Coincidentally, what Dennis had to ask was in reference to women. (I haven’t used the word “coincidentally” in about eight years. It felt good. Coincidentally.) Where was I? Oh, women.
Dennis asked me about British women, to be exact. He had watched the “Inspector Lewis Mystery “on Masterpiece Theatre the night before and noticed something about the women on the program. You didn’t ask, but Inspector Lewis is my least favorite British detective. He’s just below Miss Marple. Miss Marple is smart, but weak as rain. Lewis is dumb and weak. He’s the least smart detective on Masterpiece. I still like to watch him, though. British mysteries are the best.
Where was— oh yeah, women. Dennis wanted to know why women on British TV are so ugly. He thought I ought to know. Dennis is loony sometimes. He said that all the women on Masterpiece theater either have bad teeth, a bad nose, protruding chin or no chin. Keep in mind these are Dennis’ words. His phone number is 555-261-6789.
I knew right off that Dennis was way off on his assumption. Only 85 percent of the women on Masterpiece are homely. And, they’re not representative of all British women. Probably. Of course, 90 percent of all British men are scary ugly. (Why is it easier for me to say bad things about men than women? It’s just not fair.) By the way, ME making fun of someone’s looks is beyond hypocritical. It’s hypocriolossical. I’ve used that word in Scrabble. It’s most convincing.
Personally, I think it’s good that Masterpiece Theater casts ugly actors. We seldom do that in the US of A. After an audition, if I don’t get a callback, I assume I didn’t look good enough for the part. You can’t assume that in Britain. The British gravitate toward the “plain.” Apparently they’re the best actors. (Don’t forget Dennis’ phone number.)
I told Dennis all of that. Even chastised him for being so mean to British women. I about had him in tears. Upset him so much that he changed the subject on me. The switch came so fast that it about twisted my neck.
Dennis said that his grandkids were real excited about the start of school. He said that J Bear and Maxie were all grins when they left the house. No transition, he just skipped right to school. All the brothers do that. Well, they don’t skip to school that often, but they do change the subject a lot. Fortunately, I’m more disciplined.
Dennis sounded proud of The Bear and Maxie. Me? Not so much. I think they’re weird. At no time in my entire life was I ever happy about the start of school. I started every school year kicking and screaming. Particularly when I was teaching. Ba dump dump.
There is something about the beginning of school that is scary as all get out. If you’re not scared, you don’t have a full grasp of the situation. My first day in the first grade was terrible. I’d never been to kindergarten or day care. I was an outsider when it came to organized education.
I remember being so relieved when I came home from school after my first day, that I sang the “Have Gun Will Travel” song. It was over! The next morning Mom woke me up and told me to get ready for school. I thought she’d lost her mind. “Mother, I went to school yesterday, remember?” I actually thought school was over for me after that one day. How stupid is that?
Me in the first grade
Mom didn’t have to spank me to get me to cry, ‘cause I was already crying. I wasn’t going. Turns out, I did. Unfortunately, since I figured I wouldn’t be returning to school for Day 2, I had paid no attention to where my classroom was. Dennis was in the fourth grade line, but he wouldn’t and couldn’t help me, so I just walked the halls until I found a classroom that looked okay.
After roll call, the teacher asked if there was anyone whose name she didn’t call. I didn’t raise my hand. It took her awhile to figure out I was the additional student. She took me straight to the principal’s office. Didn’t trust me to find the place on my own.
I’ve told that story more than a few times, ‘cause it really burned a hole in the confidence part of my brain. At the start of each school year, that moment resurfaces and I get that sick feeling about being out of step with the rest of the world.
That’s what always scared me about school. I just knew that the kids and teachers could tell that I was acting my rear off trying to appear normal. And, that behind my mask of mild assurance was the real me… a citizen of Loserland. Population: Mark.
I told Dennis that story right after he told me about his grandkids. Oh, I didn’t tell him about the “mask of mild assurance” thing. That’s too weird for brother-talk. No, I just reminded him about how I thought school was over after the first day. And, about how he couldn’t get out of line to help me find my classroom that second day.
Dennis didn’t remember any of that. I must’ve been a pretty good actor to get my big brother… my best friend to think I had it all together. It’s hard when you’re young.
So Dennis’ grandkids were all excited about the start of school. Sheesh. Was sorry that Dennis let me in on that little gem. As bad as the ugly British women topic was, I was sorry he changed the subject. The brothers do that a lot.
To see the latest Brad and Mark restaurant review click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn_l4Bjb1S4.