I’ll buy chips for my kids on the way home from soccer practice.
Allow them to wrestle and chase each other. In the grocery store. Look the other way when they throw a little swagger in their soccer game. I’m a little funny, though, when it comes to movies. My oldest is 14. She can watch PG-13 movies. But I cringe.
Not the language or violence, necessarily. But the themes. The innuendo. The … I dunno, sultry stuff.
Makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth and pee myself a little. I’d rather her see a car chase with a smash-up ending, hear more applications of the F-word, or get startled by a killer, zombie, or politician in the court room than to hear locker-room talk.
I’m usually one to love. Write about love. Loving things.
But like vegetables, shin splints, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, love can’t exist without a dose or three of hate.
“Leave hate for Hitler,” I like to say. (OK, I don’t say it, yet, but I heard it in a movie, and it sounded cool.)
Inspired by the hateful words on tidbitsofchaos.com (the author isn’t hateful – she’s honest, insightful and funny), here’s my list of 5 things I hate (I’d considered making it 10, but it didn’t make sense to double the dose on my Five For Friday theme that I got from another blogger, Krafty Kat).
1. Every country that goes against the U.S. in the Olympics.
The kids have picked up on this one, and it’ll mean talk about the difference between American pride and, um, being openly racist. It’s actually a fine line. We can stew over a Russian gymnast celebrating an American mistake, and rightly so, but the following exchange happened between my oldest two and me, in the presence of my sister, who was appalled:
Me: Dangit, the American didn’t win.
Elise: Who won?
Me: The French dude.
Elise: I hate the French.
Marie: I hate anyone who isn’t American.
They’re just learning about this great big world. Of course we don’t hate the French; of course, we don’t hate anyone who isn’t American. But the seeds for a healthy disdain for your rivals and the seeds for hating your rival sometimes get mixed in the same pack.
We’re working on that.
As American women’s soccer star Alex Morgan pointed out, “I wanted to beat Canada SO BAD.” This isn’t a bad thing to feel or say. As I said, we’re working on it … because it’s OK to really, really dislike your rivals.
2. The rivals: the Dodgers, Raiders, red wings, and lakers.
It’s OK to have rivals. That team you can’t stand. That school you have nightmares about your daughter choosing. I’ve always felt if the Broncos went 2-14, and beat the Raiders twice, it’s a great season.
I wonder how many of you noticed I won’t even capitalize the teams’ names. Rivals, though, are what gives sports such depth. They make winning sweeter, losing more bitter, and the desire to get back in and play again overwhelming.
Been part of a rivalry? You know how it feels. For every kid who wears a Duke jersey for a trip to Chapel Hill, or helps carry a rival-inspired trophy out of a stadium, or who has celebrated a title on a rival’s playing grounds, it’s a rich and delicious fabric in sports.
The Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry has been explained as “just plain hate.”
I can associate.
3. Buying tortillas in the store.
I’d rather buy maxi pads or Preparation H. There’s just something fundamentally wrong. I’m no longer Catholic, but I’m fairly sure there must be a saint in the Latino Catholic church that watches over the coconut – you know, the one who is brown on the outside and white on the inside.
Saint Masa Trigo, forgive me my sins. I know I should be home making them myself.
My penance? Three Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, and 50 homemade tortillas.
During a shameful trip to Wal-mart, I felt self-conscious taking the white, er, easy way out with tortillas prepackaged in Trenton, N.J. When I decided on the even-cheaper Wal-mart brand and put down the Old El Paso, I did so in the presence of a young Latina.
She shook her head slowly and shopped on. My Latino card had been revoked.
What would abuela do?
Like I was no longer permitted to yell “aye! aye! aye!” during a Spanish polka song (OK, so this isn’t something I have the opportunity to do every day, but still … ), or to bark out “primera a la pelota!” during a soccer game (translated: “first to the ball!”), or to order enchiladas in the Mexican restaurant and use a Spanish accent.
4. Jacking up a favorite shirt by slopping on it.
It’s one thing when a little butter seeped through the end of my tortilla, or pizza sauce dribbled. It’s somehow all the more tragic when the offending spot-creator is something as deplorable as Italian dressing.
I mean, I’ve just relegated a shirt – probably a favorite – to the charity/yard sale pile, all because I thought I’d go all Dr. Oz and douse my salad (what am I doing eating salad in the first place? I’m a carnivore. It better have had bacon bits) with Italian dressing and pass on the Thousand Island, Buttercorn Ranch or Super Creamy Oh So Dreamy Caesar dressing?
Man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it.
Damn salads. Trouble. Leave them for the rabbits.
5. Losing a golf disc to a sneaky kid. Or forest snake. Or wilderness nymph who doesn’t even grant me wishes.
More likely, it’s just someone who happens by and decides not to call the cellphone number I’ve scrawled in Sharpie underneath. (Who am I kidding? Half of the discs in my bag have someone else’s name and number on them, and I never call them. It’s the one Old Testament part of me. You know, eye for an eye. We’ll get into this later).
Not to be insensitive to those who’ve lost pets, but when you have to walk away from a thicket or creek without one of your discs, and it’s because you made a lousy throw, it kind of feels like coming home from the vet without your pet.
You feel empty. You’re mad at the world and mad at yourself.
