In the Recording Studio with Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick: My first Rock n Roll CRUSH.

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In 1990, at the age of 24, when I began to record my first solo album with Disney’s Hollywood Records, I was pleasantly surprised by my Producer Julian Raymond… who knew about my first “secret” Rock n Roll crush.

He knew that THIS band had been my first arena show EVER…

He knew that I still had all of their pop-punk buttons hidden in my ballerina jewelry box…

He knew that when I was 13, I would often lie on my bed and sing their lyrics, while holding their record cover close to my face, and kissing my “secret” Rock n Roll crush, during all of the silent pauses between everyone of their hit songs.

Yes…  he knew all about my affair with Tom Petersson, bass player of Cheap Trick, and it seemed that he had somehow become “Wish Master” the man who had the ability to grant me my Rock n Roll fantasy: a date with Tom Petersson.

“I have someone coming down to the studio to record with you this next week,” Julian said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Julian smirked. “I think you might have heard of him. His name is Tom Petersson.”

I felt like my head was actually going to explode.

I tried to play it cool, like all good Rock and Roll musicians are supposed to do, but my “Folk Roots” must have kicked in because I became an emotional mess in a matter of seconds.

“TOM PETERSSON?” I shouted. “TOM? MY TOM?”

I never thought I would hear a man giggle, but Julian actually did, as he left me in the recording studio and walked back into the control booth.

I watched as he pushed the control room sound button and said to me, “Yep. Your Tom Petersson.”

My heart was racing.

I had been madly in love with Tom Petersson all of my 7th grade year and way into the summer.

He was beautiful to me in every way.

His dark hair.

His blue eyes.

His flirt of a smile and of course…

the biggest seducer of them all…. his talent.

Tom Petersson.

My secret Rock n Roll crush.

With me.

An entire week.

Working on MY MUSIC.

It was too good to be true.

I’d like to say that I didn’t primp for the big event with Tom but… I did.

My X hadn’t seen me so pumped up about “being with a man” since our wedding day.

“He’s just a bass player,” he mumbled. His lead singer ego all in an uproar.

I gave him a big hug, “You’re my man,” I whispered and watched as he smiled and toddled off to go play with one of his tube amps.

Don’t get me wrong… I adored and loved my lead singer husband, but there was no way in hell I could tell him that all of my life I had been secretly in love with bass players… yes.. the list is actually legendary and no need to name names… you all know who you are… and Tom Petersson was at the top of my list.

Bass players always seemed so mellow, laid back… cool.

They dropped a goose egg here or there…

They never stole the limelight…

They kept the rhythm going and popped out of the mix every once in awhile to shine.

So I shaved my legs, and curled my hair, and picked out my cutest dress to wear the first day that I would meet my big crush.

And when Tom came into the studio… you could imagine my surprise… when the first thing I noted was his size: not much taller than me actually. I had always pictured him larger than life… but as he strutted towards me, I could see that he had this charisma about him that seemed to radiate throughout the room.

He walked forward, skinny jeans, expensive London mod boots, tight black t-shirt, open white suit jacket…  his hair cropped punky and short now… but still dark… and his eyes… still a brilliant blue and said, “D.D.!” as if I had always been and would always be his best friend as he reached out, hugging and kissing me, until I thought I really would just lay down happily and die.

I rarely get tongue-tied and I rarely get star-struck but for a moment… I felt myself turn back into a 13-year-old DORK, though I tried to contain it, as I gave him a great big smile before saying, “Tom!” Just a little too loudly… and a little too breathy… giving away a bit of my junior high school persona.

“Can’t wait to play on your tracks,” he said. “Good stuff.”

And I thought that of all the validation I had ever received in my life time, to have one of your star musician crushes tell you that your music was “good” basically “worthy of their attention” that they would take time out of their superstar life to come and play with you… well I tell you… it was the best validation ever…

“Pull my finger,” Tom said abruptly, causing me to immediately step out of my starstruck validation moment, while realizing that his voice had the same rough and raspy texture as David Johansen’s from the New York Dolls.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Pull it,” Tom repeated.

I hesitated a moment before I reached out and grabbed his finger, and the next thing I knew, Tom Petersson blasted out a terrific fart.

His laugh had a lot of bass and a booming tenor… it was a guffaw that filled the room.

