I'm Younger Than That Now

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I'm Younger Than That Now

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | July 20, 2013 | Comments ()


This week’s comment diversion topic comes to us from BiblioGlow :

This whole thread makes me want a ‘Stories of Pajibans’ comment diversion. Maybe vivid memories from childhood that, upon adult reflection, seem much more important/unbelievable/revealing than you realized at the time? Or just stories from your childhood that other people would be completely taken aback by.


I’ve actually got nothing for this one. Except for the time I was selling raffle tickets alone door-to-door for my grade three* school Fun Fair. I came to one house and I knocked and I knocked and finally a man opened the door in just his robe and greeted me with, “You came at a very bad time, little girl”. He did buy some raffle tickets. About 15 years later, I had a moment of “Ooooh. Bad time.”

For a second there, you thought the story was going to get super creepy, didn’t you?

*It was the 70s. Children did things like that then. There was also the time I was selling Girl Guide cookies door-to-door and I asked strangers if I could use their washroom (it was Canada) and they let me.

Since I am useless on this one, please run with BiblioGlow’s suggestion.

Comment diversion suggestions, diverting comments, and suggestive comments can be sent here.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • BiblioGlow

    Wow, I got my wish! Pajiba storytime! I think I'll go buy a lottery ticket.

  • BWeaves

    Well, there was that time I had to have my tongue sewn back on.

  • emmalita

    I think that needs a longer explanation. I also had my tongue sewn back together, but I don't remember it because I was two when it happened. According to the story, I climbed a bookcase to get a better look at the fish tank. I brought down the bookcase, bit through my tongue, and killed all the fish. Now you.

  • BWeaves

    I was about one year old and crawling on my Nana's newly waxed floor. My tongue was hanging out of my mouth. My hands slipped out from under me. My jaw hit the ground and I bit my tongue off. Apparently it was hanging by a thread. They sewed it back on, and babies heal fast, so I wouldn't even know it happened if everyone hadn't told me.

    Then there was the time I had to have my middle finger sewn back on.

  • emmalita

    I'm always amazed when kids make it to 5.

    And I too shudder at the thought of having to have a finger reattached.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • Abby

    Now that I am an adult, my mom routinely drives me crazy but she did an amazing job of raising me and my sisters--almost entirely by herself. Anyway, when I was pretty young (under 10), we lived down the street from several men who lived together and on the weekends would go out in drag. They got a lot of grief from the local teenaged boys who called them "sissies" and "punks"--this was the seventies. So one day I asked my mother why they did that...dressed like women. Her reply flowed so naturally. She said, "They just like to dress up sometimes. Don't you like dressing up?" I thought about it for a minute and realized that while I usually wore jeans and tee shirts, I liked wearing a dress every now and then and loved showing off my Easter shoes every year. Her answer made perfect sense and I never thought about it again. At least until I was an adult and realized how seamlessly she made that situation normal and usual for me. I know now that through actions and words like that, my mother instilled in my and my siblings empathy and a respect for peoples' differences as well as a lasting admiration for drag queens! RuPaul for President!

  • Feralhousecat

    My parents divorced when I was young. From age 6-14 I would spend summers with my father and his new family in Southern California. For one entire summer, several times a week, my father and his new wife used to take me and my two half siblings to the house of their friends to swim in their pool and BBQ. I was 12, my brother 5 and my sister 2. I would be left in charge while the adults sat inside drinking the entire afternoon. I never thought anything of it.

    When I was 17 my father was arrested for sexual misconduct while on duty as a police officer in Montana. The investigation showed that he had fled CA with his family because of his recreational activities.

    Those summer afternoons, while I taught my siblings to swim, the adults were inside the house swapping partners.

    By then, for other reasons, he and I were not talking. Years later when I reconnected with my siblings I discovered that they never learned the details of his arrest and trial and so do not know the truth. They speak fondly of that summer learning to swim so I have never told them.

  • emmalita

    I can really understand your reluctance to burst their bubble. I had a string of experiences one summer when I was the person who inadvertently revealed bad news. It feels like crap. I did learn not to assume people had all the facts. And I kind of learned to keep my nose out of other people's business.

