Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GRATITUDE TUESDAY: THE TIME MY DAD DROVE ME TO EMPORIA, KANSAS, SO I WOULDN'T MISS A FORENSICS TOURNAMENT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I was in high school in scenic Topeka, Kansas, I participated in debate and forensics, much to the dismay of my piano teacher, who wanted me to spend more time practicing.

This piano is the one my mom bought when I was about eight or nine.
Our house in Topeka was too small for our grand piano.
I'm very grateful that my mom gave me the piano when I got married.
She also gave me the little china piano on the piano, and she paid for
my piano lessons and the music I needed. The yellow book is Clementi.
I think the white music is Mozart.

During the autumn and early winter, we debated. During the late winter and spring, we forensicked. Okay. Yeah. I just made up a word, but I'm The Queen of Grammar, and I can make up words if I feel like it.

Debate entailed working with a partner, called one's colleague, to argue a topic chosen for that year. In one round we'd have to be in favor of the topic, such as prison reform, and in the next round we'd argue against whatever the other team proposed.

It was fun, and I still have a gavel that my colleague and I won for coming in second at a debate tournament during my junior year, and her senior year. We weren't supposed to take debate trophies home with us because two people shared the trophy. I stole the gavel when I graduated. So sue me.

I loved debate, but forensics was fun, too. I have a little box my mom decoupaged for me. It has a boatload of medals I won for forensics. Forensics offered a variety of speaking opportunities. Some people gave extemporaneous speeches on a topic. Some people performed a dramatic interpretation of a scene from a play or book. My greatest success came from reading poetry and giving an informative speech on what might happen to us when we die. I still remember quoting T. S. Eliot: I am Lazarus, come back from the dead, come back to tell you all. I shall tell you all.

Oh, I said that line so dramatically. During college when I studied Eliot, however, I learned that I didn't like his poetry. I'm an Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath person. I love women who have mental breakdowns. I don't know why. Maybe I relate to them.

But, ah. I digress.

Forensics tournaments took place on Saturdays and were usually held in a fascinating Kansas town such as Osage City. I had to get up early on Saturday and get to school, where our team gathered to take a bus to the tournament. Before I was old enough to drive, my dad took me to school on those early Saturday mornings, for which I'm extremely grateful. My parents never heard me debate or read poetry, but they supported my wish to participate.

But one Saturday when I was supposed to be at school around 6 a.m., I woke up and it was a little past 6. My dad had promised to set his alarm and awaken me. I don't know if he failed to set the alarm, or if he turned it off and went back to sleep. I flew into my parents' bedroom in a panic. I'M GOING TO MISS THE TOURNAMENT! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!

My dad told me to get dressed and he would take me to school just in case the bus was still there. THE BUS ISN'T THERE! I'M GOING TO MISS THE TOURNAMENT! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!

Talk about teen angst. But my dad was totally calm. I'll just take you to the tournament, he said. So he drove me to the high school in Emporia, Kansas. I think it took an hour or so to get there. I arrived not long after the team did and didn't miss a minute of the tournament. The coach had withdrawn me, but he was able to reinstate me. He said they had wanted to call me to find out where I was, but no one knew how to spell my last name. I looked at a girl on the team. I had known her since we were in third grade. You don't know how to spell my name? I asked.

I couldn't remember, she said sheepishly.

Yeah. Right.

Bitch.

Later I was talking to one of the older guys on the team OH MY GOD HE WAS SO HOT AND HE TOOK ME OUT SEVERAL TIMES AND HE WANTED TO HAVE SEX WITH ME AND I SAID NO BECAUSE I WAS TOO SCARED and he asked why I had missed the bus. I told him about my dad not waking me up so he drove me to Emporia. Wow! he said. My dad would have said tough shit, he said. My dad wouldn't drive me to Emporia, he said.

My dad never said tough shit. My dad always took me where I needed to go.

I am so grateful.

And now for today's little grammar tip. Adorable Andi, a.k.a. LittleMyoo, don't ask me why she calls herself that she can if she wants to at delusions of ingenuity and you really should follow her because she's hilarious and very nice asked if I would mention that the past tense of drag is dragged. I'm very happy Andi brought this to our attention because  the next time I hear someone say I drug my ass outa bed to get to the forensics tournament I am gonna scream she is correct. The past tense of drag is, indeed, dragged. Not drug, so don't frickin' say drug when you mean dragged.

I suppose some of you read the posts from The Queen of Grammar with glee, hoping to spot an error. I don't mind. We all make misteaks.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

32 comments:

  1. Hi Janie - good mix debate and forensics .. everything in forensics is debated I presume?!

    Love the story though and you were so lucky to have such supportive parents .. mine did lots for me too .. yet I was away at school ..

    Fun post - cheers Hilary

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  2. Queen of Grammar, you had a very nice dad! I'm glad you didn't miss the tournament. Thanks for the grammar tip!

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    1. Thank you for acknowledging my reign.

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  3. When you said "forensics tournament," I thought maybe you analyzed blood splatters, lifted fingerprints, and took DNA samples. Different kind of forensics, huh?

    Your dad was one of a kind. Good for you.

