Friday, June 15, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should be Embarrassed to Know Me . . .

The author of one of my favorite Parisian blogs, Alice of The Late Bloomer, tagged me with a meme and asked me to write “Ten Interesting Things” about myself that you probably don’t already know (unless you are a family member, a former roommate, or a husband – although Fred just read the list and didn’t know many of them. He better study up before I apply for French citizenship. I saw Green Card!)

In no particular order . . .


1. I used to have my own variety show. I performed it live in Los Angeles. It was called The Amy Zoo Show, but my only viewer was my grandfather. He was fairly immobile due to diabetes and spent most of his time seated in a large green leather recliner. I used to drag my puppet stage in front of the T.V. set and perform skits for him. I’m sure he would have preferred to have been watching the Dodgers game, but you’d never have known it. He was a saint!


2. When I was a child, my older sister used to tell me that I was adopted from Mexico and that my real name was Amelia. I couldn’t stand the name and I would cry incessantly. It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want to be different or because of the after school special, “Something About Amelia,” which showcased pedophilia and incest. We used to go to San Diego to visit friends. When we’d drive through an immigration check point my sister would tell me to hide under a blanket because if I were discovered, I’d be sent back to Mexico. Now, I love the name Amelia. In fact, I’d prefer to have a name with a bit more spice. Amy is fine, but it’s very common. When I took this issue up with my mother, she said: “There’s nothing wrong with your name. It’s a nice name. It was the most popular name for little girls the year you were born.” I rest my case. Looking back it makes no sense as I am the fairest person in the family. Something I won’t forget as my mother told me that they would sometimes forget to put sunscreen on me when we’d go to the beach because the rest of the family didn’t need it. Oh, if only I were adopted.


3. When I was in 8th grade I thought I was Punk Rock. I took the giant yellow wheels and stopper off of my roller skates (the ones I used to wear just a few years earlier as I rounded the rink at Skateway roller dancing to “The Tide is High”) and wore them as white leather combat boots. I also used floor wax to try to spike my hair.


4. I once worked as a pool ball racker. I was 21 and the job was at a pool hall in Laguna Niguel. There was a main pool table at the entrance of the club. While customers waited for their pool table to open up, they could pay $2.00 to play on the main table. I kept a list and the winner of the game would play the next challenger on the list. The house would get $1 and I would get $1 plus tips per game. In addition to keeping the list, I was in charge of racking the balls for the next game. I guess what I'm saying is that I’m borderline white trash.


5. In the same vein, I was once a trophy girl at Speedway. It was my 16th birthday and I was really dressed up. The real trophy girl was a no-show and an event worker asked me if I wanted to be the stand-in and present the winner with his trophy (there were slim pickings at the Orange County Fair Grounds). Luckily for me, the winner was a gentleman and didn’t try to slip me the tongue. Ewwww . . . .


6. I have implants, just one really. I had a root canal during law school, but couldn’t afford to get a crown. My dentist warned me that I could make due for a year without one, but as soon as I graduated, started my job, and got insurance, I should get the tooth crowned. I didn’t heed his advice when the aforementioned happened the following year because the tooth never bothered me and I forgot about it. But then, one night while eating at Gary Danko, the unimaginable happened. I bit down on a piece of crusty French bread and heard a crack, which was soon accompanied by a sharp pain in my tooth. A trip to the same dentist, along with an x-ray and a lecture, revealed that I had cracked my tooth to the root. He referred me to a specialist, who by the way was gorgeous – and I was single, not that he would have gone for me, but it made the experience all the more embarrassing – who informed me that my tooth was going to have to come out! My options were to get a bridge or an implant. He suggested an implant because a bridge would require grinding down the two teeth on each side of the gaping hole to affix the bridge. I opted for the implant. It required 15 months of prep-time (they had to pack bone into my jaw and then let it heal so they could insert the “post” onto which the implant would be anchored). During this time, I had to wear a retainer (aka “a flipper”) that had a tiny fake tooth on it to fill in the space between my teeth. Yes, I think I mention I was single during this time. Dating, kissing, etc. raised some interesting challenges. Then, finally, one month before I was to get my implant, I was brushing my retainer and the little tooth popped off and slid down the drain. The dentist had to come up with a quick fix, so they fashioned me a tooth made from acrylic and glued it onto my retainer. It would have taken too long to order me another top of the line retainer, plus it was really expensive and not covered by insurance. Every time I drank red wine the tooth would turn purple. I met Fred a little over a year later. Good timing!


7. At the time of my First Communion the church treated my mother (and me by association) like Hester Prynne because she had been divorced. They made her attend special classes and run the gauntlet if she were going to be allowed to walk down the aisle with me while I accepted my communion, like all the other children and their married parents. I never forgot this and use it as an excuse to eschew religion and live a hedonistic lifestyle (which makes my life sound way more interesting than it really is).


