About a year ago, during a visit to my mother’s house, I discovered a secret stash of videos so dark and hideous that upon first sight of them I nearly crumbled where I stood. I checked the stairwell. I was alone. Turning back to the small collection of tapes, I picked them up slowly, testing the weight of them in my hands. With my soul blazing like sterno, I locked the door to the basement. What I did next…what I did next.

Just me,

alone,

Sweatin’,

Supersweatin’…

to the Oldies.

You see, Richard and I have history. When I was little, my mother would flip on the television just in time to catch the opening. She wore her stretchiest pair of polyesters. I wore yellow legwarmers and a knock-off belted Units top. Together we grapevined our way to the left, cha-cha-cha’ed our way forward, and then rocked and tapped, rocked and tapped.

Sweatin’ to the Oldies, with Richard Simmons.

Glowing with a sheen as if we’d both recently been spritzed or possibly received microdermabrasion from one of those places in the mall, we paused for a straw-full of water from our pink and blue Walkman canteens as Richard told fat women how much he loved them, just as the Deal-a-Meal hotline would flash at the bottom of the screen.

Eventually, Mom would go upstairs. Pots and pans would clang and the fragrance of chicken thighs and Sizzlean would soon fill the air.

I would manually change the channel to Gilligan.

So, dear TNBers, on this our 5-year anniversary, I leave you with this brief reminder of less complicated days. Days before we worried about global warming, Chinese paint or how tacky it is to order merlot at a fancy restaurant. Days before we worried about how to comment and what to post. Days before…TNB.

Less complicated – yes. Half as classy – no.

Brad Listi, I thank you for your brainchild. This thing called TNB. It’s given me voice, it’s given me a community, and it’s given me a chance to exercise my writer’s ass off. If TNB were a famous celebrity, I dare say it would be Richard Simmons. It’s sassy, sharp and just a little androgynous.

So, to all of you TNBers out there who I adore (too many of you to list): Happy belated birthday. And like Richard Simmons’ endless supply of tank tops, this post has been bedazzled just for you.

When Brad first wrote to remind us that TNB was coming up on its 5th anniversary and suggest that some of us offer our thoughts on this milestone, my response was, verbatim (though not in its entirety), this:

 

My teeth already hurt and nothing has even  been posted yet.  TNB’s syrup cup shall runneth over for that week.