Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Simplicity of Poop

          My Mother (Princess Toadstool) recalls when both my sister (Barbie) and I were very young and we had a less than conventional living situation. I was in a crib, Barbie in her small bed, and Princess Toadstool supposedly slept in a pile of boxes. I'm not sure why she did this but I'm assuming it was out of necessity. Yet this still confuses me because Princess Toadstool isn't just tiny, she's a little vanilla nugget. The people on her side of the family have this strange tendency to become full grown at the age of 5. So by the time my sister was 6 she would've been about the same height as my mother; size tiny. Mom and I could've easily shared that crib. The boxes were quite unnecessary. We had a plastic yellow Fischer Price dining room set which normally are used for toddlers during playtime but because my entire family at the time were the size of chihuahuas including Princess Toadstool we had no problem making every meal a tea party in our make-believe dining room. Princess Toadstool would make pancakes with smiley faces on them; this was our idea of gourmet. The ridiculousness somehow made them more delicious.
         It goes without saying that in these earlier days our family did not have a plethora of wealth. So our days consisted of very simple and more importantly free activities. One of which was going to our local playground; Jubilee Park. Princess Toadstool would take Barbie and I to chase the squirrels and sit on the teeter-totter (I think this is referred to as a "see saw" in America). The teeter-totter was a perfect little ride for our family because out of the three of us, any pairing would balance out the weight perfectly on account of my Mother being the size of a large toddler. The three of us were like the Musketeers; we were together all the time. So in an effort to establish my independence I thought it prudent to escort myself underneath the slide at Jubilee Park and take a poop. This was unannounced of course. I'm not sure how Princess Toadstool found out about this. Maybe Barbie told her or maybe Princess Toadstool saw me do it. In any case, it was for the better that my defecation became known because I needed my family to realize that I was bold and creative. Retrospectively, I don't think my incredibly innovative and undeniably brilliant choice of artistic expression caused too much of a commotion on account of the vacancy in Jubilee Park with the exception of only the three of us. However, this was not the case when at a later date I decided to make another brown proclamation in the bathtub while Barbie and I were both in it. This resulted in my being punched in the face. The same was true when I made my final declaration of smelly independence on my Grandmother's floor in her apartment. Even at a young age I recognized the importance of the comedy rules of three.
          Princess Toadstool didn't have a car. I don't think she's large enough to drive one. Go-Karts are pushing it. So we walked everywhere. We walked through downtown. We walked to the park. We walked to the grocery store. I don't think we really had money to buy much of anything at the grocery store but that was of little interest to me. Barbie was in elementary school so during the week it was just Princess Toadstool and I wandering around aimlessly. I loved going to the grocery store for two reasons. First of all, I love ceiling tiles! I love ceiling tiles more than Christmas. I love how they seem so never-ending. Every time we went into Supervalu I would look up and count every tile for as long as I could until Princess Toadstool finally dragged my Brown tukkus outside to go home. The second reason I loved the grocery store was the bakery! There was a woman in the bakery who would give me a free cookie when Princess Toadstool and I would pay a visit. I guess this was her version of affirmative action. I would always pick the same cookie. I don't remember what kind of cookie it was, I didn't really care. What was important was the color! It was a light brown with dark chocolate stripes that crossed perpendicularly. This cookie was definitely bi-racial. At the time I had no idea what bi-racial was. I really had no understanding of race at all actually. However, I knew that I shared a very special connection with this cookie. I forever stayed committed to only that little brown delight. We are still friends today. If only the same could be said of Milli and Vanilli.
        These very simple activities brought me joy as a little Brown nugget. But nothing excited me more than the event of Princess Toadstool reading. This was an absolute trip; a phenomenon if you will. I will never forget Mom picking up her favorite Dr. Suess book, opening it up and beginning her cycle of crazy.
Please allow me a moment to backtrack….
         I've always been fascinated by people who, on a dime, are able to switch between two forms of speech. Tyra Banks and Oprah are two women who have mastered this talent. A scholarly friend of mine informed that this is referred to as "code switching" in the world of academia. My Mother is one of the best. Most of the time, Princess Toadstool has a very ordinary spunky Canadian voice. Yet, somehow at certain instances she morphs into what I refer to as "the airline stuartist voice". This is a voice that is incredibly magical, articulate, and White. This happens to her on two occasions. First, when she's reading and secondly, when she sees babies.
       I’m not sure what comes over Princess Toadstool when a baby is in her presence. I don’t think I will ever understand this. It must be similar to the feeling Tiger Woods gets when he visits a trailer park or perhaps the feeling that Muslim women get when they have the rare opportunity to see their own knees. Princess Toadstool is overwhelmed with joy once in the presence of a wrinkly newborn. She becomes a cross between a lightbulb and a midget on heroin. I’ve never seen anyone so elated in my life. Immediately once she sees the baby she runs up to it and starts speaking in a pitch only dogs can hear. Her eyes enlarge to the size of grapefruits and she can’t stop smiling like Mel Gibson in Germany. What freaks me even more than watching my own Mother turning into the Avon lady on crack is watching this poor baby who probably doesn’t know any better become equally ecstatic over Princess Toadstool’s completely ridiculous behavior. I’m not sure how any human being can tolerate such a level of insanity. This is why I don’t trust children, especially babies! They’re all crazy.
         When Princess Toadstool is not busy harassing people under the age of 3 that are the same size as she, she spends most of her time speaking and communicating on a relatively sane level using a non-abrasive pitch. Except of course on one other occasion, story time! I think back to those days I would sit with my sister and my Mother in the bed and she would read us magical books by the likes of Dr. Suess and Robert Munsch. Princess Toadstool is amazing at reading, almost as amazing as Barbie doing the Carlton. Mom would invite us on to the bed. We’d hop up with so much joy already in our hearts in anticipation of the dramatics to come. At this point Princess Toadstool would still be in her ordinary state which would remain consistent up until the point of the opening of the hard cover of the book. It was as though there was a light that was unleashed and sent a nuclear-active beam into my Mother’s brain that would brainwash her the moment the first page was unveiled. Barbie and I had front row seats to watch this extraordinary transformation. And then, the voice! “The Spooky Old Tree by the Berenstine Bears” she would say in an incredibly convincing and frighteningly haunting tone! You would’ve thought my Mother was a newscaster on Fox announcing the commencement of World War III. Princess Toadstool completely embodied whatever she was reading and in the case of “The Spooky Old Tree” this was complete and udder mortification. We watched the blood physically run out of Princess Toadstool’s face and the sweat drip down her face. I swear every time she read it was an audition. She would wrap her arms around Barbie and me and shake profusely to evoke the horror of the book. Princess Toadstool provided a complete surround sound 360 degree experience of the book. With every turn of the page we felt the heightened drama of the plot complete with separate and incredibly distinct voices meticulously crafted for each character for effect. Only once the words “The End” were spoken (after an incredibly drawn out pause) and the last page of the hard cover was closed was I able to finally exhale in relief.

         As a toddler I found this experience slightly overwhelming and disturbing. I was also completely fascinated and addicted. I feel similarly about my first experience with Percocet (I was in the hospital at the time, please don’t write letters). This was an incredibly wonderful time in my life. Things were simple. Wake up, eat breakfast in a plastic kitchen with nugget-sized family, count some ceiling tiles, poop on municipal property, listen to an insane woman recite Berenstein Bears in a pile of boxes, go to sleep: Rinse and repeat.

Those were the days.

No comments:

Post a Comment