I consider myself an exceptionally honest person.  Occasionally, honest to a fault.

Honest about what I think, feel, believe, etc.  At least at any given moment.

I shy away from using the term “truth” as a player in any description of character, since that invites a whole host of objections that I’m not energetic enough to expose myself to today.

It is possible to be honest and still be mistaken, for example.   It is only one example, though.  The line between honesty and falsehood isn’t always totally clear.

I am honest at least insofar as I will answer any sincere, serious, unloaded, and un-ridiculous question with a sincere, serious, unloaded, and un-ridiculous answer–to the best of my ability.

But I am honest now because I was not always that way.  Or I was.  Or I wasn’t.

Technically, as a child, I was a pathological liar.

Well, check that.

I don’t know if I was pathological, really, because I never lied out of compulsion alone.  My lies always had some purpose, but it didn’t take much for something to count as a purpose, and in many cases, the purpose of the lie didn’t become apparent until many years later.

There are a small few of these lies whose stories stick with me because of their consequences, their geneses, or, in one case, because the lie actually turned out to be a premonition.  Here are three of them:

1.  The Beach Towel Fabrication:  In which Grandpa reaches across double-wide generation gap to remind me who I’m fucking with.

When I was a young, school-aged child, both of my parents worked–my mother in politics and my father as a land surveyor.  Unlike school, work doesn’t let out for the summer, so for many years, I went to summer day camp at the YMCA.  Even day camp, though, let out before my parents’ jobs did, so my grandfather would often pick me up, and I would hang out with him and Grandma at their house until my mom got off of work and could come retrieve me.  My grandpa was a North Dakota farm boy who was in his late teens, just getting ready to enter the world, when the stock market crashed in 1929.  He had been led home by a horse in a white-out blizzard once, which was my favorite story of his, and he lived a young life that most of us would consider third-world from our contemporary, relatively affluent perspectives.  His own grandparents (or was it his parents?) were Swedish immigrants.  He walked with a cane even when I was still very young.  In true Scandinavian fashion, he was reserved, slow to (exhibit) anger, and, really, the epitome of the patient grandfather stereotype.  He had glasses with thick black rims, a dry, clever sense of humor, and liked kids with “spunk.”  His eldest daughter, my mother, was one of them.

One day at day camp, I lost my towel.  There was a pool at the YMCA, and it had been swimming day (as opposed to nature day or field trip day or arts and crafts day).  When Grandpa picked me up, he rifled through my bag, as was customary, to make sure I hadn’t lost or forgotten anything and discovered no towel.

“Where is your towel?”

For reasons not entirely clear to me but that may have been related to my current fear of ever making or admitting mistakes, especially to people who I want to think that I’m awesome, I lied.  I didn’t say I lost it.

“I’m not telling you.”

“Did you lose it?  Should we go in and look for it?”

This is where I should have said, “Yes.  Let’s.”

Instead I said, “I didn’t lose it.  But I’m not telling you where it is.”

Now I was in for the haul.  Committed to the lie.  No turning back.

“Don’t you sass me.”

“I don’t have to tell you.”

I may have laughed the snotty laugh.  I may have stuck out my tongue.

This went on longer than most men of his generation would have allowed.  Finally, out of space, out of thin air, a bolt of paper-skinned lightning struck me on the cheek, immediately setting the whole left side of my head on fire.

When I finally realized that I had been slapped in the face for–perhaps amazingly–the first time in my young, snotty life, he was already behind me, holding the truck door open.  In a stern but controlled voice, he ordered me to get in.  I could explain the towel to my mother, he said.  He had “had it.”  I sulked the whole way back to his house.

At this point, you’d think I’d have learned something about who was the boss of my situation, but no.  When we got home, I refused to get out of the truck.

He offered me the “easy way ” or “hard way” option.  Ever the warrior, I told him he couldn’t carry me anywhere because he was “just an old man with a cane.”

