Air Conditioning Codes

My Uncle John is so much more that can be put into words…you can tell he has a little bit of wise guy in him, but at the end of the day, he’s a big ‘ol softy. (but don’t tell him I said that.) A few years ago, my sister and I were over at his house to say a quick hello. HI! HOWAH YAH GUYS! GOOD SEEIN’ YAH! We were catching up on family and how their latest trip to the British Virgin Islands was. Oh my gawd, I’ll tell yah somethin’…it was fantastic. Clee-yah blue oceans-ow-wah own private captain. Yah. (Let me just interject right now, if I may—the use of the word ‘yah’ encompasses everything in a conversation. How are yowah  parents? Good! They’re good! Response: Yah. Good. Yah. I heard that (insert name here) got a great job promotion. YAH?! Oh yah! I heard that (insert name here) is battling cancer. In lower voice: Yah…yah. ) ‘Yah’ is the perfect response for everything.)

 
So we’re chatting with Uncle John about his vacation, and he wanted to show us some photos he took of the trip, and of course they were on his computer upstairs in the guest room/office.  The three of us trek upstairs and go to the room where the computer is.  He’s finding the pictures in a file when I notice that there is Bic Pen numbers and letters written all over the wall behind the computer. We’re talking A Beautiful Mind here. Uncle John? I ask cautiously. Why is there um, numbers and letters written on the wall?
 
Oh! Those ahh my passwords and codes. Yah. Yah nevah know what wee-doh is gonna go dumpstah divin’ fo-wah my passwords, that’s why yah can’t trust a notebook. Even if I shred the pay-pah, you don’t know who’s gonna go through and tape it tugethah! Hannah and I exchange glances at each other and continue to look at pictures of the vacation. At the end of the slide show, I can’t help it. I just can’t. I go back to the codes written on the walls.  So…why do you write them on the wall? And why are there so many? Oh, I change the codes every two weeks, and you know, aftah a while I fo-wah get them, so I write them down! At this point, Aunt Joyce walks by the room on her way down stairs, hearing our conversation and chimes in: I took a week off of work to re-paint and wall pay-puh this room, and what does he do? He writes all ovah my wall pay-pah.  Uncle John continues: I don’t put ANYTHING on the intah-net. ‘Cause it’s all out theh-yah fo-wah people to steal all yo-wah identity. I’m not gonna let that happen!  At this point I can hardly contain my giggles when I notice that there are even codes written on the uninstalled air conditioning unit. Um, Uncle John, why do you have passwords on the air conditioner? Oh yah! Look at the wall Mah-grett, I ran outta room,  (hello? I should have already deduced that fact) I need a place to write down the codes! He thinks this is normal. Like, he’s looking at me like I have 8 heads. Hey, whatever works. This is a man that brings ritz crackers and cheeze whiz to a bar when he’s betting, and does pretty well for himself.  When all’s said and done, my money’s on Uncle John.
 

Definition of Masshole

Recently, Boston was voted 50 out of 50 for being the meanest city . Even though this article is extremely short, I’d like to take a deeper dive on the matter. Mean (or in other words: Masshole) can encompass so many different qualities, so many different attitudes–that it’s not fair to just peg the word ‘mean’ on us, is it? There are certain principles one must understand in order to exist in this great state (and more importantly, city) if one wishes to thrive, or even, survive.
 
Driving. People that claim Massachusetts drivers are the worst drivers don’t know shit. Believe me, when you get cut off in the middle of an intersection by a man driving a Crown Vic smoking a cigarette with an oxygen tank seat belted in shot gun attached to his nostrils, you’ve gotta grow some balls. Fast.  We Bostonian drivers know our roads well and are not afraid to let you know it. Why should we be bashful? After 20+ years of the hell that will forever live in infamy as The Big Dig, we’ve earned it.  The Buick La Sabre in front of you doesn’t need to put his left turn signal on, he already knows where he’s going, so fuck you for not figuring it out. The problem with tourists and travelers is that they think they’re driving a vehicle on a road. As soon as you realize that Bostonians are all in one big game of Super Mario Kart, the roads will seem a lot friendlier. I’d like to think of myself as Yoshi.
 
