An Abnormal Chain of Fools

I know, it has been over a week since my last post… I could tell you that I have been busy but you probably wouldn’t buy it. I could tell you that I am trying to create demand and that people are constantly asking for a new post, but that isn’t happening (apparently you all think you have better things to do than read what I write…) However, I am surprised every time someone new tells me they have read some of these things. It’s really cool that people are actually taking some time to read, so thank you.

I have been trying to come up with some fictional stuff to throw in but it is not quite there yet so I will tell another true story. Sorry mom…

April 2005. I was nearing the end of my sophomore year of college. I had officially declared my major would be Psychology and was taking primarily psych courses. One course specifically was giving me a tough time, Abnormal Psychology. This was not because I found the material to be difficult but it was because I had chosen to take it once a week every Wednesday for 2 & 1/2 hours from 6:30 – 9. This was a horrible decision, because missing one class was like missing an entire week. I had an exam coming up and was a little nervous about it because a bad grade would put a lot of pressure on the last month of the class and I don’t deal well with stress.

I was on the phone with my mom for my semi-wee, semi-mon, ummm, my guilt relieving call to check in (ask for money) and she could sense that something was on my mind. I told her about the exam and that I was nervous about it. She, of course, said all of the right things calming me down and telling me to study hard. That is exactly what I did.

After I took the exam, I left doing what I usually did… second guessing and convincing myself that I had failed the test (I dare anyone to walk a mile in my shoes of worry and self-doubt). It was a long week waiting to find out exactly how bad my test had gone. Finally, Wednesday came and I walked into the lecture hall.

The class was taught by a younger grad student who did a very good job and actually helped to make this course one of my favorite that I took during my college career. He was a laid back guy who made everything relatable and interesting for me. On that day something was different…

He was pacing back and forth at the front of the lecture hall that held about 250 people who was less than 1/3 full. As we all took our seats students were exchanging nervous glances about what was going on, then, at 6:30 on the nose he yelled, “take your seats!”

This was definitely out of character… Oh, shit, I thought. This was not good, it had to be because of the test results and since I was usually not a curve setter I knew this was going to be a long Wednesday night in Abnormal Psych.

I remember this next part so vividly as it is frequently replayed in my re-occurring nightmares about school.

“I don’t know what to say” he said after we all had promptly taken our seats, “what did I do wrong? Was I not clear about what would be covered on the exam? I have never seen such a horrible collective group of test scores… now, not all of you performed badly but the only thing I can think of is to have you all take a new test tonight so that I can be sure that the scores were not due to me wording questions poorly.”

There were some groans in the room (nerds, like they wouldn’t get the same or better score tonight as they did on the first test). For me this was a second chance, I still had no clue what I got on the first test but I could only assume it was a failing grade. Then it hit me, I hadn’t been studying for this exam and


whatever I had studied prior to the last class had been erased by a massive weekend of binge drinking (damn you Busch Light! … Just kidding, I can’t stay mad at you). My chest tightened as he walked up the aisles passing out my latest death sentence and I could swear he looked a little happy about it… my hands were sweating and I could feel the lump rising up in my throat (NO, I didn’t cry… I just wanted to).

I could barely hold on to my pencil as I started on the first question… this was going to be bad. As I was guessing on the 4th or 5th question I was interrupted…

“Put down your pencils” he said, “I want all of you to think carefully about what you are feeling physically and mentally” he paused as we looked at him confused, then he went on, “this is how people with anxiety disorders feel all the time.”

No shit, I thought, not understanding what was going on. Then I realized (a little late) that it was all part of his joke. He explained that the test results were actually quite good and passed out our results. I did, well. I think I got a B, but at this point a passing grade would have felt like an A+.

After the lecture I was walking home, I picked up my phone to call my mom to tell her about what had just happened and the test results when something stopped me… Friday was April Fools Day and I had an idea… I was about to apply something I learned in school to my real life, this was exciting.

I spent all day Thursday thinking about what I should say and what would really fool my mom. Then it all made sense, I had the perfect plan because the set up had already been done. You see, I get my worry, um, gene from my mother and knowing this meant that she had been worrying about that test since our conversation (probably more than I was). It was almost to easy…

April 1st – D-Day. The plan was perfect, I had decided that I would call my mom after my last class Friday once I got home. When I walked into my house I went up to my room and overheard some roommates who had already started their weekend. I went in, got a beer and told them about my plan. They agreed that it was genius and insisted that I remained in the room while I made the call.

