Last night I attended the Austin chapter of Mortified.
If you haven’t heard of Mortified or don’t listen to NPR, what kind of fucking hipster are you?!
Oh wait, I keep hearing that that word is dead (and therefore my blog irrelevant?)
What kind of fucking young, creative urbanite are you!?
Mortified is when a bunch of adults go onstage and read awkward diary entries from when they were kids to an encouraging audience.
The set I saw last night was good. Intimidatingly good. These people were once bona fide dorks, nerds, geeks, freaks, and dweebs.
I on the other hand, sat there in shame realizing I could never own my adolescent awkwardness as well as they did.
I was a nerd alright, but a color-inside-the-lines nerd. I had a great childhood. Full of non-angst and zero boy drama. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked boys. I knew I didn’t like girls, but I just didn’t like anyone other than myself. If I thought I could have married myself, I would have. Of course that led to my mother quite seriously asking me when I was 15 in a Subway restaurant parking lot if I was gay. I nervously scoffed it off, but wondered that if I was indeed in love with myself, did that make me gay? These were questions that trouble teens during their burgeoning sexuality, but I have to say that at 27, I think I may have had the right idea.
I mean, don’t all kids masturbate to a shirtless photo of Elton John on their wall? Don’t all kids force their friends to watch Last Tango in Paris in their dark basement? Burn a cork and draw giant Jewish eyebrows on their face and do impersonations of Rod Serling in front of the mirror? Have conversations with their dog? Walk around with a tampon jammed half-way up their cootch? Buy suits at 13 so they can look like Dana Scully? Play every day in a cemetery? Stick whoopee cushions in their underwear? Sleep next to a Jeff Goldblum action figure? Dress up as various characters on Kids in the Hall and tape hours and hours of skit reenactments? Write thinly disguised school plays about off-centered young women with extreme passion for pop culture referencing?
My father sent the above photo to me this week thinking that it would somehow bring a smile to my face? The body of the message? “What a good kid.”
“What a fucking gawky-ass kid who dressed like Paula Poundstone” sounds more like it. Why is it that parents loved you most when you looked aesthetically least pleasing and most like a Muppet man-child? My Mom still won’t take down my over-sized glamor shot from when I was 13. No matter how much I plead with her, the framed example of what furry caterpillars making a home above the eyes of Woody Allen if he were a pre-pubescent girl, will never be taken down from the entrance way to her house.
I’m thinking of auditioning for the next Mortified, but not sure if I have enough good stories or can act in front of anything other than a mirror.
I might have to do some reckoning with my adolescence first…