Michele (Quotation Mark) Crazy Nut! (Quotation Mark)

When I was a kid, I really, really wanted friends. I wanted them to worship me with as much passion as I had with the idea of having them. I wanted them to want to be with me and buy me presents and I’d buy them presents.

Some of you have seen this image before. It’s a picture of me taken when I was 10.

Currently, this picture is hanging on our refrigerator at home. There is a rather pathetic story behind it. A story I am going to share with the Internet this morning.

When I was around 11 or 12, we moved from New Cumberland, Pennsylvania all the way to Raleigh, North Carolina where my brothers and I were to start new lives and make new friends.

I didn’t know anyone in Raleigh. And so it was time to begin anew, create new fantasies about all the friends I didn’t have and the people I’d keep. I hung out with my head a lot back then. I fantasized about everything from horses to future boyfriends to becoming rich and famous and having a house full of cats. I was, for all intents and purposes, what one might call, Michele “total dork!”

Toby Joe jokes about the photograph often. The other night he came into our bedroom right before bed. He interrupted my nightly stab at arranging words perpendicular to one another with something that seemed important. I looked up right away.

“You know if there was one word – no, one phrase – I’d use to describe you, do you know what that would be?”

“What’s that, baby? “

“It’d be Crazy Nut! You’re a Crazy Nut! Quotation marks and everything.”

“And that’s why I love you, Beaner.”

Several months ago, after rediscovering the photograph for the fourth time, Toby Joe made fun of the bubbly cursive handwriting written strategically on its backside. “What’s this all about?” He had asked. Knowing I’d never be able to pawn that atrocious handwriting off onto my mother (who writes like an angel) I said, “Someone must have written that on it when I was a kid.” I took the picture away from him.

“What’re the quotation marks all about? As it reads, it’s as if you’re saying Crazy Nut! and not that it’s about you.”

“Yeah. Kids are stupid.”

Stacy and Sherry and Kimberly and Jenny all had pictures of one another with bloated bubbles written above them, stuffed full of words and phrases like, “Best Friends, Forever!” and “I Heart You!! Stacy-Bee!” Kimberly penned “You’re so nuts girl! I love you!” above her picture in Jenny’s yearbook at the end of a grade. Girls everywhere plastered their pink walls with poster boards sporting images of them and a few hundred of their closest friends with things written on them—things written on them about how cute and zany they all were. I wanted to be on one of those poster boards. I wanted to have a name ending in the letter “y” or “i” so I could dot them with hearts or underline the rest of the letters by overextending the tail of my name’s last letter. But I was often the new kid and not only the new kid, but the weird kid who contorted her hands into pet horses and had the same hands gallop along imaginary mountain ranges in a brown customized Ford van.

Years after that picture was taken and we were living down south, I rediscovered it in a drawer of our ranch house in Raleigh. I took out a pen and got started. I had to make the handwriting look as real and un-Michele as possible. I vividly remember picking the quotation marks so that people would think there was a third party present at the time it was written. I remember messing up my cursive M so that folks couldn’t trace it back to me. And that Z, I wrote much better cursive Zs. “What do I want this person to write about me?” I thought.

A few weeks ago, while Toby and I were making dinner, I found the picture again on the floor under the table in the living room. I picked it up and walked it into the kitchen and put it below a yellow magnet shaped like Pennsylvania.

“Beaner?”

“Yeah?”

“There is something I want to tell you. I haven’t ever told anyone this before. No one. Really.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s about this picture. Promise not to divorce me from shame?”

“I promise.”

I poured him another glass of wine and told him about the time I created my own friend and forged what they thought about me.

13 Comments

  1. wow, that’s prophetic…it’s like your eyes are pushing out of your head in that picture.

    don’t feel bad, michele, I was just as painfully nerdy as you back then!

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  2. Don’t fret, sometimes those made up friends are way more loyal. Besides, you have friends now…right?

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  3. hahaa
    networkchic, you are so right. You just made me laugh out loud. Thanks. I do have friends now! yay! friends!

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  4. “it’s like your eyes are pushing out of your head in that picture.”

    That photo is what I thought of when she told me she had been diagnosed as a bug-eyed freak.

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  5. I’m going to send it to my doctor and tell him I have a case of the “Crazy Nut!”

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  6. You’re great, mihow. Like reading PostSecret, reading your weblog makes me feel more normal. And not because I point and laugh and say “Ha, what a freak!” but because I’m weird, too, and it’s comforting to see that I’m not the only one.

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  7. Katie, you just made my day. I really mean that. I started writing this here site in hopes of helping people feel less weird for their idiosyncrasies. Throughout my childhood, I was crippled with insecurity until my junior year in highschool when I started to meet so many interesting people (who happen to be nerdy, geeky—outcasts, basically). It’s such a great feeling realizing that you’re not alone and instead of hiding behind your weirdness, you embrace it instead. It was a personal quest to help make myself feel a little less oddball and anyone who every doubted themselves to feel a little less alone :] Thanks, and I mean that.

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  8. You are so precious Mihow. You make my heart all happy.

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  9. Do me a favor, grab yourself one of those sparkly pens that smell like toxic and have a different color line than its inside and write that on my converse.
    I may have even made my own friendship pins at one time. Wow, Can you say L0s3r?

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  10. [We interrupt this thread with breaking news:]
    …Essie, my semi-feral, outside, five-month-old cat, climbed into my lap to be petted for the first time today. Not once, but three times. Too cool. I thought it’d take months, if not years, to get to that point.
    …Now that’s a nice birthday present.
    [We now return you to your regular blog, already in progress.]

    Reply

  11. awwwww….i love that story. Being an only kid, I have some doozies, too. :)

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  12. eco2geek! Happy Birthday!

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  13. Thanks, Michelle! I’ll be 0010 1010 (binary ;-) Monday.

    Reply

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