    The grammar bug-a-boo that sticks in my craw these days is the mismatch of noun and pronoun. For example: "It's necessary for one to always do it themselves." And I am seeing this being done in blog posts, emails, magazines, newspapers, and books. Being done by writers who should know better! Or is it just me? Has someone changed the rules while I was taking a nap?

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    1. I think the other kind of forensics is very interesting. One of The Hurricane's friends from college is in med school so she can be a forensic pathologist. Your grammar bug-a-boo is an excellent one. It drives me insane, and it will be addressed.

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  4. I am freaking laughing my ass off at this entire post! First off...I was a piano-practicing slacker. My daughter is now a piano major, so she's making up for it. I never debated but I was on the speech team (is that forensicking?) and a guy friend (I DID kiss him!--no sex.) and I were in a dramatic duet together.

    Favorite line of the post: Bitch.

    And thanks for the shout-out! I have to admit I believe I've misused "awhile." Thanks for the kick in the pants. I believe I got it right on my latest post. I hate when I unintentionally screw up grammar. Intentionally is another matter.

    And as for the "LittleMyoo," it's kind of a cow reference. I'll have to write a little post about it.

    Oh, second favorite: misteaks. Ha!

    xo
    -andi (LittleMyoo)

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    1. I wasn't sure if Myoo was cat or cow because when you say it, it sounds kind of like meow. God bless your daughter for majoring in piano. I let myself get pressured out of it. The speech team sounds like forensicking to me. As for that Bitch, she knew how to spell my name, but she was evil and she wanted me to miss the tournament. I might have more to say about her some other time.

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  5. My parents were like that--& we TRY to be, too!!

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    1. I'm sure you're a great success as parents, even if your daughter has no name and no sense of humor.

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  6. Well, your daughter is Cloudburst, or Hurricane, or Hailstorm, so you're one to talk...(defending fishducky.)

    I played piano too, but I think I played the same song for eight years, and then I got burned out.

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry I gave you the wrong impression regarding fishducky's daughter. My daughter's name is The Hurricane, but fishducky's daughter has no name. It's not fishducky's fault. It's her daughter's preference. Eight years is a very long time to play a song. I hope you took bathroom breaks.

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  7. Oh, what a great read, and you, my friend, are hilarious. I forensicked, too, all over Texas. I love to make verbs out of nouns.

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    1. How exciting that you forensicked, too! What were your specialties?

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  8. fishduckling! Yes, my family hated that song, whatever it was.

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    1. That's a great name. I bet your family hated that song.

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  9. Janie, I was in extemp, improv, and a couple of the acting ones. I never tried debate, although my daughter competed in it at the university level. I was never serious enough or an ordered enough thinker!

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    1. You had to be pretty serious and organized to do extemp and improv.

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  10. But it would be kind of fun to drug yourself out of bed, no?

    My son is on Forensics! Except they call it Speech Team. He only signed up because an older kid he looks up to encouraged him, but he loves it and I'm so proud at his dedication to getting up so early and spending his Saturdays doing it - I can't wait to tell him that my friend Janie did the same thing. :)

    It's wonderful that your dad did that without hesitation - and very sweet that hot guy who wanted to have sex with you helped you not take it for granted.

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    1. I'd rather drug myself into bed. I'm thrilled that your son is on the speech team. Debating and forensicking have allowed me to spend the ensuing years speaking in public with ease, whether people want to hear me or not. Competing gave me a lot of confidence.

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  11. fishducklings--thank you, Susie!! I think that's how I will refer to my family in the future!!

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    1. Look at this, Susie! You're a star. fishducky, I think Susie should become a ducky.

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  12. Replies
    1. You better believe it. I look at my son, and I see my dad -- the same gestures, facial expressions, height, slender build, and hairline. Different coloring, but that's it. Favorite Young Man has the same tender heart.

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  13. Your dad was wonderful! What a sweet man :)
    I bet you were AMAZING at the tournament.

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    1. Your Grandpa Goltz would have loved you. He adored Favorite Young Man and The Hurricane.

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  14. Nice that you have the piano! :)
    I, too, was thinking blood spatter and body parts! (CSI and Dexter!)
    That was so cool that your dad drove you all the way to the tournament. Now there's a guy who knows about promises, guilt and responsibility. (It was his fault he didn't wake you up, after all.)
    And na-na-na-na-na to the sweet little girl who didn't want to see your face that day!! ;)

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    1. One good thing about being the last child was getting the piano. Nanny-nanny-poo-poo to Pissy Face. I won't write her name here because you never know who might turn up.

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  15. Thank you.

    Thank you for making me laugh this morning and for making my nose hurt from the coffee that tried to emerge from that orifice because I was laughing so hard.

    Yeah.

    Ummm.

    Thank you!

    And have a nice day!

    (ps. cute, cute, cute)

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry about the coffee. X used to make Favorite Young Man laugh so hard that his milk squirted out of his nose. Payback arrived when FYM was a teenager and made X shoot Italian dressing out of his nose. It stung! And he deserved it.

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  16. Forensics sounds interesting, if only I wasn't laughing so much that reading the post wasn't easy I don't know if I should thank you or what.............lol

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    1. Forensics was fun, and I'm glad you laughed.

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