Most of what I really need to know about life, love and waterbeds, I learned on LSD. Books are neat and everything, but I’ve learned more tripping balls in outer galaxies to Bauhaus than I ever have cuddling up with a novel with some random orange cat.
Seriously, whose cat is this?
Triplog: Stardate, Tuesday, 9/22/1987:
8:00am Mom hands me $40 in cash (in case of emergency) and goes out of town for a week.
11:30am Deem purchase of 8 hits of double–dipped Blue Lightning fry* an emergency. *1980’s Reno for LSD
2:40pm My best friend Sandy and I take one hit each on the public bus ride home.
3:25pm Transfer station. Still feel nothing. Take another hit each.
3:27pm Transfer buses.
3:28pm Decide dealer sold us bunk fry. Eat all of it.
3:45pm Bus driver turns into a pterodactyl.
3:46pm Ponder how a pterodactyl can hold a steering wheel.
4:00pm Pterodactyl squawks at us in some strange pterodactyl language we don’t speak.
4:01pm Pterodactyl stands up, screams and hops toward us pointing to the doors that have been open a very long time. We turn into liquid and pour onto sidewalk.
4:02pm Attempt standing. Legs clearly have stopped working.
4:05pm Woah, cars make rad tracers.
6:00pm Woah, look at our hands.
7:30pm Woah, look at ALL THOSE DOGS! Our legs magically, yet very awkwardly, work again. We run. If that’s what you call it.
8:00pm Can’t get in front door. Fuck. It’s not Sandy’s house.
9:00pm Can’t get in front door. Fuck. It’s not Sandy’s house.
10:00pm Can’t get in front door. Fuck. It’s not Sandy’s house.
11:00pm Found Sandy’s house! Front door bush monster hits the key out of the keyhole over and over.
11:30pm Go around back. Did Sandy’s mom start a rabbit farm? At least 700 multicolored rabbits in backyard. Bunnies are rad!
11:50pm Loch Ness Monster blocking the back door.
Triplog: Stardate, Wednesday, 9/23/1987:
Midnight Defeat Loch Ness Monster with help of magical, yet surprisingly violent, rabbits.
12:03am Thank bunnies.
12:05am Finally get in house. Walls are breathing so heavy they squeeze Sandy and I into each other on an inhale. On next exhale, hightail it to Sandy’s big sister’s room.
12:15am Walls inhale again and push us onto magical bed made of water.
12:16am Determine waterbeds were invented for drug use.
12:17am Everything makes sense. I am one with the universe. Just don’t move.
12:20am “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” comes on. On repeat.
12:21am I am melting into the bed. I’m in the universe. Stars surround me. The music envelops me. I’m the only person in the world and it’s rad.
12:45am The sound of screaming harshes my mellow. It’s coming from inside the waterbed. Peel back all bedding. SCREAMING BUBBLES.
?am Bubbles speak. “We’re trapped! We can’t breathe under here!”
?am Why must I always be the superhero?
?am Search for something sharp. Wet n’Wild black eyeliner pencil. Yes!
?am SET BUBBLES FREE! A huge stream of water shoots out of the magical bed.
Time slows down. Everything in slow motion. Screaming. Coming from out of Sandy’s face.
Shame courses through my body. I look in the mirror. I’m a monster. My eyes are black. I am going to die tonight.
A tube of Bright Red lipstick jumps into my hand. It’s a sign. I open it all the way up. What is this mysterious substance? I smash all of it into my hand and rub it all over my face.
The door opens. Kittens fill the room. An 8-foot tall neon green electric eel with red hair screams at us. “IT IS 4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING, WHAT ARE – ARE YOU DRUNK? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WATERBED? COURTNEY, ARE YOU BLEEDING?
4:00am We could barely hear her over all the meowing, so we repeat, “We’re on fry! We’re on fry!” over and over again.
“I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU’RE ON, YOU ARE CLEANING THIS WATER UNTIL THERE IS NONE LEFT!”
2:00pm We finished bucketing and siphoning out all the water. Sandy’s mom made me walk home.
?pm Somehow I found my house all by myself. My face was still covered in bright red lipstick.
?pm I found my bed. Everything went black like a coma, not like sleeping. I don’t know if my eyes were open or closed.
Triplog: Stardate, Thursday, 9/24/1987:
4:00pm Red lips start ringing. All is black but lips. I want them to shut up. I pick it up. I can hear my mother. I tell her one thing only, “I’m on drugs.”
