I am a considerably together and well-adjusted adult, despite my childhood. And I don’t mean that I was abused or that I overcame anything significant or specifically arduous, I just mean that I was an especially strange child.
At 9 years old, I was often found waxing-domestic with one of my 35-year-old, mother-of-two neighbours. She with a cup of coffee, I with skinned knees, we’d sit together on her front porch, watching her kids play in the grass, discussing the events of the day. As openly as she heard tales of 4th grade nothingness, I ravenously absorbed stories of diaper-changes and marital un-bliss. The dynamic was most bizarre in its total lack of peculiarity. I had the same relationship with most of my teachers – except with those who were decidedly male and resistant to chitchat after class.
I've mentioned my intense attraction to Judith Light. I was always drawn to women of a certain age, and was a total sucker for one with well-coiffed hair and a smart wardrobe, shoulder pads notwithstanding. Judith Light’s pedigreed turn as Angela Bower was a dream come true. Add a t-shirt-laden Tony Danza, and a sharp-tongued Mona Robinson, and you can be sure Tuesday nights on ABC had me spellbound.
Like I said: strange.
While most boys my age were playing baseball and riding bikes dangerously, I was organizing desk drawers and not riding bikes at all. I had a penchant for stationery supplies. I dreamed of my own daytime talk show. And I was obsessed with infomercials.
Bathtime became a particularly eccentric time. My Mom had a blue-bottled-product near the tub. Its sole purpose, electric blue and shaped like some sort genetically-altered conch shell, was to dye the water, making the bather feel like she was Brooke Shields, I imagine. Worked for me. Aside from soaking in the Blue Lagoon, I would become the host and creator of a fantastic new stain-removal system. I would squirt the dye onto a facecloth and spend the next 20 minutes using shampoos, conditioners and a variety of hard soaps working the blemish out – all the while, in a hushed monologue, describing to my viewers how my cleaning products would get anything! out.
My skin wrinkled and gently tinted, I would climb from the tepid water an hour later, entirely satisfied with my latest performance. This was, of course, before puberty, when the bath became a single-purpose-endeavor which long-outlasted the hot water.
Finally, I was just like the other boys.