He came around to my door, leaned his cane against the truck, pried me out, and threw me, flailing and screaming, over his shoulder.  He picked up his cane in the other hand, parallel to the ground, and hauled me into the house without ever letting the cane touch down.

2.  The Incredible Tale of Crusher, the Wolf-Dog:  In which my susceptibility to fantasy is revealed in a lie I almost started to believe was true.

I was always obsessive, even as a child.  I would watch the same movies, over and over, until my parents had to disallow them as options on video rental night because they simply could not stand to watch them again.  Among these movies were The Neverending Story, Emerald Forest, Better Off Dead, and The Journey of Natty Gann. (My John Cusack obsession started early, too.)

For those who are unfamiliar, Natty Gann is about a Great Depression-era girl with a dead mother who goes in search of her father after he leaves her in the care of an unsavory guardian so he can do logging work some 2,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest (or was it Alaska?).  Anyway.  She wants her dad.  She takes off across the North American wilds trying to get to where he is, having many adventures and, at some point, befriending a wolf (known only as “Wolf”), who becomes her constant companion and guardian throughout her travels.

After seeing this movie for the tenth or fifteenth time, I began telling kids at school that I had a half-wolf, half-dog named Crusher (Bad.  Ass.  Name.), who was my best friend.  Crusher was pretty incredible.  He lived in the woods by my house, could sense when I was in trouble, came when called from up to 5 miles away, attacked bad guys, AND did all the normal tricks dogs do, like sit, roll over, shake, speak, and play fetch.

In reality, I had a grumpy Pekingese with an underbite who all my friends were afraid of because he was dreadfully ugly. And he bit.  His name was “Oscar,” after the Sesame Street grouch.

I told the other kids I met Crusher when he saved me from drowning in the river.

Crusher was an imaginary friend of sorts, but I don’t think I ever told my parents about him, and I knew he wasn’t actually real, most of the time.

I have one particularly vivid memory of telling this lie on the school bus as it made its way towards my day care, going down 3rd St. on the north hill of my hometown.

If what I was saying were true, I was dared, I should call him and he should show up.

I said fine, I would, but he might be busy doing some other bidding of mine.  I remember looking down towards the river and seeing, in my mind’s eye, a gray streak barreling up the hill to come get me.  I stopped telling that lie, I think, when he never showed up and when I realized that, sooner or later, friends who came to my house would begin to ask why they never saw Crusher.  I told them I sent him back into the wild to be with the wolves.  This, unsurprisingly, is exactly what Natty Gann did with Wolf.

3.  The Completely True Fairy Tale of Neverland Summer Camp:  In which I describe in great detail a place I didn’t yet know existed and events that had yet to take place.

Thriller-era Michael Jackson was cool.  Way cool.  I was a huge fan and even had a red leather belt (a la his jacket in the Thriller video) with MJ’s Billy Jean facade as the belt buckle.  Michael Jackson bought Neverland Ranch in 1988, when I was ten.  When I was nine, a new kid came to day care.  He was from a wealthy family with Hollywood connections, and he told incredible stories about meeting famous people.  They were like my stories, in a way, but his were true.  We knew they were true because he brought pictures to show-and-tell.  One of the people he’d met was Michael Jackson.  He was wildly popular almost immediately.  No tale of an invisible wolf-dog could trump an actual Polaroid of Cool Kid standing next to a squatting, beaming, still-black Michael Jackson.

So I did the only thing I could think to do:  I fabricated a story so awesome that nothing anyone else could say could possibly be cooler.  It was easily the most elaborate and vivid lie I have ever told in my life.  It was about how–not only had I met Michael Jackson–I hung out with Michael Jackson on an annual basis, in the summer, every summer.  It was basically summer camp; a bunch of other kids and I would go to Michael Jackson’s house, where he had rides and video games and threw parades every day.  Michael Jackson loved kids, which is why he let us come to his awesome house.  We played with Bubbles, had slumber parties every night, and he slept in the same room with us (in bunk beds, though, because even my premonitions, I guess, were naive).  We’d stay up late telling ghost stories and get up early to go swimming and ride elephants.