?pm My brother-in-law picks me up and reminisces about past LSD trips. I am not of this earth. I will die because of the waterbed. I want to die. I am dirty in my blood.
?pm I watch TV on sister’s couch. Two very small humans stare at me. My sister tries to remove the red lipstick from all over my face.
Triplog: Stardate, Friday, 9/25/1987:
10:30am I miss my pep rally because I was still tripping balls.
Everything I need to know is in that one trip. Like don’t take four double-dipped hits of acid unless you plan on tripping for four days. And if you do, you will miss most definitely miss your pep rally on Friday.
I also learned that bright red lipstick stains the face for approximately two weeks when left on for three days straight. I learned that waterbeds grow back (okay, not really, they bought a new one) and my family loves me unconditionally, even though they’re still laughing at me.
I think the world would be awesome if every single person took a stand and set their own personal bubbles free. Or if we all took four hours to find our front door and played with 700 bunnies before defeating the Loch Ness Monster.
Or if there was a policy in our country and all countries to say, “I’m on drugs,” when everything just gets too heavy. It’s okay to show your cards when you’ve eaten serious dong.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to go with your best friend and stay away from pterodactyls.
*originally published by Below the Fold in 2017
Just like Lady Gaga, I had my very own Alejandro.
There was no virginity checkpoint at the front door on my first day of high school. And better yet, a week later, I bumped into Rob – after some light stalking – and he pretended like he didn’t know me at all.
So much for my senior boyfriend. I was heartbroken… that he wouldn’t pave my road to popularity.
I was invisible, which was a step up from being bullied. I didn’t realize I’d be the new kid for the 12th time in my life and that most of these kids went to school together since Kindergarten.
At first, I was annoyed that Marie got a variance to Reno High because I thought she’d cramp my style, but now I was relieved to at least have one friend. And then we made two friends in Math class – Asian sisters who were as sweet as could be – so now I had three friends.
Three very nerdy friends.
We ate lunch in the cafeteria everyday, even though we were allowed to go off campus.
After about a month of whining, I finally coerced Marie to go off-campus for lunch. As we rounded the corner of Great Western Bank, I spied a cute Filipino guy wearing crazy pants, a red bandana and Oakley’s sitting all alone on what most definitely was the largest boombox in the great state of Nevada.
And it was playing It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, which I must admit, was a pretty dope ass song.
I was wearing the tightest mini skirt I owned. I glanced back to confirm what I already knew – Alejandro was totally checking out my butt. I didn’t know his name yet, but I could tell that he wanted to scam with me and that’s all that mattered.
On our way back to school, we walked past the bank again and he was still there, in the same position and playing the same exact song.
I assumed it was a particularly long song.
I devoted the rest of that week to stalking. I had to find out more about my soon-to-be-new-man.
This guy was methodical:
- Everyday before and after school, and at lunch, he’d perch himself atop his ginormous ghetto blaster and play It Takes Two. It was never a different song. Once it ended, he rewound the tape and played it again.
- At 4pm, he’d lift his boombox up onto his shoulder, which was a feat in itself since it was so high that his arm had to be totally straight to reach the top without dropping it.
- He’d walk to the Burger King on by the railroad tracks, tagging various walls and street signs along the way.
- He’d order two Whoppers with no onions and extra ketchup and an extra large coke. He always took it “to go” and didn’t eat it until he got home, however, he did sip on the drink.
- He’d walk along the railroad tracks from the Burger King all the way to the trailer park where he lived.
He was always alone. Maybe it was because he only played one song on his boombox.
After a week of stalking and eye-fucking, he still hadn’t even said “hi.” I began to realize he probably didn’t have any friends because he was horribly shy.
It was my duty to save him from his loneliness. His fortress of solitude. I would be the light in his dark life. He’d tell me things he never told anyone, like how his parents died in a mining accident just after he was born and that his mother’s health was failing.
Now I just had to work up enough nerve to speak to him.
The lunch bell rang on Monday and my heart leapt into my throat. I did what every nervous teenage girl did to calm the fuck down in 1987 – I pulled out my tin of strawberry Lip Lickers and clicked it open and closed approximately 28,000 times.
I approached the bank, alone this time.
There he was, in his same exact spot, playing the same exact song.
I walked toward him, but my knees betrayed me. They were shaking so hard that I was sure an astronaut could see them from space, so I made a beeline for the curb and ended up sitting awkwardly about 15 feet away from him.
He looked over at me and nodded. I smiled at him. It was now or never.
“I like that song,” I shouted.
He nodded in agreement. He was a man of few words. Mysterious. Damn, I had to have him.