The Sarcasm.  Just because someone says something with a straight face does not make it acceptable to believe them right off the bat. Hey hun, I could really use anothah Mastah cahd bill that’s ovah a thousand bucks this month. Shocked (and new to the area) bartender: Really? No, but I’ll take anothah bud heavy. In many cultures, it’s custom to refuse to eat a platter of food if it’s past in front of you once, even twice, but on the third go around, you indulge in the gorgeous  stuffed grape leave offered. Upon seeing an old friend, you might hear: What the fuck! Who the fuck does this kid think he/she is? What a fuckin’ knuckle head, ohmygawd jesus christ!!! (large bear embrace ensues.) Midwestern or West Coast Translation: My goodness! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, my long lost childhood friend! How are you doing? My heart is swelling with happiness! Some might cringe at the gruffness of it; that’s ok. If you’re not interested in what’s underneath the sandpaper exterior, we’re not interested in showing you.
 
Sports.
Whether you are black, white, purple, green or magenta, Boston is and will always be a sports town. It’s literally in the water, air and food we consume. You can’t exist one season in Massachusetts without a game being on of some sort. My father gets so excited watching a Sox game, he’ll forget to sit down in his chair in the den. He’ll just stand 2 feet in front of the tv for the better part of 45 minutes.  Only after three or four attempts of shouting at him will his ear canals clear of sports jargon and register that his family is yelling at him to get out of the way. People plan their weddings, christenings, engagements and various other life milestones around sports. Sure, I’ll drive down to the Cape, but if the Bruins make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, I can’t. I need to be at my bar wearing my lucky socks. Sports events create long lasting friendships, relationships and babies. Plus, everyone in Boston knows that beer just tastes better inside the park.
 
So that’s that. If you get it, great. If you don’t, who gives a shit.

Boston Accented Santa

As a child, Christmas was my absolute FAVORITE holiday. Everything about it made me happy: my father making Aunt Mil’s famous fruit cake (it’s literally a brick of flour). Watching my mother wrap elaborate gifts to send to her home state of Wisconsin. Wearing puffy holiday dresses that would invite me to act as a human conductor and then zap me if I touched anything.  Decorating the house with Christmas paraphernalia…the list goes on and on. The most distinct memory I have for Christmas growing up was calling Santa at the North Pole on Christmas Eve and waking up with a bright orange kiss mark Santa had left on my cheek. 
 
Every Christmas Eve, my father would pull out the yellow pages and theatrically look up Santa’s number. I’d beg and plead with him to let ME look him up; after all, I knew the alphabet, and I knew that his last name started with a C. This wasn’t exactly heavy lifting. But each time he’d say nope, Mah-grett, only paya-rhentts can look the num-bah up. I would squirm as he dialed the numbers and called Santa’s home at the North Pole, ask to speak to Santa, and finally, he’d hand the phone to me. SANTA?!!! I would exclaim. Hi Santa! It’s Margaret! Santa would lovingly proclaim: MAAH-GRETT! How ahh yah! Have yah been a good girl this yee-yah? Have yah been nice teh yah pah-rents?  Yes, Santa, I have. I HAVE! Well, ok, Mah-grett, I’m gittin’ pretty busy up he-yah at the Nawth Pole, so what is it you REALLY want this yee-yah? I would smile and giggle and tell him what I wanted while he promised that our house was the first house he’d deliver gifts to; and of course I believed him. One year, my father dialed the number, handed it to me, I salivated while listening to each ring, and someone picked up. HELLO? The brusk voice answered. SANTA!!! I exclaimed. Oh!!! This must be Mah-grett! This is one’ve Santa’s elves…yah…he’s really busy Mah-grett, but he was expectin’ yo-wah call! (Some shuffling of hands and muffled voices ensued and soon, Santa was on the phone.) SANTA! I squealed.
 
This tradition lasted until 3rd grade, until Esme and another guilty party whom shall remain nameless cornered me in Mr. Pisani’s class at recess. Santa doesn’t exist they proclaimed. Children have such a blind faith, such a trust that is felt with their hearts and not the physical realm that surrounds us; why wouldn’t I believe in Santa? I loved and trusted my parents, and if they told me he was real, then he must have been. Not just the blind unadulterated faith, but he left physical evidence of being in my house: trails of candy canes from my room down the stairs arriving at a bountiful stocking with gifts pouring out of it; half eaten cookies were strewn in the fire place, and even carrots were nibbled on and found in our front yard. Let’s not forget about the orange kiss mark found on my cheek on Christmas morning. Santa totally existed.  But alas, he was a mere fable. I had a lot of questions I needed answered.
 
