September 7, 2001
Confession

 


 
They say that confession is good for the soul.

They further say that it doesn't matter how long you wait to confess: you still earn valuable *clean-slate points* for unburdening, however and whenever you finally get around to it.

If that is the case -- and if there is, indeed, no statute of limitations on confessing the sins of the past -- then my high school pal Doug M. must have one of the healthiest souls on the planet right about now.

"There is something I've been holding back for 29 years, and I must tell you now!" he wrote me via e-mail the other day. Doug is another former high school classmate with whom I've reconnected recently, thanks to the magic of Classmates.com and *FootNotes.* 

He says:

"Remember back in 1972 when your house got lightly toilet papered?? It was me :-( All I had was one roll left, and that pesky dog of yours kept yapping so I couldn't do a very good job. Anyway I hope you didn't have to clean it up, and now I must make amends ..."

Jesus H. Christ on a nine-roll pack of Charmin Plus w/Unscented Aloe.

Do I "remember" that particular incident? I've never forgotten it. My dad had twenty different kinds of fart attack when we woke up the next morning and discovered the mess. (It may have only been "one roll," but as far as Dad was concerned, it might as well have been a truckload.) I spent most of my weekend perched at the top of a wobbly ladder, peeling soggy toilet paper off the branches of a fir tree.

Grrrrr.

But Doug's spontaneous (and adorably earnest) confession has started me thinking. What prior transgressions have *I* neglected to confess? What long-buried skeletons still hide in Little Secra's closet? What wrongdoings still weigh on my conscience, waiting for absolution?

(How can I fill up a Friday *FootNotes* entry and still have time left over to play "Blaster Ball" this afternoon?)

Casting a long eye backward across fortysomething years' worth of mistakes, mischief and general karmic mayhem, I have managed to come up with the following list of heretofore unconfessed -- and unrepented -- sins. In the interest of making restitution, I unburden myself to you now.

Whether you like it or not.

  • 1966: Eight-year-old Secra entertains her first impure thought.  Of course she doesn't know she's entertaining an impure thought: she thinks it's a "tummy ache." Object of her pigtailed lust: Michael Nesmith. Her budding carnal impulses lead her to write the one and only fan letter she's ever written to a pop music star. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, she writes. You are the best thing about The Monkees. Would you like to be penpals? Michael Nesmith does not respond. Secra soon loses interest, and turns her attentions to Jonathan Frid.

  • 1969: Eleven-year-old Secra blames her little brother for breaking the garage window. Grandma and Grandpa never learn the truth: that it was Little Secra, hitting rotten apples with a badminton racquet one day after school, who broke the window. (AND the badminton racquet, although she threw away THAT little bit of incriminating *evidence.*)

  • 1970: Twelve-year-old Secra shoplifts a package of blue Maybelline eyeshadow from the grocery store. She immediately feels too guilty (and too embarrassed: blue eyeshadow??) to ever wear it.

  • 1972: Fifteen-year-old Secra hanges her Algebra grade from an "F" to a "B" on her report card, then forges her Dad's signature. It isn't the first time. It won't be the last.

  • 1973. Still-fifteen-year-old Secra entertains an impure thought. Object of her junior high school lust: Roddy McDowall. (Fifteen-year-old Secra didn't know he was GAY, all right? Shut up.) Her throbbing carnal impulses lead her to write the one and only fan letter she's ever written to a movie star. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, she writes. You were the best thing about The Poseidon Adventure. Would you like to be penpals? Roddy McDowall sends her an autographed postcard in response, which she keeps in her underwear drawer, tucked beneath her day-of-the-week panties, for the next six and a half years.

  • 1974: Sixteen-year-old Secra cheats on her Man & Mythology final.  She does so by scribbling the answers -- backwards -- on her Pee Chee the night before. (She figures if mirror writing was good enough for Leonardo da Vinci ... it's good enough for Young Secra.) She gets an A- on the test, bringing her GPA up to a whopping 2.4.

  • Spring 1976: Eighteen-year-old Secra stands up nice guy Dan B. for the bazillionth time. When he comes to pick her up for their date, she hides in her bedroom and has her dad inform Dan that she's "got the flu" again. Later that evening she and her girlfriends go out and cruise the Renton Loop.