My parents were in Florida at the time for a conference that my dad was attending which meant that it was early enough in the day that my mom would be someplace warm (in the shade) reading her latest novel. Perfect time to call… (what I didn’t know is that she had actually been sick and I fairly bad cold).

I dialed with my speaker phone turned on… “Hey!” she said as her phone told her that I was calling.

“H-Hi…” I said with my voice shaking in a way that I knew would lead her to determine that something was wrong.

Immediately she responded, “What’s wrong?”

“Well… I don’t know exactly how to say it…” I said as my roommates worked to stifle their laughter.

“Just tell me” she said sternly, “what’s wrong?” I could tell the anxiety was building.

“Well, y-you know the test we tal…”

“What about it?” she interrupted.

“It didn’t go very well.”

“Did you fail?”

“Not exactly…”

“Just tell me what happened” she said.

I was working on keeping my laughter under control when I said, “I got caught cheating…”

Silence.

“Mom?”

“Ugh, why? What happens now?”

“Well, I don’t know exactly but it sounds like I will be suspended for the rest of the semester since it is a first offense… I’m sorry.”

“Why were you cheating?”

“I didn’t want to fail! I was nervous.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph… what were you thinking?” she was getting mad now.

“I wasn’t I guess, I’m sorry.”

“You have been doing this all along haven’t you? This isn’t the first time is it?”

(This prank was so good that it made her questions her gifted, talented baby’s integrity… I was actually really surprised when she said that, but I guess I deserved it)

“What? NO!”

“I don’t know what I am going to tell your father…” she thought out loud then continued, “what do you do now?”

“I don’t know…”

“What do you mean you don’t know?!” now she was really mad… it was time to end it.

“Mom?”

“What?!”

“Mom?”

“WHAT?!”

“April Fools!” I said through laughter as the other 3 or 4 roommates in the room all crowded around the phone as we all laughed together. I took the phone off speaker and put it up to my ear. “Mom?” I said still laughing. I couldn’t hear anything over the laughter so I walked out of the room, “Mom?”

Finally she responded, “G-good job, you really g-got (gasp, gasp) me!”

“Mom, don’t cr…” I tried to say before she hung up. Oops, I thought. The joke was a little too perfect I guess… I was still laughing, though (come one you were laughing too, it was perfect!).

I quickly called her back and she answered by saying, “that wasn’t very nice!” she was starting to laugh it off. I told her that truth about what had happened and then she explained that she had been sick which made me feel worse for making her worry and cry, but in the end we hung up on good terms.

A couple of hours went by and I had a couple more beers when my phone rang, the caller ID said Dad.

Hmmm, I thought, am I in trouble?

“Hey Dad!” I said in a cheery voice trying not to sound too drunk in the middle of the afternoon as I had participating in my favorite activity… day drinking.

“Quite the April Fools joke!” he said.

See, it turns out that after I had gotten off the phone with my mom she had slowly realized the genius of the joke and decided that it was good enough to use on my dad when he got out of his meeting, she is much more brave than I am, even though they were in Florida… I didn’t think for a second that the 1,700 miles gave me a big enough head start to play this joke on my dad and here my mom using the joke on him in the same room!

The joke reduced my dad to tears (I get the worrying from my mom and the crying from my dad) after he had accused me of cheating all along (writing this makes me wonder why my parents had so little faith in me… I blame my siblings).

Growing up I was never good with practical jokes, my older brother got that gene. But this one, this one was a gift from the heavens perfectly wrapped and it would have been a crime against humanity NOT to use it. I haven’t pulled a real April Fools joke since, I am waiting for the next perfect situation to present itself… Mom, I can’t promise you won’t be in the receiving end of the next one…

Cheers.

The Offer

I am back at it. I know, I know I have been slacking and you been checking back hourly to see when the next post will go up… right? The truth is I attended a bachelor party this past weekend in Wisconsin Dells and I had a run in with a guy named Jack and I also got sun burnt on the golf course (these are the best excuses I have come up with so far). This will NOT be about the bachelor party even though I am sure you would be amused to hear about how I still behave like an 18-year-old. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for the statute of limitations to pass before I will get into any stories from that adventure.

