Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Facts of Life

Now, before you go thinking that this will be an homage to your favorite 80s sitcom, it's not.

Sorry Mrs. G and girls...I promise I'll write about you another time.  XOXO

Instead, I must warn you that this story contains some adult content.  (Yes, those facts of life.)  So read on at your own discretion.

I happened to have been one of the most naive people on the face of the earth.  When some boys in my class started calling a girl Sharon Peters, I thought it was hilarious.  Not because I realized the connotation of the name (I don't even think I knew that "peter" was a nickname for the male anatomy at the time), but because it was the same to me as calling someone Shirley McNamara or Dolores Redding--just a random, absurd name that sounds like it belongs to a sixty year old woman and not a sixth grader.   So, taking that into consideration, it was kind of amazing that I learned the facts of life at the tender young age of seven.

It wasn't that my parents felt it necessary that I become familiar with the details of reproduction at that age, rather it was my neurotic, worried mind that forced my mom to have the discussion with me.  It started with a conversation like this:

"Mom, some of the kids in my class say bad words, and I think I know what they all mean, except for one.  The F-word."  It was night time and, as this tended to be the time when pressing matters such as this plagued me, I was losing sleep over the matter.

My mom sprung into action.  She was somewhat ready for this conversation since she had recently been warned by the mom of another girl in my class that a boy was spreading around some pretty inaccurate reproductive facts on the playground (and you think your kids are safe when you send them to Catholic school!).  She even had a book for the occasion which she brought back to my room and read to me.

Of course, I had the normal questions, such as "Did Mary have to do that to have Jesus?" and "What if the man is very fat, does he smash the woman?"  And, of course, the desperate, "Is that the only way?" because it just really didn't seem too appealing.

When all that was over, my mom kindly asked, "Is that kind of what you thought the word meant?"

To which I replied, "Oh no, I thought it meant green slime."  My mom promptly went downstairs and cried her eyes out.

The lesson to be learned here is to always ask your children for clarification because if my mom had asked me this at the beginning of the conversation, she could have simply replied, "Green slime...yes dear that is the meaning of that word.  Sleep tight!"

A few years later, in the fifth grade, this information gave me an edge over my classmates when we began the Benzinger life series or the Catholic school version of sex ed.  While other students were squirming in their seats, I was waving my hand in the air, confidently answering questions relating to gestational periods and reproductive anatomy. (Yes, I just really liked school that much.)

I even learned some new facts with which to wow my family: "Hey did you know that a man's penis gets longer, fatter, and firmer?  Please pass the sour cream."  (Actual dinner table quote).  I didn't notice the raised eyebrows that I'm sure my parents were giving each other across the table, while they replied (albeit somewhat uncertainly), "That's great, honey."

So, I had this fun fact to throw out at family functions and what not, yet it took me until I was a senior in high school to figure out what was so bad about the numbers 6 and 9, particularly when combined.  It was this same mixture of accurate knowledge coupled with utter obliviousness that allowed me to win a school egg drop competition by placing my egg in my mom's breast pump box without the least bit of embarrassment.

I guess it's true when they say "you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life."  And by "they" I mean Mrs. Garrett and the people who wrote catchy 80s sitcom theme songs.  Wise people.

1 comment:

  1. I love the catchy theme songs from back in the day.