He’d give me rides on his shoulders because he liked me best, and no, sorry.  No other kids could come with me because it was invitation-only.  But if they were really nice to me, I might be willing to give Michael a call and ask.

When the more elaborate details of Michael’s time at Neverland Ranch began to surface in the late 90s and after, I enthusiastically and with terrible desperation told people how, when I was 9, I had described this very scenario in shocking detail to a group of playground kids in semi-rural suburban Minnesota.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, no one believed me.

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BECKY PALAPALA is the author of many unpublished poems, diatribes, and terse letters, which she holds captive in a homely tote bag in her bedroom. The poems that escaped can be found in online publication at Strix Varia, Paper Darts, and in other nooks and crannies of the internet. In 2008-2009, she served as a poetry editor for Ivory Tower. After an iliadic battle with higher education, Becky graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in the spring of 2010. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and dog on the outskirts of the Twin Cities, where she pines for her rivertown home and attempts to befriend the rabbit that lives in her yard.

63 responses to “The Girl Who Cried Crusher”

  1. Gloria says:

    Your grandpa sounds like a badass.

    Also, I respect the shit out of the fact that you’re fessing up about being a liar. I was a childhood (and even somewhat into adulthood) liar, too. But I’m not sure I could admit it the way you just did. Not without sounding all maudlin or wistful.

    Do you think that fabricating realities is a writer thing? Or something more pathological?

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I think that all kids lie.

      I think it’s part of imagination.

      In my cynical adult life, I characterize it as lying, but the Crusher story, especially, strikes me as an expression of a day care kid who just wanted someone/thing who was always with her every day and would, literally, come when called.

      That kind of thing.

      Every lie betrays a truth.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Also, my grandpa WAS badass. This story doesn’t really express what a great grandpa he was. He taught me how to swim and fish and like science, and really, he was the only adult in my life besides my sister who had the nuts to stand up me and my manipulations. I was a strong-willed child. I miss him a lot.

  2. Irene Zion says:

    I really like your grandpa!
    I used to lie too, and then get stuck with the stupid lie and I never did it for any good reason. Kids are idiots.
    I’m sorry, but who could blame you for inventing Crusher when you had a Pekinese with an underbite in real life? This one was your parents’ fault, clearly.
    The third one falls right into my kind of kid lie. You make some shit up and then you’re stuck with it forever or you lose face, which, of course, you did as soon as you told the lie anyhow, but you were too stupid to know.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      The sad, and perhaps shameful, thing is, Irene, Oscar was one of my best friends in the whole world. He was only a year older than me, bit everyone BUT me and was, for the most part, my loyal companion for the first 13 years of my life.

      His only crime was not being cool-seeming. Poor guy.

      • Irene Zion says:

        It’s okay, he knew you adored him.
        At the age you were, you had to come up with Crusher!
        (Even he knew that.)

  3. I lie an awful lot. It’s nothing bad. I’m not living in the centre of a web of lives which have started spinning out of control.

    In fact most of the lies I’ve ever told have been told with good intentions, or just slight alterations of the truth. Lies more in line with ‘no, you look lovely in that dress’ than ‘of course I’m not married to someone else!’

    Although when I was a kid I told my parents I was on the school football team because I wanted them to be proud of me. But again, kind of good intentions…

    I love the Neverland story. No-one ever believes you when you inadvertently and correctly predict future events. Remember the show where the Rugrats were grown up? That was my idea!

    I loved all of this— and that is most definitely not a lie!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Thanks, Irwin!

      I don’t remember that show. Then again, I’m, like, 10 years older than you.

      I don’t know that intentions really ever entered into it. It wasn’t until I was older that any potential lie began to have implications for other people.