The other half of the truth is that I have been trying not to force stories so I am writing stories as they come to me. So, here we go…

I have an irrational fear of death (stick with me, this isn’t going to be as bad as it sounds). I admit this to you because, well, because I apparently I enjoy over sharing about myself and I have a hard time not being honest. Anyway, the concept of death is one that can keep me awake for hours and probably will tonight (so, if you don’t like this story you can at least enjoy that I will be mentally tormenting myself tonight).

I don’t know why this is the case, maybe it is a crisis of faith but I really struggle with the idea that I might not see the people who I love again (EVER again). Also, it is that feeling of envy. Like, when I was little and would have to go to bed before everyone else… I don’t want to miss out (I am selfish, I know). Now, I don’t know if this is really weird or if you are reading this with some agreement but it is important to set up my story. So, for better or worse that is how I feel about death.

Now that you’re in such a good mood…

November 2004. My grandma passed away, it was not expected. She was a terrific lady and was always so nice to me and as I write this I realize that I miss her more than I thought.

I was a sophomore in college. I remember getting the call from my dad. It was one of those calls that you know right away when something is wrong and your heart turns to cement in your chest.

Does your stomach hurt from laughter yet? Sorry… I’ll keep going.

Anyways, I obviously had to head home for the funeral. By the way, it really sucks that you can’t tell professors at college that you have to miss a class or test due to the death of your grandmother with out them looking at you with a little bit of skepticism (I know of people who used this excuse).

The one thing I can say I don’t mind about death is that it often brings people together. In this instance, my immediate family all together for a couple of days and that doesn’t happen very often. Plus, since I am the youngest by 9 years (have I not mentioned that I am a mistake? Oh, sorry mom and dad, an “unplanned surprise”), so I don’t have a whole lot of memories with my whole family together so when the opportunities arise they are always very special to me.

The day of the funeral came and I was to be a pall-bearer with the other grand children. Now, having already explained how I feel about death it should come as no shock to you that this was weighing on my mind all morning leading up to the


wake/funeral. Needless to say I was a little pre-occupied. Not to mention that I hate funeral homes. The stale smell is horrible, but what’s the deal with the lack of refreshments? There is always more coffee than anybody knows what to do with but what about those of us who don’t prefer coffee? (I will never understand hot drinks) Why not some sandwiches or something? Instead I am forced to eat hard cookies and a dixie cup of watered down punch or diet root beer shasta… everything does not need to be depressing and some people eat when they are feeling down. Figure it out funeral homes.

So, here I am sipping on my dixie cup of punch and crunching through my 3rd or 4th cookie (which probably had nuts and raisins in it, ugh) trying my best to avoid awkward conversations when I made eye contact with a man across the room. I tried to make it evident that I wanted to be left alone but I guess this look needs perfecting since people always approach me when I truly wish they wouldn’t.

It was the director of the funeral home and he looks exactly like the guy you just pictured. We started chatting with the usual, “how do you know the dead person in the other room?” and some other small talk. I was looking for anyway possible out of the conversation but I found none. Then he asked, “where are you going to school?”

“University of Minnesota” I said. It may have been the longest answer I had given to one of his questions to that point.

“What are you studying?”

“Psychology”

Then he actually said this and I could not make this up, I am not that good…

“A lot of people who study psychology become morticians, have you ever considered that as an option?”

“No…” I said as I was thinking, What. The. Hell is happening?

“We offer internships, what are your plans for the summer?”

Ok. This is where I would like to hear from the audience, this is a very inappropriate time for this question, right? Well, I thought so. I was frozen, I had no clue how to respond and this weirdo was just staring at me with a blank expression. He could not have picked a worse candidate for the job, I was having a hard enough time with the idea of being a pall-bearer, and now, this guy was making me picture myself embalming people and hosting funerals?

Time for Tim to get serious. I was prepared to act out of character and confront this guy for asking me this as I was grieving with my family so I said, “I don’t have any plans, I’ll give you a call sometime to discuss the option.”

