My Life

Interview with the Baby Vampire

Decades ago, an intervention took place…

 

Anne, the Transcendental Therapist at St. John’s Progressive Learning Center for Possibly-Gifted Wee Ones: “Brian, do you understand why you’ve been sent to my office for counseling?”

Brian: “I’m assuming that someone was dissatisfied with her own personal life, so she chose to take it out on me.”

Anne: “Well, that’s an interesting interpretation, but according to my report, there was a bit more to it than that.”

Brian: “Does your report indicate that my theoretical instructor is an idiot with focus issues?”

Anne: “Now, you know the report is not going to say such a thing. We try to focus on the positive aspects of life in all of our recyclable documentation.”

Brian: “Then that report is useless. Throw it in the trash and let’s find something interesting to watch on PBS.”

Anne: “Perhaps we can get to that a bit later. First, we need to explore your aggressive tendencies and… the incident… that took place this morning. How would you describe your home environment?”

Brian: “I fail to see how the questionable skillsets of my parents pertains to this conversation. They were young, they were unprepared, and some mistakes were made. These things happen all the time. It doesn’t mean that the little urchins involved will end up in junior juvy.”

Anne: “Well, studies have shown that an unstable or at least haphazard upbringing can result in a child exhibiting certain anti-social behavior outside the home. For instance, your little outfit appears to be soiled. Does your mother not properly bathe you and wash your clothes?”

Brian: “Of course she does. She’s required to do so, according to the contract I made her sign in the delivery room, notarized by one of the attending nurses. I don’t mess around when it comes to personal comfort.”

Anne: “Then what is that all over you?”

Brian: “It’s cocaine. I’m a drug mule, and there was an incident at the border.”

Anne, scribbling excitedly on the recyclable paper: “Really? Tell me more. I might be able to publish your story in Fabricated Psychology Today.”

Brian, sighing: “Put the pen down, Nellie Bly. I was just being snarky and creative, something I already realize that most of the people in my life will never appreciate. It’s not cocaine. I’m eight months old. I probably threw up on myself two seconds after Mom trussed me up in this velvet outrage. And then I probably mashed the regurgitation in my hair, because I’m eight months old, and that’s what we do.”

Anne, throwing the pen aside along with her hopes of being professionally published: “Oh. So that’s why your hair looks like you’re trying to jumpstart the hipster phase that won’t actually happen for another thirty years.”

Brian: “While I do admit to being a visionary, despite the damage my reputation has suffered by being born in Oklahoma, coiffure trends are not on my bucket list. My hair looks like this because I haven’t fully developed any hand-eye coordination yet. I’m not going to be red-carpet worthy for a few more years, despite being forced to wear a red carpet to this heinous interview. You should know that people my age have annoying physical limitations, being a child psychologist and all.”

Anne: “Well, I’m not actually a psychologist.”

Brian: “Are you certified in any way?”

Anne: “Um…”

Brian: “This is outrageous. No wonder so many people in the Seventies will turn to drugs that make them believe that plaid polyester suits are attractive in any way.”

Anne: “Hold up. It’s not fair to blame the actions of an entire generation on whether or not I have a piece of paper from a university that I was able to attend before higher education became so expensive that most people can’t afford it without incurring life-killing debt. The Republicans want to keep the populace stupid, and I just can’t passively let that happen.”

Brian: “Are you making a political statement on my time? In a story about me?”

Anne: “Yes. I firmly believe that you should seize any opportunity to make your voice heard. The biggest problem with this country is not delusional ultra-conservatives or the NRA or billionaires buying elections. It’s the complacency of the common man. Most people want decency, but they let the indecency happen because they are too lazy or too distracted or too jaded to stand up. So, yes, I will happily hijack any narrative that presents an opportunity for me to be Norma Rae and shut down the factory.”

Brian: “Actually, I’m with you on this.”

Anne: “Good. Now, let’s talk about why you felt impelled to bite Little Billy Peckerwood on the head.”

