Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blond Moments

I am a natural blond, though I have gone to the dark side recently. But my life (and especially my childhood) is dotted liberally with memories my family refers to as Channelle's Blond Moments. And there are many of them, though all of my sisters have their own Blond Moments. Some of them my family still likes to talk about to this day. Their favorite?

Well...I was five years old, small for my age and so thin my eyes took up most of my face and my mom called me her little china doll. I said a lot of silly things in my childhood, but this day I guess I felt particularly silly because nobody can get this thirty second moment of time out of their heads. It's retold again and again at family reunions, at Sunday breakfasts (I'm sure they tell it even when I'm not there), and even in phone conversations.

My mom was getting ready to go out with some friends to celebrate Melanie's engagement. (I assume that since we no longer talk to Melanie and this was well over ten years ago it is okay to use her real name.) Relly and I were in her bedroom with her, watching her do her hair in the popular nineties style. I mean to say, huge hair with heavy, stiff hair spray and poofy bangs that stood out. While she was applying her eyeliner, Mom turned to me and said, "Nelly, run and get my black pants out of the bathroom."

Eager to do her bidding so I could hurry up and watch her get ready (at the time I thought Mom was the most beautiful woman in the world, except for Princess Jasmine, and I loved to watch the process that transformed her from pretty to beautiful), I hurried into her bathroom and found a pair of black jeans and a pair of blue jeans hanging up on the rack.

I remember she had said get her pants, but for the life of me I couldn't remember which pair she'd asked for, and I didn't want to bring her both because she'd get mad at me for not listening. After a minute I decided to just bite the bullet and call for help.

But, I guess subconsciously I remembered what she said, because I heard myself say, "Mommy, what color are your black pants?"

And as soon as I heard myself say it, I knew I'd said something ridiculously silly that broke my very high record of the silliest thing I'd ever done, and I caught myself too late.

"Oh, never mind!" I added, but my mother and my sister were already giggling and laughing at that point, and as I grabbed the black jeans I knew they would taunt for at least a week, or until my next Blond Moment. Daddy came in to see what was so funny, and even he laughed, though he stopped when he realized it was hurting my feelings. (At five, I had a very developed sense of dignity, you see, and Daddy understood that.)

Admittedly, when I look back on that moment (which is pretty often, since it's mentioned every month or so by either my mother or my sister) I have to smile and giggle a little bit at my silly question. Unfortunately for my dignity, the memory didn't fade from their minds in a week, and I didn't top my Blond Moment for several years. Not until I was thirteen, actually, and it thankfully happened at school when my family wasn't around to witness it.

I was in Earth Science, and we were learning about the Solar System. And our teacher, a blond herself who was prone to saying silly things, had given us a crossword puzzle as a fun way to help us learn.

Twenty minutes into the puzzle I was almost done. I just had one little question to answer, and it was a three letter word starting with "S". The hint? "The name of the most important star in the Milky Way Galaxy."

I racked my brain, I searched my text book, I Googled it. And still, I could not find the answer. And finally I turned to my friend Mouse (who would become my first boyfriend the following year when we went to high school) and asked him.

He stared at me for a second, like he thought I was kidding, and then he said, "Um...the Sun." Like it was the most obvious answer in the world. And I could have left it at that and just accepted the answer. After all, that in and of itself was bad enough.

But I couldn't leave it at that. Oh, no. I just had to answer before I really thought about it. And I said, loud enough for the whole class to hear, "Nu-uh! The Sun is not a star!"

Dead. Silence.

Followed by the Slow Head Turn as the entire class shifted to stare at me.

And then I realized what I'd said, and I meekly added, "Oh, duh. Sorry."

But it was too late. And they all laughed, and I was mortified because my thirteen year old dignity was even stronger than my five year old dignity had been, and it was horrifying to have the highest grade in the class and to say something so stupid loud enough for everyone to hear. Even the teacher, who should have known better than to laugh at a student (especially a bright, sensitive student such as I was), was rocking back and forth in her chair with mirth.

There was nothing for it, and I calmly gathered my things and left the room with my head held high and my back ramrod straight, determined to never go back to that hateful classroom and face those hateful children ever again. Unfortunately, after I told my story to the Guidance Councilor, who at least didn't laugh at me though I think she dearly wanted to, she said I couldn't drop Earth Science and she couldn't move me to a different class, but she let me stay with her the rest of the period and sent a note to my teacher explaining where I was and that it was okay. (Because it's obviously against the rules for a student to just get up and leave a class.) Mouse later told me he'd never seen a more dignified exit in his life. It made me feel a little better. (Of course, I had considered stomping out in a high temper, but it worked out better the way I did it.)

But of all of my Blond Moments, the biggest one I ever had took me almost fifteen years to figure out. And that was right after I turned twenty one, and I realized that I had gone my whole life believing that Sammy Davis Junior was Frank Sinatra.

