Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Absolutely, Completely True Story of A Boy Named Ben Woodcock

I remember exactly two things about my First Communion.

The first is that the minute I walked into the church with the rest of the second graders, I started giggling and grinning like a fool.  I was fairly certain that grinning and giggling weren't appropriate for church, so I tried to hide behind the little cardboard chalice I was carrying, but it did no good.  I'm only lucky that I didn't snort.

The second is that I was terrified that Ben Woodcock was going to show up at my house that afternoon.

On his horse. 

I was too young then to appreciate Ben Woodcock for his name alone, or to understand that the likelihood of an eight year old riding his horse a mile and a half across a highway overpass and down a busy road to my house was slim to none.  All I knew was that I had invited Ben Woodcock to my house, panicked, and then purposely lied about where I lived. 

Ben Woodcock had dark hair and dark eyes.  Even then, with the exception of  preferring Jon to Ponch, I liked boys with dark hair (you can have Bo Duke, I'll take Luke any day).  So there was probably a high likelihood that I had a little crush on Ben Woodcock, with his brown corduroys and his long-sleeve orange velour shirt.  In the second grade this basically translated into him being the boy I most wanted running after me when we played Boys Chase the Girls. 

(The only thing more fun than playing Boys Chase the Girls at recess?  Playing Little House on the Prairie, because I always got to be Mary: The Blind Years, and would stay in character after the bell rang, until I stumbled into the classroom and my teacher would say, "Jennifer, your eyes work, please open them."  Words of wisdom from Ms. Feeney.)

Apparently Ben Woodcock liked me too, because one day at recess he offered to come to my house (Ben Woodcock was clearly a take-charge kind of guy).  Thinking this was never actually going to happen, I said sure.  When he told me he would be there at 2, I began to panic.  I wasn't ready for this level of intimacy with Ben Woodcock. It was too much too soon. I hadn't even shared my fruit roll-up with him at snack time yet, despite his asking daily for it, and now he wanted to come to my house?

My mother didn't even let me chew gum, so I was fairly certain she wasn't going to be down with Ben Woodcock hanging at our house on a Sunday afternoon. 

Then, he spoke the four words that stopped me cold.

"I'll bring my horse."


I immediately envisioned Ben Woodcock (brown-corduroyed, orange-velour-shirt-clad Ben Woodcock) high upon a Black Beauty-ish horse, riding regally up my long driveway, and realized with horror that I was in over my head and that my relationship with Ben Woodcock had taken a very serious turn.

So when Ben Woodcock asked me exactly where I lived, I stammered.  I had suddenly remembered that my First Communion was also that weekend and that we were having all of our family and friends back to our house after for a party. 

How the hell was I going to explain Ben Woodcock And His Horse to all of them?

I began giving Ben Woodcock directions, which, considering the fact that I was eight, probably went something like: 'Turn at the street with the red house, you know that street?  The one with the red house?  Yeah, that's my street.'  He was nodding along as if I was making perfect, complete sense and he knew exactly which street I was talking about. 

I had to throw him a curve ball.  Even though the thought of Ben Woodcock And His Horse wandering up and down my little 12-house cul-de-sac, his dark eyes searching and wondering, where is she? made me feel terrible, it was not so terrible as the thought of Ben Woodcock And His Horse marching confidently up my driveway, ready to fight for a piece of First Communion cake with a big, fat frosting rose on it. 

So I came up with an awesome, clever, fool-proof plan to mislead Ben Woodcock.

My house was number 6.

I told him it was number 4.


Ben Woodcock And His Horse did not show up at my First Communion party.

That Monday at school he told me that he had come to my house.

"On your horse?" I asked.

"Yes.  But you weren't home."

Liar, I thought.  I had spent most of my party staring, panic-stricken, up the street to make sure his horse never rounded that corner.  That, along with cards full of savings bonds and checks, made it the worst party ever.

"I had to go somewhere with my mom," I lied back. 

He nodded.  There was an uncomfortable silence. 

And so ended my relationship with Ben Woodcock. 

Dear God, sorry for giggling, please don't let Ben Woodcock come to my house on a horse today, amen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Good Book (of Faces)

Apparently Jesus has joined Facebook.

This morning as I logged-in to the site for my daily dose of light stalking, I saw "Jesus Christ" come up on my list of Recommended Pages. 

This is that section to the right of your newsfeed where Facebook posts super-helpful  things like, "People who like Music also like Species" with a picture of a little bird (which, by the way, is a totally legit suggestion that I've received on my page numerous times, leaving me inclined to think that *sigh* my Facebook page really doesn't know me at all) or "7 of your friends like: CSI" (information that I already know because I take my Facebooking pretty seriously). 

So there it was, the suggestion that I 'like' Jesus Christ.

Talk about a high pressure situation.

What if I 'like' Jesus and then he spams my newsfeed with posts like, "I can't believe this amazing new diet supplement, I lost 12 lbs in 3 days, hurry and click HERE to get your free sample!!!!!!!!!!!!"?

I don't really want to find myself in a position of needing to unlike Jesus.

And hiding him isn't really an option because, well, he's freakin' JESUS so he'd KNOW.

(Dear Jesus, if you're reading this, sorry about the 'freakin' Jesus' thing.  I'm working on the cursing.)

(Also, sorry that I just lied right there.  I really enjoy cursing, so I guess I'm a lost cause in that department, but I pinky-swear that I will teach my kids not to...I don't even let them say 'stupid' or 'what the heck'.  That's as good as I'm probably going to get in that department). 

Even worse than the idea of being spammed by Jesus is the idea that he might write on my wall.

Because Jesus has some dirt on me.  And if I piss him off by unliking him or hiding him, who's going to stop him from posting all of my secret stuff?

Jesus Christ Remember the time you lied to your mother about visiting Julie at Stonehill for the weekend?  I do...

Being harassed by the SON OF GOD isn't really something I need in my life right now.  What would I do then, report him?  To whom? 

"Dear Facebook Customer Service:  Jesus is really being a dick and is trying to SMITE me on my wall.  Can you please disable his account?" 

Holy potential incurring of wrath, Batman. 

Coincidentally, "Wrath of God" is also something I do not need in my life right now.

I'm thinking my best course of action may be to just quietly click the little X in the corner of the page suggestion so that Jesus and his Facebook-page-of-guilt-and-spam will disappear. 

Or maybe I'll just send him a message through Facebook's e-mail:

Dear Jesus,

Welcome to Facebook!  Be careful, it's addicting.  Checked out your page, love your profile pic.  You look great!  I saw you that already have 730,845 fans.  Just so you have a handle on your competition, here's how you stack up against some other pages on the site:

watching TV:  1 million +
Twilight:  11 million +
Lady Gaga:  15 million +
The Hangover: 7 million +
drinking:  956,000 +
Starbucks frappucinno:  1 million +

You've definitely got your work cut out for you, but I suppose that's an occupational hazard when you're a deity.  If it makes you feel better, Justin Beiber only has 97,000 people liking him.  Always look on the bright side of life, right?  (Monty Python's Life of Brian:  99,928 fans.) 

Good luck with your page, Jesus. 

And stay away from Farmville.