“You a freshman?”
How the fuck did he know that? Was it that obvious?
“Yes,” I said without shame.
“I’m a junior.”
Then I heard the lyric: “Take it off the rack, if it’s wack put it back / I like the Whopper, fuck the Big Mac”
Oh. My. God. This guy didn’t just like this song, he lived it!
Then he picked up his boombox, put it on his shoulder and started singing along, but it was rap, so I guess he was rapping along as he walked toward me. It may have been one if the most awkward moments in my short life, I mean, what do you do when someone stands in front of you rapping along to It Takes Two?
Then, when it couldn’t get any weirder, he held out his hand to me as the chorus played.
“It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it outta sight / Hit it!”
We held hands all the way back to school, neither of us saying a word. Once we got to the front door, he lowered his boombox and hit stop on the tape player.
“I be chillin’ at BK by the tracks 4:30 if you wanna.”
And with that, he was gone. If I wanna…what? Make out? Get married? Exchange pot brownie recipes?
Nevertheless, I was filled with excitement. He liked me. We held hands. I was going to keep our love a secret until we were officially “going with” each other because I wasn’t quite sure if he was the coolest guy on earth or a major dork.
I got to Burger King way too early, so I got a Whopper with no onions and extra ketchup and an extra large coke so my body would be nourished with the same stuff of his.
I finished the rest of my meal just as he walked in. He ordered his usual and then noticed me sitting there.
And with that, he grabbed his Whoppers and we walked up the railroad tracks toward his trailer park, It Takes Two blasting all the while.
“Aren’t you going to eat your food?” This was a tactic I frequently utilized – pretending like I didn’t already know every last detail about the Neanderthal I was desperately needing to validate my worthiness.
“I hate BK. It’s for my mom.”
Hmmm. Curve ball. Perhaps the song was not, indeed, his creed.
“I have to be home by 7,” I lied because I really wanted to get to the good part before walking a fucking mile to his trailer. He put the boombox down and it automatically turned into a loveseat. The song was now drilling into my cortex, especially the “yeah/woo” part that repeated over and over and over the entire duration of the song, like hey Rob Base, not even a bridge reprieve? Come on.
He then turned down the music enough to still be annoying, but able to speak to and hear each other.
“I spin records.”
“Cool. Can I watch you sometime?”
“Yeah, I don’t got any gigs yet.”
Uh-oh. I could tolerate a lot of male stupidness, but bad grammar was a deal breaker. I started to reevaluate our wedding colors.
“I got two turntables.”
Again with the improper usage of “got.” I was done. Just as I started to plan my escape, he leaned in like he was going to devour me. His huge lips parted and his ginormous mouth opened wider and wider as it moved in for the kill.
I’d made out enough to know that that kissing shouldn’t involve the nose, and especially not the cheek or lower eye area. All of these facial regions were slurped upon in a most upsetting way. For a moment I actually couldn’t breathe and feared my destiny was to die at the lips of a Filipino man with bad grammar.
I couldn’t figure out a way to leave gracefully, so we made out for another two excruciating hours. At the end of the ordeal, I literally ran away, telling him I had to catch a bus. A few seconds into my stride, he yelled to me.
“Hey freshman! What’s your name?”
I turned around, still jogging, feeling safer the further I got away from those big ass lips.
Yes, I’m white and yes, Maria was the only name that popped in my head.
“Alejandro’s my name, scratching records are my game!”
I couldn’t stand it any longer. It was one thing to have my face sucked, but I just couldn’t withstand his horrible grammar.
“Alejandro, scratching is singular therefore the correct verb is ‘is,’ not ‘are.’”
And then I ran. I ran so far away. I just ran. I ran all night and day.
And the only things chapped longer than my ass were my lips and nose. For weeks my face bore the reminder of Alejandro. Alejandro.
Now that I think about it, perhaps Lady Gaga and I did have the same Alejandro…
“Don’t call my name / Alejandro”
(because you think my name’s Maria)
“I’m not your babe / Ale-Alejandro”
(because you tried to eat my face)
“Don’t wanna kiss / Alejandro”
(because my face will probably be scarred for life now, you douche)
“Just smoke my cigarette and hush”
“Don’t call my name / Ale-Alejandro”
(please, please, please)
Sparks Middle School became my eighth school, but marked the first time I changed schools without changing houses. This was also the only time I kept vodka in my locker, spent as much time in detention as Bender in “The Breakfast Club,” and attempted suicide in public.
