Friday, July 08, 2005

Girlie Ineptitude

My college roommate and I used to joke (hell, we still do) that the hair and makeup chapters of our Girl Handbooks were missing. Not that we ended up being total tomboys, we liked to go down to the frats looking cute, but all we needed for that was tight clothes. Doing your hair and makeup was pointless considering you were going into a hot, dark, beer-spattered environment. The makeup was all going to be sweat off or wiped away. Your hair was going to melt and end up in a ponytail. We saw it happen to the sorority girls, so we thought we’d just avoid the hassle. Not to mention there just wasn’t a need for involved hairdos and makeup in college – at least, not as far as we were concerned. We didn’t have the time or money to spend on it anyway. Getting ready for class consisted mostly of getting clean, throwing on clothes and covering up blemishes (the one makeup exception).

After college we both went to graduate school and again, there was no need for involved hair and makeup. We didn’t have much more pocket money, and going to class, working in a community garden or a scientific laboratory didn’t offer up many “dress-up” opportunities. So we are officially inept at hair styling and makeup application. Even if we suddenly wanted to, we couldn’t – not without some in-depth instruction and practice. Maybe community colleges could offer courses for people like us: “How to Wield a Curling Iron”, “Hairspray: Fact vs. Myth”, “Makeup Tools, Not Medieval Torture Devices”, and my personal favorite, “How to Style the Back of Your Own Head”.

Needless to say, my lack of interest in hair and makeup was a significant disappointment to my mother. I saw myself as frugal and promoting “natural beauty.” She saw me as immature and unpolished. One Christmas, when I was in my early twenties, she gave me one of those eye shadow kits that has about 80 shades in it. She wanted me to “play” with the colors, kind of like a schoolgirl dipping into mom’s old makeup for fun. That was the only gift I ever returned to the giver immediately upon opening it. A couple years after that mom insisted I go to her hairstylist while I was home for Christmas. My thought was that as long as she was willing to pay for it, I’d be game for a free haircut. Turns out mom had been scheming with the stylist for some time before I came home and they decided I really should color my hair, too. It wasn’t going to be anything dramatic, and I’ll point out again, it was free. I only asked that they remember that I wasn’t going to maintain it, it was going to grow out, and I didn’t want the transition to look too obvious. When it was all said and done, the only way I could describe it was that they dyed my brown hair brown. Mom just gushed over it for the remainder of my visit. My stepdad was hoping I’d get blond highlights. Nobody back at school noticed.

Truth be told, I still don’t see a need to learn these “skills.” Whenever I’ve really needed to look especially presentable, it’s been for weddings and there were plenty of experienced girls around to help me out. The annual Christmas parties don’t require much more than some lipstick and blush.

I can apply chapstick like nobody’s business, so I get by just fine.

Dumb burns

Like a lot of people, we keep a candle on the toilet tank. After blowing out the match, I like to throw it into the toilet because it makes a very satisfying hissing sound. Last night I decided to light the candle and pitch the match into the toilet all while I was sitting on it. Knowing that my hand-eye coordination isn’t the best (especially when I’m not looking directly at what I’m doing) I surprised myself by being able to guide the still-hot match past my exposed posterior into the toilet without burning myself. I had to laugh thinking how embarrassing it would be trying to explain to my coworkers the next day why I wasn’t so keen on sitting down.

But it wouldn’t be the first time that I would have injured myself in a stupid way. More specifically, burned myself in a stupid way. Hell, my mom will gladly tell you that my very first word was “hot” and learned shortly after touching the hot stove.
The first time was at a roller rink. When I was growing up, we’d go to the local roller rink, High Roller. High Roller was covered from floor to ceiling with burnt-orange carpet, aside from the rink itself, of course. This included the 3-foot barrier walls around the rink. Not being extremely proficient at stopping when I wanted to, I would often just stop myself on these barrier walls. One day I hit the wall going a bit too fast, and proceeded to give myself some respectable carpet burns on my wrists. I still have a small scar on one of my wrists.

