Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And, now, the Rest of the Story...

A while back, I blogged about how much of my life is ruled by the phrase “And one thing led to another.” I’ve been reminded recently that I promised to tell the other half of that story – about how "It just seemed like the thing to do at the time.”

I did mention in that blog that “it seemed like the thing to do at the time,” rates right up there with the famous Redneck Death Cry of “Hold My Beer.” I didn’t realize I’d need to explain the phrase. “Hold My Beer” is one of those ‘warning’ phrases like “Hey, y’all, watch this,” or “Any fool can do that,” or “No way I’m paying an electrician” that loosely translates into “remove small children from the area, locate your emergency exits, find appropriate tourniquet materials, and pre-dial the 9 and the 1.”

In other words, something bad is about to happen.

Now, any story that contains the phrase “it seemed like the thing to do at the time,” is guaranteed to send my mom to her Happy Safe Place where her daughter isn’t doing something likely to get herself killed, arrested, or expelled. My argument is since I’ve never been to jail, been MedFlighted anywhere, or been in something it took the Jaws of Life to get me out of, that it’s all okay. Mom derives precious little comfort from that.

(Although there were several trips to the ER— including one where I was missing three teeth and had almost obliterated my upper lip— none were life-threatening. And I only got suspended once.)

Needless to say, I was never in the running for the Playground nickname of “Angel.”

Looking back at choices I’ve made, I realize that “teenage” really is a synonym for “brain-damaged,” and that full development of my frontal lobe was possibly the greatest achievement of my 20’s. I’m walking proof that God watches out for idiots and children.

I’d give you specific examples, but your pre-teen children wouldn’t thank me for their life-long grounding and I would probably never be able to talk my mom back out of her Happy Safe Place. Let’s just say that you might want to be sure that the Adults-In-Charge of your child at the moment have the same standards of supervision as you. Otherwise, you’ll be needing a Happy Safe Place in a few years, because you're going to have an unpleasant surprise when they let your kid do something she couldn't have even attempted because your cold, dead body was in the way.
(And FYI, not being 21 isn’t a problem if you’re cute and perky and wear a low-cut shirt, teenage boys will do just about anything a pretty girl in a short skirt asks, and transporting minors across state lines without parental permission isn’t a actual crime in most situations. Don't ask me how I know any of this.)

I have no rationale as to WHY I thought any of my adventures were a good idea. All I can say is, “It just seemed like the thing to do at the time.” Did I mention what a great gift I consider my frontal lobe to be?

Someone told me once that his idea of Hell would be standing in front of God and being forced to explain himself. (My vision of that Hell includes a slide show of whatever fashion catastrophe I was wearing at the time—I’m not sure there’s a good excuse for any of that.) Hmm, do you think “It seemed like the thing to do at the time” will fly at the Pearly Gates?

But surely some of those adventures will translate into good book fodder one day. And because readers expect plots to unfold in a reasonable series of actions, I’ll have to come up with good reasons for why my heroine chose to do something. “It seemed like the thing to do at the time” probably won’t cut it with readers any more than it did with my mother.

And, Mom, I promise that as soon as I figure out why my characters did it, you’ll be the next to know. I'm sure it will put that whole trip to New Orleans into clear perspective...

(And, yes, AC will be locked in a closet for most of her teen years.)


Joyce said...

It's 2:30 AM, EST and I just arrived home from a very brief visit with PC and family. So maybe it's the time, but I personally found the blog to be extremely funny. Of course, time does takes the edge off most things.

Also, I have copies of the pictures of PC and friends with "mall bangs." I'm thinking AC may them as a "get out the closet for free" card in about 10 years.

PC's Mom

Jen said...

I, too, find it amazing I lived through my late teens and early twenties virtually unscathed. My stepfather said he read an article that said the brain isn't fully developed until mid-twenties. I'm convinced. :)

Rhonda Nelson said...

I did a few stupid things, but my fear of getting into trouble mostly kept me out of it.

Barbara Vey said...

I was always a big chicken and tried to talk people out of doing stupid thing. That is, until I was old enough to drink. I lost a lot of brain cells in my 20's. I'm still looking for them.

Smarty Pants said...

If my mother only knew....

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Oh yes, hare-brained teenage schemes. Been in a few, been caught at a few, got away with a few. And I lived in Europe when I was 17, so as you well know PC, drinking is perfectly permissible at that age over there. :) One less thing to scheme over.

Playground Monitor said...

I was over in the " 'fraidy cat" corner with Rhonda, but I did do a few dumb things.

I keep wondering how my son is going to react when BabyGrand is a teenager. It'll be interesting.


Problem Child said...

Jen--Counselor Shelley has the brain scans and research to back up that whole lack-of-a-complete-frontal-lobe thing. We really are brain damaged until our mid-twenties!

barbara--It is a known fact that I only have one brain cell left--and I have to share it with Counselor Shelley. It has a special box so it doesn't get lost :-)

Angel said...

Fraidy cat, that's me! I was too afraid my dad would kill me to do anything remotely bad. And fortunately I didn't go to a real high school, because I have a feeling I'd have been the nerd in the corner wondering why those people were such idiots. Don't they know they could get grounded for that stuff? :)

Angel (who earned her name honestly, it appears)

Instigator said...

I got away with a few things. In fact when my youngest brother (who is 10 years younger) started high school I informed my mother of a few of them. My frontal lobe had formed by then and I decided to save my parents the midnight phone call they probably should have received with me.


Sheryl M said...

I must plead the 5th on the grounds that it WILL incriminate me on a later date....that date is LOOONG after my mother can no longer see to read!! One plus with 4 daughters...they cant pull anything I didn't master long before they were ever thought of!!!!