Learner’s Permit

Ah fifteen, that magical age when everyone save yourself and your bff de jour morphs into an idiot overnight. That delightful time when the body is hurtling headlong into adulthood while the intellect is still flipping through cartoons and wondering where the play-doh went. It is also the time when seemingly reasonable adults allow this seething mass of conflicted hormones behind the wheel of a thousand pound steel (well now days fiberglass) brick.

I was no different. I turned 15 and I wanted my learner’s permit. Never mind that it would be years before I could actually drive a car. I wanted the shiny plastic card that signified my right of passage from childhood to full blown teenhood.

My mom, ever the trooper, got me the booklet (yes people this was before the internet – get your snickering out of the way now) and helped me study. It was at that point I realized she was still as smart as she was when I was ten, for she had been quietly instructing me on the finer points of driving my entire life. Once a teacher always a teacher and every outing had been a potential lesson in rules and safety.

In no time flat I was ready to take the test. Yippee! Once we got to the DMV, however, the real fun began.

As best as I can recollect this is how the conversation went.

Mom: My daughter would like to take her learner’s permit test.

Clerk: Have your daughter study the booklet and come in when she’s ready to take the test.

Mom: She’s ready to take the test now. She just needs the paperwork.

Clerk: Well she needs to come in, in person, and take it here.

Mom: She is here.

At this point there was a long pause. Finally my mom looked down at me and said, “Oh for heaven’s sake would you step back so the lady can see you!”

Back then there was no ADA. There were no accessible anythings. If you weren’t five feet or better you weren’t visible. The poor clerk thought she had a nut case on her hands. Here was this woman talking and gesturing like there was someone with her, yet the clerk saw only empty air.

Heh, sometimes it’s just too easy.

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The Night I Saw Little Pixie Strip

My coworkers nearly knocked each other over trying to get to my cube. They had to tell me about the sign they saw on their way to work. Little Pixie the 3′ 6″ stripper was doing a show at the Oasis.


Oasis was a little seedier and smaller than the places I’d been before, but no less expensive. Eight bucks for a sprite? I guess you pay extra for sober entertainment.

Hubby and I got a table against the wall. It had a good view of the stage and the rest of the public area. Apparently we were a little early since dancers outnumbered the clientele by about 3 to 1. That appeared to be fine with the fellow at the next table. It would’ve taken at least three girls to encircle his expansive middle.

Some of the dancers took apathy to new heights. A couple came across as too sexy for their thongs, clearly doing the patrons a favor just by existing. One was matching her chosen target, I mean client, shot for shot and not getting the better end of the deal. And then there was Jen, at least I think that’s what she said her name was. The music was pretty loud.

She was amazing.

The only thing I could think of was that tired old cliché, “what the heck is she doing HERE?” She had that uncanny knack of making you feel like you were the only person in the room when she smiled. If her enthusiasm was an act then she was Hollywood worthy. She sold it, all of it. When she took the stage everyone paid attention. When she left the stage I wasn’t even sure of my own name, let alone who’d I’d come to see.

Just as my wits coalesced into something useful a squeal went up nearby. I glanced over in time to see Sloshed Stripper barrelling straight at me. I had time for one, clear thought. Oh this can’t be good.

She grabbed my hand and gushed, “Ohmygosh, I’ve heard so much about you!”

Now folks, let me stop for a moment and paint a picture. I’m 2′ 11″ish. I vaguely resemble a penguin with tiny arms that flap yet get me nowhere and a generous backside that follows me around no matter how far or fast I walk. So I’m sure you understand that the last thing I ever expected, in all my life, was to be mistaken for a stripper.

“No, no I really don’t think you have,” I said with far more calm than I felt.

I didn’t want to embarrass her, which looking back now seems bizarre. Here is this drunk woman who takes her clothes off for money and I’m worried about embarrassing her. Right.

She blinked and did a double take as it finally sunk in. There was much giggling and apologizing but eventually she flounced off and I was left to absorb what had just happened while hubby dearest laughed his butt off.


This is where I would normally end the post. I’ve set up the scene, described the humorous bit and then given it a light cap. But… the surprises weren’t over.

Little Pixie showed up, Diva late as befitted her status. My stomach churned. I was rethinking this whole thing. Was it going to turn into a freak show? Were the people going to mock her? Why had I thought this was a good idea?

We waited through a few more dances by girls who acted like they knew they weren’t going to get tips… surprise, they didn’t. Then the DJ announced that Little Pixie was up next. People came from all corners of the club to sit around the stage, far more than I’d expected. The butterflies turned into porcupines.

The lights changed, the music soared and Little Pixie took the stage. The crowd went wild. They cheered and clapped and waved dollar bills… just like every other stripper. She did a heart thumping, booty shaking routine … just like every other stripper. I couldn’t stop grinning. She was treated just like every other stripper and that was the most beautiful sight of the night.

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15 Seconds of Fame

Ever since I can remember I’ve been banging on things. It is undoubtedly my father’s fault. Many a family meal devolved into an all out jam session with the silverware. My dad has amazing rhythm. I am so-so, nevertheless a percussionist I wanted to become.

My uncle was, among many other things, a band manager, a lounge singer and an ad jingle composer, so my childhood never lacked in music or parties or interesting house guests.

One of the most memorable occurrences was when I got to play drums with a band. They were giving a concert in a parking lot. I have no memory of who they were or why they were playing in the lot. I guess those details aren’t important to a child. What was important was that I got to sit behind the huge drum set and bang.

I banged well. I banged loud.

Admittedly I was not necessarily in tempo but who cared. There were snares and cymbals and they made such a great crashing, booming noise thanks to the amplifiers. I was in migraine heaven.