Who was Santa? How did I talk to him? How did he leave a kiss mark on my face? Turns out, the orange kiss mark was my mother (I always thought it odd he had the same Estee Lauder Florida  Orange as my mom).  One mystery down and one to go. Who did I speak to all those years? How did he know me so well, and where I lived? What my sister’s name was? Turns out, Santa was Uncle Kevin in Melrose. Jimmy (my cousin) was the elf.
 
Years later I was watching a holiday movie when it dawned on me:  in my mind, Santa always had a Boston accent. And always will.
 

Yoga?!

I never really have ever felt thin. Even at my thinnest (the end of my freshman year of college I was 98 lbs…and when the scale hit 100 I cried). Body image and perception of the way I feel has always been negative. Granted, there are days when I feel gorgeous, but it’s usually due to a new pair of shoes or some external material thing. Well, at 28 years old, I’m fed up. It’s bullshit.
 
I’ve taken up a couple activities to try and untangle my mind into more of a cohesive supportive organ helping my body become healthier and happier rather than the roadblock it has become.  First, I’m seeing a therapist. It’s the best fucking thing in the world. Think of your head as this messy cluttered mason jar: you go to therapy, dump all the shit out of the mason jar and at the end of the session, you don’t have to clean it up; you get to leave your mess in that space and have a clean jar for the rest of the day/week. Amazing.  I just want to say to all skeptics out there, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. If you break a bone, you go to the doctor.  If your head is a mess, go to a doctor. It’s that simple.
 
Another exercise I’ve begun is yoga. I know. I know. I’m probably the most sarcastic beast on this planet, and I’m the one attempting to focus on my breathing. Life is funny. Liv (my instructor/teacher thing) is my best friend’s girlfriend and is new to Boston. You could say that I’m being the nice one (what with me helping her get her practice off the ground in Boston and all…) but in reality she’s saving me.  I’ve become uncomfortable in my own skin and want to take control of my health and body image. I figure yoga could be a good way to do that. When people roll their eyes at the notion of yoga, my response will be a challenge: you try the warrior pose or plank pose and I DARE your muscles not to quiver with pain.  Yoga is all about breath, and the focus of it. When you can breathe and focus solely on your breath in a sitting position, different poses help you feel other parts of your body. Well, the morning after my first class, I felt everything. I woke up feeling like Roger Rabbit after being steam rolled. Yoga is a practice that is meant to be calming, (I suppose it will get that way in time) but let me tell you one thing: it is a work out. After 30 minutes, my heart rate is jacked and I’m sweating more than what can be called glistening. It is not pretty, but I’m with a teacher I trust and believe in, and I know I will get to the better version of myself I want with her guidance.
 
So slowly but surely I’m building my confidence and health. Let me tell you one thing: it’s a bitch, but at the end of the day, if you can say you treated yourself well, it’s all worth it, one breath at a time.

Three’s No Crowd

You read correctly. I am one of the many that have given a shot to online dating. I’ve tried match.com, but the one and only date from that site I had was of the crash and burn genre. (True story. He took me to a liquor store and bought a 6 pack of pabst and we sat first on a park bench drank a beer, then we walked back to his apartment, I sat at one side of the couch and he at the other while watching the end of Training Day and drank another beer. Awful.)

So, after match.com I dated someone for a bit (not from a dating site) and suffice to say, I’m no longer with said someone. (praise be to jesus.) I recently decided to give online dating another shot. Well, that’s not quite true. Bonnie convinced me to sign up one night because she had recently met someone that was cute and funny. And we both had some Syrah coursing through our veins. Ok Bonnie. Sure. I’ll sign up.

I can’t tell you the types of people that have emailed me. One gentleman emailed me and offered to clean my whole apartment top to bottom. There was a catch, however. I had to watch him clean. In my underwear. I actually gave it like, 3 seconds worth of consideration.  There have been many South American dudes writing to me and saying: You pretty girl. We meet? Uh, sure! No problem, Carlos! (for the record, one of their name’s was Carlos, and I’m not being grossly politically incorrect.)