“Don’t you just love fart jokes,” he said as he walked into the recording studio and got his bass out and ready to play.

I looked at Julian who said, “Don’t you just love the reality of the situation?”

I’m sure he meant it to be facetious… but actually… I did.

To find out that Tom Petersson was just “one of the guys” a down to earth, super cool, “Good Time Charlie” made me beam from ear to ear.

I couldn’t imagine what the week would hold: the possibilities of fun and trouble were obviously endless.

The next day, I rushed to the studio to be with Tom and found that he had brought me a present.

“D.D.” he said. “You have to see this.” He handed me a video tape.

I was afraid to touch it.

“It isn’t porno,” he said. “It’s Robert Tilton.”

Okay… so maybe I was confused. Did Tom Petersson, my Rock n Roll crush… my Musical God of Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll just give me a tape showcasing an evangelical television preacher?

“Watch it,” he said. “Actually,” He grabbed my hand and dragged me from the studio, “Let’s find a TV and watch it together now.”

We rushed down the hallway, and broke into an office, where we found a TV and VCR and popped the tape into the player.

“You’re gonna love this,” he howled as he grabbed two chairs and pulled me down to sit next to him.

I watched as the tape began to roll and Robert Tilton appeared. He was preaching about the word of the Lord when suddenly he stopped, squinted his eyes to pause for spiritual emphasis, and then a loud fart sound emanated from his ass.

Tom squealed with laughter.

“Isn’t it great?” he said. “Someone took all of his TV sermons and added fart tracks behind it. Isn’t it the best thing ever?”

I can’t say I wasn’t enjoying myself… I was… I was alone with Tom Petersson, I was sharing a personal moment with him, ANYTHING would have made me happy but… I couldn’t help but wonder for a moment, What if Robin Zander were in the room with us? Did he have the same bathroom mentality?

Tom shook my hand, sure that I wasn’t paying proper attention.

“Look D.D.!” He shouted, “Look!”

I watched again as Robert Tilton paused for spiritual significance and a long rapid series of fart sounds descended upon us.

Tom could barely breath. He actually slapped his skinny little Rock n Roll knee, shook his head and sighed before saying, “I just love this,”  and I felt a sudden ache in my heart.

How I wish I could have been on the road with Tom circa 1977.

I bet he was so much fun to travel with.

He must have been the prankster. The trickster. The one always up for a good time. I bet he had never been mean to a fan in his life time. He was everything I could ever want him to be.

Our week together passed by quickly… one prank after another: fart jokes, pages of porn magazines taped under office desks… and in cartage containers… and stuffed into acoustic sound holes of guitars… and when it was time for him to leave… I knew how much I would miss him.

“Stop it,” he said in his deep booming voice. “I’ll see you soon. You’ll come to a show right? We can hang out. Have fun.”

And there it was again… my 13-year-old fantasy come true.

And as the years have passed… it’s been nice to hear from friends in the business that he still asks after me… still rants and raves about our great time together in the studio that week.

And fart jokes and all… my Rock n Roll crush is still… my beautiful legendary gentleman.

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The Big Box: A Cautionary Tale Regarding a Woman and her Period

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This is a cautionary tale about a woman, a period, and a big box.

Men will never truly understand the whole “period” thing… I’m sorry men… but you just won’t.

Women are basically cycling through an exciting array of hormones every 28 days, of every month, of every year, for most of our life time.

We are up and down and up and down (no pun intended) and you men never know when you are going to get your “calm little kitten” or your “crazed steroid driven psycho” that screams at you for doing just about anything, while fisting chocolate covered zingers into her mouth at an alarming rate.

It isn’t pretty.

We try to maintain.

I’m telling you gentleman… we do…

But it is impossible as this organic chemical concoction called “womanhood” surges through our body, driving us to mate… then hate you before our 28 day deadline for that month is over.

Any husband knows the horror of heading to the Albertson’s at ten o’clock at night and asking, “Umm, can you tell me where the BIG BOX of Tampax medium to heavy unscented pearl pack is? Oh… and can you direct me to the aisle where I can also purchase the BIG BOX of Nestle Ice Cream sandwiches and the FAMILY SIZE frozen chocolate chip cookie dough? Thank you so very much.”

Come home empty handed and you will be sorry.

I’m telling ya… I had a complete period break down just last month when I told Stephen that I was going to get a taco at Taco Bell.