  • Feralhousecat

    They are still so young and building their own lives. I figure that happy childhood memories are tough enough to come by and hang onto without someone coming along and stomping all over them.

  • ZizoAH

    During the second Intifada, I was living with my parents in Mount of Olives, East Jerusalem, where it all started, basically (my parents still live there), I went through a lot of not-nice experiences (including losses of friends -from both sides- and family members), but I always remember a "nice" ones (and I'm writing it between quotation marks, because, well... considering the circumstances...).

    I was around 14, and I was walking home alone back from school, an IDF van/jeep passed by, and a group of kids that was standing exactly next to me, threw stones at the van and flew. The van stopped, soldiers rushed of the car and started looking, and I was basically the only person in front of them.

    One of them opened a tear gas thingy and looked at me. I remember being frustrated, and I didn't know what to do, I didn't speak Hebrew at the time (we came from Spain only a couple of years before, I only spoke Spanish, Catalan, English, and Arabic). Running didn't seem like an option because it would make me look suspicious and guilty of throwing the stones. I just said with a very fragile voice, in Spanish "Por favor, no..." (Please, no...). The soldier, who was probably only 5-6 years older than me, looked back at me very nervous, and I felt that he really... I don't know how to explain it, like he looked into me or something, like he knew that it wasn't me, because the next thing he did was saying "Go, run fast!" and threw the gas into the other way.

    I flew home and I couldn't wait to tell my parents, in which they amazingly took advantage of the situation to teach me again that not everything is black and white, that there is good and bad in both sides.

    It's really a very simple story, and it might sound bland and very naive (and I'm a very cynical person), but for a 14-year-old me who grew up in Barcelona and then had to move into the middle of this conflict, situations like these were the ones that defined me, even if almost all of the experiences were not as nice.

  • kirbyjay

    My father was an alcoholic. When I was a kid he used to do all kinds of "fun" things with my sister and I. Though I was a girl, I was a tomboy so he would treat me like the son he didn't have. My parents would go out on Friday nights and Saturday, while my mother slept it off, he would take us up in an airplane and buzz the house. He would let us drive the car, he took us grocery shopping and shoplifted a rhinestone dog collar ( my dog refused to wear it) He would bet us a dollar that we couldn't eat a hot pepper or run outside in the snow with no shoes on. He would take us fishing in the ocean in a Boston Whaler ( a glorified rowboat) about 3 miles out. He would put a match to the antique smoke detector in our house and yell fire drill and we would go out on the back roof and jump off ( only one story) He would find cardboard and flatten it out and we would ride down the stairs on it. Great fun and he would be arrested for child endangerment today.

    But when I was 11, my brother ( the little prince) was born. Sister and I became teenagers, his alcoholism escalated from fun to abusive, and he decided that now that he had a son, we weren't "worthy" of him and we were "just like our mother". When he died, he left every thing he had to my brother, even though he lived with me for 5 years.

    Upon reflection:

    I bristle at misogynists

    I don't believe in "honor thy mother and father" unless they are honorable

    I raised my kids equally

    I have little patience for those who choose alcohol over family. It is a choice, there is treatment if you choose it.

    I love Mr. Kirbyjay beyond words because he is a great husband and father

  • apsutter

    Mine all involve trauma of some sort lol. Well I almost drowned when I was six years old. Despite being pretty poor we somehow always lived in homes with pools or ponds so I learned to swim before I can even remember it. My parents decided to take us to Disney World when I was in kindergarten and thought it would be fun to drive there. At one of the stops there was a hotel pool and I wasn't shy in water so I jumped in and was swimming fine for a while until I got tired and couldn't stay above water. I was trying to call for help but, like most people who drown, couldn't cry out and just kind of flailed. Anyways my dad saw me just in time and scooped me out. Funny thing is that it didn't make me scared to swim at all but now I'm always on the lookout for people who might be struggling a bit when they're swimming.