Then there was Jonah. Oh Jonah. We met at the Trident Book Store, and as soon as I sat down he immediately began hysterically coughing, and was complaining the heat was up too high. It was the end of April, and the heat wasn’t even on. So Jonah urged me to move outside, to the patio which was so uneven i had to hold my teapot in place. The thing about Jonah was a)he didn’t blink. Like, not even a little. b) he didn’t talk, so I had to literally down shift to “So…(throat clear) what kind of music do you like?” (I’m referring to genre, as I’m assuming you are as well…)Jonah’s response: Oh, primarily the fiddle. THE FIDDLE? ok. I would judge you if you said the Dixie Chicks, or even Van Halen, but I didn’t ask what type of instrument you like, and who says fiddle? Are we in King Arthur’s Court or some shit? I realized this date was not to be repeated, so I said in a saccharine and horrified tone: Oh my god! I can’t believe it! I left my black berry at work! I have to go! so i escaped the crime scene back to my lovely little apartment. Crisis averted.

The absolute best though, was an email I received about 3 weeks ago. The participant(s) screen name? Threesnocrowd. The message went somewhat along these lines:
Hi! We are a married couple who recently moved to Boston. Your profile interested us, and if you’re up for an adventure, write us back…;-).

Ok. first of all, the smiley winkey face is a no no. It’s as if to say Hey! Maybe you’re leaning towards our offer, so how about we add an extra wink to really convince you.  Next, I don’t know where Threesnocrowd got the impression that I was up for their antics. I specifically state in my profile: If you still do keg stands, I’m not the girl from you. NOT: I dig married couples with kinky appetites.

I suppose if worse comes to worse I could always email Carlos. And for the record, the guy Bonnie was dating up and moved to Argentina without telling her.

Fit to be Jacked

Last night was wonderful. Had a great meal under the stars with a wonderful friend. Got home, said hello to Elvis, who hid out in the tub due to the extreme heat. Poured myself a gorgeous glass of oj with ice cubes in it, watched some trashy tv, read this book and turned on my brand new used air conditioner, for the first time, ever, and then fell asleep.
 
Woke up this morning, fed Elvis, took a shower. Got out of shower, was brushing my teeth, when I heard my doorbell ring. I went downstairs , opened the door (in a beige towel, with mascara running down my face and messy wet mousse hair) to be greeted by Walter, my next door  neighbor. He’s a sweet Irish man with a brogue that could lull anyone out of anger or homicidal tendencies. Marrgrhett, I have sum not soo good news fer yah. I saw yer car this mornin’ and, well….and Walter steps aside. I look across the street at my 11 day old Honda Fit, whom I have named Atticus.  All four wheels are stripped off , and poor little Atticus is resting on bricks. He looks as though someone pantsed him in the middle of the night. As I’m standing there, in a towel, mouth open, mascara running down my face, Walter graciously offers to give me a ride to work, after I actually look acceptable.
 
We’re in the car and I’m on the phone with the police, and they suggest to wait for them to stop by, so we swing back to my street. Walter, I say, I can’t thank you enough for all your help. Oooh, nottt a problehm, nune whahtsooo eveherr. But, em, my name is Martin.
 
Well ok. I’m in shock about my car, but the mortification that sets in about calling Martin Walter is almost worse than the feeling that I’m going to pay a $500 deductible.  For 2 solid months I’ve been calling this sweet lovely man the wrong name, and I truly don’t think he had the heart to tell me until finally he’s driving me to work.  
 
The ironic thing about this situation was that I was perfectly calm. I didn’t freak out, I didn’t start swearing up a storm, I think I just sort of glazed myself over. I went through all the proper channels, got myself a rental car, had pants less Atticus picked up, and carried on with my day.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s a car, not one of my two lungs being ripped out of my body, you know?  I did get pissed that my car, MY personal property was fucked with. How dare they!
 
As I was photographing the damage, (picture below) I noticed that the men walking by were more intrigued than I was. It’s as if some primal urge in them is curious about the mechanics of it all: how did it happen? In this neighborhood? Are the axels banged up? I’m like, dudes. I don’t give a shit about any axels, much less know what they are, and I sure as hell don’t care about how it’s held up. (it was on tiny bricks). I will be late for work and now have to file a police report.  Great.
 
At any rate, I had a whole different story to tell you, but this took precedence.  Atticus Fit got jacked, and that’s that.And Walter’s name is really Martin.
 
 

Past Due

My mother is from Wisconsin, and the only one of 5 to pick up and move outside her home state. (True story: after graduating college, she flipped a coin; heads New York or tales Boston. You could say my life is based upon twenty five cents.) Whenever my family flew out to visit my mother’s side of the family, Grammy and Grampy always said that this would be the last time we’d see them. This started around the time I was 10, and suffice to say, my grandparents were around well into my 20’s.
 
