When last we chatted I believe I convinced you that I had in fact been born (remember that picture of a random baby? surely that was me – I hinted as such), and proclaimed that I “grew up” in a trailer park. It turns out “growing up” encompasses approximately 3 years; I was a fast grower.
It also turns out (lots of things turning today) you can learn a lot about life in a trailer park in only a few years. Here are a few of my take-aways:
- Ponies are angry little equine jerks whose backsides should be avoided at all costs. Just because you’re little and it’s little, and it has those impossibly big, inviting eyes doesn’t mean there’s a special bond. The back-kick to the chest is not a love thump or thank you for the sweet sweet weeds picked with tender love and care. Trailer ponies (a distinct breed) are treacherous, bi-polar, and should be avoided at all cost. Now when I see a pony I make sure to point at my eyes and then to theirs, so they’re keenly aware I’m watching them. I then nibble on the carrots brought for the more lovely quarter horses (whose hind sides I also avoid) chewing slowly and defiantly. Thank you pony for showing me the lay of the field when I was 5. For the record “My Pretty Pony” is a pack of lies!
- Ice cream men trailer park dwellers are much like ponies, but not as endearing. You can read one of my first posts about how I tried to kill the neighborhood ice cream man at this age here: Death to the Ice Cream Man (trust me, he had it coming)
- Trailer parks are a great place to discard your fresh deer carcass. Everyone loves driving by a bloody rib cage, and hey the dogs love to romp around with the lower parts of the legs. I know my dog loved it!
- The single older gentleman who lives in the streamline up the way and offers up fudgsicles to you and your friend Rudy (if you’ll only come inside and sit with him a bit) is totally on the up-and-up despite what your mother says. “Don’t go over there anymore” clearly means, “it’s ok as long as I don’t know about it.” Good thing you are a pro at translating “Mom”.
- The edges of the park are surrounded by mud that will suck the shoes off your feet (and your Mom’s). Do not attempt to cross without an adult with strong legs and determination.
- “Why did their trailer catch on fire?” “Insurance” makes absolutely no sense as an explanation when you’re 5. However, the added words “and you and Rudy stay out of there, it’s dangerous” clearly means, “it’s ok as long as I don’t know about it.” Again, you’re a Mom translating pro! Sadly, our legs were too short and the steps up to the trailer were removed after the burned-out husk was deposited in the nearby field, but it didn’t stop Rudy or I from looking in that fire gutted place on numerous occasions longingly.
- People can get freaky about caterpillars (dude, it’s not an asp – I’m holding it my hand), but hey if you agree to throw it in the street, you’ll get a reward like another fudgsicle (assuming you’re not already full on fudgsicles from that friendly/lonely guy in the streamline).
- Placing a swing set on concrete is a cruel idea. You’re not a gymnast. You were told not to play on it without an adult. It’s best to suck in those tears over your cracked skull, because your Mom is going to be so mad if she finds out. Remember, everything is fair game as long as Mom doesn’t know. But OUCH!!!!. Again, I curse kid physics for the oopsie that led to the brain injury, but it does explain so much now.
- Swarming yellow jackets are only slightly better than trailer ponies, and they’re infinitely better than unapologetic, dog-killing, ice cream men. It turns out that if you unwittingly jump up and down on a piece of board laid over a cinder block, and beneath the aforementioned board is a yellow jacket’s nest, the occupants of said nest get a bit testy and swarmy. The best thing to do in that situation is stand still-ish and scream until a parent runs into the angry swarm, scoops you up, and then tries to work through what to do next. It turns out bleach is an amazing remedy. Basic science: bases neutralize acid. Another fun fact: wasp stings are alkaline; however, yellow jacket stings are in fact acidic. This is also one of the few times you’ll hear me say that I’m glad I wore glasses at an early age. I had yellow jackets protesting the kid induced earthquake in my face, but my eyes were reasonably safe. Jay recently (last weekend) noted my extreme distaste for yellow jackets when he offered to set a nest on fire, and I didn’t bat an eye. “Yes, do that!” I cheered him on enthusiastically. Normally setting things on fire from a can sounds extremely dangerous and like something to be avoided at all costs. I genuinely don’t advocate that kind of thing, but I balanced that against how I really despise yellow jackets (blame them and their early declaration of war on my body). Anyway, as I said I don’t advocate it until a nest appeared underneath my BBQ pit, and it’s only by pure luck that I noticed it. I had been thinking “let’s BBQ things! Carbon kissed veggies and meats!” Had I not seen it, I would have disturbed the nest and Yellow Jacket-a-Geddon Part Deux would have been hosted on my face. So yeah, burn that thing down. Also try not to let the can explode in your hand, but if that happens well sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good (Please don’t tell my father. Wasps are useful. They play an important part in the larger ecosystem. They help with mosquitos? That’s what their PR worker bee/wasps claim at least. We love them. Mmm hmm. Now grab an aerosol can and a lighter.)
There you have it, a few of the things I learned at an early age in our little corner of trailer heaven. And people claim nothing good comes out of a trailer park. Hah! Next up, ghost stories – the one and only time I saw a ghost, and how that started an after-life fight that’s still rages on.