Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Honest Scrap Award

I click a link and BAM – I discover I have been awarded the Honest Scrap Award by Brittany Landgrebe aka @lights_aurora.  I look closer. This must be a mistake.  Perhaps it reads “Honest Crap Award”… yeah, that would be more like it.

I have no idea what this award means, but it comes with rules.  I knew there was a catch.  Why couldn’t it come with unicorns, candy and sparklers?  I read closer. 

The rules? Simple. Reveal ten things you likely don’t know about me, then pass the award on to someone else I admire. They shall do the same, and it’s just a whole big pile of Honest Scrap!

She admires me!  She admires me!  I felt like Rudolph.

Once the happy dust settled, the rules sunk in.  I’m to unleash 10 sins to cyberspace and do the work for TMZ.   Afraid?  Hell, no.  I’m very competitive, therefore the thought of beating a reporter hiding in my shrubs and sifting through my garbage for an award-winning expose of my life has my sin-riddled skin tingling. 

Go to fullsize imageI need to channel a reporter to get into character.  But who… or is it whom?  If I were Walter Cronkite, I’d know the answer.  He was my fraternity brother (see #7 below).  I even shook his hand while wearing a very ugly 1980s puffy dress.  I was in the dress, not Walter.  Just wanted to clarify, since I’m a top-notch reporter and all. 

Does that count as one of the ten?  Nah, I’ll give you that one for free.

1.  Jackasses make me laugh.  In the 60s, my parents decided to move to the country in pursuit of a simpler life.  Intellectual father.  Hippy mother.  They found an old run-down farmhouse on 150 acres where the animals roamed free… inside and out.  Flies.  Oh man, were there flies.  The sale came with a horse and a jackass.  I always giggled when my daddy said, “jackass”  *giggle*.  I was four when a scary man came and took them away.  They either became my school glue or my dog’s dinner.  I hate the smell of both.  

2. I didn’t like to play with the girls in kindergarten.  I wanted to play with the boy toys… oops, I mean boyS' toys.  My kindergarten teacher didn’t know what to do with me, since all the other girls were fighting over the only cute doll.  At first, she tried to conform me into a proper girl, but I always ended up on the sidelines starring at the boy’s fascinating toys that made noises and turned into buildings and magical structures.  These girls bored me.  One day, the teacher knelt by me, took my hand and said, “Go ahead.  Show me what you can do.”  She unleashed my creativity in that single moment.  I ran straight to the Legos and found a quiet, shy boy who became my best friend.  I remember building a duck with wheels for feet.  I still have some clay ducks we made together. I guess we liked ducks.  

Go to fullsize image3.  I have always been unlucky in love.  My Lego duck buddy came to class with cupcakes.  I was confused.  I knew it wasn’t his birthday, but was convinced he did it just for me.  He knew the way to my heart.   He liked ducks, after all.  As I joyously gobbled my chocolately goodness, he sadly announced he was moving away.  My heart was pounding so hard I thought I’d throw up… but I never let chocolate out once it was in.  I held back tears all day.  As we lay on the mats for our daily nap, I let the tears fall.  He crawled closer to me and held my hand.  I squeezed his back.  When it was time to say goodbye, he leaned in and gave me a kiss.  My first kiss.  Then he ran out the door and never looked back.  I don’t remember his name... but he loved me.  I didn’t play with Legos the rest of the school year.  I tried to conform… because playing with the boys hurt too much.

Go to fullsize image4.  I was obsessed with babies.  I cut baby pictures out of magazines and hid them in my room.  The Vietnam War was always on the news.  I’d watch people bringing home Vietnamese babies, praying my parents would adopt one for me.  Being the youngest of four, I wanted a little sister.   I cried when the war ended, and no one understood why.

Go to fullsize image
5.  I am a murderer.  Back on the farm, we replaced all the farm animals with forty-five cats.  Yes, you read that right.  The previous owners would let their pigs in the house, but we changed that rule.  Our cats were never allowed inside unless one was about to give birth.   Grumph gave birth a lot.  She was a kitty slut.   I used to curl up with my kitten on the couch and fall asleep.  When I woke from my deep child-like slumber, I found her lifeless, fuzzy body and panicked.  I squashed her.  I ran to the fire and laid her on the warm hearth, hoping to bring her back to life.  I don’t remember anything other than being alone in the living room with the dead kitten and feeling empty.  I think I left her there and ran upstairs.  I wonder what my parents thought when they found her.  They might have thought I was the next Ted Bundy.  Yikes.  I should really ask.

