Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thank you?

Apparently we are in the midst of "celebrity doppelganger" week on facebook, a time when each obsessive, constant-status-updating member is prompted to change their profile pic to the famous person they believe they most resemble. After a few moments of deliberation, I opted to go with a DQ-clad Parker Posey from the (epic) film Waiting for Guffman.

Why, you ask? Because she's the poor man's Sandra Bullock and, if the bar is dark enough, so am I.

Shortly after uploading Ms. Posey to my profile, I received a wall post from a lad I used to know: "I was thinking ur dopple would have been julia robberts." Now, atrocious spelling aside, I was flattered. I mean... she's Julia Roberts! People has ranked her among the most beautiful celebrities in Hollywood for years! Just as I was beginning to polish my Blackberry screen and admire my own reflection, he added a clarifying comment: "80's julia." With that small addition, what was initially ego-boosting became... a complisult.

Since I just created this term, I'll explain. The way I see it, there are compliments, insults, and statements that, depending on the speaker's intent, could be either. For example: If you're told your hair looks nice, you feel great. If you're told your hair looks ugly, you feel awful (and go hat shopping). But if you're told your hair looks "different"... well, the bolder among us venture into a series of clarifying questions while the less confident offer up a sheepish grin before sprinting away in search of a second, less enigmatic opinion.

"Complisultors", preferring to maintain an air of social pleasantry at any cost, have mastered the art of speaking words without conveying meaning. Statements like "Your boyfriend is certainly an interesting young man" and "That's a very unique dress" manage to simultaneously confuse and mollify listeners by hovering in the ambiguity that is the complisult.

So, how's a girl to feel when she's told she resembles an 80s Julia Roberts more than two decades later? Should she assume he meant a younger Julia and take pride in the comparison? Or is this just a polite reminder to keep the straightener charged and the neon stirrup pants in the closet?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Drag King of Rock & Roll

Long before varsity sports and Doc Martens came onto the scene, your social status hinged upon a single annual affair: your performance in the third grade talent show.

As someone who has never been particularly "talented" in the traditional elementary school girl sense (i.e. singing/dancing/assorted gymnastics floor routines), I had no idea how to fill my allotted 3-5 minutes of stage time. My mother, sensing my anxiety and despair, dug through a trunk in her closet and stumbled upon an old black-and-white, bell-bottomed dance outfit from her middle school days. Being the swarthy 8-year-old that I was, I had no trouble fitting perfectly into a costume designed for a much older girl, and my mother pointed out that, when the wind caught hold of my sleeve fringe, I looked very much like Elvis. (Now that I'm adult, I know she was referencing Elvis during his jumpsuit-wearing fat phase, but, luckily, my knowledge of 1970s rock 'n' roll was fairly limited at the time, so the ol' self-esteem remained intact until my middle school days.... when it was, of course, devoured by wolves in Abercrombie clothing.)

That comment sparked an idea that ultimately led to CCA's first ever talent show featuring a cross-dressing, lip-synching Elvis impersonator... and, let the record reflect, I brought the house down. There is no need to describe my performance in detail, but if you have an extra 2 min and 45 seconds on your hands, I encourage you to watch this video... but instead of Elvis Presley, picture a prepubescent drag king with a snarl on her face and three feet of hair piled on top of her head. Instead of the Ed Sullivan Show, picture Mrs. Faulkner's homeroom class. Instead of the shrill cries of throngs of frenetic young women filling your ears, imagine the shrills cries of throngs of frenetic... well, nevermind... screaming third graders sound pretty much the same. Pretend the awkward dudes in the back are the parents who aren't sure how to react to my somewhat, er, provocative performance, and you're practically there. As I drank in their applause... their adoration... their envy, one thought consumed my "Hound Dog"-addled mind: I was born for this.

...but, alas, my story continues. Like Britney, Lindsay, & the King himself, I, too, was burned by the flame of fame. For next few months, Mrs. Faulker couldn't leave the room for even a few minutes without the soft, steady chant of Elvis! Elvis! filling our tiny learning space.

Whenever the chanting began, I knew I should it ignore it - that I should stay in my seat and complete my multiplication tables - but I was helpless to resist, intoxicated by celebrity.

The people had spoken. They wanted their hero back.

Before I fully understood what was happening, I would find myself at the front of the classroom, eyes closed, lip curled, chalk board eraser in hand... and it was inevitably at this moment that Mrs. Faulkner would return, a guilty silence would settle upon the room, and I would be beckoned to the hallway to be told, yet again, "Rachel, you can't keep doing this Elvis thing whenever I leave to drop off attendance." One day, at her wits' end, she threatened to call my parents if it happened again.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the day the music died.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

When arranging your cabinet space, do not place the nasal spray (with the long narrow tip) directly beside the super glue (also with a long narrow tip) - especially if you happen to wear contact lenses.

Why I started this blog...

Yesterday, I received a long, thoughtful letter from a person I haven't seen or spoken to in a very long time. That letter was wrapped around a picture of me holding a... wait for it... crossbow arrow... and sitting next to a life-size cutout of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. On the back of the photo, she had written, "I'll have you know that this is one of about 15 pictures that has traveled to England, Guatamala, and Ecuador with me. Flattering, I know."

A few thoughts came to mind:

#1 - Despite being wrapped in a hot pink Snuggie and slathered with Vicks VapoRub, I am, in fact, cooler than I used to be.

#2 - I had no memory of this photo ever being taken. I wish I could blame alcohol, but I was relatively booze-free in college, so that clearly wasn't a factor. You would think that posing with cardboard fantasy monsters in a dorm room would remain emblazoned in your mind for at least a decade or so...

#3 - What did we do with the crossbow arrows after this picture was taken?

#4 - Never leave the house without make-up. Ever.

I figure it's time to start recording some of my day-to-day shenanigans, because I don't want to find pictures of a Snuggied, VapoRubbed Rachel years from now and not be able to explain myself...

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