Yeah. That’s right. I said that. Right in front of everyone in an almost to appropriate tone of voice. I am a bad ass.

Seriously, I had no clue what made him approach me and ask me to be an intern but there was no way I would ever consider being a mortician. Until about a week later…

I was still irritated about the food situation and I was also thinking about how weird the funeral director was. And as I was thinking about the possibility, somewhere around beer 11 or 12 it started to sound like a decent idea. I was starting to believe I could revolutionize the industry. I mentioned the idea to a few of my roommates and it was greeted with laughter, mocking and ridicule… which, of course, made me all the more convinced that I was on to something that I could be good at.

The next morning I woke up with a hangover and a slightly different outlook than the one I had so stubbornly believed in less than 12 hours earlier. The idea was dead and so to was the dream of, Tim “The Mortician” Severson.

Cheers.

Glad I Saw Her

Hi! Welcome back… I don’t have anything to share today so we will just get on with the continuation of yesterday’s story.

September 1999. The news had circulated through the bleachers that I wasn’t the only person to be dumped at this football game. She got dumped, as well. Now, I must have been pre-occupied with myself and my problems (typical) and had no idea that this was going to happen or that it had happened, but I had a chance now and I wasn’t going to waste it.

I immediately started looking around for her, scanning the faces of all the classmates that surrounded me… I couldn’t find her. Did she leave? I thought. I decided that maybe she was walking around receiving expert relationship advice from her friends who had no real relationship experience and were most likely quoting from movies they had recently seen (i.e., She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You). So, I went to see if I could find her (yeah, I also went to the concession stand and got a Mountain Dew and a slice of Dominos pizza, so what?!). Anyway, I was unsuccessful… she must have left, damn, I thought. I went back to the bleachers to try to enjoy the rest of the football game of which I had not seen a single play.

As I started up the bleachers looking for some friends to sit with, I saw her. She was looking right at me! Now, I can’t tell you what she was wearing or where exactly she was sitting… but I can remember seeing her face and as I write this I feel the same pang I felt at that moment. There was a trace of sadness on her face when I looked at her and then she smiled. It had gotten dark so the lights were on, illuminating her face against the dark night sky, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen at that point in my life and it is a memory that I hold on to so tightly sometimes I fear I might crush it. It was like a moment from a movie (i.e., She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You) and I would happily live in that moment forever.

I quickly got nervous and my heart was beating a little faster as I made my way up to her. When I finally approached her I said, “I heard you got dumped.” (I know, it is amazing how any girl was able to survive my unbelievable charm).

“Yeah” she said, “I heard you got dumped too.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I guess we can just be dumped together then.”

We started talking, I don’t remember what we talked about but it felt natural… like talking to an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. I was able to fight the urge of asking her out, although that is desperately what I wanted to do but it was probably a little too soon for that. Of course the end of the game came far to quickly and we parted ways, but I felt that I was on my way in the right direction.

Within the next few days I was on the then popular Internet chat “ICQ” (if you used it, you miss it… just admit it and we will move on). I got a message with the familiar “uh, oh” sounder that indicated someone wanted to chat with you, it was from a name I didn’t know “Whinnie” (full disclosure, my ICQ handle was “TMoney32”). Sure enough it was her, another pang hit me. She had looked for me


and wanted to talk to me. The best part was that even back then I expressed myself much better through writing than talking, which meant that it was time to turn on the old Severson charm. We chatted for hours and then again the next day and the next day.

During that time there was tension boiling in the school as a couple of new students were causing a trouble. It was a group of kids (girls and guys) who had transferred from a near by school and they were less than thrilled with the culture at Franklin Junior High where there was an overwhelming amount of “preps” (or at least that’s what we were called back then… you were either a prep or a stoner, but even that line got blurred frequently as I recall). There were fights and threats happening all over the school. There was even a rumor that one of these new kids was able to hide a razor blade in his mouth to bring into school (this was never confirmed).

One of the new girls had not taking a liking to my new, um, crush. And it was decided after a brief argument that she would be suspended for a couple of days as a preventative measure. When I heard the news I went to find her to see what had happened (it was all very dramatic, of course).