I need a part two to #5 because now I’m depressed.  Let me share a really cool kitty story:  my siblings’ kittens were always healthy, but my kitties often fell victim to amputation.   No, I didn’t amputate them.  I just had bad kitty luck, remember?   I will never forget picking my injured kitten up from the vet only to be terrified to hold the now "broken" kitten.   The vet heartlessly shoved the kitten into my 6-year-old arms, with still-bleeding stump, and told me I was selfish for not loving her.  He was a mean prick.  I had no idea how to handle a three-legged cat.  I ignored her for weeks.  She hobbled around the house crying for me.  I hated her.  I missed what she was before… perfect.  Then one day, I was playing with my matchbox cars on the square-patterned rug, and she came bouncing over.  Without even thinking, I swept her up in my arms and kissed her.  A moment passed and I froze, holding this imperfect cat that I had hated.  An enormous smile swept my face, and I went running out of the room, kitty clutched into my chest, yelling, “Mommy, mommy… I DO love her!”  That kitten taught me great lessons in loving the imperfect.   I don’t remember her name… but she loved me and I loved her.

Go to fullsize image6. We never bought new clothes as kids.  Our “shopping sprees” were always at Salvation Army – $1 for a paper bag of clothes.  Sure, my dad had a great job, but my mom was a hippy and a Depression-Era kid.  I think she felt guilty buying new things.  Once, she drove in the yard in her hippy van, jumped out, and yelled for us.  She whipped open the back doors like The Price is Right curtain, revealing hundreds of jeans!  Fat jeans, skinny jeans, straight jeans, and bell-bottoms.  She paid $100 for the van load.  We were set for life.  I made purses, stuffed animals and my own bell-bottoms with flowered-patterned triangles.  Man, my mom was cool.  She picked up hitchhikers too.

Go to fullsize image7.  I never joined a sorority.  I went through the whole rushing process.  Even got a bid to the most popular sorority on campus.  But when it came time to accept, I felt like that little girl in kindergarten.  I just didn’t get it.  I didn’t want to fight over the pretty doll.  I became a little sister in a fraternity instead. 

8. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and even fix the broken shelves.  I was 29 when I got married and managed a motel and restaurant.  I had all the girlie things I needed at that age, but I didn’t have tools.  For my wedding shower, I registered at True Value Hardware Store.  There was even a picture of me in the national True Value newsletter.  Before you assume I’m a complete tomboy, you should know I’m also a gourmet cook.   I would have dinner parties with five-course meals.  I once broke up with a guy because he wouldn’t eat Coquille St. Jacques.  I’m sorry, but if you were too scared to taste a scallop, you’d be boring as hell to live with.

Go to fullsize image9. I gave birth like a monkey.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I was a tad nervous about this whole birth thing.  I’m gonna push this kid out of there?  Really!?  Yikes.  As my belly grew, I searched for any answers I could find on how to make this hurt less.  I flipped to the Discovery Channel and found a show with two monkeys giving birth – one via cesarean and one natural.  Excellent.  All the research I needed.  The mama monkey who had the natural birth was amazing.  No humans helped her.  She delivered her baby all by herself in her little cage.  That monkey never made a peep.  Not one little groan, moan or complaint.  I was going to be that monkey.  And I was.  Three days of labor, and not a peep out of me.  I quietly pushed my baby girl out without even an aspirin. 

10. I got fired only once in my life.  After both my kids were in school full time, I decided I needed a new career.  A friend convinced me to try medical transcriptioning.  Being a competitive freak and all, I was top in my class.  I started working for a hospital in Massachusetts, getting all my files online.  Every few days, this one doctor would dictate with the most pompous voice, and he’d make up big words that didn’t exist.  Now, I went to Cornell.  I’m no moron, but I am a perfectionist and stickler for detail.  At first, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and search for the words, but when I was finally satisfied they didn’t exist, I’d flag the report.  After several weeks, my boss told me I was pissing off Dr. Pompous.  In fact, the doctor’s words were, “Who does this glorified secretary think she is?”  I may have given birth like a monkey, but I wasn’t going to put my name to a report dictated by one.  He fired me.   I wish I could find him and thank him.  He was the person who finally gave me the confidence to write. 

