Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Mrs. G's musings about making the most of her assets, returned the Matron to a pivotal moment in her own self-construction.

You see, in high school, when the Matron was just a Young Miss, she wanted to be Nicole NotHerRealName. Young Miss spent a fair amount of time observing Nicole: how the lithe body moved, how she wiggled in her desk and swirled her hair, how she flirted and smiled. She could not have been cuter! And the Levi's! Oh, Nicky dripped denim and corduroy, all with the prestigious red tag. Friends? To spare! She flew with the A list. You have to ask? Of course, she was a cheerleader! She played the flute, an appropriately pretty and feminine instrument; whereas the Young Miss, in unfashionable eye-glasses, droned in the middle of the pack of clunky clarinets. Nicole's father owned the local car dealership. This was one small town: the dealership. To the fatherless Young Miss, this fact nailed it for Nicky.

That's who Young Miss wanted to be when she grew up. Nicole!

But then came the German class.

Herr Becker had his students conjugating verbs out loud. He'd pick someone at random and shout: Gehen! Haben! Wollen!

Herr Becker: "Nicole! Wollen!"

Nicole: "Wollen? What does that mean again?"

Herr Becker: "You tell me. Past, present, future for I, you, he/she and plural."

Nicole did her adorable hair swirl and chair twirl. Young Miss's heart was aflutter, watching Icon in action. But then something strange, something disturbing, something unthinkable began to unfold. Nicole appeared utterly undone.

Nicole: "Wollen. Wolled, wollee, well, welle?"

Herr Becker glared. This was easy, baby drool stuff from homework we had from day one.

Young Miss radiated and burst! Tried to send ESP. "Ich will, ich wollte, ich habe gewollt. Du willst, du wolltest, du hast gewollt. And so on."

Nicole: "Wollst du? Werde? We wollen, du wolt, wo?"

And the entire room watched while Herr Becker made her suffer until she finally said: "I can't do it."

The voice in Young Miss's head nearly knocked her over with new, Important Understanding: "Nicole NotHerRealName is not smart. I'd rather be smart." Young Miss spent the remainder of the class silently betting that Nicole would peak early, the pinnacle of success perhaps pom-pom or Homecoming Queen crown. This is a German class the Matron remembers well, even now. She remembers how Young Miss considered the vast expanse of a life time and decided that she would rather chug along respectively and then bloom, late, rather than burn out at 17, all fire and comet, assets fried and buried.


Nicole? She had a baby her senior year in high school.

Just so we're clear. The Matron might not have fared much better. She damn well better be a late bloomer. Let's see just how far have the Matron's assets gotten her?

#1. Conversation (with real names! high honeys!)

Matron: "Remember high school?"

Shelley: "Please."

Matron: "Well, I've always wondered something. In our group, Cheryl was the popular one. Sherri was the pretty one. Sorry, but you were.. . . uh, how do I put this.. . . um. . . . "

Shelley: "The one in trouble."

Matron: "Thank you. But what about me? What was I?"

Shelley: "Are you kidding me? You were the smart one!!"

Matron: "Wow. Really? Oh, yeah, that's right."

Shelley: "I love it how you can do this."

Matron: "What?"

Shelley: "Be so genuinely smart and so totally stupid, all at the same time."

Matron: "Habitual multi-tasking. I can't help it?"

#2. The Book Title

The Matron came up with this kick-ass, fortune-generating, book title not too long ago, like, oh, 20 years back: Quick Comebacks and Witty Replies: The Pocket Guide for the Slow Thinker.

Alas, she has been unable to come up with any quick comebacks or witty replies. For 20 years. Guess that's the book she's been needing instead of penning.

#3. The Nail Polish Remover

Today, the Matron went to Chicago Nails to repair the damage the expensive Mother's Day pedicure did to her very fine (well, not really) feet. Yes, Juut left one volcanic edge of crud around her heels and toes! And the paint chipped within the day!!

