Gin and Tonic

I think I am going to need to buy a new laptop. Remember when I dropped it that time? Well, the power cord is loose now but I’ll just put it off until it completely stops working altogether and buy a new one in a frenzied, angry panic. Good plan.


I’m one of those people that has a very strong stomach for talking about gross things, or even doing gross things. But a very weak stomach for actual food.


I’m going to tell you guys right now; I hate junipers. I hate them. I hate them in any plant form that exists. I wish I had some horrible experience to blame my irrational hatred of them on. But I don’t. My granny had two giant ones in her front yard when we were growing up. And I hated them even as a small child.

Ugh. Look at this stupid fucking thing.

Now I have a reason to hate them.


Gin is made from juniper berries. I have always thought gin and tonics were very classy despite an interesting night I had with my sister J with them. But I had never tried one up till last night. And I was pretty convinced I would not like it. Because of my juniper hatred.


So last night I pour myself this gin and tonic. I carefully sniffed at the mini bottle of gin before pouring it into my glass. It smelled like juniper and I think my mind rebelled a little. But I was determined to try it.

It wasn’t this brand but look at this classy shit. I don’t even like lemon in my water.

I want to be classy, dammit! I want to be one of those people that eats linguine with clam sauce and drinks martinis, and always looks put together. I want glossy hair and clothes that flatter me and actual knowledge on doing makeup. And to me a gin and tonic is right up there with all the classy foods.

Just classy as fuck.

Foods I wind up not liking because I am not classy. I like fried chicken and barbeque and tacos. I wear men’s t-shirts my brother and I pull from the dumpster and jeans and sandals that I think make me look like a lesbian but I wear them anyway.

Get in my mouth!

But I try.


I took one sip of that gin and tonic and gagged. Not one to be deterred by a little thing like a gag reflex, I went to the kitchen, stood over the sink (just in case) and took another sip. I gagged again. You guys know I have an iron will and determination.


So I said, “You will NOT throw this up. You WILL drink this.”


I took another sip. And I threw up in the sink.

I poured the rest of that horrid drink down the drain and had a strawberry lime Rekorderlig instead. It was delicious and got the taste of failure and vomit right out of my mouth. They’re welcome to use that if they’re looking for a new slogan.

This is like alcoholic fruit soda.

Once again, my taste buds have prevented me from the classy lifestyle that is waiting just behind eating and drinking the right things. Apparently.


My father is a very, shall we say, eccentric person. I always read stories that people write about their childhoods in which they claim to not know how strange their families were. Not me. I was always acutely aware of it.

My father was a big gum chewer. He still is in fact. He likes to chew the same piece of gum for three of four days. He complains that gum nowadays is too soft and too  flavorful for his liking.

He only chewed Wrigleys mint gum or the original cinnamon Dentyne (which I admit is the only kind I like personally). But they still had too much flavor, hence him chewing them for days.

Now this wouldn’t have been so bad, except that he used to take his gum out of his mouth and stick it to whatever was closest while he ate his meals. Usually it was the dashboard in his truck. But sometimes it was kitchen counters or the stove.

My mother found this habit particularly disgusting so she would shriek on finding the little grey pre-chewed wads and would promptly throw them in the trash. My father, not to be deterred would then pick through the trash till he found the gum wad and would resume chewing it.

I always found this completely horrifying and revolting. Unfortunately, my little sister did not. Inspired by his example, she used to do the same.

That’s worse than trash picking/dumpster diving/freeganism. Eating sealed food from the trash is on thing. This is another.

In recent years you can still find the gum stuck to the dash in his truck.

One night a few months ago I was out at a bar with him listening to some local music. He was chewing a piece of gum and dancing. I’m not sure what exactly he was doing, he is an unusual dancer ( I do a mean impression of it). Suddenly the gum fell out of his mouth onto the bar floor.

We all know and support the five second rule, right? But does that work in every situation? For me, no. Bathrooms, hospitals, gas stations, bars. These places are exempt from that loophole for me.

But not my dad.

Without hesitation he reached down, picked it up, and popped it back into his mouth. I was horrified and yes revolted, but also, not the least bit surprised. Several people around him reacted in disgust looking from him to me and probably wondering if I actually knew him, but I just laughed.

At this point in my life, my family is going to have to try a lot harder than that to embarrass me. I’ve become desensitized to it all. I’m beginning to wonder if I have any shame left.

It actually reminded me of when certain religious youth groups would pass around a piece of gum, then take it out of it’s wrapper and chew it up. Then the youth group leader would ask who wanted to chew the piece of gum now. The gum of course represented each of them and chewing it was akin to them having premarital sex.

I’m willing to bet, had my dad sat in one of those youth groups, he would have happily chewed that pre-chewed piece of gum.

Then again, he is gross like that.


When I was seven the dentist told my mother that I had a jaw deformity. To hear the dentist describe it, I would be hideous and unlovable and it would barely function as a working jaw until it was fixed. And there were only two choices:

Have it fixed right now; immediately (obviously the only choice for a parent that actually, you know, cared about their child)

Or wait until I was in my late teens to have my jaw broken and reset and wired shut. This would be excruciatingly painful and possibly kill me. Also, it would definitely cause me to not get a date for the prom.

Which wound up actually happening; okay that dentist may have been psychic.

They chose the immediate, right away option. This involved a complicated permanent retainer that was cemented into the roof of my mouth. I am not exaggerating when I say the cement used in that procedure tastes exactly like a garbage truck full of wet, hot, decomposing garbage.

And yes, I do know how that tastes, now. Once, while on the back of an ex’s motorcycle, a garbage truck pulled out in front of us and I got a delicious face full of garbage water. And the taste was spot on.

Once the retainer was in my mouth, the dentist demonstrated how to use it properly. Every morning and every night, one of my parents had to take this little key, stick their entire adult sized hand into my seven year old sized mouth, and tighten the retainer.

This was even less fun than it sounds. And it was unbelievably painful which was not disclosed to me during the whole decision making process. Probably because my dentist was a sadist that enjoyed torturing little girls and their parents in painful and humiliating rituals.

Maybe he was trying to instill in me a healthy fear of dentists. I don’t know. If so, it didn’t work. Dentists aren’t even on a top 20 list of things I am afraid of. I’m afraid of things like zombies and emotions and becoming a real life Cassandra. I don’t have time to be afraid of things as mundane as the dentist.

Also, the retainer was not flush with the roof of my mouth. There was a half inch gap between the retainer and my mouth. Did I mention that it was permanent and cemented up there? This meant that it was just big enough to trap food, but I was not able to get the food out.

I eventually found that if I held my mouth just right, I could create a suction that would suck the food out of this gap and into my mouth to be chewed up and swallowed with the rest of my meal. The noise this caused was halfway between slurping soup and sucking a straw in an empty drink. And just as loud.

It was classy.

This evil retainer tightening ritual went on every morning and every night for about a year. It brought tears to my eyes and caused me to lose my appetite most of the time as my mouth and jaw were in near constant pain.

One day, the dentist saw that I had become desensitized to the pain and social rejection he was causing me. And he decided to remove the permanent retainer. After another bout with the delicious taste of garbage they were off.

And then it was time for the removable retainer. Mine was purple and glittery. Because pretty is important when pulling something coated in long strings of saliva from your mouth. (I am a particularly spitty person too).

It came in it’s own little pink case that looked like something you would keep tampons in and smelled like wet dog and halitosis.

And also, the braces. But that is a story for another time.

Update: I just looked it up and this is called a palate expander. Ew. I must have blocked that out. Turns out they were expanding my jaw and not tightening it. Either way. It still hurt like a motherfucker.