Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

January 30, 2013

The problem is . . .

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 3:06 pm

I have a problem. What? You’re not surprised? Really? I think you should have said, “Why, yes. I am surprised. You always strike me as so competent, so serene, so—” OK. I went too far. Again. But seriously, to say you’re not surprised that I have a problem is hurtful. Very hurtful.

So here’s my problem (the one besides the fact that I’m doing this instead of a) grading papers, b) working on my thesis or c) doing anything productive). I do incredibly stupid things. And then I tell people I did them. Kind of like I’m doing here.

In the beginning of Ron Carlson’s great short story “Bigfoot Stole My Wife,” the narrator/protagonist says, “Credibility. The problem is credibility.” The guy’s story is that when he comes home to find his wife, her dog, most of her belongings, and her car gone, Bigfoot stole her. He wants the reader to ignore the fact that his cute young wife probably left him because he’s a lazy, race-track-going, wife-ignoring butthead. Lest you think her car being gone is a sticking point, he says, “What? Bigfoot can’t drive?”

I said all that to say that I have no credibility problem. People can’t wait to believe the crap I do. I just encourage that by telling the whole world I did whatever it is. If you ask me, a lot of things I do are not my fault, number one, and, number two, aren’t all that weird.

For instance, maybe 20 years ago, I went to a carnival with my friend Terri. We saw this guy, Bobby Don, that Terri was crazy about. He had, shall we say, taken advantage of her feelings for him, then dumped her. I told her more than once what an ass he was, but she refused to believe it. This particular night, he was with a tiny, beautiful blonde (who eventually became his wife). I knew her name, but that’s all I knew.

So Terri says, “Who’s that with Bobby Don?” She was getting all red-faced and teary-eyed, so, in a panic, I did what any good friend would do. I said, “Oh, that’s Linda. I heard she’s a bitch.”

I defy any one of you to say you wouldn’t have done the same.

Now, this one I haven’t told as much because it’s completely inappropriate. Nevertheless, I did it. In one of the first classes I ever taught, I had three boys in ball caps in the back of the room. I don’t know why, but it’s always three, they always wear ball caps, and they always sit in the back of the room. From there they manage to disrupt the whole class. In this case, one was a preacher’s kid, and as PKs will often do, he had to prove he was a regular jackass so, you know, he could fit in.

I was handing back papers, and when I got to his table, he said, loudly enough for his friends to hear, “She’s a fucking knockout.” What I should have said is that there’s some very effective treatment out there for sudden onset blindness if he cared to go talk to the dean of students about it.

What I did say, however, as I slapped his (very poorly executed) paper down on his desk, was, “That’s Mrs. Fucking Knockout to you, buddy.”

Am I proud of that? I am not. Would I do it again? Oh, dear God, I hope not, but really, I never know until the words fall out of my mouth. And he never said another thing or misbehaved in any way in class.

Then there was the time I missed my plane in some city—definitely not my fault—really—and I had to stay in a hotel. The air conditioner didn’t work very well, and it was summer, very humid. Since my luggage was on its way to Tulsa, I washed my panties in the sink. I hung them in the bathroom to dry, but after considering the humidity and all, I realized they wouldn’t dry by the next morning. No way was I going commando, and no way was I going to wear wet underwear.

So, what I did was what anybody with a brain and wet underwear would do. I put them in the microwave and set it for two minutes. Well! All I can say is that they should have placed a warning on microwaves that says, “Do not put your panties in the microwave as they will burn, shrivel, and set off the fire alarm.” Which is what happened. Which is when somebody came to my door to see if I was on fire, and I had to explain.

Then, since I’d already told somebody what I’d done and he was no doubt spreading the news, I emailed everybody I knew and told them about it.

Another thing—again not my fault—was in Harrah’s casino in Kansas City. You know how in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” the first line says, “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida”? Well, in this case, the grandmother didn’t want to go to Harrah’s. The way I figure it, every day is a gamble for me, and I don’t need to be gambling for fun. But nobody would take me across town to the hotel, so I went to Harrah’s.

I immediately lost all the money I was going to lose, and in wandering around, I somehow ended up in the pit. Not a pit. The pit. Where all the money is. And all these tuxedoed guys were coming toward me and I just thought they were glad to see me.

The awful thing is, my husband and my son were twenty feet away. Traitor son says to traitor husband, “Hey. Watch Mom.” And they did. Without saying a word, they watched me walk into the pit and be ushered out of the pit.

This was so not my fault. A pit is a pit, not a haphazardly roped off area. Is a “pit of despair” a very sad roped off area? Is a barbecue pit just a very hot and spicy roped off area? I think not.

Some incidents I blame on getting dressed in a dark closet. Like, once I wore my dress wrong side out to work, and I’ve worn two different shoes on a couple of occasions. The worst one, though, was last Sunday at church.

I was attaching my nametag to the neck of my dress, and I felt something inside the neckline. A tag. Which should have been in the back. But was in the front. Because my dress was on backwards. Backwards, people! Needless to say, I was horrified. I left my pew and raced to the bathroom to take it off and turn it around.

I did that, and either right after that or right after church—I can’t remember because I was, as you can well imagine, traumatized—my pastor said, “That’s a nice dress.”

I said, “It was on backwards.” He looked at me. “My dress,” I said. “Backwards. It was on backwards, and I had to turn it around.”

And do you know what he did? He laughed. Laughed!

I came home and thought to myself, “Self, that’s not a story you need to tell.”

And yet, here I am. And just so you know, my pajama bottoms are on wrong side out this very minute.



  1. “There is something sick about a person who opens every can from the bottom, every bag from the side and sleeps with her t-shirt on inside out.” That is what my ex-husband said.
    I said, “There is something sick about letting someone call you sick all the time.” I did say “ex” right?
    I thought he should be grateful it was HIS t-shirt.
    Just as you figure there is enough gambling going one without going to a gambling PLACE, I think there is plenty of self-deprecation to go around without going to a church, on purpose.
    I think you should TRY to put them on wrong-side out and 50% of the time you will be right and the other half wrong, but only you will know which is which…
    love ya, Carol.


    Comment by ponytail girl — January 30, 2013 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

    • You’re a sweetheart. I wouldn’t go to a church that made me feel in any way inferior. Been there. Done that. Hated it.


      Comment by vadasmaker — January 30, 2013 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  2. You were entirely credible until you shared that your pajama bottoms were on wrong side out–then you lost me. I simply cannot believe that about you.


    Comment by Michelle — January 30, 2013 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

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