The second time was in my own bedroom. I had a reading lamp that clipped on to the headboard. While reading in bed one summer’s night, I heard something that made me want to stand on my bed to look out of the window (which was directly above the head of my bed). I know you can see where this is going – I leaned against the wall and in doing so, leaned my knee against the hot lamp. That was the worst burn I think I’ve ever gotten in my life. A big fat blister sprung up and looked like a worm clinging to my knee. It was disgusting.

As I grew up, I learned that I was not the only one who was able to burn themselves in stupid ways. In college I was friends with a girl who burned herself with a cigarette. I know, most of you know someone like this. But did your friend burn their nose with their cigarette while trying to do tricks with it? I can’t remember who it was (Chevy Chase comes to mind, but I could be wrong) but they could take a lit cigarette and through some dexterity of the lips and tongue, flip it back and into their mouth, then flip it back out again. This is what she was trying to do. I don’t think the alcohol helped her any.

Coming to work in the lab that I work in now, I met a rather “interesting” coworker. Because we work on a campus that is affiliated with a handful of hospitals, there are often advertisements posted by labs looking for human volunteers to take part in experiments. You could earn money by letting them take blood, perform lavages, etc. One day my coworker decides to take part in a sun block study. This requires him to test several sun block concoctions on his skin by rubbing them in, and then allowing the researchers to expose his skin to UV light. Being a fair-skinned man, all of his “test patches” ended up essentially sun burned. Where did the researchers decide was the best place on the body to conduct these tests? Just above his ass. He wasn’t shy about showing us the perfect little squares of red lined up across his skin.

Granted, that doesn’t really count as an accidental burn. But this same coworker does have a good accidental burn story. Those of you who have eaten a freshly cooked sausage or brat may have noticed that hot “juice” often comes out of the casing. If you’re not careful, you can spill or squirt this juice on your shirt, on your tablecloth, or on your neighbor. If it’s really not your day, you may squirt this hot juice on your skin and burn yourself. That is what my coworker did. Biting into a brat hot off the grill, hot juice squirted out of the brat and directly up his nose. Now that’s good aim. I don’t think he could do it again if he tried, not that he’d want to.

I hope you can learn something from our mistakes, and not just that you have to keep an eye on us around hot things, though that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I'm actually just procrastinating

I only know two people who have blogs. One seems to use his like a journal, or some sort of strange PR site. He's a busy guy, so instead of sending all of his friends emails to tell them how he is, he just posts a blog every day or so. It's hard to be so popular, I'm sure. A tad impersonal, though. I'm not one of his closest friends, and it's not tailored for someone like me. The other friend with a blog uses his to write funny anecdotal stories about what is going on in his life. Again, I'm not one of his closest friends, but I know enough about him to laugh out loud at his stories. Life can be crazy, and if you spin it right, crazy and stressful can be turned into hilarious.

Why do I want to start a blog? Honestly, right now, I just want to procrastinate at work. I have something really tedious I should be doing. I'd rather save that task for later tonight, when I can watch reruns of CSI on Spike at the same time.
The real reason I want to start a blog: because I can. I don't know if any of my friends will regularily check in on it or not. At least a few of you should check out this first one considering Friendster is emailing you about it for me. How nice of them to advertise on my behalf. It would be an odd email to write, though, "Hey, I wrote a blog. I think you should read it because you're my friend and you should find me interesting. You read my emails and we laugh on the phone, so my blog should be entertaining."

I aspire to be like my friend with the humorous anecdotes. I think funny things happen to me, and I believe I can tell a funny story (that, or my friends are consumate polite laughers). My boss does enough crazy things that I believe I could write a novel just about him. And the folks that I work with make me laugh all the time. There could be some real potential here for funny stories.

If anything, maybe I can inspire the friends of mine that I think are funny to start their own blogs. "That Kate thinks she's so funny, I'll show her." Bring it on! I'll be laughing right with you.