Thursday, October 20, 2016

Aw Buttons!

So it appears that Ozzy has Koumpounophobia. Which is just a bordering-on-Munchausen-by-proxy name for a phobia of buttons. (And this post is an avoidance-by-proxy game of talking about the debates last night, i.e. HolyphuckaphobiaWeAreAllGoingToDie.)

But seriously. Ozzy won't touch buttons. He won't wear anything with buttons, which at 5 is not such a big deal until you go somewhere fancy and have to resort to one of those tacky tuxedo tees. He also won't touch anyone who is wearing buttons. If I try to hug him while wearing a shirt with buttons he backs away sneering, buttons! as if I am covered in wet maggots sprinkled with shart.
This is probably the last pic of him in buttons. He is about 9 months old here, and is apparently shooting me stink eye to tell me to get this button-dotted monstrosity off me woman!

As soon as he could talk he told me that he hated buttons. Ok then, I thought, and ripped the buttons of his little cargo pant pockets. Every few months I check in with him. Do you think you might want to try buttons now? I ask. No. What about now? No. But big boys love buttons! I say when it appears we are getting nowhere. I picture him at 35 wearing sweatpants, dating women who dress in Minnie Mouse sweatshirts.

The good news is that he might invent something really cool and buy me a mansion to pay me back for all the elastic waistbands I have bought him over the years. After all, Steve Jobs had Koumpounophobia. It's what eventually led him to create the iPhone with its touchscreen user interface. For now, I try to understand what it is about buttons that Ozzy detests so much. Is it the look? The feel? Do they seem dirty or scary or make him feel trapped? I don't know. I don't know if he does either.

And so it is that buttons! has become a swear word in our house. Stubbed a toe? Buttons! Your husband ate the last of the cold pizza? What a buttonhole! Watched a debate that makes you fear for the future of your children and the very culture of this great nation? Holy fuck, that is some socketing buttony shanked up shit right there.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Because They Want To, Because They Can

It's eighth grade and I'm "going" with Bryan, Bryan who is now my husband, though where we were going then was on a few hikes on the hill behind his house, to the mall once to buy a UB40 tape, that night we were going to the bowling alley with a bunch of friends. 

I don't remember if we even bowled that night, but what I do remember is being a good girlfriend and standing next to Bryan as he played Asteroids at the arcade. Pushpushpushpush, Bryan punching the button over and over intensely, and a man suddenly behind me pulling me backward, wrenching me around, his face on mine, his lips pressed hard on my face and his tongue. His tongue was huge.

Over the years I have told that story as a comedy.
I don't know how long it lasted, 30 seconds or 3 minutes, but at some point I pushed the man away and he ran out the back door of the bowling alley. He looked like he was in his 30s. I was 12.

I ran to the bathroom of the bowling alley to wash my face. It was covered with the man's spit. When I came out Bryan asked me where I had gone. He didn't even see what had happened, so intent was he on getting the high score. I have used that as the punchline when really that part didn't happen. True, Bryan didn't see, but he didn't make high score. That is the only part I made up. The rest is true, how the man gripped me against him, how hard I struggled to make him stop, my face covered with his spit, how scared I was and how we all laughed about it on the bus on the way home.

That was the first time I was sexually assaulted, luckily the worst. Other times "just" being touched when I didn't want to be touched, men grinding themselves into me on dance floors, one time a stranger showing me his penis from his parked car. Catcalls are compliments, aren't they?

I think maybe I have told this story here before? Or told you in person if you know me? But I am telling it again to get it right. It is not a comedy or "locker room" anything. It's a tragedy. All of it. 

All of it.