Brian: “I’m not with you on that.”

Anne: “Perhaps I should explain that we are just a court order away from your family facing litigation for your errant chomping.”

Brian: “I didn’t bite him on purpose, although the act does sound appealing in a certain way. It was all happenstance, just like that moment in the next century when the Kardashians somehow become culturally relevant.”

Anne: “I won’t be around when that happens, having moved on to whatever afterlife there might be, where the only hashtags I care about are the labels on the offerings at the celestial lunch buffet. Anyway, back to biting Billy. Your side of the story?”

Brian: “Well, I was just trying out that ‘walking’ thing that some of the uppity toddlers are always babbling about. I thought I might be ready, but I only made it two steps before gravity rose up and wreaked havoc. Before I could help myself, I was headed toward a face plant. But then the dumbass Peckerwood Boy chose that same exact moment to flop on his back and throw his legs in the air. I opened my mouth to holler “this is not the time to embrace your rainbow pride”, but before I could get the words out I slammed into his noggin. Blood ensued.”

Anne: “So you’re trying to blame Billy for this?”

Brian: “I’m not blaming anybody. But I do have to mention that Billy is two months older than me. He’s got more coordination. If he had just gotten his ass out of the way we wouldn’t be having this delightful conversation in an office that reeks of desperation and regret and patchouli.”

Anne: “You know, Brian, it seems that you have a lot of pent-up anger in you that needs to be released.”

Brian: “What was your first clue? My birth?”

Anne: “Let’s not point fingers. Instead, let’s think about resolutions. Now, you may not have much confidence in spiritualists who channel the future-”

Brian: “None whatsoever.”

Anne: “-but one of the ladies at my Tupperware meetings has prophesied that there will come a day when people who wouldn’t otherwise be published will have an opportunity to share their musings with the entire world, through new contraptions known as ‘the Internet’ and ‘blogs’  and something called ‘social media’ or some such.”

Brian, heart suddenly racing: “Go on.”

Anne:  “So, if I were to look the other way concerning the Peckerwood Paradox, can you promise me to hold in all your angst and dissatisfaction and try to live a respectable life until that moment when anyone with a keyboard suddenly has a voice in the digital ether?”

Brian: “I solemnly swear. But I can’t be held responsible for what might happen after that point.”

Anne: “I won’t care. I’ll be gone by then, eating at the Hashtag Café and knowing the all the answers and finally relaxing after a lifetime of wondering why people can’t just do the right thing. Maybe I’ll leave a ghostly comment at Bonnywood Manor.”

Brian: “Bonnywood Manor? What the hell is that mess?”

Anne: “It’s not just the Tupperware ladies who can see the future. I sense you will someday build a home that isn’t real and invite over people that you don’t really know. Just a feeling. Now, go get somebody to clean that goo off your jumper. Nobody is going to take you seriously in the literary world if you constantly remind them of crusty pie.”

Brian: “That last line doesn’t make any sense.”

Anne: “In fifty years, I could give you a mirror. But for now, I’ll just give you a warning. No more made up stories about what really happened. And leave the Peckerwood alone.”

Brian: “I don’t know if I can promise that. I’ll get back to you.”

 

P.S. Yes, that’s really me in the pic, circa 1965.

Originally published in “Bonnywood Manor” on 04/14/16. Some changes made, especially in the final bit. This one reads a tad more bitter than I meant it to be at the time (déjà vu all over again), and I really should have softened the edges, but right now I just want to go sit near the Christmas tree and drink more of something than I should, watching the twinkling lights and reflecting on the time when my biggest concern was violated couture…

 

16 replies »

  1. Thank the heavens for unqualified psychologists and Tupperware soothsayers …. who knows what would have become of you else, and we wouldn’t have the Manor and the Pie to sooth our crushed souls in the bitter run-up to the end of a year that belies belief, even to the most seasoned of cynics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loving “The Manor and the Pie”, as it sounds like a sublime book title. You have, once again, graciously shoved me in a direction that I simply must pursue. I shall now march forth and diligently aspire to create a collection worthy of such an appellation unless I get distracted by

