Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

March 10, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today I had math homework. It was raining today. Sometimes I just hate dad. Well bye. Jennifer."

And so it begins...."I hate my parents." Jennifer's dad did not change. Looking back, Jennifer sees that he has had one of the most consistent personalities of anyone she's ever known. Did Spock ever change? No. Like a true Vulcan, Jennifer's dad treated his pre-teen, human daughter with unemotional logic. Surely her moods were code glitches and could be resolved with a sleep reset. Alas, this was not the case. He learned to accept his irrational daughter but it would be many years before she would learn to accept him. To this day, her father signs her birthday cards with "Live Long and Prosper" (the Vulcan salute)--nope, he hasn't changed a bit!

Jennifer's dad with her brother Dan, his friend Robbie and Muffin

March 12, 1982

Dear Diary,

"I got an F on the math final. I had no homework. Well bye. Jennifer"

Jennifer did not start off as a stellar student. Later, she would cling to good grades as one clings to a life preserver. Good grades did not save her....but they did get her an academic scholarship to U.C. Berkeley. Go Bears!

March 16, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today Daniel is not allowed to have any friends over. Dad told him he couldn't have friends over for a week. I have a new exercise to increase my bust. I call it 'the Must'. Well bye. Jennifer"

This exercise came out of a book Jennifer read. Maybe Judy Bloom....

March 17, 1982

Dear Diary,

"I missed the bus so I went to Helen's house. I had no homework today. Well I really have to go so bye. P.S. My bust is getting bigger I think! Jennifer"

Yeah right! One day of exercise never got a girl anything but sore! We must be born with unrealistic expectations--life if fair, good guys always win, stuffed animals play when we're not in the room, anyone can be president (okay, I still believe that), calories don't count when you're on vacation and when you grow up, you'll look like Barbie! Jennifer fully expected that. The millions of women in the world who don't look like Barbie could not sway her out of thinking that she would.

Anyway, the exercises never worked. Fortunately, a bust can be purchased and installed upon reaching adulthood and this is what Jennifer did. Remember, she never gives up on what she wants....never!

March 22, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today I decided to go on a diet even though I am underweight for my age. I gave Muffin a bath today (she loved it). I have to go bye. Jennifer"

Apparently, Jennifer did not realize that busts are made out of fat! This diet came from Jennifer's desire to fit in with her friends, not from a desire to lose weight. Jennifer was built like a filly--all knees and elbows. She hated it. She longed to be on the plumper side. Like her bust exercises, this diet lasted about a day.

April 8, 1982

Dear Diary,

"I stayed home all day today. I was bored. I have to go, bye. P.S. I stopped reading the Bible. Jennifer"

This was the beginning of Jennifer turning away from God--age 11.

April 9, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today I saw Chuck at the book store. Chuck has a crush on me. He told someone he thought I look sexy in short dresses and that person told me. Everyone says he likes me and I believe it. I want to return my magic set because I don't like it anymore. I played with Ilana today. Ilana got a new Atari. Well bye. Jennifer"

Finally someone truly interested in Jennifer!

Atari ad--will it damage my TV?
(never mind that it may cause epileptic seizures, the important thing is the TV!)

April 19, 1982

Dear Diary,
"Today nobody could play. I returned my magic set and got a full refund. Nothing else happened today. Well bye. Jennifer"
I have to say, I'm impressed that Jennifer got a full refund for a toy that she opened, played with and that wasn't damaged in any way. She paid $12 for the set.
April 11, 1982 Easter
Dear Diary,
"Today we went to the ocean. I almost drowned. I was wading and a wave bigger than me fell over me. I lost my footing and was swimming. I was almost carried past the waves in the ocean. I did not have my lesson today. Jennifer."
Jennifer remembers this day. She was pushed under by the wave, spun around and around and then came up swimming and disoriented. She was sure she would be carried out to sea. She knew about the dangerous undertows at California beaches. But worse, she remembers feeling absolutely positive that a great white was nearby (the Jaws movie ruined a generation of would-be ocean goers). The photo below shows how Jennifer feels when she's in the ocean--like dinner!

This shark is 4 meters--a little over 13 feet.

April 13, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today I started shoplifting, mostly make-up. I took about over $20 worth of make-up. I have to go bye. Jennifer"

Interesting.... We know Jennifer had money because she had just returned her magic set. I notice also that Jennifer is putting away childish things--returning toys, becoming bored with toys, always wanting a friend to play with, becoming impatient with her childish body and distancing herself from her father. Her childhood interest in animals and horses would never go away.

Shoplifting--right of passage? Or something else? Lots of my friends admit to shoplifting when they were kids. Jennifer, like most kids, couldn't express why she did it. She remembers stealing make-up, candy, little toys and jewelry from the local drugstore. It was a thrill for sure, until the day she got caught. She remembers her stomach dropping into her shoes, her hair standing up and feeling clammy with sweat. She returned the items and never shoplifted again!

April 14, 1982

Dear Diary,

"Today I studied hard for a math test tomorrow that will determine my level in math next year. I also did more shop lifting. I love God more than me. Yesterday I got pens with naked people on them. Well bye. Jennifer"

I love it when Jennifer drops a bomb and then writes, "well bye". What about the pens???? What about God??? Tell us more, Jennifer???? The onset of teenage insecurity has begun. Instead of focusing on how much God loves her and feeling worthy of it--she focuses on her love for a perfect God as she finds it harder to love herself. Later she will blame God for making her so unlovable.

Jennifer thinks she ordered the pens out of a catalog, or maybe that was the sea monkeys.... Anyway, when she held the pens one way, the man and woman were dressed. When she turned them upside down, the clothes sort of melted off the people and revealed fully, detailed naked people! Jennifer loved her naked people pens! She imagined her pens as husband and wife.

Do these men know they are pen men?

Lastly, I have to say something about sea-monkeys. They don't look like this!!!!! I ordered them too when I was young. They don't have faces and they aren't monkeys! I fully expected little alien-looking families. If you paid $1.00 for .10 cents worth of brine shrimp then look in the mirror and you'll see a monkey!

Do you remember a childhood expectation (or toy) that completely disappointed you?

HBO is introduced to America
The premier of David Letterman
Valley Girls changing teen speak forever
Tylenol scare kills 7 and adult proof, I mean childproof bottles are invented
Atari introduces home Pac Man game
President Reagan declares "War on Drugs"

1 comment:

  1. I have to say Jennifer, I am really enjoying your blog. I really do relate at times. And OMG I had those pens too!!!


Thank you for reading The Jennifer Diaries!