“Well, I’ll drive with you,” he said.

But I didn’t want him to.

I was trying to sneak away.

I knew what I was going to do: go to the Taco Bell and binge. Pumped up on my monthly hormones and jonzing for sugar, salt and fat, I knew a taco wasn’t going to hold me over… but I didn’t want to admit it… when I’d been trying really hard to uphold the image of “breezy sexual vixen” to this man.

“Ummmm, well I was going to run a couple of errands,” I said, hoping to deter him from tagging along.

“That’s okay,” he said. “I’ll just ride with you.”

And I thought, Why do men always WANT to be with us when we don’t want them around? And then it’s just the opposite when we do?

“Fine,” I snapped at Stephen, as he climbed into the mini van, totally oblivious to my situation, and stared out the window waiting for me to drive.

I floored it.

“Whoa,” he said, and he sounded just like Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. “Taking it a little fast today aren’t you?”

I felt my face go red and I fantasized about reaching over, opening the door, kicking him out to the curb, just so I could watch him roll around on the street in pain while I screeched donuts around him in my 96 Isuzu shouting, “A WOMAN GREW YOU IN HER WOMB YOU SMUG SON OF A BITCH! NOW YOU WILL FEEL OUR PAIN!”

But I controlled my period rage and rushed towards my salvation.

When we pulled into the drive-thru and I heard the familiarly soothing song of, “Welcome to Taco Bell” I thought I might be okay.

“Yes, could I have the BIG BOX MEAL please?”

Stephen turned and looked at me.

“I thought you were just getting a taco?”

Now, I’m sure Stephen asked this question in all innocence, but my eyes narrowed, my demeanor became sinister as I turned to him and asked, “What did you just say?”

And in that moment… Stephen suddenly realized the gravity of his situation…

Just in that moment… the man that had once been married to someone for over ten years… realized that he had willingly entered a car with a women who was cocked and fully loaded.

“Mmmmm, that sounds good,” he said, pretend joy plastered to his face as he rubbed his hands together, trying to appease me until he could run from the scene. “But I think I’ll just have a drink today.”

I kept my eyes fixed oh him… waiting for the smallest sign… the smallest gesture… of what could be perceived as “mock” but he kept his gaze steady until the sound of the speaker…”Anything else?” …distracted me from my prey.

“What are you getting then?” I asked him: my tone… complete annoyance.

“Ummmmm,” Stephen said as he leaned over and tried to get a better look at the drink menu.

I felt my fingers twitching on the steering wheel…

“Ummmmm,” he stalled again. “Uhhhh, I think I’ll have…”

“Jesus, Stephen!” I shouted. “What the fuck do you want to drink?”

Stephen’s eyes grew large, there was a bit of a shocked smile that crept over the surprised little “O” of his mouth.

“Ummm, a Strawberry Lemonade,” he said to the speaker.

I felt the proximity of his body next to mine and hissed, “Now back away,” as I rolled around to the drive-up window.

Stephen sat back in his seat and folded his hands on his lap, he waited quietly until the register girl handed our drinks out the window and then… the BIG BOX MEAL.

The girth of it was embarassing.

There it was: The BIG BOX.

I handed it to Stephen and drove away from the window.

Stephen didn’t say a word and in fact, it remained quiet in the car… until I realized that Stephen was silently reading the description on the side of the box.

“What does it say?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Stephen said.

Smart man.

He knew better than to engage in the car but I had him cornered.

“No what does it say?” I demanded as I stared him down and watched as he cautiously held the box up higher and read out loud in a slow steady voice, as if he were a student in one of my high school classes, worried that he would receive extreme punishment for any verbal error.

“It says…” he started… “The Taco Bell Big Box Meal. This value meal on steroids comes loaded with our latest masterpiece, the Volcano Taco, as well as the Burrito Supreme, the Crunchwrap Supreme, Cinnamon Churro Twists, and a Large Drink. All for only $4.99. Don’t even ask about our calorie count on this one. Let’s just say, minus the drink you’re talking 4 digits. 1300 calories in this bad boyNot for the faint of heart. Watching your waistline? No worries, carrying this sucker will be enough of a workout. A meal made for a man!”

We pulled up to his house as he finished the last sentence.

