September 1, 2008

A memory

I was just searching through a long series of emails that I wrote to someone a little over a year ago. I was looking for something specific, but I found a variety of things I'd even forgotten that I'd written about. One of them was a memory of a conversation I'd overheard that I recreated to the best of my ability. I thought I'd share it.

When I was 15 or 16, my mom developed a habit of disappearing for several days at a time and then showing back up unannounced. On one of these occasions, she drug home a dirty, unemployed and very redneck guy wearing cowboy boots named David. She had met him the previous weekend and invited him to live with us.

David was rude, crude, and lewd. He liked to describe himself as "straight-up honest." He ate earthworms to prove points, settle bets, and earn extra cash. Shortly after he moved in with us his 16 year old son "Randy Lee" moved in, too. There was talk of Randy's pregnant 15 year old girlfriend moving in with us, too. I was out of there long before I had the joy of that experience.

It probably won't surprise you to know that David was really, really...stupid. There's just no nice way to put it. Not only was he stupid, he was ignorant, arrogant, hot-headed, and LOUD. The level of conversation when he was around was pretty bad. I stuck to the walls like a shadow in an attempt to draw as little attention to myself as possible. I tried to use that house as just a place to sleep as much as I could.

One night I was in my bedroom, and I was overhearing a conversation between my mom, David, and Randy. (If I remember correctly they were watching the Super Bowl, but I won't swear to this.) Most of the conversation involved trying to prove that each one was smarter than the other two, and no one was really getting very far.

My mom: "I'm just saying there's some things that women know that men don't. Or things that women can do that men can't. We're very sensitive and soft. Men are just supposed to be tough and strong and rough around the edges."

David: "What the fuck kind of shit-talk is this, woman?"

My mom: "It's proven. Scientifically proven. [Yells] AMIE! Come in here! I need you to tell them what men and women are like."


Mom: [in a low voice] "She thinks she's too good for us."

Randy: "I bet you two don't know how to spell that one word. You know that one in that movie with the flying broad and the umbrella? Supercalifragi-something or other?"

David: "What the fuck you talking about?"

Randy: "I'm just saying. You can't spell it."

David: "Neither can you."

Randy: "Fuck you."

David: "Fuck you, boy! Fuck YOU. [pause] Sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'"

Randy: "You sing it."

David: "No! I fucking told you to do it!"

Randy: "Fuck you."

Mom: "I can sing it."

David: "No. I wanna hear him. He doesn't know the words."

Randy: "I know the words, I just don't feel like singin' it."

David: "Randy Lee! I said sing it."

Randy: "Fuck you."


Randy: [sings] "Oh beautiful...for spacious skies....for amber waves of grain..."

[At this point, the other two join in and the three of them proudly sing "America, The Beautiful" to it's final, miserable finish. I had the distinct impression at the time that there were hands being held over hearts, but I can't be sure.]

David: [after the song ends] "Play ball!"

Mom: "That wasn't 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'"

Randy: "Fuck."

David: "What!? Randy Lee, I told you to sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner! The fuck's your problem?"

Yeah. It was pretty much like that all the time.

1 comment:

I'm just me... said...

Wow. I hope you can look back on this and laugh now.