Sunday, January 11, 2004

Appetite

I don’t remember how I came to be cast as a cow in a Christmas Nativity pageant. This just sort of thing just happened to you when you are six years old. Your world was Sesame Street, your rubber band collection, your favorite booger-stained t-shirt. You ate the paste, licking the stick; it tasted good, you didn’t question it. If your Mom decided to have an unholy alliance with your kindergarten teacher to cast you in a tacky school play, you didn’t question that either.

I went along with my mother, who took my measurements, bought fabric. If I understood that she was going to sew a brown cow costume with golden spots, I may have suggested she picked a mocha-colored fabric, preferably satin; it would have itched less and complemented my skin tone. I look sallow in brown.

Yes, technically, it was probably more appropriate to call my part “The Bull.” But I was six, and at six, I didn’t really understand the difference between male and female, and that the difference involved our genitalia. When you were six, did you know that a male goose was a gander? That someone who had thick ankles, wore sequins, and who gustily sang “New York, New York” was not a woman but a man, albeit of dubious royalty? I think not.

That was my first time on a stage. I stood among the other six year-olds, a menagerie of of sheep, horses and other cows looking down at the plastic Baby Jesus in the manger, itching, thinking about how this was sooo not what I stood for politically. If I had my way, the Angels would have feathered wings instead of cardboard ones, and the part of Joseph would have been played by Bernard C.—he of the petulant, pouty lips and dried-up snot. I didn’t understand sex, but I understood Art Direction.

Did that first time whet my appetite for attention? Or was it something deeper than that? As a twin, I was always part of a pair, half of a one. To some people, maybe even our parents, twins are interchangeable, a cheesy Doublemint commercial waiting to happen. I wanted to be Singular. I don’t want to confuse, befuddle; I want to be picked out in a police line-up.

It is very heartening then to see when readers of my blog are appreciative, when people respond to what I have written. These thoughts, these words are mine. When Pua, and then Ray quoted directly my posts, I confess my imagination had gone girls wild. In my mind, I was signing book deals, being a spokesperson for Lactaid, showing off the condiments in my fridge on MTV’s Cribs. It was very exciting, better than when I found Portuguese spam1 in my guestbook.

It is quite possible these words will outlive me. I just hope they won’t be used against me in a court of law.

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1See entry #30 in my Guestbook.

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