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  2. How can you be sure that’s actually a pic of you? Years later, your mother may not have wanted you or anyone else to see what you really looked like at that age, substituted a baby pic of Nicholas Cage or Rob Lowe, and burned your baby pic and/or flushed it down the toilet. The reason I suspect this is that I discovered that my baby pix are actually those of Robert Redford, which turned out to be prophetic because I grew up to look just like him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must confess that I’m aware of your amazing resemblance to Robert Redford. I can’t really reveal my source, due to pending litigation, but perhaps you should reconsider the wanton releasing of semi-nude photos of you lounging poolside. It’s all fun and games until you run for public office…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my .. This post was traumatic (in a certain way) because it evoked memories of a certain teal colored chiffon and satin ribbon affair that I was forced into as a tot. The damage that garment caused is still affecting my life. And there are pictures, but they are securely housed within a vault to which only I have the key. My grandma made the thing, and it was not understood why I loathed it on sight, and I don’t really know…save the ribbon had a lot of sparkly scratchy bits adhered to it and comfort was my only requirement, even then. Plus I never did like being the center of any sort of attention. Your photo is so very cute. A wee bow tie and all that red velvet. Aw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually found your comment on the original post of this piece, wherein you went into a bit more detail about the travesty of the chiffon and satin, and I must confess to a burning desire to see explicit photos of this horrendous development. I strongly suggest that you ensure the key to the vault is secure. I have emailed Huny, and despite some initial hesitation, she has agreed to assist in my procurement of the couture defilement, and a Utah-bound flight has been booked. We’ll see where this goes…

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  4. Grace Slick – Rolling Stone Interview

    In my case, there are a whole lot of different chicks around and everybody is sort of helping each other out with various different things and they can take the child for a while and I can take theirs at the house at the beach, and we can trade off.

    That kid’s going to get mixed up.
    Grace: Well, not really. Some of the most interesting and happiest kids I’ve seen have lived with a lot of different adults, because a kid can go up to one guy and wear him out. And as soon as the adult gets tired, there are five other guys, or five other chicks to go and wear out, and the kid gets to be very bright — and tolerant, you know, with that many kinds of people around.

    Why did you decide to have a child?
    Grace: Oh, it’s just a small person, and they expand more than animals do. Some people have animals around. I like animals, but I thought I’d try a human being because they have more happening. I think it’s partly an ego thing; you get an old man that you like or dig a lot of qualities about, and you have to like yourself to a certain extent, and you want to see what the combination of those two minds and bodies will turn out like — you’re really curious.

    People look back at the Sixties and Seventies with Vaseline on the lens and say “Oh…Wow.” And the truth is more like “Ho-leeeee shit.” But, in truth, the real gist of this essay is, “This one reads a tad more bitter.”

    So in the spirit of Holiday cheer, I will say to you, park the anger where it belongs, bring back the beauty of the vignette. Paint us a picture of place. Gay and lightly veiled pissed off is tired and more than one of you tortured types has left us too soon. David Foster Wallace comes to mind. Truth? There were a lot more confused gays in Oklahoma in the 70s than there were avant garde artsy fartsy synthesizer players. I feel your outside looking in. Put that machine to work, park the pissy bitch, get on down the road. Art is all that truly separates us from the dirt roads and red clay dust. Not lifestyles or religions or social media or an education. “Cause “the human dream don’t mean shit to tree.”

    It was a Grace Slick kind of day. Merry Christmas!

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  5. Aw, you’re such a cutie and apparently a happy one at that. In my baby pics, I look two steps away from a full on nervous breakdown.
    Please believe me, you did not come across overly bitter at all. Given the current climate, I believe you showed restraint. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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