The story and the movie have other characters in it besides me, like the munchkins and the flying monkeys. I can even relate to the trees that through apples at me. But really and truly the longest relationship on my way to become the Wizard I am today, was that of my cowardly lion stage.
Yeh, it's sad, believe me, Missy,
When you're born to be a sissy
Without the vim and verve.
But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mou-ess
If I only had the nerve.
I'm afraid there's no denyin' I'm just a dandelion,
A fate I don't deserve.
I'd be brave as a blizzard....I'd be gentle as a lizard....
I'd be clever as a gizzard....
If the Wizard is a Wizard who will serve.
Then I'm sure to get a brain, a heart, a home, the nerve!
During the year that I spent trying hard to get out of a relationship that I knew was wrong, I was working in a hospital kitchen. This was a job that I loved. I was 16-17 years old and was making a really good wage. In fact it was more than what today’s minimum wage is, and that was over 20 years ago. I had 5 really good friends at work. Here is a big surprise for you, they were all men. Chris, Peter, OB, Boob (the nickname my brothers gave him), and Tyrone. I didn’t have to worry about what I said to them, I didn’t have to worry about whether I was wearing make up on a daily basis and they didn’t care if I talked to another one of the guys during the day. I was not afraid to stick my neck out and help out at the dishwasher, grab a brillo pad and scrub a pot, and was not a sissy about doing my own stocking if I needed to when Chris was busy. I was one of the guys.
Every night it was the same routine, set up, serve, break, and then clean up. I was the one who didn’t mind if I broke a nail and was not afraid to wipe down the tables after the dinner hours were done.
There was this one guy. He was really sweet. He came down most nights to take his break with OB while we were cleaning the dining room. OB worked for house cleaning and so did Boob. Boob and Chris were great friends too and my boss liked this guy. Boob’s mom was a nurse upstairs and he was a hard worker as well. Boob ordered the exact same sandwich every night. Ham and American cheese on a bulkie, dry, with two mayo packets on the side, three pickles and a Coke. I started watching the clock and would have it made for him before the rush came through because I knew his time was limited for dinner break.
The day before Valentine’s Day that year OB and Chris told me that it was Boob’s birthday the next day and suggested that I get him a card. So that night on the way home from work I stopped at the little plaza down the street. As I walked in for a birthday card I realized that it was Valentine’s Day and did a full 180. They were not going to get the best of me. I am gullible and believe most everything that people tell me but they had forgotten that I grew up with a bunch of brothers that were always making me look like a foolish little girl.
My bad, it was his birthday and he got me a Valentine’s Day card with an invitation to a Lover Boy concert (ticket included) and then…well, lets just say that night I refused anything the Turd gave me and broke it off completely. Boob was a little more than a friend, Duh, I didn’t see it but the other guys did.
I spent three years with Boob. He taught me a lot about myself but at the same time made me very scared of life’s lessons. He was a great guy and I could totally see myself having gotten married and being in a different place right now.
He on the other hand could not. I spent three years listening to the line “too bad you were not 21 or we could do ____ tonight”. See, here was a big issue. Boob was 6 years older than me. I heard a lot of “too bad” ’s during the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really good relationship, but there were many a time that I was left to fend for myself. Not that I expected him to be my protector but occasionally my defender would have been nice.
Let me give you an example:
Remember OB? Well, OB’s wife Sandy came and got a job. She got a job in the kitchen with me. Policy stated that spouses could not work in the same department. Sandy was a hoot. She seemed very nice and befriended me almost immediately. I am a pretty easy going person so it was not hard. We hung out on occasion at work and sometimes even after. One night she invited Boob and I to their house for a cookout. We arrived, had a glass of whatever, stood around the back yard for a while and shot the bull. OB and Boob had this brilliant idea that I was hot and needed to cool off, at which point the two of them picked me up and threw me into the pool. Sandy was bull, she sent the boys off to the store for ice and brought me upstairs to change into some dry clothes. Since Sandy was like a foot smaller than me and the size of a six year old waste wise, she gave me some of OB’s scrubs to change into. Once I was dry and we were downstairs again, she asked me how it was to be in her husband’s pants. I laughed it off but she was not joking. For the next ½ hour, she drilled me about how she knew that I was a “HO” and that I was sleeping around with all the guys and even though her husband denied it there was not way I could. Where the h.e.double hockey sticks the guys went for ice was beyond me? But when they got back I was in tears and wanted to go home. Boob obliged and off we went. As I was telling him the story he just shrugged his shoulders and told me that “she’s a little off sometime”. OFF?
Never did he defend me, never did ever stand up and be the guy. I spent a lot of time cowering in the corner afraid that I was doing something wrong and maybe I could do better “if only”.
I get back to the start of this trip to Oz and remind you that there is a reason that people come into your life. Sometimes it is for a season; sometimes it is for a day. Sometimes they are a good influence and sometimes they were not. As I look back on my past and remember all the friends that I have had, I know that my brief encounter with past boyfriends caused me grief and strength. I was a very sheltered little girl who grew up in a very small town and spent many a day in mud puddles or patching scrapes from the pricker bushes.
For those friends of mine now, who have helped me build my confidence over the years…I thank you!