Thursday, January 19, 2006

Important Public Service Announcement: Don't Talk to Strangers

We had never spoken before. He always just sat quietly behind me in history class. But he seemed nice, and relatively harmless, and I thought maybe he didn't have a lot of friends. So I agreed to be his date for the upcoming homecoming dance. After all, I was popular and a cheerleader, so I knew it must have been hard for him to muster up the courage to ask me.

The next day, there was a teddy bear and a note on my car. Sweet, right? I knew I had made the right choice and I was looking forward to getting to know him and introducing him to my friends.

The plan was simple. My parents were hosting dinner at our house for me and my friends and our dates. Everyone was going to arrive at 6. Not being the most punctual girl myself, I didn't mind when he was a few minutes late. But when we were all nearly finished with dinner and he still hadn't shown up, I could feel the steam starting to rise off my skin as my blood began to boil. I did him a favor! How dare he stand me up!

Just as we were all getting ready to leave, he arrived. No apology. No explanation. No corsage. My teenage naivete told me that maybe he just didn't know that you were supposed to bring your date a corsage. So I let it go, and we all headed off to the dance.

Still fuming and hoping the drive would go by quickly so I could regroup with my friends, I wasn't paying much attention to anything he was saying or doing. But my attention was immediately captured when I realized we had just blown through a stop sign and were now about to be pummeled by a large van. With no time to brace myself, we were spinning across a busy intersection, headed toward the condominium complex on the other side.

You know how a crash never sounds like you think it will? How, after the screeching tires you expect to hear shattering glass or crunching metal, but all you hear is a single smack? When we slammed into the parked car, this crash sounded exactly like I thought it would.

Stunned and disoriented, I barely heard the voices outside the car. But regaining coherence, I realized that we had crashed just outside the home of some friends of my parents. They called the police and then called my parents to come get me.

A few minor cuts and bruises (and about an hour) later, I made it to the dance and found my worried friends. But I had some explaining to do, because I arrived sans-date. I couldn't bring him, you see, because when I left the scene, he was handcuffed on the curb, mid-arrest.

Apparently, the car had been reported as stolen. And, as it clearly wasn't his, it was also uninsured. And he didn't even have a license! People, do you realize what this means?!?! I could have been kidnapped or even killed, and no one would have ever been able to find me, because T.H. might not have even been his real name! Come to think of it, I never saw or heard from my multiple-identity criminal friend again after that night. Maybe he wasn't even a student at my school! Just think what could have happened!

And that, children, is why we should never talk to strangers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Think I'll Stick to Shaving

I normally hate forwarded emails, but every now and then you receive one that is so funny you simply must share it. This is one of those stories, compliments of my friend Kara...

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal -- the Epilady, scissors, razors, Nair, and now... the wax.

My night began as any other normal weeknight -- come home, fix dinner, play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: Maybe I should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet.

So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. It was one of those "cold wax" kits. No melting a clump of hot wax; you just rub the strips together in your hands, they get warm, you peel them apart, press them to your leg (or wherever else), and you pull the hair right off. No muss, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out.

So I pull one of the thin strips out. It's two strips facing each other, stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. ("Cold wax," yeah...right!) I lay the strip across my thigh, hold the skin around it tight, and pull. It works!

OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-Rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire.

With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my vagina and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek (yes, it was a long strip). I inhale deeply and brace myself... RRRRIIIPPP!!!!

I'm blind! Blinded from pain! OH MY GOSH!!!

Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the strip.

CRAP! Another deep breath and RRIIPP!! Everything is swirly and spotted. I think I may pass out... must stay conscious... do I hear crashing drums?

Breathe, breathe...

OK, back to normal.

I want to see my trophy -- a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip. There's no hair on it. Where is the hair? WHERE IS THE WAX?

Slowly, I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip. I touch. I am touching wax. CRAP! I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair. Then I make the next BIG mistake... remember my foot is still propped up on the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down.

DARN! I hear the slamming of a cell door.

Vagina? Sealed shut!

Butt?? Sealed shut!!

I penguin walk around the bathroom, trying to figure out what to do and think to myself, Please don't let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!