    Story #2 involves our house burning down in the middle of the night. Not long after our Disney trip my parents bought their first home, this incredibly old(and cool) log cabin in the woods. We literally lived their for less than six months because right after Christmas my mom woke up to crazy amounts of smoke and realized that the carport was totally engulfed in flames. My older bro and I shared the upstairs bedroom and my baby bro was still just a toddler. So she had to grab him and run upstairs to wake us up and get us out of there. It was the middle of the night and there was so much snow outside and we had to just run for the neighbors house to call for help(I in my footie pajamas and everyone else was barefoot) Because the house was so old the entire thing was gone in less than an hour. Thank God my mom is a light sleeper or we would have all been dead. Totally terrifying and it's made me so scared of fire in general but specifically house fires.

  • googergieger

    Oh, one that doesn't involve death and what could possibly be my Dexter type of origin story...

    When I was seven my mom left me in TJ with my Grandma, and I was about to come down with a cold, so she gave my grandma some medicine. Which my Grandma was supposed to only give me a little bit. Short story long, my mom comes back in three or four days, and the bottle is all but empty, and I'm beyond fucking drunk. Which my mom says was because my Grandma was clueless, but seeing as she is a lifelong rabid alcoholic, I think she just wanted a drinking buddy. Which is kind of sweet, if you're that stupid of an optimist about it, anyways.

  • L.O.V.E.

    When I was a little kid my father was out of the country on business in a small island country. He did work requiring a particular Federal license from the U.S. which he had, but the island decided it would not recognize the license over some trade dispute with the U.S. He was arrested for "political crimes" and was put on Trial. My mom flew out to be with him.

    I stayed with family members who gave vague reasons why he was gone, but they were always crying and I caught wind of talk of him being gone for up to 10 years. Reporters and government officials would show up at my grandparents house.

    After diplomacy wasn't getting the U.S. State Department anywhere, they had the Coast Guard enforce an embargo and keep the island from getting out any trade or receiving supplies. My parents came home after three months. I would later learn the country was trying to get a $10 million bail/ransom from the government for his release.

    And thats one of three stories about how I almost grew up without a father.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    I can't think of anything from my childhood, but I did see something funny last year. My mom and I were watching the annual Pride Parade, sitting next to a couple who were there with their two little boys (about three or four years old, I'd guess). At one point the float for Trojan condoms went by and one of the kids asked for a free sample. He was told to wait a few years.

  • PDamian

    This story is about my mother, that sterling, valiant woman of whom I'm very proud and whom I love deeply. It's also about my father, sort of. He's another kind of person entirely.

    My father was raised in Salinas, CA. Back in 1942, when he was 10 years old, the USA created an "exclusion zone" on the west coast and ordered all Japanese and Japanese-Americans out of the zone and into internment camps. The Japanese who were to be moved from the exclusion area were ordered to assemble at certain cities prior to being moved away from the coast; Salinas was one of those cities. You can read about this utterly shameful and disgraceful chapter in American history elsewhere; I offer it as background.

    I don't remember why my father told me this story. I'm sure he thought it was funny. He told me that he and his brothers used to walk on the train tracks near their house in Salinas -- the same train route used to carry Japanese inland. My father and uncles would throw rocks at the passing trains and scream at the top of their lungs, "¡Chino, chino, japonés, coma caca y no me des!" ("Chinese, Chinese, Japanese, eat shit and don't give me any!") I imagine that race and poverty had everything to do with why they did it; my father's family was dirt poor, and many of the Japanese internees were quite prosperous before their imprisonment. It was fairly rare that a poor Mexican kid, literally from the wrong side of the tracks, got to look down on some other group.

    I was about six when my father told me this story. Yes, he was that kind of guy. I was outside in our back yard, playing by myself, and for some reason I was sort of singing the chant to myself (I used to sing softly to myself as a kid; still do, sometimes). My mother heard me from the kitchen window, and came roaring out of the house. I'd been paddled before, but that was the only time in my life I'd ever been beaten. More that the pain, I remember as if it were yesterday, my mother weeping and screaming, "Don't you ever, EVER sing that again! ¡Nunca, NUNCA digas esas groserias!" (Never, never say those foul things.). I was screaming and crying, too, but didn't understand what I'd done wrong. All I knew was that my mom didn't like that chant -- which I didn't understand, anyways.