  4. Erika Rae says:

    Crusher is a totally bad ass name (a descriptor which made me grin, btw). The thing I adore about your Crusher lie is that you actually saw a gray streak as he raced to your rescue. I see this with my 6.5 year old daughter – she makes something up at first, and then BELIEVES it. I can just tell. She crosses over from lie to reality and there is no turning back. It cracks me the hell up. Except when it has to do with destroying something of mine, of course. Which happens more than I am comfortable with. And still.

    My most famous childhood lie was that I saw Big Bird walking down the street. I was probably 5. Apparently this happened pretty frequently. The funny thing is, in my mind’s eye, I remember it. For me, it was really happening. That big feathery yellow dude would just strut down the street with those long, lanky legs right in front of our house. He would wave at me, too. Like he knew I was watching for him.

    I adore the phrase “double-wide generation gap”.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I was not a breaker of things.

      Like, I never blamed a knocked-over plant on Crusher.

      He was there solely for the purpose of saving me from day care and making me seem awesome.

      And Grandpa totally bridged the double-wide gap. The distinction my parents and him was as clear as day with one swat of his palm.

      I was WAY out of my league.

  5. Zara Potts says:

    I love these lies. They speak of a wonderful imagination.

    I’m never surprised when people lie. I’m only ever surprised at how willing they are to stick to the lie, even when they’ve been found out.

    I know someone who is a smoker, but lies continually about it. It became absurd when I caught his smoking one evening and said ‘Ha! See! You are a smoker!’ He stubbed his cigarette out quickly and then looked at me calmly and said: “I don’t smoke. I don’t know what you are talking about.”

    And your Granddad sounded wonderful!

    • Becky Palapala says:

      These lies all happened when I was very young. What’s sort of shocking is how quickly I gave up lying in favor of brutal honesty somewhere around puberty.

      I wonder if they both have the same shock value? Maybe that’s it.

      Grandpa WAS awesome, thanks. He liked a spirited child….to a point.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Oh yes! The truth is ALWAYS more shocking than the lie!

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Why yes, your ass DOES look fat in those pants.


        • Zara Potts says:

          Hahaha. Oh the times I wished I could have said that.

          Yep, now I think of it, I wonder how often we really tell the truth? In a day, I wonder how many little lies we tell…

        • Becky Palapala says:

          What counts as a lie?

          A false answer to a direct question? If so, I never lie.

          A smile at someone I don’t like? I lie every single day.

  6. Greg Olear says:

    Needless to say, it’s a good thing you didn’t really hang out at Neverland Ranch. (This is assuming that the lies you tell here are lies, and you’re not lying about them being lies, and thus, as a narrator, unreliable.)

    My son seems constitutionally incapable of lying, even when it would behoove him to do so. My daughter, on the other hand, is already capable of lying to my face. It’s interesting to watch the two takes on truth.

    I was never much of a liar, but then…that could be a lie.

    And I agree, your Grandpa was awesome.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      I am nothing if not reliable, Greg.

      I mean, okay, it depends on your definition of reliable, but I am always on time, and as much as I would like to, I almost never flake out knowingly on anything.

      Watch Dom. He might discover lying like I discovered telling the truth.

      • Greg, you’re the worst liar I know.
        You and that smirky smirk!

      • Greg Olear says:

        Dom, if he ever does take to lying, will take after his father and be a lousy liar. Really bad poker players are we.

        (Prue on the other hand…can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read in my poker face…)

        You do strike me a reliable. (Saturn would rule that, I think…and you do have Saturn in trines; no hard aspects; which combines, in a good way, Saturn’s discipline with the rest of the chart).

        • Becky says:

          Saturn might be the only thing keeping me semi-normal, then.

          If you are as awful a liar as you say, we should play poker some time.

          I’m a spectacular liar, at least for as long as I have the patience to stick to the ruse.

