
Anyway, in ninth grade, I was like overwhelmingly popular and exceedingly attractive with absolutely no acne and a wardrobe that every girl (and a couple of the closeted guys) secretly coveted. So naturally, drawing attention to myself was a well-thought-out plan, because all my peers thought everything I did was cool. Seriously, I was like the Fonzie of Ballard High School 1974.
By the way, today is Wednesday, which my daughter tells me is Opposite Day.
I was a huge loser that no one ever noticed. It wasn’t enough to be a freshman at a like 1,000-student school. I was also a meek and mousey nerd with a smiley face purse.
The cardinal lesson of loserdom: Never draw attention to yourself.
But I had an irrepressible and playful spirit … and no common sense and lapses in judgment that make Homer Simpson seem contemplative. And that is why, the last day of school before Christmas break, I slathered concealer on my acne and went to school dressed as a Christmas tree.
My mother was my accomplice, crafting a pretty cute little get-up from green felt and a bicycle tire; I lowered it over my head like a jumper. I am sure I carefully selected a color-coordinated rayon print shirt to wear underneath it. And maybe some of those bellbottoms that ended around mid-calf due to my recent growth spurt.
Besides, I was probably keeping my favorite ensemble — the slippery purple shirt with yellow clouds and lemon yellow Levi cords — clean in case my tree costume caused some guys to swoon and the date requests started pouring in.
Then we stitched about 100 of those mini candy canes to it. And about 100 Hershey’s kisses. And maybe Jolly Ranchers. The only way we could have been stupider was if we’d festooned me with a garland of MD 20-20 and Old Milwaukee.
Oh, and I guess I should mention that this was in month four of integrating the schools and the whole race relations thing wasn’t exactly going smoothly.
My memories blur a little after I donned the outfit. I think I could replicate the look of derision that my older brother gave me as I went to climb into his car for a ride to school. There may have been talk of me ruining his reputation and being the biggest loser ever. This was before being the biggest loser was quite as respected or as lucrative as it is now.
I also remember walking down the hall, hearing a few people scream “hey!” and “look!” and “freak!” and finally, “CAAANNNNDDDDY!”
Then I spun around and around and around like a ballerina does while she turns from an ugly swan into a beautiful princess. And around a few more times.
When I was done, I was not a beautiful princess. I was a terrified freshman with hunks of hair missing, wearing a slippery shirt and the carcass of a stripped Christmas tree.
All this before the bell even rang for homeroom.
So my advice to all you irrepressible spirits: Do something fun! Cover yourself in peanut butter and sunflower seeds and stand in the woods! Stuff your pockets with catnip and visit a shelter! You certainly won’t regret it.