Reliving the Past...in PG

A night of stories and omissions.

Last week one of my dearest, oldest friend's, Jessica, was in town with her two teenage kids for a brief visit. We decided to get together for a nice family dinner to laugh, eat and just talk about the good ol' days.

Now, to give you a little back story, Jessica and I have been friends since we were 12 years old and we did just about everything together in "the good ol' days"—drugs, clubs, boys, stealing our parent's cars, oh, and, drugs.

Pretty much anything we did was fueled by hormones, alcohol and just the simple craziness that came with growing up in L.A. in the '80s.

As you can imagine, we have some pretty awesome stories to tell with Duran Duran as our background music. Yes, stories that we look back on now and know for damn sure we were lucky to survive. Stories that made us go from girls to women... stories that I NEVER want my daughter to hear until she is at least 42.

So, before heading to the dinner I thought it would be a good idea to give my old friend just a little heads up on what NOT to talk about.

You know, just a wee reminder that although I might have been a wild child in my day, and, sure, when I'm not on mommy duty I drop f-bombs left and right and can possibly be found making out with a man in a public restroom if the situation calls for it,  but when I am on mommy duty I am a completely overprotective, neurotic prude—a total geek—and so it would be really nice if we could watch our language in front of the little blue-eyed 9-year-old.

The email said something like this— "My girl is only 9 so no talk of sex or drugs or any four letter words. Got it?!"

Jess sort've laughed in my face but promised to be on her best behavior.

And she was. We all were. We had a fantastic night. And, as I expected, we did talk about our childhood and young adulthood but, just as my pal promised, Jessica told every story without mentioning the fact that drugs, alcohol or boys were involved.

That's right—it was all PG.

"Remember the time you thought you saw a little man on your shoulder, Sue?"

We busted out laughing. Now, of course, the reason I thought I saw a little man on my shoulder was because I was tripping out on Ecstasy, but Jessica was good enough to leave that fact out of the story.

"Remember the time we were babysitting for my neighbor and we knocked over that sculpture and couldn't get it back on it's pin?"

Again, another hilarious story that Jess was careful to tell leaving out the part where we were stoned out of our minds from smoking the pot that we had stolen from the owner's backyard plants and that's how come we knocked over the steel iron one-of-a-kind sculpture in the first place.

Yes, it was all going so smoothly. I was impressed! Relieved! And as I hugged my buddy goodbye we smiled at our brilliant "see, we can keep it clean" behavior.

Little did I know that by omitting certain details I was about to have the longest drive home of my life.

"Mommy, why did you think you saw a little man on your shoulder?"

Oh, lord. How am I going to answer this?

"Um... because I was sleepy, baby."

Hmm. That was good. Turn up the radio, moving on.

"Wait, turn off the music, mommy. I'm confused. You saw a man on your shoulder because you were sleepy?"

Crap. Crap, crap, crap.

"Yes, baby. I was really sleepy."

"How sleepy? I mean, I've never heard of seeing little men just because you're sleepy."

Why, why, why.

"Well, I don't know what to tell you, baby. I was super tired, I mean, for all I know I was half asleep and I guess I saw a shadow. Hey, how was the steak—good, huh?"

"You thought the shadow was a little man?"

I suck. SUCK!

"Um, I guess so, honey. It was a long time ago. In fact, I barely remember it at all. I was only laughing because Jess was but honestly, I don't remember much about it."

Silence. Ah, good. We're moving on. Yes?

"You were only laughing because Jessica was? Mommy, if you don't remember seeing a little man on your shoulder why didn't you say so? That's weird."

No. Not moving on.

"Honey, I don't know, okay? I was tired, I saw a little guy. Thought he was on my shoulder. End of story, okay?"


Long silence. Long, long, long silence. Then,

"What was so funny about knocking that sculpture over?"

Oy vey. This is not going to end simply, is it?

"Well, honey, we were just goofing around and accidentally knocked over this really heavy sculpture and, well, we had the giggles and it took all night to lift it and get it back in its place."


Please be done, please be done, please be done.

"Why'd you have the giggles, mommy?"

Ah, screw it. We should've just told the whole truth and let her deal with the fact that when her mom was young she was a total rebel and experimented with just about every drug she could get her hands on.

Might've been a whole lot easier and, well, far less confusing.

"We had the giggles because life is funny, ya know?"

Silence, and then... she laughed. And laughed.

"Yeah, it is... little man on your shoulder. That's silly, mommy."

"Super silly, baby."

And we both just giggled the rest of the way home.


"Yeah, honey?"

"No offense, but your childhood sounded kinda dull."

Dull? Seriously? Listen, if you got the R rated version you would not call my history dull, little lady. You'd call it—

"You're right, baby. Snoresville all the way."

I smiled, took her sweet hand into mine. Maybe I'll wait until she's 62 to tell her everything. For now... dull totally works for me.

John Emerson January 15, 2013 at 07:14 AM
When your daughter reads your columns on her computer...you will say...?


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