One Thanksgiving we flew out to spend the holiday with our Midwestern family. The day after, all the cousins decided to go to this indoor pool with a high diving board. (As a 10 or 11 year old, that shit is super cool.) Since my sister was the oldest one, and the only one with her license, she sweetly volunteered to drive all us younger ones to the pool. Grampy said, Oh, I’ll drive in front of you so you know where you’re going. Hannah very kindly said, Thanks Grampy, but I know where to go. He insisted, so she agreed. So there we were: Hannah, me, and like, four other of our cousins in the van, following my grandfather’s Cadillac…when it dawned on all of us that he took a different turn…into the cemetery. We drove for a little bit in the grave yard when his car stopped, and he got out, walked to our car, asked us to pull down the window. He said “The next time you all are out here, this is probably where I’ll be, so now you’ll know where to go to say hi.” Crickets.
 
Flash forward to August of 2007, and my grandmother became increasingly frail. She had a stroke in the later part of August, and the doctors said that she would never recover. My mother and her 4 siblings decided to let her go peacefully. I’m sure this decision must have been painful and surreal, and the five of them were told that she’d only survive another x amount of days. So, the Tack children (that is my mom’s maiden name) started planning for the inevitable. Where the wake was going to be, who was to be doing the floral arrangements, what photos were to be displayed, what kind of casket…even the date and time of her funeral.  Thing was, though, she wasn’t dead yet. So as the doctor’s ‘due date’ came and went, and Grammy was still alive, my mom became increasingly stressed. I couldn’t believe it, she and her siblings were getting pissed that their mother wasn’t dying on time. I actually told my mother that I thought it was the weirdest thing that they even planned the date of her funeral; and she said it was perfectly normal, and that people were flying in for the ceremony, and now they’ll have to rearrange everything. Well, no fucking shit, Grammy still has a pulse.
 
September 7, 2007 Grammy passed away. It was only 3 or so days past the death-day prediction, but sitting in church during her funeral service, I found myself smirking. Way to go, Grammy. You did it in your own time, your way. 
 

Friends

So here you have it, the 3 loves of my life. From Left: Darcy, Esme, Bonnie and me.
I cannot tell you how happy I was that we were all in the same state for a full TWO DAYS together. For some unknown and wondrous reason, I have had the fortune of growing up with the most amazing people. We have literally been witness to each others lives; loves, losses, jobs, apartments, heartbreak and utter humor. Take Darcy, for example. Darcy’s sense of navigation is that of a blind mole sniffing around above ground in search of something tasty to eat but blithely unaware of anything else. She once asked how to get from my living room to the den.  True story. The thing about Darcy is that she is so fucking loving and supportive and creative, Bonnie last week made a good point: “I judge people that don’t like Darcy. People that don’t like her aren’t good people.” It’s totally true. She is the complete opposite of me; I like to have things in their respective place at all times, it helps keep order, especially in my huge purses I lug around. Darcy? The inside contents of her purse look like the United Nations puked up artifacts from different countries and landed inside her bag. She has a wallet, but doesn’t put her money in it. She has a debit card, but instead of putting it somewhere in her satchel, she stuffs it in her sock, as in to say, her feet. Darcy is this incredible genius; she writes so well it puts everyone else to shame. She is this whirling swirling force that makes me laugh and constantly is able to lift me up out of dark places in my life and see brightness.
Bonnie is this seemingly quiet polite girl who has a wonderful giggle that makes men weak in the knees. Get a drink in her, and the next thing you know she’ll wrestle anyone to the ground (ahem, me). I picked her up from the bus station, and immediately she put on this song and jammed out to it like it was 1984. Bon is an actor, and was recently Christine in the Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. (she’s a big fucking deal. i’m not joking).  She walked onstage without uttering one note and I turned into a blubbering mess. I sometimes think she is more mature and wise than any of us because not only does she own property, but she knows about like, tax write offs and shit. I’m lucky I know that I’m supposed to file them.
Then there’s Esme. I first laid eyes on Ese when I was 5 years old, and she was swinging around the flag pole with a navy blue hat and red horns coming out of it. She was a grade above me, and from what I could tell, would be able to kick the shit out of me. Thank god that she had to stay back a year, because it was in Mrs. Mansfield’s first grade class I initially met her. She was this quiet, observant person that had a mischievous grin whenever she was about to persuade me to do something. I have more than once (twice, hundreds of times) leaned on her for support; it is through her grace and patience I am a better person. She’s also the one that told me there was no Santa. I’m still recovering.