“Give me that!” I shouted as I snatched the BIG BOX from his hands and watched as one of my churros went flying up into the air and landed somewhere in the back seat.

Stephen calmly opened the door and climbed out of the car before he turned back around, reached over the passenger seat, and picked up the now dirty churro from the car floor.

“You sure you don’t want this one?” he asked, the safety provide by the middle of the street making him suddenly brave.

I didn’t even respond.

I hit the gas and watched as the door slammed, leaving Stephen, dirty churro still in hand, gawking from the middle of the street, as I railed the corner and headed for home.

“Meal made for men my ASS!” I shouted from the open car window.

I pulled up to my house, went inside, and ate my BIG BOX MEAL in the privacy of my home.

Happy in my hormonal dysfunction.

Period shame be damned.

Why We Don’t Take Blue Xanax on a School Day

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Anyone who knows me knows… that I would never purposely set out to get a teacher high.

Seriously…. Not on a holiday.

Not on a weekend.

And definitely not on a school day.

I’m wild.

I’m outrageous.

I’m pretty unpredictable… but after a lifetime surrounded by addicts and recovering addicts… it would be the last thing I would ever do.

Trust me.

It was an accident.

I swear.

It was many years ago, before my current job at MHS, and three of my best friends, let’s just call them Mr. D, Mr. C, and Ms. E were all struggling with anxiety.

There has been a long running joke in education that Xanax is “teacher’s candy” and during hard times, many of us have dabbled in anti-anxiety medication, doctor prescribed of course, to make it through a particularly trying school year.

Well, this year must have been a doozy because EVERYONE was packing.

I, being somewhat of a Xanax “light weight” had been prescribed the white pills: 0.25 mg. basically… the lowest possible dose.

“You can take up to three a day,” my doctor said. “For anxiety.”

“Three?” I looked at the bottle suspiciously.

“D.D.” he said. “This is a very low dose.”

Now, I’m not sure what a “low” dose is to him, but after I returned to the safety of my home, I tried one and not twenty minutes later, my husband found me on the front porch, basically having some weird alter-ego karaoke session with me, myself, a guitar, and a blasting rendition of “Brick House.”

I vowed that I would never take one of these pills during a school day EVER.

The thought of what I might do during class time, while hopped up on Xanax, was enough to cause my anxiety to rocket through the roof.

What if I stole the little security golf cart and raced it around the campus?

What if I ran up to the rally stage, grabbed the microphone from ASB, and screamed out the lyrics to GOD SAVE THE QUEEN while the cheerleaders looked on in horror and the quad broke into a riot?

What if I crank called the Principal with one of those really HOKEY Popsicle stick jokes: “Hey Principal Smith… where do baby cows eat?… In the CALVE-A-TERIA” and laughed hysterically until Nurse Anderson had to come and take me away.

I could just see Tim Grobaty’s article in The Press Telegram looming in front of me: BELOVED HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER FOUND DOPED UP AND DROOLING ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD: P.S. NO THIS IS NOT THE D.D. WOOD I KNOW AND LOVE. I  HAVE NEVER ASSOCIATED WITH THIS WOMAN. LEAVE ME OUT OF THIS.

I shudder still at the thought of it.

So, I left my pills at home and learned to manage my school day without medication.

Six months later, Xanax at bedtime was a regular routine, I barely reacted to the dose, and my anxiety reduced significantly from several months of “good sleep.”

The school day suddenly seemed like a breeze to get through.

That was… until the phone call.

It was a Friday I believe when I received the call in my classroom from Ms. E.

“Room 525,” I said as I answered the school phone.

“D.D.” Ms. E said panic obvious in her voice. “You take Xanax right?” she asked.

I wasn’t sure if this was some type of trick question: Was this a PTA intervention? Had the militant helicopter parents found out I was a closet Xanax addict or was my friend really in need?

“Yeah,” I said as I tried not to sound hesitant.

“I need one,” she said, almost in tears now. “I can’t make it through the day. I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack. Please may I have one.”

“I don’t bring them to school,” I said. “I only take them at home.”

“Shit,” she barked in a harsh whisper. “Shit. Shit. Shit.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond at first but then the magic light switch flipped on in my brain.

“Mr. C packs,” I whispered. “Do you want me to ask him for one?”

“Yes,” she practically came through the phone her “yes” so emphatic.