Ends up I stayed alive long enough to wind up in middle school. Had I known, I would’ve repeatedly poked myself in the eyeball with Mr. Loeman’s record needle or grown an affinity for napping with the class snake.
But, no. Heart still beating and lungs still breathing, I inevitably ended up in the shittiest hellhole I’d ever experience. Coming from a girl who lived outside a fishing village in Central Mexico and a one-and-a-half bedroom apartment with five people, including one murderer, that’s saying a lot.
I now had a whole new milieu for humiliation. And it started immediately.
Word to the wise: Never play Truth or Dare with your bully. It will not, I repeat will not, end up in your favor.
See, I never chose dare, because I’d without doubt have to show everyone my mosquito boobies or lick something incredibly undesirable.
In hindsight, I should’ve chosen dare.
Huddled under the concrete turtle at recess, I admitted to touching tongues with a girl when I was 5. Seemed innocent enough, I mean, I was 5. What could a bully possibly do with that information?
It was a Tuesday. Tuesdays suck. At least on Mondays you’re prepared for suckiness. But Tuesdays can just be a no-hope stupid-a-thon of lameness.
I opened the chipped pale yellow and green doors and headed down the eternally long hallway toward my locker.
Side note: Sparks Middle School was horseshoe shaped. It had two super mega long halls with one regular-sized hall between the two. My locker was, of course, at the very end of the one of the two unnaturally long halls.
A hush came over the hall. Heads turned. At first it was silent stares. Were they admiring my new five-for-a-buck earrings I’d purchased at Claire’s Boutique last weekend? Or did my incredibly Aqua-Netted-took-an-hour-and-a-half-every-morning huge hair look exceptionally fabulous today?
Let’s try D, none of the above.
Then the whispering began.
“Blah blah blah bull dyke la la la?” One vapid prepubescent whispered to the other.
“Oh yeah, well I heard blah blah la la lesbian slut fla fla fla,” another big-haired betty loudly whispered back, glaring at me all the while.
Thoughts flooded my brain. Are they talking about me? Why is everyone staring at me? Why is my locker so fucking far away?
By the time I finally made it to my locker, people I didn’t even know were screaming at me.
These trajectories rang in my ears as I tried desperately to remember my locker combination and steady my hands.
After several failed attempts, I finally got my locker open. At least now I could hide my face and try to pull it together, because by now, of course, I was crying.
After about a second of much needed ostrich solace in my locker, a cool breeze hit my nether regions.
“See, she can’t even keep her clothes on at school, what a stupid slut!” And with that, Mr. Charming left me – skirted.
Until two seconds ago, I was wearing a miniskirt with tan control top pantyhose underneath it. And Mr. Charming was good – he didn’t only get the skirt all the way down to the icy linoleum floor, he also got my pantyhose down to my knees and my underwear flipped exactly inside out so the world could experience my snail trail.
I was frozen in fear for what felt like a hundred years. How would I bend over and pull up my underwear and pantyhose and skirt right there in front of a crowd of onlooking assholes? For some reason, the act of reparation felt worse than the initial act of hatred.
And to top it off, the hallway of strangers now knew that I had no pubes. Not one. At least pubic hair would’ve covered up my crab-claw a bit, but I didn’t even have a period yet and I most certainly didn’t have pubes.
So there I stood, pubeless, alone, and hated.
Maybe if I stood there long enough, I’d just disappear. Or maybe they’d all go away. Or maybe, just maybe, the bell would ring.
None of those things happened.
I took a deep breath and somehow managed to pull my underwear and pantyhose and skirt back on amid the throngs of bloodthirsty motherfuckers. Those 15 seconds were by far the most mortifying seconds of my life, but I learned my lesson – always come prepared.
I immediately blamed my mother.
Two years ago, I wanted to be a Girl Scout, but my single mom was waiting tables at the Holiday Inn so I could have food and shelter. She said she’d only be able to make it if her boss who hated her guts would let her leave early. So she stood me up for the first Girl Scout meeting of the year. I sat there, all alone, the only little girl without a mom. I begged and pleaded with those overachiever moms to still let me join, but they absolutely wouldn’t allow me to be a girl scout because of my – ewwww – working mother.
See, those little cookie pimpin’ bitches would’ve taught me to always be prepared. They got to learn these things ahead of time instead of figuring them out only after experiencing utter humiliation and degradation. Think about it; their skirts buttoned on the side. Problem solved.
I came to the immediate conclusion that hindsight was for suckers.
So was Truth or Dare.
And so were elastic waistbands.