So years later we’re all the grown up versions of the children we were, and thank god these three women are in my life; they are some of the best humans on the planet, and are the rocks that make me stronger than I could have ever been on my own. xo.

Larry

I work in advertising for a well known automotive site that independent car dealers use in order to sell cars off of their lots. The ratio of men to women is something like 98 to 2. And the age gap is a joke. If I work with any guy under 50, I’m shocked. Suffice to say, I’m as noticeable when I walk into a dealership as I’m sure a Hassidic Jew would be if they walked into a Catholic mass.
 
A couple of weeks ago on an average Wednesday, I was making my rounds in the town of Whitman. (I know, I didn’t know it existed, either…)Visiting clients is my main daily routine, so when I see a dealer that isn’t advertising with me, I pop in, say hello and leave my card. I went in to the office and met Tony, the owner, and his comrade Larry. I schmoozed a bit with Tony, who was nice enough and is just trying to scrape by. Fine, sure, no problem Tony, I get it. Should your business pick up, give me a call and we’ll have another conversation. (Cue me leaving my card on his desk.)
 
But I didn’t get out fast enough. Larry, the man dressed in a leather button up vest and leather cap, not in the cool hipster circa a year ago way, starts asking questions. Whats yah name, hun? Margaret, I say politely and curtly. Mah-grett, huh? Ahh you Irish? I stare coldly at him and say yes.  
 
Larry then crosses himself and says awww jesus! I love irish  girls! It didn’t go unnoticed, by the way, that Larry was smoking a cigarette this whole time, indoors, as if the place was his. Larry starts chatting, (unaware that one of my high heeled feet was literally out the door,) about how he used to be a body guard for Ted Kennedy in the good ‘ole days. Boy oh boy, I can’t believe I’m 76—time flies! I nervously giggle and say, ah, heh heh, yeah, I bet Martha’s Vineyard was a trip…
 
I exit the “office” with as much grace and politeness that I can muster and almost run to the car. I stop off at a few more dealerships, chat with the owners, and head on back to the office. I look down and notice that my black berry has a missed call and voicemail on it. I listen to it, and lo and behold, it’s Larry. He calls me, and leaves a voicemail saying Ah, yah, hi Mah-grett. It’s Larry, the one at Tony’s place. I used tah bawdy gahhd fo-wah Ted Kennedy.  I wanted to call yah up and see if you’d be free tuh-nite fo-wah some drinks. Gimme a call back as soon as yah get this. Thanks hun.
 
Ok. Let’s assess. God knows I’m not Isabella Rossellini or Scarlett Johansson, but jesus christ, I’d like to think that I’m an ok looking dame. How do dudes (76 year old ones at that) think that a 28 year old with nice legs and a good education would even CONSIDER having a drink with him? And what’s with the Ted Kennedy thing? Is that like, impressive? Great, you stood outside his house/door/whatever and gave a little knock when the Mrs. was coming back. Good for you, Larry! You’ve earned a gold star for the day!
 
Larry’s sure got some balls. I still have the message saved, so that if I do ever get desperate enough, I know there’s a free drink waiting for me somewhere…sigh. Fucking Larry.
 

Origin Story

My whole life I’ve been the shortest. Classmate, friend, sibling…you name it, I was the runt of the litter. And a late bloomer. (Only when I was 19 did my boobs decide to say hello to the world.)

Suffice to say, going to the local pediatrician’s office in my early teens was quite a treat. At 14 years old, it was the last time my mother was in the room with me during an exam. Going through puberty is a mortifying experience enough, so laying on a sterile table while a sinister woman claiming to be a doctor prods around in the places my breasts are supposed to be with my mother looking-on was icing on the cake.

After being weighed, poked and measured, the exam was complete. I was sitting on the crinkly-papered table while the Dr. (name excluded for obvious reasons) attempted to describe my body.

“Margaret…how shall I say this: Girls your age have started to develop or have already developed pear shaped bodies. (she makes a pear outline with her hands.) You on the other hand? You have nice long skinny legs for your height, that can be the stem. But from there on up (and motions this in a circular shape) you’re a round plump apple. Let’s work on that.”

Let’s work on that? I’ll tell you what I’m about to work on, Doc. Your face. And there you have it. Round Plump Apple is no longer a shameful description, but a title I own with pride.