    I never said that chant again, and my mother never brought up the subject again (I think she was too afraid of my father to mention it). For the longest time, I was too afraid to bring it up, too, given her reaction. I finally asked her about it when I was about seventeen, and about to graduate from high school. She told me about her days in high school in Tucson, and about being called "beaner," "wetback," "wab," etc., etc., and the horrible humiliation of it. She was smart enough for college, and her grades were certainly good enough for it, but there was no money, and no-one was extending a hand up to impoverished Chicanos back then. She didn't want me to inflict that pain on anyone else, and she wanted me to go to college, thinking that no-one would inflict that pain on me if I did.

    Years later, here I am, a college professor with undergrad and graduate degrees. All of my siblings have college degrees, too, and all of us are in good careers. If we've succeeded in life and in school, it's because my mother was there, pushing us every step of the way, letting us know in no uncertain terms when we did well -- and when we didn't. Love you always, mamá.

  • Maguita NYC


  • Mrs.P

    Wow. Thank you for sharing

  • Mrs.P

    My most embarrassing moment took almost 10 years to come full circle. When I was about 7 or 8 cable television came into my life. At the time Nickelodeon and A&E shared a channel. At 6pm the channel switched from whatever awesome show I was watching to boring English stuff. I hated it. One night, the channel had just switched and I saw something interesting. There were men running though a forest pretending to ride horses and banging coconuts together. I kept watching, with no real understanding of what I was watching. Then, a cute little bunny bit off some guy's head! I was scared shitless and completely traumatized! Seriously, I was scared of rabbits for years. Many years later in high school, this guy gave me a copy of script for a Monty Python movie. As I read, it I realized what I had seen on TV when I was little. Even now, I still feel like the world's biggest idiot.

  • Mrs. Julien

    On a similar note, I knew what I was watching when I saw Monty Python's Flying Circus when I was 10 or 11 years old, but I didn't find it funny. I thought something must be horribly wrong with me. I grew up, found it funny and realised that while there is indeed something horribly wrong with me, it is not a lack of Monty Python appreciation.

  • llp

    Remember in the 80s when there used to be a TV series where they showed scenes from a real circus? I loved that show. Anyways, my mom was impatient with me one day and just sat me down in front of "some circus show" and left me there. I tried to tell her it was not a circus, it was cartoon boobs flying through the air, but she did not care. It was awful. Of course, it was Monty Python's Flying Circus. It was not a show to be appreciated by children.

  • Maguita NYC

    Don't worry, I've done worse. Your story reminded me not only of my idiocy, but how I also made sure to transfer my "knowledge" to my little sister.

    When I was 8, I was aware that my parents watched Adult movies and kept them hidden on top of the kitchen armoire. One day, while they were gone and had left us with a stupid babysitter who spent her time on the phone instead of watching after us, I decided to pull-up a chair, and reach for one of them hidden copies.

    My sister looked at me horrified, but I shooshed her.

    Insert VHS. Press play. And there it was. A woman dressed in shirt and long skirt holding on after a high bar, and was what I thought at the time crying in pain, while a bad-looking man had his hand under her skirt.

    My sister looks at me with a big question mark on her face. And of course, since I know everything, I gave a most honest answer:

    "The bad man is viciously pulling on her pubic hair."

    There you go. It took until I was 14 years-old when one day I skipped school and went to my friend Thierry's house, where we proceeded to watch some sort of "Bad Nurses in Heat" movie... To finally learn that the bad man was not pulling on that lady's pubic hair. Oh no.

    It was worse!

  • Mrs. Julien

    I LOVE that story!

  • emmalita

    That was a really creative, off the cuff, answer.

  • Maguita NYC

    I'm known for my creativity and quick thinking... Not necessarily always a brilliant combination.

  • Mrs.P

    I can't stop laughing! Maybe your answer wasn't as scaring to your sister as the truth may have been. That reminds me of when I was digging in my dad's dresser and found a Penthouse issue that featured Jimmy Swaggart's prostitute. She was really not pretty....

  • PDamian

    He was giving her a home perm?

  • Mitchell Hundred

    Well, that's one name for it...

  • Maguita NYC

    She had no hair down there!

