They say all bad things must come to an end. And so comes the long-awaited conclusion to this epic four-part series, “Objects I Have Been Hit in the Head With.” Going through my blog and wracking my brain for things to write about, it dawned on me that it’s been over four years since I wrote the penultimate installment in this series, detailing my experience of getting whacked in the head with a baseball bat.
Not-so-surprisingly, it only took four years for me to realize this, given the amount of things I’ve been smacked in the noggin with to the point that even Chris Benoit would have said, “Damn. You should get MRIs on the regular, girl.”
But here we are. Four years later and I’m not leaving you hanging like Season 2 of Ex-Wives of Rock or the Cartoon Network revival of Thundercats that got cancelled after Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living came back like Jordan and fucked things up seven ways from Sunday for Lion-O and his friends, leaving them up Thundera’s creek without a paddle and the network pulling the plug on an otherwise awesome reboot. (I’m still pissed about that.)
But I’m rambling. (As people who have been hit in the head with any number of things are wont to do.) This final (?) installment focuses (pardon the pun) on a particular object that played a role in the last memorable time when I got clobbered.
Spring 1994 – A 110 Camera
For those of you born anytime before the early ’90s, you may remember a 110 camera — a long, rectangular relic of days gone past, when people used to take their film to get developed. It wasn’t as popular as a 35mm or even a Polaroid instant camera, but it was still semi-popular with amateur shutterbugs who didn’t want to shell out big bucks for professional-grade cameras with fancy lenses.
My mother was the proud owner of a 110 camera. Not only did she use it to document family events, she also wielded it as a weapon of doom, aimed at those who incurred her wrath. If there was one thing that sent Mom screaming down the warpath, it was disorder and a lack of cleanliness.
Every morning, before anyone else in the house got up, Mom would get up early and start cleaning. She’d clean the kitchen before anyone had a crack at breakfast and would stare you down with the intensity of “Macho Man” Randy Savage without his wraparound shades.
At night, like any good warden, Mom would take a final sweep throughout the house to make sure all was in order. If the bathroom was a mess after your nightly shower, woe unto thee. In Mom’s house, everything had a place and damn skippy, everything better be in its place.
One spring night in 1994, during my freshman year of high school, I’d gotten out of the bathroom and decided to hang out and watch TV on the living room floor. Given that we weren’t allowed to sit on the couches (that’s a tale for another time) and the only other seating options were uncomfortable wicker chairs, I opted to cop a squat on the floor.
When my younger brother got out of the bathroom, he also parked his ass on the floor to play with his Starting Lineup action figures. Unbeknownst to me, he had used the bathroom after I got out. It must have been laundry day because (also unbeknownst to me at the time) he had used one of my undeniably pink and even more undeniably fluffy towels to dry himself with. And thrice unbeknownst to me, he left a mess of puddles on the bathroom rugs, floors, and threw the towel on the ground instead of hanging it up.
Naturally, seeing the sorry state of the bathroom sent Mom into a fit of rage that would have made Zach de la Rocha look like Neil Diamond by comparison.
It happened without a whisper or a shudder. Vengeance came swift and hard.
I should have known something was up by the fact that my brother was looking down the hallway and smiling maniacally. I brushed it off as nothing. My brother always had that look on his face like he was up to something.
Meanwhile, I was engrossed in the program on television. (Side note: I’ve always liked the word “program” to describe television shows. It makes me feel like an 80-year-old woman with a pocketbook full of sour balls and Werther’s Originals. As a side note to this side note, I also like the term “pocketbook” for the same reason.)
I didn’t see it coming. Obviously, because I had my back to her… But Mom walked down the hallway.
She walked with purpose.
She also walked with a 110 camera in her hand.
Blissfully unaware as I watched television, Mom walked up behind me and cracked me in the back of the skull with the 110 camera.
Stunned, my hand shot to the back of my head. “What the hell was that for?”
“For leaving the bathroom a mess! You left a towel on the floor and I know you took a shower in there. Get in there and clean it up!”
“I didn’t do it, Mom!”
“Bullshit! Clean it up.” She raised the camera again while my brother snickered.
“He was in the bathroom after me,” I instinctively ducked-and-covered, grateful it didn’t have a flash cube.
“It was your towel on the floor,” she fired back.
I got up to check out the bathroom. I noticed a momentary look of panic on my brother’s face. When I reached the bathroom, what I saw was nothing short of chaos: water splashed across the floor, my fuzzy pink towel sopping wet and thrown haphazardly across one of the many puddles… and an empty can of soda resting on the side of the tub.
“Oh, hell no! I didn’t leave the bathroom like this!” I looked at my mother. “See that can of soda over there? See it? Who the hell else drinks soda in the bathroom? Who the hell else drinks up all the soda in the house? Notice it’s not diet soda?”
It was true. As much as my brother would chug anything carbonated, he had an aversion to anything with artificial sweeteners. Unless it was the last can of soda in the house. In that case, diet would suffice. However, Mom had long-known I wouldn’t touch soda unless it had the sweet, sweet tang of aspartame. The telltale can of sugar-loaded soda in the corner of the bathtub may as well have been Zorro making the sign of the “Z,” marking my brother as the culprit at the center of the Carnage in the Commode.
“Shit,” my mother said. “I’m sorry.”
She meant it. I saw the wrist strap on the camera go slack. It was no more a weapon now than a strand of spaghetti. Then again, in my Mom’s hands, even spaghetti could be an instrument of destruction.
“Is your head okay?” she asked.
“Oh, yeah. It’s all good.”
“Good,” she said. And suddenly, I could tell her ire had turned towards my brother, hastily packing up his Starting Lineup action figures in an attempt to make a break for it and head for the salvation of his bedroom.
He eventually got reamed out, but managed to escape getting cracked with the 110 camera.
As for me, that night, I became the Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter of uncleaned bathrooms: accused of a crime I didn’t commit, I reaped a sore punishment yet somehow managed to have my name cleared.
Thus concluding the story of the time I got beaned in the head with a 110 camera.