I was wearing a grey Polo t-shirt on this particular day and as I walked up to her she traced the letters across my shirt with her finger and said, “Polo” with a smile. (And I thought I was smooth…)

She was wearing a red Tommy Hilfiger sweater. So, in response I mimicked this move and traced the letters across her chest and said, “Tommy.” (That’s right, 14-year-old Tim went right for second base in the hall… I didn’t get a stop sign either).

She told me the suspension was no big deal. No big deal? I thought. I was crushing on a bona fide bad girl, if I would have been suspended I would have definitely cried (sorry for stating the obvious). To me it was a big deal because it meant I wouldn’t see her for 4 days since the weekend was following her suspension. But, I was greeted when I got home by an email with one of those chain surveys that got passed around with 50 questions you answered about yourself and passed on to your friends. I can remember some of the questions on the survey but only one truly mattered to me.

#49 Would go out with the person you are sending this survey to? Yes.

Holy shit.

This was serious. I had wanted this since I saw her that summer. Did it mean I should ask her out? How would I do it? Would she really say yes or was it a joke? (Junior High was a very stressful time for me)

The next week we continued to talk both in person and online. We saw each other mostly in the morning prior to school starting in the middle of the school where 8th and 9th grade split. Each day I went thinking, today is the day, I will ask her out this morning. And each day I went to class with a ball of regret in the pit of my stomach. Friday came around, it was the perfect day because if she said no I would not have to worry about seeing her for 2 days which seemed like enough time for the embarrassment to pass.

October 8, 1999. My birthday. We were talking as we normally did every morning and the start of the school day was quickly approaching. I had to ask her soon but I kept procrastinating (something I continue to be very good at today). The first bell rang signalling 5 minutes until school was to begin… my chest tightened. Just do it!, I thought to myself, but I couldn’t do it (tick tock, tick tock).

It was starting to get awkward. You’re 15 now, just do it! And as that thought went through my head, the second bell rang. Now or never.

I leaned in close and whispered in her ear in a voice that I am sure sounded pathetic, “Will you go out with me?”

She pulled away, looked at me for a moment, smiled and leaned in and whispered, “Yes.”

Dreams do come true. We both then turned and walked away to class (aahh, Junior High romance).

This year, on my birthday, will mark the 13th anniversary of that moment. Now, when it happened, I knew I was now going out with a beautiful, smart, funny, “bad” girl. What I didn’t know is that she would turn out to be the love of my life, my best friend and my wife. She is what I live for in this life and I am grateful every day when I think back to the moment that I saw her.

Cheers.

First Sight

I took a couple of days break due to, well, let’s call it bloggers block. Let’s be honest you wanted a little break, I don’t blame you. You know it’s interesting, I want to write (I know, I know, obviously). It’s only taken these few posts to convince me of that. I find it therapeutic and fun as odd as that may seem. So, if I am going to continue it will mean that not all of my stories will be funny or even true… But I want people to read and I need the practice. This may be overly honest or pathetic to some of you, but I want to be great at this and I am going to continue to work extremely hard at it. There, that is off my mind, now I will tell you a story. This will definitely be part of an ongoing series of stories but as we know it is important to start at the beginning, so here we go.

I saw her. I saw her before she knew I did. This is not to say that it was love at first sight, it is fair to say that 14-year-old feels that several times a day for a whole year. Believe it or not I was a little less awkward at 14. I was still a little heavy (still am), still had the freckles (still do) but I didn’t look like a giant anymore and my ability to make people laugh made people like me. The rest of my classmates were catching up to me in height and it actually made me look somewhat normal. However, as far as I was concerned she was out of my league… But I had one advantage, a pool.

Summer 1999. It must have been late June or early July and I had the benefit of living down the road from a cute girl in the grade below me. She was having “a couple” of friends over and wanted to come over to hang by the pool (jackpot). As these girls walked down the driveway it was obvious that “a couple” meant more than two… There must have been 10-12 of them (did I mention, jackpot). I think my mom was a little freaked out by the attire these 13-14 year old girls arrived in but she was a good sport about it since I told her only “a couple” of girls were coming over. I was participating in my normal, er, discussion about the rules with my mom when I saw her. I was standing in my living room in the window overlooking the pool when I saw her sitting there smiling.