  • PDamian

    Ohhhhh ... um. Hm. Okay.

  • John G.

    that header pic is gonna give me nightmares

  • llp

    When we were camping in California, a strange man was helping me learn how to swim. My father kept trying to call me over, and I didn't really pay much attention, and then he came over and yanked me out of the pool and took the whole family back to the camper. About twenty years later, because I am slow, I realized the man was pressed up against me for a while, bending over, etc - "helping." It didn't bother me at the time so I am not traumatized, but I feel bad for how angry and frightened my parents must have been.

  • firedmyass

    My mother had me shortly after she graduated High School. My grandparents pretty much raised me while she was in college, so my Grandfather was the major paternal figure of my childhood. I remember vividly one day when I was about six years old, and I accompanied him on his errands "into town."

    One of those errands was going to the bank. When we got home, he realized that the teller had given him 50¢ too much. Immediately he said we had to go back. Considering that the bank was about 30-miles away, this was no small inconvenience. My Grandmother thought this was ridiculous.

    My Grandfather was resolute. On the way, he explained to me that he was going back because at the end of the day, when the teller (a young African-American woman) totalled her drawer, she would be short that 50¢. While not a huge amount, she was still responsible for it. And, because of her race, she would likely be under more scrutiny.

    He told me that one should ALWAYS be aware of how their actions could affect other people, and that if you have the opportunity to have a positive influence, or mitigate a negative one, you should do so.

    Over the years, I've grown to realize just how extraordinary he was. There are countless other ways, I realize in retrospect, that he guided and molded me simply by quiet example. He died when I was nine, and it is still the greatest loss I've ever experienced. But he is directly responsible for everything good in me, and I will be eternally grateful that I was fortunate enough to have him for the short time that I did. Nearly four decades later, I still think of him every day.

  • Berry

    First of all, what an amazing story. Would that we all had someone like your grandfather in our lives. Second, in a bit of a roundabout way, this reminds me of something that happened to me in my late teens. The most significant lesson in the following story is probably the fact that Berry Is A Very, Very Stupid Person, but still.

    This was late 90's, I was visiting my aunt in US (she's lived there for decades, but is originally from Not Scandinavia, like me). I'm a history buff, so they took me to a tour of civil war battle sites in the south (side-note: I've since learned that this is considered something only very old people do. I was 18 and had a grand old time). We stayed in motels and B&B's, and because I'm just seriously that stupid, I carried both all my money and my passport in my hand-bag with me the whole trip. God, what an idiot... So of course I eventually left it behind in one of the motels. Of course. Fortunately, I noticed it almost right away, we called the motel and found out that the person cleaning our room that day had brought the bag to reception. What a relief!

    So, the motel posted me my bag, I checked and the money was there, down to the last cent, and my passport is there. So then I obviously wanted to thank the person who had found it, so I wrote them a thank you letter, and gave them cash reward. I don't remember how much money it was, but it was probably not an inconsiderable sum.

    So, here's the part in this long story that reminds me of yours... I sent the thank you note and the money and thought that was that. However, some time later, I received a thank you letter from maid who had cleaned my room that day, thanking me, and that part just somehow ended up being so touching and memorable... She thank me for my letter, telling how happy it had made her. She also told that she had not at all expected a reward and that she never would have even dreamed of keeping the hand-bag, because her grandmother, who had raised her, had taught her to be honest and considerate of other people, always.

    I don't know why, but the whole episode still gives me the warm fuzzies more than a decade later. Maybe it's sappy and naive of me, but come one, two complete strangers from opposite ends of the world, making one another happy like that? Tell me that's not at least a little bit heart-warming. Except for the part where I'm unimaginably stupid...

  • PDamian

    I loved this story. Many thanks for sharing!

  • Maguita NYC

    You do your grandfather great honor by sharing your story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • emmalita

    I wish your grandfather had raised more people.

  • firedmyass

    I agree. Well, he indirectly raised my own kid, so there's at least one more.

  • googergieger

    A dude once got shot in a department store about five feet away from me when I was like ten? Does that count?

  • emmalita

    I am somewhat taken aback by that, so .... Yes.

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