Notes From A Walkman Junkie: I Like To Touch Things II: The Sequel
It was brought to my attention recently by my loyal readers (my mom and a longtime childhood friend) that there was a major oversight and a slight disappoint in my previous article, “I Like To Touch Things.” The major oversight being that I failed to mention that my attire while investigating the priest’s mysterious hair was my Halloween costume ( I am sure it was a good six to eight months after Halloween–I get very attached to things) which happened to be a tiger suit paired with red knee socks and “party shoes” (the importance of this detail is merely to showcase the fact that I am even more of a weirdo than what was perhaps originally perceived–also the tiger costume was very soft and the party shoes were very shiny–so that is why I loved them so much and everything ties back together.)
The slight disappointment was that I had not told the infamous story of The Leg. I would like to correct this grievous error now, but I must warn you, this tale is not for the faint of heart. You know that scene in The Hitcher when the woman is tied up by her arms and legs between two semi trucks and then slowly ripped apart as the trucks move in opposite directions? Well, this is nothing like that, but I saw that film as a kid and it really stuck with me.
So, on to the actual story that does not involve anyone being torn apart by their arms and legs, but it does involve one leg and years of extreme anxiety . I will start by saying that I was wearing my tiger suit because–let’s face it–I probably was and this way my bases are covered (though it is possible that I was donning a pink fluffy dress and carrying a stuffed gorilla–I went through a phase.) I was five years old and my grandmother was in town visiting. I am guessing because there was a funeral or it was a holiday of some sort–only death and/or assorted nuts and cheese logs/balls can bring my family together.
My family was all gathered in the living room, partaking in snacks and cocktails, while I was undoubtedly doing something weird–probably on the floor. As I recall, my grandmother was seated on the couch and I happened to peer under the coffee table positioned directly in front of her and notice something distinctly odd about her legs that I had never observed before. One of her legs looked incredibly shiny and a bit darker in comparison to the other and I became fixated on the hypnotic gleam. Faced with this brilliant and intriguing sight, I had no choice. I had to touch it.
I slowly crawled under the table and lightly touched the glistening leg in question. This mere graze went unnoticed and was clearly an insufficient amount of tactile investigation so I began steadily knocking on the shiny leg and quickly discovered two things: The leg was very hard and my grandmother was very annoyed. I spent the rest of the evening (probably on the floor) in a strange sort of haze, completely baffled and shocked by what I had just discovered.
Fortunately when it was finally time for bed and all the guests had gone home, my father was able to explain my grandmother’s leg phenomenon in a very reassuring and calming way: “Well, when she was much younger, she was in a car accident and broke her ankle–then her mother took her out of the hospital a few days early to see a play and she developed a flesh-rotting condition called gangrene–so the doctor cut her whole leg off and now she has a hard shiny fake one– good night!”
The regrettable events of that fateful night have had a life-long impact on me. To this day, I still live in fear of cars, doctors, plays and moms–also, heights, dolls and candy circus peanuts. I am attaching “Lita” by Nurses (I am also afraid of nurses, but this is a great song.) for you to enjoy.