You stew over your emotions. Place blame. On Dodgers fans or Latvians. Or whoever invented the machine that can make tortillas in mass quantities and the companies that are big enough to sell them for 99 cents a bag.
Makes me want to add extra bacon bits, and maybe creamy French dressing, to my salad.
I hope you’re never embarrassed by WHAT you are. Who you play for – maybe; where you shop … perhaps; how your daddy behaves … probably, but never WHAT you are. What I am embarrassed me, once. OK, twice.
Fourth-grade incidents don’t count, though.
The kids on the bus made fun of a boy for being Mexican, only he was Greek. So they stopped picking on him because they didn’t know any good Greek jokes. I took the preemptive strike.
1. I don’t know if it’s just my vibe or a gift from above, but I have this tendency to get food when I really want it but don’t ask for it. It just appears. I’d rather have this gift than, say, X-ray vision.
2. The longest I’ve ever lost one of my kids was probably a minute, but it felt like an hour. It was probably more like 27 seconds, but she was just 3. I found her as she stood among the crowd at a tech and toy show in Tallahassee, all smiles at everyone as she tried not to look nervous.
3. I always assume I’ll have enough sugar in the kitchen, gas in the tank, or spirit in the soul to do whatever I want to do in the moment. When I don’t have enough, it’s as big a shock to me as anyone. (Reminder: Sometimes the soul doesn’t have a low-fuel light).
4. I’d love to buy a cheeseburger for everyone who has commented on my blog.
5. Because the Colorado Rockies have a pitcher who 9 nine years older than me, it doesn’t matter that I’m nearly twice as old as any of the rookies on the team. The old guy’s presence alone means I’m still young.
6. My sister and I used to camp with my dad so high in the Rockies that you couldn’t get a radio station. We thought we were on another planet.
7. I was supposed to play baritone saxophone in a studio band. At least, that’s what I thought in junior high.
8. My first celebrity crush was Judy Jetson. I’ve since moved on. My first human crush was Ms. Tisdale, the teacher’s assistant in kindergarten. I’ve since moved on.
9. My coolest scar is on my elbow. Well, really my only even good one. The cool story is that I got it after I was hit with a pool cue. Sounds tough, huh? The details – that I was 12, had just gotten out of the swimming pool and it was by a 10-year-old girl named Angie, because I called her “Angelina” – make it less Steven Segal and more like the kid from Wonder Years.
10. I once carried Stephen King’s bags when I worked in a hotel. We talked baseball. He’s a good tipper. He had tons of sh*t in the back of his car, including a wooden bird cage. I didn’t ask. He carries about eight identical ink pens in the front pocket of his jeans. He also totes these bags of steno pads with hand-written stuff in them. I so wanted to steal one.
11. I feel like a bowl of Frosted Flakes is a good way to end a day. Don’t judge. It’s not hard liquor or animal testing.
12. I’m from Colorado, but don’t ski. I’m Hispanic, but don’t speak very good Spanish. I live in the South, but don’t drink sweet tea.
13. When I hear the song “Follow you, follow me” by Genesis, it’s like a special message from my dad, and it’s always incredibly timed. I’ll write about it someday.
14. I once dropped a quarter at McDonald’s and it landed inside a young girl’s shoe. She didn’t know where it came from. She picked it out and showed her mom. “Where did that come from?” Mom asked. The girl just shrugged. The mom seemed a little ticked. I said nothing. Hopefully, she’ll think it was the tooth fairy gone rogue.
15. My one and only athletic highlight was scoring a two-point conversion on my junior varsity football team in seventh grade. It was a simple off-tackle run. I even acted like I’d been there before – in the end zone – even though, I hadn’t. Or would ever return again.
16. I know that parents hate it, but the kids and I love it when it rains during our games.
17. I always wondered why there were no Mexican kids on Charlie Brown.
18. I once fell in a hole while jogging. Pitched forward after stepping in mid-calf-high mud and landed with a thud. This, just two blocks from the place the pedal of my bike snapped off just before I turned onto a busy road. It’s like Jesus doesn’t want me to exercise outside.
19. I can’t swim. I’ve almost drown, twice, but I still love to go swimming with the kids. I try to limit my time in the deep end, though. That’d be a lousy way to make the news.
20. The coolest names we’ve had for my soccer teams have been Mysteries and Snow Monsters. My kids made those up.
21. When I was a kid, I swore my Fred Flintstone piggy bank and the Darth Vader toy on my desk had conversations. More like pleasantries and small-talk. I didn’t think they had much in common though.
22. I could have been an NFL quarterback. It was the height and athleticism and talent I had a problem with.
23. I don’t yell a lot on the sideline and this bothers some parents. The kids know what to do. My vocalization is encouragement for a kid lagging behind or reminders of where they should be, stuff like that. I’ve also been nearly-tossed from a game only once.
24. Math is, by far, my worst subject. UNC Charlotte, my alma mater, didn’t even offer the math I qualified for, so I took a course at CPCC. I did pass it. Thing is, I can calculate slugging percentage and third-down conversions and batting averages on the fly when I need to. Luckily, there’s no trigonometry in soccer.
25. I joke around to such an extensive level with that sometimes when I’m really telling the truth, my girls won’t believe me. For hours.