The economic downturn has made a special point of dropping in as a house guest over at the Matron's, so she could not bring herself to fork over big time dough, yet neither could she stand her craggy hooves. It's summer in Minnesota! She has about one sneeze to wear sandals and she doesn't want to scare people away.

So. The pedicure did the trick!

Later, the Matron wondered why her left middle toe hurt. Owie! Inspecting, the Matron was annoyed to see a little sliver of red nail polish on her actual precious and private skin. And it hurt. And ordained that she was just destined to NEVER get an adequate pedicure, the nail in the coffin that she was just not meant for Pampering and Fluff.

So she took some all natural nail polish remover and let go -- whaled and scoured on that thin line of red. Damn. Only hurt MORE. She chucked nature and got the toxic chemical remover and whaled and ripped again. Oh My God! That hurt! That toe might fall off!! But the polish remained.

Wait! A little bulb sizzled in the Matronly brain.

She took her toe to the window and looked again in the natural light. There was no red polish.

It was a cut. Thank God, now thoroughly cleansed with nail polish remover.

She's a definite late bloomer.


Anonymous said...

Oh Matron ... you must start giving yourself pedicures! They are super easy, super cheap. Read this article: http://www.marieclaire.com/hair/beauty/products/perfect-pedicure-1 It is exactly the way I do mine (minus the brand names). Go to Walgreen (the best inexpensive selection of nail care goods) with a list, keep your stuff in a little basket, and haul your butt into a comfy chair to do this. It's MUCH easier than going to the salon, and you can do it any time.

Mrs. G. said...

Marti beat me to that link! It covers all the basics.

JCK said...

Oh, my. I guess I better not mention reading glasses either. Don't come after me now....

smalltownme said...

I wore glasses and played the clarinet. And I'm proud of it. I think I'm happier in life than many of the cheerleader types I envied in high school.

I'm still married to my high school sweetheart!

But I've never had a pedicure.

Bonnie said...

Ouch Honey Belle!

Love the HS stories. So sad about Nicole - I will be seeing her equivalent in September at my 30th reunion. Ack!


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...


I must disagree that you should do your own pedicures--that pretty much defeats the purpose of the pedicure. I'm willing to bet you could work out some sort of barter with Scarlett though!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Give yourself a pedicure? Do not think such things. No! Remember the Law of Attraction. The Secret. Don't. Think. Such. Things. Or they might come true.

Anonymous said...

OOOH - my eyes were watering!

I'm with Jen - a big of child labour is needed to bring the toes back to their former glory!

On the school front - I wouldn't know where to begin...but thats a whole new blog! I think I went to school at a freak show!

Julie said...

I've only had one pedicure in my life...right before my wedding. I do my own feet/toes these days because it's free! My daughter does give a good foot rub, though!

My highschool years could be a study in poor socialization. Thick glasses, braces, overweight, not of adequate private school economic status. Ugh...makes my stomach hurt to remember. But I did get a good education!

Anonymous said...

I was always the smart one too. And even though I was the best looking of my friends, it got me no play. But I was first chair clarinet and section leader! :P

That book sounds like a great idea, except you'd have to actually stop the conversation to look up the "quick" reply. It might be better to have something like a portable OnStar button. You're immediately connected with an operator who instantly asses the situation and whispers the best response into your Bluetooth.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

@Cheri: You cracked me up with the Secret talk...*snort*

I am one of the give myself pedicure types. The last one I got at a salon? The put the heater too close to my feet - with neuropathy - and I was the proud recipient of first degree burns.

It matched my toes, so there was that...

Anonymous said...

ooooooh, ow ow ow ow ow.

Nail Polish remover in a cut?

Jennifer S said...

Ouch. That had to hurt!

I can never give myself as good or pretty a pedicure as I can get at the nail salon. Ever. So I completely support paying for one, despite the economic downturn. Sometimes I just get a polish change instead of the whole pedicure, and do the rest of it at home.

Be glad you don't live in Arizona, the land of dry skin.

Ari_1965 said...

I have one working brain cell left. It is the one that handles enjoyment of tortilla chips. Everything else is gone.