Eventually the song ended. I got a round of applause and cheers, much to my delight. And then, some hapless fool, perhaps even my uncle, did the unthinkable.

They handed me a microphone.

I looked down at the crowd gathered on the damp asphalt and time seemed to stretch out before me. My mind went blank. What was I to do?

Just as someone reached to take the microphone inspiration hit me. I tightened my grip, took a deep breath and belted out the only song I could think of.

“Kiss a Beaver Good Morning.”

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The Case for Dwarves in Space

As a budding Sci/Fi writer I spend a lot of time thinking, reading, and researching about the great black beyond. So I thought what about dwarves in Space? Why not? It’s practical, economical, and possibly feasible.

The average height of a dwarf is roughly about 4 ft, so a max of 4’ 5’’ would include a lot of them and save a foot and a half of, well, space.

Less room needed for the crew means more room for cargo, or even a smaller ship, which in turn requires less fuel. Another area of potential reduction would be food requirements. Tiny bodies don’t need as many calories so, there again, less room needed for meal packets means more payload possible.

Generally speaking dwarves are dense, ah molecularly of course. As in, they retain body heat better. It has to do with a mass to surface area ratio thing. Space is cold so if you don’t have to warm the little fellows up as much that will save on energy consumption.

Speaking of mass, size and strength don’t matter as much in zero g. A smaller person would still be able to maneuver a large object. Plus, more and more work is being done by remote. Manual dexterity and stature don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

But, the #1 reason dwarves should be the go-to space pioneer is for first contact. Think about it. It’s in humanity’s best interest to send dwarves out first into the stars. If an alien race comes across our merry band of teeny adventures what are they apt to think?

If they are equally tiny, green men they may very well call us their long lost galactic cousins and spare us the death rays. If they are huge, slobbering beasties then they might assume that all mankind is like wise small and thus grossly underestimate us. Unfortunately for our astronuggets they’d probably already be eaten at this point and unable to enjoy the alien hiney whooping, but we would undoubtedly erect plastic statues for them the world over.

(And think of the ratings THAT reality show would bring. A dozen little people trapped in a flying tin can. Big Brother eat your heart out. It could be called “Little People, Receding World”. **No offense meant to the Roloff family. I’m sure they’re nice folks.**)

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Jump Rope

Back in the dawn of my employment my aunt worked in Payroll, while I worked in the lofty sounding National Accounts. A few weeks prior to this particular incident my sister had borrowed a jump rope from my aunt. I think she had some errant thought of actually exercising on vacation. Go fig.

Being the dutiful sister I am, I offered to return the jump rope to my dear aunt. My thoughtfulness knows no bounds.

One bright morning I wandered back to her cube, jump rope in hand, only to find the head of HR and Payroll lounging against her walls chatting. I stood quietly and waited. Unfortunately this gave me ample time to think. The imp rose within, which isn’t hard since it has such a short distance to travel.

Then, just as the conversation wound down to a natural end, they turned and spotted me. I smiled sweetly and handed the jump rope to my aunt with a very chipper….

“My dad says thanks but he didn’t enjoy being tied up nearly as much as he thought he would.”

The only sound as I trundled merrily away was that of jaws bouncing off the carpet.

Sometimes, being me is just too darn fun.

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The Ear, The Fan, and The Alien Invasion

Background: A while back I had to get an MRI of my brain because the ENT Dr. thought I had polyps on my ear nerve. This turned out not to be the case, but I did discover that I have an amazingly sexy looking brain. Afterwards they said that any subsequent sinus/ear infections could further escalate the hearing loss in my left ear. Fantastic.

Fast forward several years to a recent bout with a sinus infection from hell and acute bronchitis. By the time I had recovered my left ear was practically useless. I couldn’t even hear a q-tip being inserted. The weeks went by and I kept thinking it would come back. After about 5 + weeks I’d given up hope.

Nothing sounded the same. Even with the TV volume on 30 I had to stop and ask Hubby what was said. My music sounded odd because the sliver of range left was on the high end so it was like a constant static. Depression stalked me.

One Saturday, during garage saleing with the Hubbster, we talked and agreed to call the ENT to see if there was anything that could be done to salvage my hearing and thus my sanity.

That night I woke to a bizarre sound. The fan was making a horrible warbling noise. I jumped up and thumped it. No change. I shook it and glared. No change. I turned it off and Hubby woke up.

Hubby: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Aliens have invaded the fan. Can’t you hear that noise?”

Of course that’s what one thinks first off when there is a terrible noise in the middle of the night, aliens have come. Right?

When I spoke the sound in my head reverberated like I’d shouted inside a bell. This was it. I was having a mental break down. I ran to the bathroom thinking somehow this would help. Plus that’s where my book was and if I was going to have a mental break down then by crikey I was going to finish that last chapter.

That wasn’t so helpful. So I went back and thumped the fan again.

Me: “Can’t you hear that?”

Hubby: “I don’t hear anything different.”

Then it dawned on me. When I turned my left ear towards the fan I heard WARBLE, WARBLE, WARBLE. When I turned my right ear towards the fan I heard wooooooooooosh. Well SON OF A…. Biscuit!! I could hear again…. And wow could I hear.

The next morning I kept asking Hubby why things were so loud, poor dear.

In fact, I think our first conversation in the morning went something along the lines of.

Me: “Why am I stomping?”

Hubby: “That’s how you always sound.”

Me: “No, no, I’m quiet, stealthy dwarf, not clompy, elephant dwarf.”

Hubby: “Uh huh.”

Me: “Why are you shouting at me?”

Hubby: “I’m not.”

Me: “Don’t yell, I just asked a question.”

Hubby: “Oh boy, are you going to be like this all day?”

Me: “Probably.”

And I was.

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