“Hang on,” I said. “I have conference period in five minutes. I will grab one from Mr. C and bring it to you.”

“Okay,” she whispered before I heard her shout at her class, “Sit down! Sit down! You people have no understanding of what it means to be ME RIGHT NOW!”

Crap, I thought… I need a pill and fast.

The bell rang and I hustled the children out as quickly as possible before I bolted down to Mr. C’s room.

“Ms. E’s having a panic attack,” I blurted out. “She needs something.”

Mr. C, on conference period as well, gave me a knowing nod before he reached in his California Teacher’s Association satchel and pulled a small blue pill out of a plastic baggie.

“Can she handle a blue?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I know she takes Xanax on a regular basis so I guess so.”

I didn’t know what a blue Xanax was and though I am a teacher, me… the MORON in this scenario, didn’t bother to ask.

I squirreled away the little blue pill in my hand and palmed it all the way out to the far bungalows that sat practically on the baseball field.

“Here,” I handed it to her. “She popped it in her mouth without a thought, took a giant swig of water off of her bottle, and smiled as it seemed the “magic little pill” was already working.

“Okay everyone,” she said sweetly to her group of students. “Let’s learn about the Donner Party and why you should never eat anyone’s ass.”

I caught myself making a face… maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea but hell, I wasn’t exactly the cornerstone of Conservative teaching… maybe this was a typical day in Ms. E’s room.

“Whatcha doing?” Mr. D said as he walked up behind me.

Mr. D and I had been program friends for several years and had spent many an after school session at our local Al-Anon meeting ranting about our addiction to addicts and our need for control.

“Nothing,” I said, unsure if I should tell Mr. D that I had given Ms. E someone else’s drugs, afraid to just come clean. I mean, he was on “the Xanax” like everyone else… but then… the moment passed and I let the thought go.

“Drive with me up to Starbuck’s?” He asked.  “So I can get a coffee and have a smoke?”

“Sure,” I said and we both left campus to enjoy our conference period away from our busy school day.

We were gone I’d say 15 minutes; just long enough for Mr. D to get in a whole smoke while we sat waiting for coffee in the Starbuck’s drive-thru.

When we returned to our campus, we made a full circle of our school in the car, and then pulled up to park next to Ms. E’s bungalow.

We were shocked by our immediate view.

Ms. E was not in her classroom teaching.

Ms. E was hanging over the railing of the bungalow ramp, swinging her entire upper half of her body over the rail and trying to touch her toes with her pudgy little hands before she would rise up, throw her arms up into the air, and then swing them back down and try to touch her toes again.

“Wooooooo Eeeeeee!” She said each time she raised back up and saw me and Mr. D staring at her from the car. “HEY YOU TWO!” She shouted. “Wooooooooooo Eeeeeeeeee!”

Now, I am always the first to blame in these situations… known as the Punk Rock I Love Lucy… once told by a former boss that I ALWAYS LOOKED GUILTY OF SOMETHING and today was no exception.

Mr. D took one look at Ms. E, before turning to me and shouting, “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU GIVE HER?”

“Xanax,” I said trying not to sound like Curtis Mayfield’s Pusherman. “It was just Xanax.”

“What color was it?” He asked.

“Blue.”

“YOU GAVE HER A BLUE?” He shouted. “A fucking blue? That’s like eight times the size of the dose that we take you idiot!”

I’d like to say that I was stunned at that moment. Even… apologetic for my actions… but really, I was watching Ms. E and wondering how the hell she was still standing after such a massive dose of Xanax and wondering how Mr. C was able to pop blues on a daily basis while making it through, what appeared to me, a “sober” school day.

Mr. D was out of the car in two seconds.

He ran across the field and gathered Ms. E up, as if she was a ball of limp bread dough, while I stood at the curb and watched him carry her past me and hurriedly put her in the car.

“Cover her class,” he shouted.

Ms. E was already enjoying making fish faces at me through the car window: cheeks puffed out, hands pressed against the door glass, drool running down into the door channel, until Mr. D slammed the car into gear, blasted away from the school and they disappeared from view.

“Jesus,”  I whispered to myself as I locked the school gate and headed into her classroom to finish out the teaching day.

“Where’s Ms. E?” the students asked, each small group hard at work on their Donner Party Informational Chart: Why We Don’t Eat Asses.