She was the only girl in the group that I hadn’t met before, I don’t even think I knew her name. There was something about her, she was gorgeous of course but I think it was something else. Something else that I can’t describe. Maybe it was because it was a perfect summer day and she was in a swim suit next to my pool, but I was drawn to her immediately. Something happened that to this day is out of character for me, I summoned up the courage to go talk to her. Just like that I walked over and started talking to her. I was nervous but had no shame in voicing my displeasure with her boyfriend at the time (sorry dude). We moved on and got to know each other, it was the most mature conversation I think I had been involved in to that point (maybe ever). I knew immediately that I wanted her to be my girlfriend. I wanted to have more conversations like the one we were having. It’s funny looking back, we were so very young and what did it really mean to have a girlfriend? It basically meant someone to talk to on the phone (hey, I would take anything that I could get).

About a month passed and I had yet to cross paths with her again (I’d be lying if I said I thought about her every day). Not a day passed that I didn’t think about her (it just makes the story better, right?). Then, July 25th I got a phone call. I can remember it as if it happened this afternoon. I had a couple of friends over (this is a frequent occurrence when you have a pool and are 14, have I mentioned I was the favorite?). Anyway, the phone rang and I looked at the Caller ID – “Badeaux, George 828-1892.”

I said to my friends, “who’s badukes?”

They informed me who it was… My heart raced, not possible… I was nervous as I picked up the phone and… it wasn’t her, but it was one of her friends inviting us out to her birthday party (cha-ching). Her brother picked us up and brought us out to her party on one of the scariest car rides of my life driving way too fast down a dirt road. It was a party on the lake that she lived on and when we arrived there were already tons of kids swimming and having fun.


My friends and I were the older guys at the party and we did what we could to play our part (you know, acting uninterested in everything that was going on). I was pre occupied, however, trying to make eye contact with her at every chance because I had already lost the courage to go talk to her again.

That evening there was a dance at the Brainerd YMCA (where I now have a tile dedicated with my name on it, yeah, I’m a big deal). Normally I hated these dances.. I always felt like I never had anyone to dance with during the slow songs (like “I Swear” by All 4 One), I was extremely insecure and I was a hopeless romantic (still am). But the information had been leaked that someone wanted me to go to the dance. Now I was excited, things were starting to look up.

When we got to the dance I found out that she was not the one who wanted me to come, in fact, she was interested in one of my best friends. To say I was devastated is an understatement, I am pretty sure I cried (I cry a lot, ok? Get over it). Shortly there after she was “going out” with this friend of mine, I was crushed. Now, I got to hear about her all of the time… this was torture.

I decided I had to move on and try to find someone else to crush on and attempt to make my girlfriend. I actually succeeded shortly after the school year started I had found a girl who was interested and we were talking on the phone every night, it was great and I felt a tiny bit of confidence brewing, 9th grade was going to be alright. (Quick side note: this girl started saying “I love you” when we hung up after a week, I never said it back but I liked the idea that she was saying it to me. I don’t know why I think this is relevant but it was really awkward every time she said it.)

After 2 weeks of “going out” with this new girl there was a high school football game to attend where I thought I would have the opportunity to either hold hands or even put my arm around my girlfriend. I was so excited, it made me feel cool. So, I got ready and put on way too much Tommy Hilfiger cologne. As I walked through the gates to the football field I saw a couple of my girlfriends friends headed my way, uh oh. I don’t know if you all remember, but I do… your girlfriends friends coming to talk to you in junior high is the kiss of death. And it was, shit. I was officially dumped.

The lump started in my throat and my eyes welled… shit. It wasn’t because I really liked this girl and was heart-broken that she didn’t want to be my girlfriend anymore (honestly, I don’t think I really liked her all that much, sorry). But, I loved the idea of having a girlfriend, for whatever reason I craved the attention and feeling of knowing that I had a girlfriend. Anyway, some of my friends saw me crying and it quickly circulated the bleachers (awesome).