8. I played the accordion in 6th grade. An old man from the Milton Mann Studios darkened our doorstep and gave my mom some spiel about how it was good for kids to play instruments. I told her that I was interested in playing the piano, but she said she wasn’t prepared to make an investment in a piano until I showed a commitment to an instrument - a smaller, cheaper instrument. I took up the accordion, my first was a red one purchased from a pawn shop in Fullerton. Later, as my musical genius revealed itself through songs like "Oom Pa Pa" and “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musicals Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof, respectively, she broke down and bought me a deluxe white model with a faux pearl keyboard. I’d be entertaining all of you on the 6 Line now had my older sister not crushed my dreams. She was in 9th grade at the time. Her and her cool friends would come home after school and mock me during practice by yelling “Where is your monkey?” Three years later, when I was a freshman in high school, they were all seniors. Unfortunately, they had not forgetten!


9. I went to traffic school for a moving violation before I even had a license. I was driving my older sister’s car. We were leaving a party and I rolled through a residential stop sign (because I thought the cops were too busy breaking up the party to notice, and I was 15 and stupid). We were pulled over down the hill (there were 3 of us in a two-seater, again, stupid). I received a ticket and had to appear in court. The judge was nice and let me attend traffic school (a weekends worth) so the ticket wouldn’t go on my record and prevent me from getting a driver’s license at 16.


10. I’m kind of ambidextrous, not technically. I’ll explain it and maybe someone out there knows what it’s called. I write and eat with my left hand, but I do all sports and use scissors as a right handed person. I can also bend both ring fingers at the first joint. That’s not me in the picture, it’s some kid named Jacob from Mrs. Johnson’s 3rd Grade Class . Despite my talent, I couldn't simultaneously get a good grip on the camera and pose my fingers.

This is kind of like a chain letter, without the threat of harm if you choose not to participate; however, if you're inclined to play along, I tag the authors of the following French inspired blogs:

The Frenchification of Mlle. Smith,
Dents de Lait,
Destination Metz, and
SF Girl in Paris.

I apologize if any of you have already done this, I checked your blogs and it didn't look like it!

23 comments:

ColourMeCrazy said...

Hey - you play the accordion! You could busk in Paris! You'd make a heap esp in summer during the influx of tourists ;-)

The Late Bloomer said...

WOW -- I love your list! Isn't it amazing the things we can learn about each other with these things?! (And then there's always the possibility that the most creative of us can make some of the stuff up -- but, of course, most of it is SO unbelievable that it has to be true!)

You're freaking me out with the tooth experience; I've been meaning to get a wisdom tooth removed for a while now, and I've been putting it off. Plus, I'm always strangely afraid of having to get a crown on... What is it with dentists and teeth?! My boy has more problems than me, though, in that department (at least for the moment) -- and I hate the fact that he's even worse than me when it comes to taking care of them!

And you're a lawyer?! I'm always blown away by those who have gone through the long-haul, tough experience of law school. My older brother's doing that right now -- what an accomplishment!

Laura said...

So the meme business is usually quite elucidating, but yours was freaking hilarious, like laughing so hard a little bit of snot.........

Specifically the roller skates made into white Doc Martens - how crafty of you!

And the freaking accordian picture rulzzzzz! Where is your monkey?

So did Fred have a nice birthday?!?!

GLD said...

Your depiction of the flipper made me laugh. I had one just like, same tooth. Had it for years. I recieved mine because I took a nose dive on the steps leading up to the church. My mother said if I'd been in the church it wouldn;'t have happened. Who knew!!

Mlle Smith said...

Okay, you went to law school...you're totally my hero. That part about the monkey was HILARIOUS! Omg. And for the record, I can bend all of my fingers at the first joint, except for my right hand's pinky finger.

I have no idea why. :0l

Anonymous said...

HILARIOUS!! Love the accordian picture! So cute! We learn so much about you....Robert and you have something in common...the fake tooth! He lost it in the 4th grade playing football (don't laugh)I noticed it was a different color after drinking red wine on our second date...i should have broke up with him ;-)
Wow you are a lawyer? I thought you worked at the Four Seasons Bar in SF since that is where i always saw you:-)

Mary said...

I loved the accordian picture...good memories. We managed to overcome many embarassments and turn out "cool" although your neices would disagree!! (See you have your revenge) You make me sound so evil..I have always thought you were wonderful!! I was describing Erin to a friend and she said your daughter is you and I said no...she is my sister, Amy. My friends twin sister and her 3 children were just murdered by her husband. Although, if there were domestic violence in your life...I would fear for Fred's safety (ha ha) I just wanted to say I love you.

DestinationMetz said...

ditto re the accordian, that's awesome! but even more cool was your idea to take the wheels of your rollarskates, sounds like it was a cool look! Thanks for tagging me!

Anonymous said...

well, i had no idea you played the accordian. I feel that my rants against accordian players seem rather cruel. Please know that I did not always detest the accordian but living on ile saint louis for 2 years caused me to have my fill of that music. Mimes on the other hand have bothered me for quite some time. A mime playing accordian? You already know that combo... Yikes!
-Todd

Not a blog said...

