Saturday, October 24, 2009
A Bad Influence or Why You Shouldn't Hang Out With Your Mother
I’m such a bad mother. When Kelly came home from school yesterday, even though she had a lot of homework, I made her come riding with me. Well, I really didn’t have to make her. I just said, “I’m going riding after we eat. You’re welcome to come with me if you want...” Knowing full well she couldn’t pass up riding. I rinsed out my coffee cup and watched her out of the corner of my eye, nonchalant. Of course she wanted to go riding! She’s horse crazy just like me. I brainwashed her good. See! I am bad. What kind of mother brainwashes her kid to do something? I’m about as bad as those stage mothers who put fake eyelashes and red lipstick on their daughters and would stuff toilet paper in their bras if they were big enough to wear them because they want to catch the judge’s eye. Or a pedophile’s. I don’t know.
But horseback riding is different. I don’t just think that because it’s my thing to do. It really is different. One time I combined the two. When I was sixteen, my mother talked me into entering a beauty contest—the Miss Middletown Pageant. I did it because I was flattered she wanted me to enter. But when I was already signed up, I realized there was a category called talent. And since I didn’t play the flute or tap dance, I didn’t have any. Oh why did she make me enter?!—I wailed. What was I going to do?! The girls in the contest took lessons and had voice coaches and one of them even entertained the governor by playing Chopin on the piano at the governor’s ball. All I did was write stories and ride my pony. Now I knew I was halfway pretty even though I didn’t know how to walk in high heels or fix my hair, being a tomboy. But how was I going to compete with rich girls (those were the ones who got the lessons and the voice coaches) crooning Somewhere Over the Rainbow and playing the violin and the piccolo in fancy ballroom gowns? (What is a piccolo anyway? Isn’t there a Jenny Piccolo on Happy Days?) I didn’t have any talent per se. I was freaking. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I wrote a story about my pony.
“Does your motorcycle nicker to you in the morning? Do your roller skates run up to you at the pasture gate for a pat on the neck?” Never mind. Hopefully I’ve improved since then.
But I won it! I won the talent award! I couldn’t stop crying up there. (Interesting since the ones who won the contest, didn’t even shed a tear.)
Anyway, even though I didn’t place in the beauty part of the contest, I never felt bad about it because the irony of winning the talent award outshined anything else. I sure showed them! Ha! Turned out I’m pretty talented after all! Forget that trombone I was thinking about taking up! Who needs it? Plus, I had some fierce competition. The winner later went on to become first runner-up in the Miss America Pageant. Besides, I already knew at sixteen-years-old that talent and what was inside a person was more important than outer beauty. Otherwise I would have known how to walk in those high heels.
I would enter Kelly in a beauty contest in a minute, she’s so pretty.
But I’d much rather her come out riding with me. Even if it means she’s up late trying to get her homework done. At least I’m not making her wear false eyelashes and red lipstick. And I can always write the teacher a note…