wifebeaters and bungee cords

By: belasbrightideas

Aug 22 2011


Category: psychology, Uncategorized

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My youngest began her high school career at a former Catholic boys’ institution converted, sort of, into a coed nonsectarian hall of education with various remnants of pedophilial staff lurking around the athletic and English departments. Within two years, we understood enough to a) get her into another school and b) bring this hallowed institution under the scrutiny of the Board of Education as well as various legal entities who, within a very short time, cleaned house from the top down and terminated, rather than incarcerated, two of the offenders. This disturbing notion continues to haunt, as at least one of these men pursued teaching in another state, while his son left and then returned to consummate at least one sexual relationship with a former student.

Interestingly enough, it was at this school that girls began wearing men’s undershirts, calling them “wifebeaters.” To my knowledge nobody knows where the name originated, only that it seemed to conjure images of balding beer bellied mill workers or weight lifting grease monkeys who practiced adolescent schoolyard bully moves on their splotchy faced, mousy haired housefraus, too exhausted by multiple births and dead-end lives to fight back.

A few months ago I returned from town, six thousand miles distant from where my girls grew up, having lobbed myself between the eyes with a thirty inch bungee cord. The mishap took place at the transfer station where we go to get free truckloads of mulch for the landscape and where, blood streaming from my forehead; hands, face and torso covered with mulch dust – no one proffered help. Either I looked too much like a garden variety Carrie or these men playing with their big machines were too stunned to offer assistance. At any rate, trying not to soak the truck’s interior with my own body fluids, I gingerly fished out some wet naps and a first aid kit and administered, as best I could, to my woozy self. Minutes later as the bleeding began to ease, I noticed in the rear view mirror that all eyes were still upon me, wondering, I guess, if they would have to scoop me up in the bucket loader and heave my carcass onto the steaming mulch pile or if I would relieve them of this agonizing decision by simply driving away. I ended up doing the latter, much to my own and their apparent relief.

I was, however, determined to finish my errands in town. Despite a slight headache and haggard appearance, it was still an hour’s drive home. Handkerchief in hand, I pressed on. As I moved among the masses, it began to appear as though folks were either averting eyes or staring at me strangely. And then it dawned on me that the odd soul probably thought that the old man had given me what-for before I bolted out the tattered screen door of our shack, spilled into his favorite truck, and headed straight for Costco.


image: guardian.co.uk

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