say my age, bitch!
"Just how old do you think I am?" I asked the seven-year-old perched on my lap. The little girl, with whom I'd just hula-hooped for several exhausting minutes (I'm talking several, people! My hips don't lie), had a knowledgeable discussion about American Girl dolls, and chosen our favorite Jonas Brother (I 'heart' you, Joe). She leaned back, scanned my face, even tapped her finger upon her pursed lips as she pondered my question.
"I think you're 20," she quickly answered.
And just like that, in the span of four words, I had a daughter! "Tell you're mommy you're coming home with me. You can keep your first name so as not to be confused, but we'll have to change your last name. We'll celebrate by going shopping for Barbies and painting our fingernails. I think you'll be very happy with my family," I cried.
And then, maybe, the girl cried, too. Maybe. I mean, I don't blame her if she wanted to. Her mom is pretty cool, even if she doesn't know who any of the Jonas Brothers are. Also, my seven-year-old sweet talking pseudo-daughter is lucky she's a Nick girl, that's all I'm saying.
Here's where you could be all, "Geez, FADKOG, touchy about your age much?" and then I would laugh in your face, demurely, of course, and respond, "Oh, not at all! I totally pimped how I was turning 40 last fall, which reminds me. There's only about four weeks until my 41st birthday, so commence shopping NOW!"
But when you were asking, I might have had my fingers crossed behind my back. Just a little bit, because apparently, on days when I think I don't look so bad, apparently I do. Consider this exchange I had with my first customer - a very elderly lady - last week on a day I was feeling pretty happy, confidant, rocking some great hair, and pretty much ready to kick ass.
Me - "Hi. Can I help you find something special today?"
Elderly lady - "Oh, I'm looking for a book for my grandson. He's 11, and enjoys animal stories."
Me - "Well, here are a few great choices. My son, who is also 11, really enjoys this book."
Elderly lady - "You're son, you say?"
Me - "Yes, my son. He's also 11, and enjoys most books that involve animals or sports."
(For the record, this is not entirely true. Getting my son to read is like getting a captured terrorist to spill secrets, and sometimes waterboarding may be involved, because I am willing to lie if it means I can provide the best in customer service.)
(OK, I'm kidding about the waterboarding thing; however, I have had to go Jack Bauer on him a time or two to even get him to read a flippin' "Captain Underpants" book, but anyway, back to the story...)
Elderly lady - "Well, this one doesn't look too bad."
Me - "Oh! Wait! "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH"! I loved this book when I was your grandson's age! I remember my fifth grade teacher reading this to my class. I still love this book today!"
Elderly lady, looking at the cover while listening to me explain the basis for the story - "So you really love this story, huh?"
Me - "It's a great story about friendship and remaining loyal..."
Elderly lady, interrupting, looking at me, who is not as elderly as elderly lady is - "And it's been around for a long time, you say?"
Me, good humored because it had started as a great day - "Um...well...when I read it, we had to wait for the pterodactyls to finish etching out the story on stone tablets that they then flew down with, one at a time, so it did take a long time for me to get through it."
Elderly lady, oblivious to my awesome sense of humor, tested and honed over 40 years (which, btw, is just four years older than "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH") - "I guess I'll take it. Thank you for your help today."
Me - "And thank you for making me feel really old today!"
Except she was already halfway to the checkout by the time I got that out. Because I'd fallen and hurt my hip, told some pesky kids to get off my lawn, and complained about that loud devil music coming from the ear buds of a man, who was probably at least 24, who had walked by me. And last night? Last night I ate dinner at 4 p.m., and was in bed for the day by 11 p.m.!
Because even imaginary 20 year olds need their rest.