“Ummmm,” I said, as I quickly walked around the room collecting the work, afraid that it might be used against us in a court of law, “She wasn’t feeling well so she went home for the day. Pass me your classwork. Ms. E told me to give everyone an “A” on this assignment and you get to have free time for the rest of the period.”

By their reactions you would have thought that I had declared school over for LIFE.

There were no complaints, no worries… cell phones popped out, ipods popped in, random conversations sparked up around the room.

Teachers crave Xanax…. and students “jones” for “free time”… for them… it’s the most addicting drug.

After a weekend of recovery for Ms. E, and an Al-Anon meeting where Mr. D “called me out” on my actions in front of my sponsor, we all returned to school and went back to business.

Nothing ever came from the incident, and blue Xanax was never again given… or asked for… at school.

Well… at least not between us teachers… I can’t speak for the administration.

Threatening Dylan with Baby Farming

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When Dylan was in 6th grade, he could quite often be a little shit.

Not that he can’t be a little shit now at 22, but middle school always tends to bring the “beast” out in children.

I don’t even remember what he was doing the day that I finally snapped.

But whatever it was… it sent me over the edge.

He made just one too many snide remarks…

Or farted too close to where I was sitting, one too many times before he laughed and ran away…

Or begged and screeched to go to the internet cafe and play Counter Strike for like… ten hours straight… when he hadn’t even completed his English project but, whatever it was… I had HAD it.

I turned and looked at his pudgy little pre-adolescent face and said, “You know what? I should have Baby Farmed you.”

He stopped… confused… and then… immediate silence followed.

“Baby Farm?” he said. “What is a Baby Farm?”

“Baby farming,” I said knowingly. “Go look it up.” I gave him a  sinister glance as I walked quietly from the room and disappeared.

One of the best things about knowing random facts of obscure information is using it against others and yes… I am not above using information to mess with my own children.

In fact, I think it is imperative to give them something to think about… a way of humbling them if necessary and reminding them that education truly is power and that I can, and will break you with it if necessary.

Ten minutes later Dylan found me out in the front yard working on the garden.

I had totally forgotten our previous conversation by then, happy to be alone and away from my obstinate young son, soothed in my small task of arranging my numerous brightly colored gnomes strategically throughout my garden.

Dylan walked up to me and stood by my side. “That was the meanest thing you ever said to me,” he whispered.

I looked up from my work and said, “Huh?”

“Baby farming,” he said. His pudgy little face now crumpled into a sad frown. “I can’t believe you used that against me.”

“How long did it take you to find out what it was?” I asked.

“Five minutes on the computer.”

“Wow,” I smiled. “Impressive.”

He paused… pleased that I had admired his ability to glean information so quickly… but unable to forgive me yet… or give in.

“It was still the meanest thing you ever said to me,” he mumbled.

“Glad you didn’t end up in the Hudson circa 1887 right?”

He made a face, sure that he could not win this argument but unwilling to let it go, “I could swim when I was one you know,” he shouted before he stomped off, to God knows where, to create soda bottle bombs, Pokemon drawings, and ponder a world where Baby Farming was once a norm, leaving me to smile at the joy my offspring brought to me each time he chose to challenge his mother’s authority.

Lexi Taunts Nana with Lesbianism to find out her True Views on Gay Relationships

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This is Lexi.

Lexi is my daughter.

She is not gay although she is gay friendly and often looks like this…

Which often causes quite a stir in both the straight and gay community.

Lexi is what they call “a triple threat:”

Super beautiful.

Super smart.

Super good at putting people in their place.

And I’m of course… super proud of her.

Now Nana, is Lexi’s grandmother.

Nana likes to sit in the blue chair each day, watch old Turner Classic Movies on TNT, and comment on “The Gays.”

Nana supposedly loves “The Gays.”

She supports gay marriage.

She supports gay entertainment.

She supports gays in the military.

She smiles when “The Gays” come to the house and dote on her, often offering her boxes of chocolate and homemade pies whipped up from Martha Stewart’s “secret recipe.”

Oh Nana and her gays.

Now, I had never really had any doubts about my mom and her love for the gays.

She owned The Birdcage and watched it regularly.

She thought Tom Hanks totally nailed it in Philadelphia.

She loved Montgomery Cliff in, A Place in the Sun, and she was always so loving and kind with all of my gay friends.