  • 1977: Nineteen-year-old Secra entertains an impure thought. Object of her junior-college lust: Freddie Mercury. (Nineteen-year-old Secra didn't know he was GAY, all right? Shut up.) Her pulsating carnal impulses lead her to write the one and only fan letter she's ever written to a rock star. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, she writes. You are the best thing about Queen. Would you like to be penpals? Freddie Mercury does not respond, but his publicity department sends her a 5x7 glossy.

  • 1978: Twenty-year-old Secra lies about her weight on her Drivers License.  She says "110." Actual weight: 125.

  • 1984: Twenty-something-year-old Secra uses her toddlers' Christmas money to buy a Don Henley album. (There were only two Tots at the time, and they were both in diapers, forcryingoutloud. What the hell were they going to do with twenty bucks?)

  • 1986. Twenty-nine year old Secra entertains an impure thought. Object of her cranky postpartum lust: Don Johnson. Eventually her quivering sexual impulses lead her to write the one and only fan letter she's ever written to a TV star. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, she writes. You are the best thing about Miami Vice. Would you like to be penpals? Melanie Griffith writes back and tells Secra to "fudk off."

  • 1987. Poisons her hapless family with a pan of lasagna swimming with more eColi bacteria than a Jumbo Jack. What she doesn't tell them: she accidentally left the ground beef sitting out on the kitchen counter overnight.

  • 1991. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video didn't just "disappear." OK? It's probably still hidden upstairs in the attic, stashed behind the old garden hoses and the box of leftover Easter baskets. She just couldn't take that stoopid THEME SONG anymore.

  • 1995. Lies about her weight on her Driver's License. (Says it's "150." Actual weight: 180.)

  • 1996. E-mails a fuzzy .jpg of her some of them bought it, toothirteen-year-old daughter to 60 or 70 of her favorite online boyfriends, claiming that it's a recent photo of herself.

  • 1997. Fired after two weeks from her job at Betty Barfy's real estate office for accidentally having cyber sex on the office computer. (Although Secra privately suspects the real reason she is fired is because she refuses to give Betty a pedicure.)

  • 1999. Forty-one year old Secra entertains an impure thought. Object of her middle-aged lust: The Today Show's Matt Lauer. Her twitching carnal impulses lead her to write the one and only e-mail fan letter she's ever sent to a network news personality. I have never loved anyone the way I love you, she writes. You are the best thing about The Today Show. Would you like to be penpals? Katie Couric writes back and tells Secra to "fudk off."

  • 2000. Lies about her weight on her California State I.D. (Says it's "165." Actual weight: 190.) The good news is that one year later, her I.D. weight will finally be accurate for the first time ever.

  • 2001.Walks to Sears on her lunch hour -- for the third time this month -- and buys another sweater set. (Sag Harbor. Red. Two-piece. $19.99 on the clearance rack.) Comes back to her office, rolls the sweater set into a teeny-tiny ball, and stuffs it into the very bottom of her purse, underneath her wallet and her makeup bag and her bottle of Calistoga, so her husband won't see it when he comes to pick her up after work that evening. (And since he never ever reads *FootNotes,* he'll never ever know about it, WILL he?)

There.

I can't tell you how much better I feel. Unburdening myself this way has been so incredibly freeing: it's better than a group hug, a rousing chorus of "Kumbaya" and a lemon enema, rolled into one.

You should try it.

(And before I sign off for the weekend, one last confession: I was thrilled to pieces when my house got toilet-papered back in 1972. It was the one and only time anyone ever t.p.'d my house -- universally considered a badge of honor within our silly teenage society -- and it made me feel incredibly groovy for about 48 hours. Thanks, Doug.)

Have a great weekend, everybody!




p.s. thanks for all the info on digital cameras. i'm reading and researching all of it ... and someday (when i can stop myself from walking to SEARS and spending all my money on SWEATER SETS, maybe) i plan to actually break down and buy one. then you'll be looking at photos of me on my bicycle every damn day. (wearing a SWEATER SET, probably.)

p.p.s. a special *howdy* to any other former classmates who might be out there, secretly reading. go ahead and drop me a line. i won't bite. (besides ... i'm still dying to know who egged my dad's car on prom night.)



one year ago: the good stuff
three years ago: maybelline & playtex optional

previous
archives
*footnotes*
next
throw a rock