        • Greg Olear says:

          I’m not good at poker, mostly because I always forget the rules and have to re-learn the game each time I play. And I don’t have cool sunglasses like those cowboy dudes on ESPN.

        • Haha, I’m the same.

          When I was at Essex there was this guy I lived with who had a proper set. I had to learn the rules before we played and I ended up winning. It’s easier to keep a poker face when you have no idea whether you have a good hand or not…

        • Becky says:

          Well, “Poker” encompasses a range of games that vary considerably. It’s sort of a family under which there are all kinds of genus-species.

          That doesn’t help with the understanding of it.

          Irwin, is it true that people in non-American countries don’t play Poker? I think Simon was new to it, too…

        • James D. Irwin says:

          grrr. I wrote a really long response to this full of wit and charm and then WordPress did something to it. Bastards.

          essentially, as far as I’m aware poker is widely known and played in Britain. Many friends play regularly and I know of loads of poker leagues/groups/nights. Also online poker is becoming insanely popular over here.

          I don’t know about mainland Europe, but I imagine they have their own card games.

          I’ve certainly known of the game most of my life. It’s just that I only play when forced to, because I hate card games and dislike gambling…

  7. I can totally relate to lies for reasons that maybe we’re not sure of and maybe we are, as kids. I used to write fake diary entries of the life I wish I had – whoa – I just got really sad remembering that.

    But here’s the first time I remember doing something similar to what you describe:
    When I was seven, I had a very bad year where I had to wear special shoes and an eye patch for
    a lazy eye – what a looker!! And I didn’t have a cool pirate patch – it was a gauze one all taped on
    by my mom – bad. Everyone would ask me what was wrong and when I would tell them the truth (that I needed to cover my good eye so that my lazy eye would correct itself – it did after about a year),
    I could see then tuning out or not getting it. So, I started to tell people that I lost my left eye in a tragic bowling accident. Kids stuck around for that story.

    • Gloria says:

      Steph – that reminds me of my mom. She had (has) a deep, deep scar on the back of her right thigh – about 8 inches below her butt. The scar itself must be at least six inches long, about half an inch wide, and a good eighth inch deep. The true story behind the scar is that she was the passenger in the car when my (birth certificate) father was drunk and we had a car crash. I was there, too, as was my sister. I broke my collar bone. (This was the first of two drunk driving related crashes I would be in in my life. I was three?) Anyway, people could see it when she wore shorts. My friends would sometimes ask her about it and she would tell them that it was a shark bite. I never corrected her. I thought it was so cool to have a mom with a shark bite on her leg. I never actually believed it, but I let my friends believe it.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Tragic bowling accident! Genius!

      I was face-covered laughing just now. Not in a ridicule way, but in an “of course!” way.

      For the record, when I watch the trailer (the link in the post) for “Natty Gann,” I can’t tell if I’m happy or sad.

      I just know it makes me feel young, for better or worse.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Lazy eye? You told me a pin hit you when Glenn Gello knocked the ten pin off the lane!

  8. My 6 yr old daughter has recently discovered the pleasure of lying. She thinks she pretty clever with some of them, sort of standing there in a semi-balletic pose, looking off into the distance. The problem is that, like me, she’s got a terrible poker face. All I have to do is catch her eye and the whole thing falls apart. “I’m not telling you” was also a classic for a while. It wasn’t a slap that disabused her of it, though. I think she just realized it was a losing gambit. Any good liar is a student of odds.

    • Becky says:

      That’s the shit end of ever having been (or remaining, if you’re a writer) a liar.

      Being hard to lie to.

      I expect this to be a major problem for me and any future children.

  9. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    I would bet most great writers are great liars in their youth 🙂 And can I just point out … Natty Gann = kid movie = dead mom. There’s another one for my list! I adore John Cusack. I even sat through Hot Tub Time Machine for John Cusack.