I am curious as to what job you have now in Paris. I wonder because I was a lawyer myself but now find myself jobless in geneva. I have two small children under 4 and child care isn't easily accessible in switzerland thus I cannot actively look for work just yet...

African Girl said...

Adopted from Mexico and wanted to cry... can't be that bad, can it? 10 pointers to know you by. The name of your post reminds me of a restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya, called Chez l'a me. If you get a chance, please check out our blog: www.girlfromafrica.blogspot.com, your contribution will be highly appreciated.
Kind regards,
Minnieh,
A Girl from Africa

Not a blog said...

hi amy,
thanks very much for your comment on my blog. I greatly appreciate all your helpful suggestions and will get around to job searching on craigslist.

Do you feel settled in france yet? I've been living in geneva for 4 years now. I've found it hard to make friends with expats cos most of them are here for a fixed number of years cos they are wives of diplomats or people who work at P&G onn a fixed contract. They know how long they are going to be here for, whereas I'm gonna be here much longer... Also some of them are very much into hanging out amongst themselves and do not like to enlargen the circle...

I've found a few friends grace à mes enfants. I think I'd feel better if I had some more friends who knew where I was coming from if you know wot I mean.

David said...

You always manage to get me laughing about growing up in Los Angeles. Even though we didn't meet until law school, a lot of your memories are MY memories of Southern California in the 70's and 80's, as well. I remember the accordian salesman coming to our house. I begged my Mom to buy it for me, but my Mom said, "Trust me, you don't want to play the accordian." So sad that my Mom was cooler than I was!

And I remember roller skating at the "Lucky 7" skate rink in Alhambra (now a Chinese supermarket, *sigh*). Although I never tried to go punk rock with my skates. I think I ended up putting my batman action figure into one of the skates, loading it up with firecrackers, and lauching him down the street. KA-BOOM! The difference between boys and girls, I guess.

TicTac To said...

I'm a little sad that number 6 wasn't a story about a catfight involving an Ernest and Gallo jug. Sigh. And you didn't even mention how there was a funeral planned for your little tooth...of course that was if it died a natural death as opposed to how you 'accidentally' murdered it.

And finally, thank you for not tagging us, as you know that I can stand nothing more than a chain letter or those forwarded emails telling me that you shouldn't microwave plastic or relaying an "I'm special" poem, then telling me to forward to 10 more people.

phillippa said...

I'm trying to dredge up 10 interesting facts, but I can't think of any! I'm doing this in phases ;-).

amy said...

I just found your blog through Alice's, and I wanted to tell you that I feel the same way about our name! Also, I love your cheese posts...

Emily said...

Jealous that you ate at Gary Danko.

Justin said...

Just a Nor-Cal native here but I was tres amused at #8 and the accordian, especially that part about line 6 because I always saw a guy playing an accordion when I was riding line 6 my last trip over.

Inga said...

Oh my gosh! You must have played accordion at the same Milton Mann studio that I did (well, if you bought your accordion in Fullerton)! I was reminiscing about my days playing accordion (from 1st until 5th grade?!!!). I had a similiar man show up at my front door with the same spiel, and since I am first generation kid born to European immigrants...my parents took the bait, especially with the accordion! I still have mine, though my dad insisted on buying the exact model, but in black! Too funny! Did you have a teacher name, Mr. Girardi by any chance? Thanks for sharing! Great memories!

avec amy said...

Hi Inga,

I hope you check back. I tried to access your blog to write you there, but wasn't able to. Thanks for sharing your story! It's nice to know that my family wasn't the only one to fall for it ; ) It does sound like we have similar tales. Too bad we don't play anymore, we could have been the pride of Fullerton! I don't recall my teacher's name, but I don't think it was Girardi. It was Mr. Old or something like that - I remember he was an elderly man and my older sister used to make jokes about that too. Yes, very good memories!

Robert said...

Thank you for mentioning Milton Mann, my beloved Dad! Hope the music lessons helped in some way.

Robert Mann

avec amy said...

Hi Robert,

Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you find your way back to my blog and read my response as I was unable to find a way to send this to you directly. While I joke about my accordion lessons, I actually did enjoy them. I wish I was still able to read music and even pick up an accordion and play it. Sadly, I’ve forgotten everything I learned. My lessons introduced me to music, particularly Broadway musicals for which I’m thankful. Additionally, they added structure to my life and taught me to be disciplined and responsible with regard to keeping appointments. Further, I learned the importance of practicing to develop my skills and to be patient with myself. In sum, yes, I found them helpful :) I’m sure you’re very proud of your father’s legacy.

Kind regards,

Amy

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

This is an awesome list, Amy. :) It was so wonderful to meet you last night, and yeah, I am way hungover this morning *giggle* -- maybe still even a little tipsy! Calvados. Whew.

Anyhoo -- I wanted to let you know I came by and checked out your blog, clicked on "Follow" and will keep up with you here, for sure. Hope we can hang out again soon, maybe with less Calvados next time, haha! ;-)

Take care,
Karin aka Paris Karin
(an alien parisienne)