God, you're laughing now, aren't you? Well, you aren't laughing nearly as hard as I did myself when I realized my mistake, and probably not nearly as hard as my co-workers, who found it both funny and sad because I do work in music. My family considers it my most Epic Blond Moment, and they're probably right, although I have to say that my conclusion was well thought out and reasoned.

You see, when I first saw Frank Sinatra, it was in a picture with the rest of the Rat Pack. My grandfather showed me the poster and said, "This is a picture of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack." I guess he assumed I'd seen Frank Sinatra before (my mother loved his movies), but I hadn't a clue. So I looked at the picture and reasoned it out for myself.

The most important person in any band always has his name in the title and is always in the middle of the picture. Since the band was called Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra had to be the most important person, and since the black man was in the middle of the group, he had to be Frank Sinatra. In any other case, my logic would have led me to the right conclusion. Unfortunately, it hadn't occurred to me that the photographer might have stuck Sammy in the middle to balance the picture.

And I went on believing that for most of my life until I happened to read an article saying that Johnny Depp was considering taking a role as Frank Sinatra in a bio-pic. And my first thought, which I actually spoke out loud at work so my co-workers heard, was, "Wait...Frank Sinatra is black. Why would Johnny Depp play him?" And as I heard my co-workers start laughing, my next thought was, "I should probably Google pictures of Frank Sinatra." And he was the skinny white man with the blue eyes that was always next to Sammy Davis Junior.

Well, I felt embarrassed and amused at the same time. After all, it was pretty funny. My co-workers called our South location and told all of them about it. One of the girls actually said, "Well, it's a good thing that she's as pretty as she is, otherwise she'd be hopeless." (Of course, Relly thought he was Mexican, and Brat thought Frank Sinatra was a band that played Beethoven's music, so mine wasn't the worst thought ever.)

But since I've relived my three Most Memorable Blond Moments, I thought I'd share the Biggest Blond Moment out of all of my parents' children. And believe me, we all voted that this was the dumbest one.

*drum roll please*

So a couple of months ago I told Relly that I didn't like that stupid song they played on the radio that went "Hush girl, shut your lips. Now do the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips" because I thought it was poking fun at her. Relly didn't have any reaction to the song, and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe she'd never even heard of Helen Keller.

So I asked her, "Relly, do you know who Helen Keller was?"

And she responded indignantly, looking very affronted, "Of course I know who she was! I'm not that stupid, you know! She wrote Anne Frank's Diary!"

Brat, Wheat, and I all burst out laughing because that was the dumbest thing we'd ever heard any of us say.

And then I said, "Relly, Anne Frank wrote her own diary. Helen Keller was a writer who was deaf, blind, and mute."

And it's now more frequently mentioned than my "Black Pants" story, which I think is just desserts for all the years she spent making fun of me for saying something silly when I was five.


  1. Ah Chanel...these are very good blonde moments. I am most impressed with them. I don't know if I have a lot of blonde moments to my name, but I certainly have a lot of stupid clumsy ones.

    Example: It was the night of the Sadie Hawkin's dance. My best friend and I did the double date thing and took our guys to the local Hard Rock Cafe before the actual dance. At our high school's Sadie Hawkin's dance, couples wore matching t-shirts. She and her date were wearing white t-shirts and my date and I were in gray shirts.

    Anyhoo, during dinner, I picked up the ketchup bottle (You know, one of the glass ones with the screw-on top)...I didn't realize that the lid wasn't screwed on all the way, so I shook the bottle. As I'm sure you can imagine, ketchup went flying and landed in a HUGE splatter on my friend's white shirt. She jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I followed her, thinking she would be SOOO upset with me.

    When I walked into the bathroom, she was using wet paper towels to mop up the mess. She was hunched over, her shoulders shaking. Then I realized that she was laughing hysterically. That's when I knew that we would be friends for life.

    However, that friendship comes at a price. My bestie and I can rarely go out to dinner without her bringing up the ketchup story. I will NEVER live that one down!

  2. That made me laugh. Ketchup is pretty thick, isn't it? You must have given it a good shake to get it to come out. And at least she wasn't mad at you for it. I know a lot of people who would have been. Did you guys end up putting a ketchup stain on her date's shirt too so that they still matched?

    And at least I'm not the only one that's done something like that. I actually went to shake up my sister's bottle of soda when she went to the bathroom, but she hadn't screwed the lid back on completely so it fizzed and shot out all over me. It was sprite, so it didn't stain, but I still had to go wash myself off. And then I walked right into the guys' restroom, adding insult to injury. But my family doesn't know about that one, either.

  3. No, no matching ketchup stains, but that probably would have been a good idea. They did, however, have to arrange her in a certain way in order to hide the stain in our dance pictures!

  4. A minor inconvenience, probably, since it sounds like you guys probably had a lot of fun.


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