Once, at Christmas, I had given my gay friend, Ryan Daniels a blow-up male porno doll as a joke, and sat him at the dining room table next to me, as I pretended to feed him candy canes when Nana, came down the stairs, pointed her angry finger towards the blow-up doll and said, “Get him out of here now. I hate that guy. He is super creepy.”

Ryan and I, worried we had finally pushed my mom over the edge, hurried to remove the offending plastic doll from the area when my mom stopped us by shouting, “Not him!” and we watched as her finger pointed to the next chair at the table. The chair where my new blow-up, life-sized Sponge Bob doll was seated. “That guy,” she said sternly. “He’s the one. Get him out! Get that creepy guy out of here right now.”

Ryan could not stop crying with laughter all the way through Christmas breakfast and way into the eggnog portion of the morning.

“Your mom is just so great,” he whispered. “God, I wish my parents had been okay with me being so openly gay.”

Lexi however was not fooled by my mother’s overtures.

She had a sinking suspicion that Nana might be a closet “phobe”  and told me this one day in passing conversation, but I was sure that she was wrong.

“Are you?” Lexi demanded of me. “Are you really sure that Nana totally supports gays and lesbians?”

“Well yeah…” I said. “What about the blow-up doll at Christmas? Or how she loves The Birdcage?  And remember how crazy she was for Greg Louganis? I mean, you were only a year old and she wanted to sign you up for diving so that you could be just like him.”

Lexi looked at me like I had just had a big drink of the Jim Jones Kool-aid.

“You, are completely delusional,” she said. “Watch this.”

I watched as Lexi removed her jacket and readied for battle.

I could see Nana, sitting in the blue recliner, her little bare feet up on the foot rest of the chair, her little toes wiggling in time to Robert Preston singing “76 Trombones” from The Music Man and I thought, You’re gonna lose this one little girl. I should have bet money. No way is Nana anti-gay.

Lexi pulled up one of the old wooden chairs from the dining room table close to Nana’s seat, and said, “Nana, can I talk to you for a minute. It’s super important.”

Nana pushed the mute button on the remote and turned to look at her favorite grand baby.

“What is it sweety?” she asked.

“Well Nana,” Lexi said. “You know, I’ve been looking for the right person to date for a long time now, and I finally found someone I really love.”

“Oh that’s nice,” Nana said and I saw her little toes start to wiggle once again, as if all was right in Nana’s world.

“Yes,” Lexi said as she cast a sideways glance towards me, an evil glint in her eye, and then she went for the kill. “Yes Nana,” she said. “My new girl is really beautiful and super smart and I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

“What did you just say?” My mom asked. Her toes now stopped and completely rigid.

“I said I’m in love with a girl. Yes Nana, I’m a lesbian.”

“WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT!” My mom screamed at her. “YOU ARE NOT A LESBIAN!”

Lexi stood up, grabbed Nana and gave her a big hug and kissed her before she said, “Come on Nana. You know I’m just teasing you. I’m not a lesbian. You know I like penis too much to be a lesbian.”

“That’s right!” Nana said as if she was listening to a testimonial in church and couldn’t wait to shout out her big “AMEN!”

Lexi walked over to me, grabbed a handful of peanut M & M’s from Nana’s candy dish before she popped one in her mouth, got really close to my face and then said, “See? I told ya.”  Before she strutted out the back door with a loud obnoxious laugh that seemed to scream… “I got you so good” as she headed off to God knows where.

I can’t really tell you what I felt in that moment:

Shock that she had been right.

Amazement that my daughter actually said out loud to my mother that she liked penis too much and my mother “Amened” it with righteous glee.

Or that all this was taking place while I was listening to one of the gayiest of gay men, Robert Preston, sing songs from The Music Man, as it all went down under one roof.

I must admit… it was a little too much… even for me.

Just then my cell phone rang and I picked it up to hear Lexi cackling on the other end of the line.

“She’s gay friendly if it isn’t one of her own,” Lexi chortled. “It’s all fun and games until someone goes gay in the family.”

“Or brings home Spongebob,” I mumbled. “Don’t forget Spongebob.”

“Or Spongebob,” Lexi agreed.

I hung up the phone and went back to my room, to look at my Spongebob doll and ponder my mother’s tricky gay ways.