Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #367

Hi there.

My name is Betty. This shouldn’t surprise you, because in the year that I was born everyone on the damn planet named their child Betty. This was a disappointing development, and nothing hacks away at your self-esteem like being christened with an uninspired moniker shared by half of your entire high-school graduating class. On top of that, my parents named all my brothers and sisters after people in the Bible. But I’ve never heard of a Betty in the Bible, have you? So this means my parents took one look at me and instantly decided that I was not going to Heaven. Great.

Anyway, I was hired for this advertising campaign because one of the producers thought I was perfect for portraying a secretary who is overjoyed at getting to use this fancy new typewriter. I don’t know where he got that idea. I’ve never used a typewriter in my life. (What’s the point? I’m apparently destined for Hell.) And as you can see, there are no words on the prop piece of paper jammed into this thing, and there’s nothing scribbled on the steno pad that could possibly inspire me to type. It’s completely unrealistic, just like the expectations I had for this perm when I walked into the beauty shop over on Maple Drive.

Still, I suppose I should be happy to have this gig. I don’t have to do much other than hold my hands in a certain way and smile like I’m having a secret orgasm. And I’m one of the few people who can pull off a Peter Pan collar without looking insipid. I guess I should just keep smiling for the camera, even though it is humiliating and psychologically-damaging.

Sounds of a door opening and someone entering the room.

Someone: “What are you doing sitting at my typewriter? You should be over on the couch.”

Betty: “Oh. Well, I was just posing for some publicity shots, Dr. Freud.”

Freud: “Publicity shots? There’s no one else here, Lizzie.”

Betty maybe Lizzie: “Who the hell is Lizzie?”

Freud: “That would be you, my delusional little pet. I just explained this to you, once again, before I stepped outside for a cigar that was just a cigar. It’s really getting tiresome how you can’t stick to the agenda and remember who you are, Miss Borden. Now get back on that couch and let’s talk about the significance of the axe. I have a thesis due on Monday.”


Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 04/15/16 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 07/29/16. Slight changes made. And yes, I realize the tail end of the tale doesn’t make any sense for those of you who don’t know the story of Lizzie Borden. But when the anarchic twist popped into my head, I just couldn’t ignore it. Hopefully you still had fun until things went in an unexpected direction, just like Lizzie’s parents…


25 replies »

  1. Betty/Lizzie – I once made a cake shaped like my parents. Then they ate it. What do you think that means?
    Freud – Why would you want your parents to eat themselves?
    B/L – Because then I wouldn’t have to axe them?
    Great post – loved it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • My grandmother’s name was Betty Jean, my best friend’s mother is named Betty, and Betty White appears to me in the form of “Golden Girls” reruns every night. I’m surrounded by Bettys. Kudos to you for breaking the trend… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am one of those who enjoyed and then scratched their heads at the ending, so much so I scrolled back up to the picture to see if I had missed the axe in it somewhere. Nope.
    Then I searched and read the Wiki about it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lizzie Borden took an axe
    and gave her parents 40 whacks…

    we had some horrible little jingles going around when I was a tot, and that’s all I can remember of that particular one. I remember Elizabeth Montgomery playing Lizzie Borden in a film I saw once. The writer deftly explained how come, if Lizzie B. HAD given her parents 40 whacks, there was no blood on her or her clothing. I guess that little point mystified the police at the time and people for decades afterward.

    And sometimes it’s best to keep sharp pointy things out of the hands of people named “Betty”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, the Lizzie Borden ditty.

      I remember being in the younger years of elementary school, wherein some of the girls would jump rope to that ditty during recess, the kind of rope-jumping where two participants would hold the ends of the rope and whirl it in a circular motion whilst one to three girls would stand in the midst, popcorn-bouncing and hollering rhymes. One of their fave expulsions was the Lizzie Ditty.

      Said Popcorn Gals, of course, had no idea of the history behind their chanting. I so VERY much wanted to let the little urchins know that they were celebrating grisly matricide and patricide, concepts which should not be revered in three-part harmony. But I was also sage enough to realize that if I stupidly chose to make this a teaching moment, my intentions would backfire and it would be ME sent to the principal’s office and possibly juvenile detention. So I withheld my urges and let the ignorant people bounce ignorantly and filed my musings away in my mind for eventual release decades later, scribbling away at midnight in a home far away from what used to be my house…

      And yes, I’ve already saved this comment to my “keeper” file, because you always inspire me…


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