    • Becky says:

      Natty Gann was one of his first “serious” movies. I loved him in it. I wanted him to be my boyfriend so hard.

      At the time, it would have been statutory.

  10. Simon Smithson says:

    Do you think your grandpa was impressed by the fact that you fought, rather than giving in?

    I always used to say I’d seen movies when I hadn’t. I have no idea why.

    • Becky says:

      I don’t know.

      I don’t think so.

      I think something like “spunk” or “feistiness” is better appreciated in terms of the big picture, not individual incidents.

      In that moment, I think he was just really, really pissed off.

      And really, it wasn’t like I was fighting FOR anything. I was just…fighting. I was, and to some extent still am, a “tester.” Always having to push and shove at people’s limits & boundaries until I’m sure I know where they are. Grandpa’s were somewhere around “needless petulance.”

  11. Tawni says:

    Crusher!! Great name. Most of my little kid imaginings involved horses. I really did have a big overprotective dog that would growl at anyone who put even a friendly hand on me. His name was Jackson. That name is not as tough as Crusher. I think you need a dog named Crusher. For reals.

    I’m so glad Michael Jackson didn’t actually give you shoulder rides.

    This was fun to read, Becky. (:

  12. Uche Ogbuji says:

    The lie was really the most innocuous part of the beach towel fabrication, but regardless, I echo other approving comments about your grandfather. What’s the point of being a headstrong child if you don’t have to take the occasional, good beat-down to ratify the headstrongness?

    When I got back home to Nigeria at the age of ten, in secondary school, crazy lies were part of my misfit rebel repertoire. I came up with all manner of outlandish nonsense, pushing over and over the bounds of credibility, until it snapped.

    A bunch of the upper-class (form 3, I think, two forms above me) students who had for a long time hung on my every fable rounded on me during field time in their empty classroom. They formed a spontaneous junta and came up with grandiose evidence of the unveracity of my stories, which in itself was hilarious, given they were generally so ridiculous no such evidence should have been necessary. They ordered me the usual underclassman punishments (kneeling down with hands in the air, and all that), and normally, told as much by a form 3, I’d would tell him to fuck off, and taken the beating, but there were five of them or so and I reasoned this was not a beating I wanted to take.

    • Becky says:

      And I think it was the tribulations associated with lying that eventually caused my conversion to honesty.

      You know, it’s just kind of disappointing and not-fun to be in trouble, constantly reminded of how things aren’t, etc.

      So much easier, in the long run, to tell the truth (“truth”)–at least to the best of your ability.

  13. Matt says:

    Ah, the old childhood knack for fable-telling. I never lied to my parents, convinced as I was that they had some power to see right through me, but I sure did tell some whoppers to just about everyone else. In kindergarten I invented a dead grandmother just so I had something all the other kids would pray about (this was a Christian school). Of course, I didn’t work out all the details–whose side of the family she was on, how she died etc.–so my ruse was called out by the end of the week.

    Wasn’t just me, either; all my school chums do it, and being a group of boys raised on the original Star Wars movies, all our lies had to be these huge sprawling epic adventures. In fourth grade we took a trip to the Whaley House, supposedly the most haunted house in America, and if our stories were to be believed, we had more spectral encounters than Poltergeist. Never mind that all the ghosts are supposed to be benign spirits.

    I totally wanted a Crusher, too. Natty Gann, along with Man From Snowy River and The Neverending Story were mandatory sick day viewing.

  14. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    Okay, so, many points on which to comment. First off, “Honest about what I think, feel, believe, etc. At least at any given moment.” Given my current situation, that about made my jaw unhinge. Yikes. I return you to our previous “we don’t do that anymore” exchange.

