Humpty Dumpty

April 8, 2019

I took three years of German in high school and am ashamed to admit that I remember very little of what I learned. My oddball brain remembers the strangest things, like the German word for vacuum and a smattering of insults (Germans have the BEST insults, I’m telling you). My brain also remembers the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty,” in its entirety because we had one assignment where we were given a nursery rhyme to translate into German and I got the Humpty Man. WHY does my brain remember this and not useful things like how to ask for directions or make hotel reservations? Because my brain is hard-wired to remember stupid shit. It’s why I can recite every soda jingle from 1976 but can’t remember how to do the simplest algebraic equation.

In case you were wondering, the name Humpty Dumpty in German is “Vigela Vargela.”  Humpty Dumpty is fun to say, but I’d contend that “Vigela Vargela” is the far better moniker. How awesome is that?

It is awesome. Unless you become Vigela Vargela, which is no fun at all.

You know, broken.

Shattered into a million bits that are almost impossible to fit back together again.


Good News: I got somewhat of an answer for the double vision stuff.

Bad News: The answer was, “Well, your eyes aren’t really communicating well with each other. It’s a nerve thing and there’s really nothing to do about it so sometimes you’re going to get double vision and just roll with it and don’t freak out.”

Gee, thanks.


Last week, I started physical therapy (vestibular) because I am so off balance that I’m crashing into everything and have absolutely zero depth perception. I had to drive 2 weeks ago (just a few blocks) and had to re-park the car three times because I couldn’t get the car between the damn yellow lines. Proof positive that my arse doesn’t belong behind the wheel yet. I had a panic attack on the way home, certain that I’d be pulled over at any minute and thrown in the drunk tank, cold sober but lurching nonetheless.

I seriously walk like I’ve been to a rager of a kegger.

It’s humiliating.

So I went to physical therapy and guess what?

Not only are my eyes not communicating well together, my eyes and my ears aren’t communicating well together, either. Which causes a person to walk like a drunken Godzilla, knocking down everything in her path.

My body is a walking argument, apparently.

Hatfield vs McCoy.


Bad News: There’s bickering in my brain.

Good News: Physical therapist thinks she can at least help with the ear part of the equation.

Bad News: Treatment for the ear stuff is kind of torturous; they make you spin and turn your head every which way and backwards, and you leave with a barf bag, because that’s what you do afterwards. You also are supposed to sleep in a vertical position the night after treatment. Ummm, you ever tried sleeping in a sitting position? There was a time when my Daddy-o could do it (he could sleep anywhere, under any conditions) but I am not made of such strong stuff.


Vigela Vargela be bitchy.

But we’re pulling up our britches and heading off to barf therapy twice a week (at least until May).

Trying to put the pieces together again.

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Riding the Train

March 27, 2019

How long am I going to be fucked up about this?

My sister’s death (not gonna use the S word) knocked something loose in me. I almost can feel the bones rattling underneath my skin.

It made me realize that I haven’t even begun to deal with the death of my mother for Chrissakes, and now I have another body to add to the flaming pile of you-know-what that I’m living right now.

Mama’s death was different; I had so many details to attend to (including the decision to take her off life support) that I really didn’t sit with the enormity of it. I was worried about Daddy-o and in full throttle Caregiver/I Got This/ Mode. And there was the whole business of spending two hours every day driving down to clean out stuff. I didn’t have time to deal with my own stuff. Or maybe, if I’m honest, I was afraid to have a quiet moment to let feelings creep in.

Now I have this stupid concussion and can’t DO anything. I’m forced to get on the You Be Fucked Train, which seems to run in hyperloop and never stops or gets anywhere. Just circles. It feels stupid and sad and futile and I hate it.

I was trying to explain what it feels like to be riding the You Be Fucked Train to a friend and it went something like: “Well, you are on this train going nowhere, and it’s packed with people so you have to sit with some lady who is chatty and sells Mary Kay and is a loud chewer and snacks on garlic hummus and BBQ Cornnuts the whole trip. And you can’t believe your bad luck.”

I was mostly joking, but I have friends who know me to my black, rotten core, and she got it.

There be darkness here.

And guilt.

Because I gave up on my sister to save myself. I felt I had to. In my rational moments, I know it was the right decision, but in the middle of the night? Different story. Your thoughts go to a bad neighborhood that you don’t want to be in.

So we sit back and ride the train, I guess.

I’ll be waiting anxiously for the next rest stop.


The Summer She Saved Me

March 14, 2019

The summer between 7th and 8th grade, my group of friends decided that they hated me. That group of girls made Lord of the Flies look like hopscotch.

I spent my entire 7th grade year living in terror, wondering when it was going to be my turn to be “out.” Because I knew it was coming, and coming it did. Summer.

You know what’s weird about bullying? People talk about it all the time. The endless weeks of ass-kicking at recess, the lies they tell their mothers about the bruises and black eyes, because the backlash from the truth terrifies more than any fist. The extended legs that trip them in the crowded, nasty hallway next to the choir room. That kind of bullying? It’s front page news. For good reason. But.

There’s bullying of a different flavor, and that kind of flavor is feminine. Boys duke it out in the field after school and shake hands over bloody noses. Girls destroy each other. They do it in a manner that is indicative of their gender. Death by Exclusion. Girls don’t beat your ass; girls decide you don’t exist. And then proceed accordingly.

One day, you walk to school with a sack lunch, hang your coat on a hook, walk over to the same group of girls you sat with yesterday, and they look right through you. Turn their backs like they never even saw you.

But you know they saw you. Of course they did.

The Summer of Shunning was fuck-all terrible. Especially because those hyenas forgot to ignore me. They’d call and say, “You know what we did today? Remember all of the pictures we took the last day of school? Well, today, we went through them and every picture you were in, we burned in Shannon’s backyard.”

It was a summer I’d love to forget.  I wanted the world to swallow me whole.

The world didn’t answer, that bastard.

Instead, the universe brought me an unexpected guest. My sister. The older sister who pushed me down the stairs and snarled and hissed and demanded that I leave her alone when I was a child.  That sister.

That sister somehow understood. Maybe because she has a history of shitting in her own nest but I like to think that she softened. That she knew I had no bearings.

That summer, she was working for Daddy-o (didn’t we both, sir!) and had been issued a company car, which was horrid and awesome at the same time. Horrid: Silver Oldsmobile. Long as an anaconda. Awesome: Daddy owns the damn gas station and has the magic gas card–free gas all summer long.

She deemed the vehicle “The Serpent,” because it was long and thin and had a lazy way of navigating turns. It didn’t so much turn as glide.

It made me laugh, that she called it “The Serpent.”

She even made up her own little ditty to the Beach Boys–we were “Serpin’ USA.” And I laughed so hard I’d thought I’d break and loved her then. I loved her.

We Serped around that summer, radio blasting, angry and taking on the world, Journey screaming from the radio.

We Serped and Serped, slithering around town.

It was the summer my sister saved me.

That’s what I want to remember.


The Un-Birthday

February 24, 2019

Serenade: a sister poem

January 28, 2019

Let it Be

November 26, 2018


October 31, 2018