What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water! Hot water melts wax! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits, and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right?!


I get in the tub -- the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment -- I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the tub. In scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax.

So now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cement-epoxied myself to the porcelain! God bless the man who convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom! I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone.

It's a very good conversation starter - "So, my butt and hoo-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!" There is a slight pause. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, "Are we talking cheeks or whole or hoo-ha?" She's laughing out loud by now... I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box. Yeah, right! I should be the joke of someone else's night.

While we go through various solutions, I resort to scraping the wax off with a razor. Nothing feels better then to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water, and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off! By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need post-traumatic stress counseling for this event.

My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace -- the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on, and OH MY GOSH!

The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend.

It's so painful but I really don't care. IT WORKS!! It works!! I get a hearty 'congratulations' from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair...

The hair is still there... ALL OF IT!!!

So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I'm numb by now. Nothing hurts. I could have amputated my own leg at this point.

Next week, I'm going to try hair color......

Sink or Swim

I have a freakishly good memory. But there are times when my fond memories, recounts, or even photos of an event are simply not enough – I need videographic evidence. The following is a true story that, had I had the foresight to memorialize on video, would surely have won me the $100,000 grand prize on AFV.

Many years ago, I lived in Utah. I had a friend whose parents owned a ski boat, and we would often take it out on one of the many nearby lakes to go wakeboarding.

This particular summer day, we were meeting some friends at the dock for a day of fun in the sun. My friend suggested that the two of us should launch the boat, so that we’d be ready to go as soon as they arrived. I explained that I had neither backed a truck/trailer, nor driven a boat, into a lake before. But he assured me that it was easy, and promised to walk me through it from the driver’s seat of the boat. So I reluctantly got behind the wheel of his 1981 Bronco.

Things were going well at first. I was heading slowly toward the ramp, and the trailer carrying the boat seemed to be backing straight into the water. This is a snap, I thought. Why was I so intimidated? When my friend told me we were far enough in, I obediently pressed the brakes.

This is where everything fell apart.

Why am I still moving backward? The brake pedal is floored. I must need to apply the parking brake. Nope. Not helping. Let’s try pulling back out. Interesting – still sliding backward, despite my attempt to drive forward. This can’t be good.

My friend and I were yelling back and forth, trying to figure out what to do to gain traction on the mossy ramp, when I was suddenly slammed against the driver-side door. My friend had jumped over the bow of the boat and climbed through the back of the truck into the driver’s seat to try to do it himself. Not surprisingly, he had the same trouble I had.

But then it got much worse.

My feet are wet! Oh my God! There is water gushing in through the bottom of the doors! “We have to bail!” he screamed. So I gathered as many of our things as I could in 1.3 seconds and climbed out the passenger window.

Less than a minute later, I was standing on the roof of my friend’s truck, knee deep in water, in the middle of the lake. (Okay, not really the middle, but pretty far out from shore.) I couldn’t see my friend. Where did he go? I wondered. And then I spotted him.

He was diving in and out the water, trying to grab hold of the front bumper to pull the truck back to shore. Finally, he realized that, while he worked out every day, he was simply not strong enough to swim a truck, a trailer, and a girl to shore without a little help. So he swam back to shore, leaving me standing on the truck. Still knee deep in water. Crying.

After catching his breath, he started to laugh hysterically, when we both realized that the boat (thankfully, it was already detached from the trailer when we started sinking) was floating away. So he ran to the dock and jumped in to swim after it. As he docked the boat and called a tow truck, I decided that I couldn’t just stand there on top of the truck all day. So I swam to shore, fully clothed, through water that was now full of gasoline and oil.

And with perfect timing usually only found in movies, our friends pulled up at that very moment.

Amazingly, after being successfully towed out of the water and drying out for the next 48 hours, the truck still worked! And this little bath even fixed the broken radio! (But, as a trade-off, the headlights were permanently shut off.)

Years later, I was telling this story to someone, and their response was, “I can’t believe that was you! That story is famous around here!” And that’s when I realized that this would have been a winning video clip. But, of course, I didn’t think it was all that funny while I was immersed, so to speak, in the situation.