I was greeted with laughter and people making fun of me as I denied the accusations of crying over a meaningless 2 week relationship. Again, it wasn’t the relationship it was that I needed to feel liked, wanted… like every other teenager, right? I sat quietly for the majority of the football game, content with being the quiet and depressed guy wallowing in sorrow (looking for attention). Then I got the news that would change my life forever…

A Deal is a Deal

Hopefully the last few days were enjoyable to read. Hopefully you have been enjoying laughing at my childhood adventures as much as I have enjoyed writing about them. Today I have a specific story from around the same period of the last few stories but I can’t remember exactly when the events occurred. Today is the anniversary of my grandmothers death 14 years ago and this is one of my favorites.

First of all, just a little background on my grandmother to help paint the picture a little bit. She was the mother of 13 children (of which my dad is the eldest)… she would always say, “I was never good at adding and subtracting, but I was always good at multiplying.” (I did not get that joke for a long time). She was the closest to thing to a saint that I have ever met (or will ever meet). She was extremely active in the community and in the church, she was the most kind woman who I have had the privilege of knowing. She would spoil me when I went to visit (with food of course, usually trips to DQ or Dunkin Donuts) and she would sit and watch me perform what ever new impression or singing routine I had picked up since our last visit (I used to love attention, funny how things change, right?). She was the definition of a grandma to me, she was wonderful.

Like I said, I don’t remember exactly when these events took place but I was around 11 or 12 years old and it was summer. I had already been through the accidents that I have described in previous stories but I have failed to mention this little nugget about my childhood self. I had warts. I had a lot of warts (and you thought it couldn’t be any worse).

They were all up my right leg, from my ankle to my knee cap (that is all the higher they went, I swear). If I remember correctly there were 13 all together, capped off with the biggest one right on the top of my knee cap. That was a resilient wart, it would get ripped off every time I skinned my knee and it would just come back stronger and stronger. They were disgusting and just added to my complete lack of allure.

Luckily, my dad is a pediatrician so I had access to all sorts of wart cures. The stuff that you painted on the warts to make them fall off, didn’t work. Pills (that I think my dad told me were new pills that made warts go away, but they might have just been a placebo), didn’t work. I was convinced that I was going to live the rest of my life with a right leg that blind people could read.

Just to recap, in my childhood I was a tall, chubby, buck toothed, freckle faced, accident prone cry baby with warts… jealous?

One summer day, my mom and I were in Shakopee for one reason or another (I can’t remember why ). But, we never went to Shakopee without stopping to see my grandparents and that is exactly what we did. I had finally had it with the warts and needed them gone, I was growing up enough to start becoming self-conscious about my appearance and the warts were public enemy number one.

I explained to my grandma that the drugs that my dad was prescribing were not working and that I was convinced that they would never go away, then she said something that I can remember so vividly that it could have happened yesterday.

She said, “Well, you are lucky, I wish I had warts like that?”

Oh no, grandma has gone off the deep end, I thought but maybe I heard wrong, so I asked, “What?!”

She said, “If you don’t want the warts, I will take them. Can I buy them from you for $10?”

When you are that young $10 is a lot of money. I could buy so much candy, I thought. But, I felt bad because these warts were so irritating to me that I didn’t want to give this burden to my grandma. I was conflicted, should I take the deal or not?

In the end I decided that a sucker is sucker, grandma or no grandma if somebody was offering me a deal this sweet I was taking it.

She said, “Ok, but a deal is a deal and I expect to get these warts soon or you have to pay me back.”

I said, “Ok!” (sucker). As we left I was feeling a little bad but decided it was just a creative reason to give her grandson some money and shortly after forgot about it.

A week went by and the warts were still there. Figures, I thought, but at least I got $10.

I couldn’t tell you what I spent the money on, but one night about two weeks later as I was watching TV I starting scratching a mosquito bite on my right leg… something was different. Normally my fingernails would catch on the mine field of warts, this wasn’t happening today. I rubbed my hand up and down the familiar path of disgusting warts but my leg was smooth. I looked down, they were gone, they were all gone.

The feeling of happiness was chased by a feeling that I can’t really describe… it was like seeing a magic trick for the first time and truly believing in magic. My grandmother was magic. I haven’t had a wart since and I never have stopped believing in my grandmother’s magic to this day. Looking back I probably should have gone back and asked her to buy my extra weight, freckles and buck teeth…

I would ask her frequently like anyone who has seen a magic trick before, “how did you do it?”

With a smile she would respond by simply stating, “A deal is a deal.”