In sixth grade, my mom decided it would be a good time for a family photo at Olan Mills. She dressed us all in our Sunday best and attempted a new hair do on me. Let me say this: my mom has short, naturally curly hair that she never uses anything more than a hair pick on it. She never uses a curling iron, flat-iron or hot rollers. But on this fateful day, she decided that my hair needed some “body” and “lift” and plugged in her 1965 set of hot rollers. One of them was very stubborn. It happened to be in the center of my head by the crown if you will. She could not get it out. She tried everything. Even peanut butter because she read somewhere that could get gum out of dog hair. Hmmm. Gum and hot rollers. I never knew they were in the same category. I went to Olan Mills with a hot roller stuck smack on the top of my head. They positioned my brother just so it would not show in the pictures. The show must go on, my mother said. Nice.
In seventh grade, my mom bought me a faux fur coat. It was my new school coat and she really thought it was very stylish for a new, gawky thirteen-year-old. It was hot pink. It was hideous. I wore it with my head hanging down. I tried to wear sunglasses with it. Did I mention that I rode my bike to school so I got the thrill of being honked at on my ride home? Nah. I probably didn’t mention that. Unfortunately, no one threw any red paint on my coat thus making it unwearable. I have never forgiven her for this. Ever.
In eighth grade, my mom took me to the orthodontist. To add insult to my already brace-faced injury, he put me in this fun gadget called a bionator. “This will make more room in your mouth, and it really isn’t that bad,” he said to me. It is reminiscent of a torture device circa WWII. A bionator was hastily cemented (yes, really) to the teeth in the top of the mouth and has a special, little key for turning and opening it. My mom was to insert the key and turn it each week. On the first “turn of the screw” she accidentally released the key and it went down my throat. It was never found. Maybe it was taken out with my gall bladder last year. Who knows. This torture gadget caused my speech to sound a little garbled and caused me to spit on people as I spoke to them. I am sure this is why I had a massive bankroll of friends in eighth grade and why only two of them showed up at my slumber party. Rock on.
In ninth grade, my mom and the very wise and evil orthodontist decided that the bionator was not working. His suggestion? Pulling two teeth on the top and two on the bottom and pulling them all together with the already in place braces. I was the only 14-year-old that could use not one, but two straws without opening my mouth. The orthodontist tried to make me feel better by saying he would wait until next month to put the rubber bands in. Thanks, dude. Dating score for me as a freshman? Zero (unless you could the rubber bands – I mean, they were truly sexy.)
In tenth grade, my mom took me to this amazing, huge and completely confusing outlet mall. We shopped all day. At one point, she called me over to look at a dress. She was holding onto the clothing rack and it turned, hitting me directly in the eye. I sported a black eye at school for the next few days. No one would believe me when I said that shopping with my mother is really quite dangerous. They must have forgotten about the obnoxiously bright pink fake fur coat.