Nevermind that the man wielding the tome of mass destruction saw every high school assembly as an opportunity to don his wife's pantyhose and morph into his alter ego "Miss Southhouse" – he was bloody strong by cross-dressing, Bible thumper standards. And apparently, he'd been pushed to the limit.
On that day, Mr. McEachern, my grade nine English teacher, raised a hardcover textbook over his head and brought it crashing down on my dome of adolescent insolence and revelry. The blow, while shocking me into a moment of silence, resulted in the kind of laughter one cannot suppress. His tempestuous act of discipline backfired so badly, I went from wise cracking to rolling in the aisles between the desks, laughing so hard I almost peed my Lee overalls.
Which is why, I find it ironic, after a lifetime of being told to kindly shut the fuck up, that people are suddenly interested in what I have to say.
In recent weeks, I have been interviewed, called upon for so-called wisdom, and asked to speak in front of a bunch of women with way more smarts than I'll ever have. Winning an award for blurting things out suddenly qualifies me as an expert. If only Mr. McEachern could see me now – eloquent and soft spoken – a mere shadow of the former troublemaker with verbal diarrhea.
Actually, that last bit is total bullshit. I am forever the young woman who was once told, I'd have better luck with the guys if I kept my mouth shut. Happy. Sad. Mad. Glad. My emotions are so close to the surface I couldn't suppress them with duct tape and a shovel.
I remember hearing the expression "inside voice" when the little bastard was in daycare. Together, we learned that using one's inside voice meant lowering the volume and being respectful of others. I always thought one's inside voice was the heckler inside your head – the one prompting you to blurt things out. Like a Tourette's sufferer on tequila. My inside voice is the devil, and he wants to come out and play. I figured the daycare teacher telling my kid to use his inside voice was just asking for trouble. He'd be flat headed and unconscious before circle time.
Having said that, there have been occasions of late where – sensing I was on the brink of hysteria – the little bastard put up his hand and said, "Mom, don't say anything. Please." He is the new little voice inside my head – the annoying one that makes me zip it up and walk away, suppressing a chortle and a rollicking retort. His teenaged censorship of my freedom of speech is beginning to piss me off. He is kind, and wants to fit in. I want to rock the lifeboat.
A question popped up in a recent interview that made reference to my penchant for political incorrectness. Actually, it was more of an observation than a question. "You are politically incorrect". To which I replied, "Thank you, yes, yes I am. I love poking fun at things perceived as untouchable. And those who take themselves too seriously. What some hold as sacred I find quite ridiculous really. Like God. God's left himself wide open. Life is funny. Sad, tragic, unfair, heartbreaking, and very fucking funny."
Society forces us to make small talk, strap down our floppy bosoms, and behave in a politically correct manner. We also live in a colonial, conservative part of the world. But oh, what a boring world it would be if we all passed on an opportunity to lighten things up, or celebrate an Olympic victory with champagne and cigars. At this stage in life, the only thing that will shut me up will be a debilitating stroke, or a mouthful of food.
Kitchen Door Catering Co. is a kick ass catering company relying on word-of-mouth in a town where Junior League hors d'oeuvres often fall out of the freezer at M&M. Patty Howard is a Wolfgang Puck/Spago-trained chef with a flair for organic, class-act entertaining. Think mini Nova Scotia Lamb Burgers with Goat Cheese & Red Onion Marmalade. Roasted Eggplant Caviar on Parmesan Crostini. Lobster Bisque Shots with Parmesan Crisps. Or, Wild Mushroom Palmiers with Goat Cheese. Fucking fantastic I say, with a mouth full of Texas-style Six Hour Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Caramelized BBQ Dipping Sauce. 'Beats the hell out of pigs in a politically correct blanket.
As for Mr. McEachern, he likely retired and locked away Miss Southouse forever. Too bad really – she was far more interesting, and way more of a man than he ever was.
Kitchen Door Catering is located in Havenot. Check out the sample menus on their website at www.kitchendoor.ca or call 476.6729.