There you have it.  Ten things about me you probably didn’t know.  Is your life better for knowing them?  I’m sure not.  But at least I beat TMZ to it. 

I now pass the Honest Scrap Award onto a person who I admire but don’t know enough about.  This was very difficult to choose.  There are many I admire, but today, I am choosing @slushpilehero.  Oh my God, I don’t even know her real name!  Actually, I don’t know the name of my dead kitten or the boy who gave me my first kiss.  This is perfect.    


  1. Hahahahaha! I am beyond honored -- thank you! :-) What an act to follow, though -- WOW! You rock! "Kitty slut" and "jackasses"! Awesome. (And, P.S., you'd know my name if you read that damned short story I e-mailed you! :-P)

  2. Brilliant. As always.
    I really loved this. Especially your kindergarten stories about your first kiss and that wonderful teacher who simply said, "Show me what you can do!"
    Keep showing us what you can do, Jeanne!

  3. Thanks. Despite being deep in writing this script, it was very fun to take a break and reflect back on my life. Gave me some great ideas for future posts too ;)

  4. Great and revealing post. Kept me alternating between laughter and tears, which I think is the best type of writing. Nicely illustrated also!

  5. Hahahahaha. And you know how much I admire you Jeanne. That is all.

  6. Thanks, Rog and Sedef... I may have to see if I can get some Honest Scrap Awards for the two of you... and Tina too ;)

  7. Oh my goodness - lovely. Thanks for sharing so much, Jeanne. We're very lucky to get a glimspe at what's underneath that big sparkly cape you wear...

  8. Wow, Jeanne. And I thought you were awesome before...

    The broken kitty... *sigh* Unlucky in love - cool graphics! Using the Discovery Chanel to give birth - HAHAHA! Like Roger, you had me oscillating between laughter and tears. You are a force of nature, Jeanne. You truly are.

    And Congrats Slushpilehero - what IS your real name?

  9. Wow!

    Monkey-birther, jackass-loving, non-sorority-joiner, kitty-killer/lover...

    You really shouldn't pigeonhole yourself so tightly.

    Except as one hell of a writer!

  10. HAHA...I love how you all are describing me. Hysterical. You should see the things I left OFF the list ; )

  11. Jeanne~

    All I can do is Listen and Learn from my #pimpmamma

    I like that you got kissed in KINDERGARTEN, but now feel scared for my daughter next year.

    Competitive yes ... Softie at Heart - You Betcha

  12. Funnster stuff here JVB!

    That award is better than an Oscar ;-)
    I'm going to wear a fancy dress to your acceptance speech! Funny stuff Jeanne... love the revealing walk down memory lane.

    I'm saddened to hear you didn't join a Soirity, boo hoo, you could of whipped those girls into shape, wahaha...

    It's a pleasure to know a moneky-birth-murderer who laughs at jackasses and does many other things that put you in a rank above the rest!!

  13. Hey Tina, Let's make a clone of the award and pass it out to people we want to lure into confessions ;)

    Seriously, thanks for all of your support through my true confessions and beyond. You're been a great friend, Tina. The best.

  14. I love this deeper glimpse into your personality, the writing tells me as much as the events what a great person you are.

  15. Thanks, Penny. Just wish Britt had given me a dozen awards so I could learn more about you and that smelly, rotting cowboy under your porch ;)

  16. you made me laugh and cry all in one post! nice going....your little kitten story just touched something big... you deserve the award lady!

  17. Thank you so much! I definitely had kitten issues for years after that. I used to dream of pancake-flat kittens coming back to life. Even when I was pregnant, I would dream of giving birth to a litter of kittens.

  18. I came over via a procrastinating browse on Twitter. It's been a pleasure to get to know you. I shall remember your childhood menagerie, your denim mountain and monkey business - and hope you get another award soon so I can read the next instalment.