    As others have already mentioned, your grandpa was badass. I’m not a gym rat by any means but I’m big on functional workouts. When my kids have kids, I’m going to start doing walking squats while carrying wiseass-teen-sized heavybags and practicing getting my backslaps up to lightning speed. Also as previously commented (this is what I get for showing up late), Crusher is a total kick-ass name for an imaginary wolfdog. My 20-months-ish old son has taken to pointing at random, empty spots in space and earnestly telling me, “Wolf! Daddy! Wolf!” I originally thought he was going all Aesop on me but now it’s just possible that Crusher has returned from the wild and found a new home.

    The MJ thing? Yeah. I’m leaving that alone.

    • Becky says:

      Can we do any better than tell the truth about what we believe to be true at any given moment? I don’t know. It’s a philosophical question, and I’m limited to my iPhone at present, so I can’t expound.

  15. Marni Grossman says:

    I was never much of a liar. Even as a kid. But I don’t think it was because I was especially honest. I just never had a particularly good imagination. Even when I played pretend with my girlfriends, I pretended to be Kelly from “Saved by the Bell.” You, obviously, had much more going on upstairs.

    • Becky says:

      More made-up stuff, maybe. I’ve never been a big fan of reality, even after I was. If that makes any sense. Probably not.

  16. Joe Daly says:

    Totally laughed at the image of your grandfather opening up a can of old school Scandinavian Whoop Ass on your insolent towel-losing butt.

    The Neverland story was aces, too. I’m sure at the time, the lie seemed bullet proof- no one can disprove it, so at the very least, you’d get some sort of skepticism, but if just one person believed you- fame and fortune!

    I enjoyed and agree with your clarification that honesty is temporal. You might be telling someone your understanding of the truth, and might wholeheartedly believe it, based on the info you have and the conclusions you can draw from your own experience.

  17. Richard Cox says:

    It’s interesting to read about the childhood Becky, because you offer glimpses into the real you, which adds texture to the sparring, pinkish Gravatar Becky we already know.

    I fabricated reality on occasion as a kid, though I mostly kept the stories to myself. I think many people who turn out to be storytellers as adults probably do something similar Building and honing the craft, so to speak.

    Kudos to your grandpa.

    • Becky says:

      You don’t think the sparring, pinkish gravatar Becky is real?

      Have you watched the trailer for Natty Gan? She’s a snotty little thing. She punches a boy in the face. She’s in the men’s john for some reason, and she punches a boy for calling her dad a commie. That girl was my idol for a long time. That scene was a highlight, even to little Becky.

      I keep starting to type it, and it sounds so cliche and pseudo-profound that I delete it, but in the end, as it so often does, the trite holds: Every one of us is many different people, all of them equally real.

      • Matt says:

        I loved that movie so much when I was a little kid, I’m almost afraid to go back and revisit it, scared that it won’t live up to the quality in my memory. Same with Snowy River.

        • Gloria says:

          I’ve never seen it. Don’t know how I missed it. I’m not too much older than either of you, but maybe just enough to have missed this opportunity. Should I see it? Would the boys like it?

        • Becky says:

          Do they like dogs? Do they like adventures? There is some kissing/romance late in the game (Natty Gann is a teenager). A lot of the historical stuff was lost on me, and in retrospect, the whole time period it takes place in is pretty depressing, but I don’t think that really registered with me. I just knew it was set back in the olden days when things were different and harder.

          It’s not, like, risque or anything.

        • Gloria says:

          Maybe. We’re still into aliens right now. I’ve tried to show them more narrative-driven young adult movies, but they’re not having it yet. Tolkien says, “Why is there so much talking?” But I’ll put it on my list for later, as they get older.

        • Becky says:

          Well, there’s a fair amount of action. Hopping trains and punching bullies and running from bad guys and saving a pet wolf from being shot by a man with a shotgun, etc.

          But it’s not exactly blowing-up-things, alien-type action.

        • Becky says:

          Peril. It has much peril.

  18. […] childhood propensity to tell rather spectacular (but generally harmless and seemingly purposeless) lies.  More than anything, I liked to tell adults and other authority figures where they could stick […]

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