Where Have You Gone, Mary Lou Retton?

I’ve been a bit tapped lately. Little League, “Banshee” rehearsals, and until recently getting the kids to school has left me mentally and physically drained. Things should be getting better soon, since there is no good reason to get up at 6:30am and youth baseball is blissfully coming to its natural end. Still, I’ve been a little behind the eight ball with my blog posts. I came out of the gate strong with four a week, which after a few months became three a week and has petered out to two the last few weeks. I still love the forum and most of the time I can find an interesting idea without having to check under many rocks. However I sat down today, the day before Independence Day, with the kids playing outside and the Mets on in the background and came up with…nada, zippo, zilch, squat, zed, zero.

So, as not to waste the precious time I have, I immediately turned to the internet. Writers used to sit in their kitchen chairs with a notebook in front of them and actually “think” of things to write. Now we can have a plethora of ideas at our fingertips with a few keystrokes and a cloud of psuedo-synaptic dust. But what is the internet but a regurgitation of other writers’ mediocre pablum, given the whiff of respectability by its inclusion in the great Google fishing net? Well, beggars cannot choosers be, so off into the cyber-ocean I dove headfirst.

High among the rankings (as sure a sign of quality as Al Gore has ever come up with) was a page called “Fifty Ideas for Personal Blogs”. I clicked. Up came a blog page adorned with paisley wallpaper. I should have turned back then. But I continued, visiting a blog page that existed, as far as I could tell, to give other bloggers ideas to write more blogs, which will no doubt inspire more blogs still . I was entering into a particular brand of circular twilight-zone hell, I knew, but there was a treasure-trove of ideas out there that I hadn’t thought of yet and I was bent on pilfering them for my own sordid needs. These were the first ideas listed:

1. What was the funniest/nastiest/most memorable prank you ever pulled on someone?

2. Describe your first date/first kiss. Hmm.. did you see stars or you just felt gross?

3. What is scariest experience you had?

4. What kind of games did you play as a kid?

5. What do you miss most about your childhood?

6. What kind of child where you? Shy? A bully? Popular? Loner? Stubborn? …

7. Do you have any phobias? what thing do you fear most?

8. Who was your celebrity crush during your teens?

9. What outfit did you wear before that you swore you’d never wear again? If you have photos and the right amount of courage, then post it!

10. Do you have any regrets? Whats the biggest mistake you ever made?

  1. What’s the weirdest/hardest/funniest job you ever had?
  2. What’s the most embarassing thing that happened to you?
  1. What’s your wildest dream?
  2. Create characters about your family and friends and talk about their unique characters. Use avatars!


I assume that #11 was left out because it was too wonderful to put on the internet, and “embarrassing” was misspelled as an example of #13. All right, enough of that, I make enough typos per blog to be vilified on a daily basis (in fact without spell-check I would have goofed up “villified” and “mispelled” in the last two sentences—misspelling “mispelled” is an irony I don’t want to think too hard about). In fact I really don’t WANT to dump all over the poor lady and her self-described “cutesy topics”. After all, she means to help and she would have every right to turn around and say to me, “Bugger off then if you don’t like them. No one forced you to click my link in the first place.” Click my link…that sounds vaguely dirty. Anyway…

I’m not going to talk about pranks or phobias or my wildest dreams. I’ve seen enough prank shows on TV to know that those people are a bunch of sadistic a-holes who need someone bigger than them to implement a good punch in the kidney. Phobias have been done to utter death. As far as my wildest dreams go, I don’t think the world is going to be ready for those if we can barely get the Gay Marriage Vote passed. Plus, nobody would recognize me with hair again. As far as my childhood goes, posts about embarrassing things that have happened to me, regrets and mistakes, I think I’ve mined those topics for many a blog post to date, and I’m sure I’ll be going back to the well in the future.

If you must know, my teenage crush was Mary Lou Retton. Yup, the 4 foot 2 gymnast. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea myself. It wasn’t anything dirty, I can assure you, so you can get that image of Mary Lou jumping on that pole vault out of your head right now (of course, I’m the one who put it there for you). During the ’84 Olympics I was an overweight, pimply sophomore in a Catholic all-boys high school. My first girlfriend was still three years off, and could have been thirty years off for all I knew. Sure Retton was in retrospect a bit troll-like, but she had a nice smile and she was very…energetic. All right, maybe my crush was a BIT dirty. Anyway she ended up marrying some BMOC college quarterback, so I couldn’t have been that far off with fancying her. Who should I have cast my somewhat sticky pearls before, freakin’ Madonna? Even at 15 I wouldn’t touch that with another man’s…hand.

The strangest job I ever had was making fudge for a chocolate shop in a mall. It was made on this huge, eight-foot hot plate. You had to add all the ingredients perfectly, then slowly pour it into a big-ass six-foot log, then use this four-foot spatula to continuously turn the soft fudgey ends back toward the middle. It took about an hour from start to finish and it smelled like heaven. I was fired from that job because one of my workers stole twenty dollars from the register and I refused to sign a paper claiming responsibility for it as her manager. Fudge can be a cutthroat business.

Did I get to the end? OK then!


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