Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Heidi Would Never Have Done This

Not that long ago, I was watching one of my newer addictions -HGTV; a virtual smörgåsbord of reno shows, ohgreatsecondraterealtorhelpusfindourfirsthome shows, the I'm a Euro showoff and two homes for the price of one shows. You know, that kind of thing.

One of the phrases that tickled me was "man cave", a phrase here which refers to a section of the house where the male spouse can kick back, play darts or pool, surf for porn wife gifts, shamelessly scratch himself, fart with abandon (ignition optional), and generally get in touch with the primate side from whence he came.

It then dawned on me that as a young girl, I had something vaguely similar - the "Child Cave".

This little feat of engineering was constructed by my father, shortly after I had watched a Sunday rerun of Shirley Temple in "Heidi", and was bemoaning the fact that we did not live in a wee, cramped, one-room, outdoor-plumbing style Swiss Chalet. Instead, we were stuck like fools inside a sprawling rancher.

Yeah, I could be nostalgic like that even then - all about the old-y days when peeing on a rock out back + no heat inside = good times.

My "Child Cave" had no modern amenties - my father kept the Alpen/Heidi design true to form - instead, we were left to our own devices. Such a mistake.

And while my mother would choose to buy into the fantasy that we were having tea parties, and playing Barbies - the harsh reality was far more nefarious.

Because the Baroness, back in the day, was a devil-child.

In her devil "Child Cave".

It was here that I gave my Chatty Cathy doll her first (and last) mane trim, which transformed her into Chemo Cathy (oh, the irony) - Age 6

It was here that we smoked pack after pack of stolen cigarettes until the air inside the cave rivalled Monday night at the Bingo Hall - Age 8

And it was here, in the Swiss Chalet/Secret Lair that I began my brilliant writing career. I should mention here that, in a similar vein to Benjamin Button, I started out my life with a freakish intellect and have become increasingly more immature as time has elapsed.

But I digress.

The acme of my writing career, my signature piece, all started after watching another rousing episode of "Get Smart" with my next-door-neighbor, Ronnie.

He and I decided, after having our heads filled with CHAOS agents, Cold War and all things spy-ish, that there could be evil lurking in our very own burg. It was up to us to send a message (such as it was) to let the perpetrators know that we were on to them.

And it ultimately was up to me, the well-read, hyper-informed, psychotically-wired Baroness, to create said missive.

You know, just to give them a heads up that we were onto them, and that they better skedaddle before a more severe brand of our wrath fell upon them.

Who were these targets of our vigilante-ism? I can't remember them all, but I do recall that a few of them were associates with whom there had been schoolyard fallings-out.

The one I do remember was poor Alan Thorpe.

The only crime that Alan ever executed was sliding out of his mother's birth canal approximately 2 years after his sister Sharon. Sharon was, for a time, one of the Baroness' BFFN, and Alan was an ever-present piece of irksomeness that totally put a cramp in our style.

We had, once, tried to get rid of him for a few hours by daring him to shove cherry pits, one after another after another, up his nose.

This was effective - for a time - but the trip to the emergency room and the subsequent wait was short-lived, and unfortunately had no lingering effect on our nemesis.

I took matters into my own hands and decided that, for the sake of Sharon and BvonB playtime, a more dramatic stance was required. Cherry pits? What were we thinking? Total amateur hour.

I would now send a message.

A hand-written, totally traceable (I may have even signed it) message.

Ronnie and I came up with the following - the note of all notes that would make the recipient's blood run cold and impel them to simultaneously go running for a suitcase to split for destination unknown.

Ya ready? Because it was so cruel, so bilious, so utterly creepy:

Diaper Pants Pinky, GO HOME!

Brilliant, or what?

I had started with "Pinko", a phrase I'd heard often in the news and read of in all of the advanced literature I had at my disposal. But Ronnie, plebeian 7 year old that he was, had never heard of this, and was stupidly unaware of its scathing implications (Somedays, I swear, it was so taxing to have co-conspirators).

I don't really need to tell you that it was he who changed "Pinko" to "Pinky". And then threw in the "Diaper Pants" for good measure. (He had recently been visited by a baby brother, and I guess that to his small mind, this was a pretty good smack-down).

Why I acquiesced troubles me to this day. But I did, and I sadly cannot change history.

The "Go Home", in retrospect, was kind of lame. I'm recalling that at the time, I thought this was the ultimate slam - a "Go back to where you came from" country-of-origin thing. Very edgy, highly xenophobic.

But again in retrospect, I made the first mistake of writing - I didn't consider my audience - they were not going to be getting this thinly-veiled threat.

"Go Home"?
I'm already home.
What does this even mean?
Well, this is just stupid.

Needless to say, the whole exercise was a wash, and the resulting phone calls from irate parents to my sainted mother left her none too amused. Even less amusing was the forced apologizing by me to each and every one of my victims. Me no likee the taste of humble pie. Ronnie, like the good second fiddle he was, went deep undercover and escaped unscathed (maybe not so dim after all...)

As for the Secret Lair? Our cover had been blown. Under heavy interrogation involving a kitchen chair and a bare overhead lightbulb and a wooden spoon waving in the air, my mother extracted from me all that she needed to know, as to where all this illicit activity had taken place to begin with.

And, well - I caved. Like a child.


Bubs said...

Years ago we built a playhouse (really just a tool shed with a window and painted brightly by our kids) in our backyard. A few months after we built it, I turned to my bride and said something like "oh my God, can you remember what WE would have done in a place like that? Why did we build this thing?"

Ultimately it worked out ok.

By the way, I hate the phrase "man cave" almost as much as I hate the phrases "manscaping" and "bromance".

Baroness von B said...

Count of Tiki: Obviously, my parents never had the benefit of a cave, to realize what potential lay amid those four plywood walls. Lucky me.

Funny you should mention "manscaping" - why do women find this phrase highly amusing, while men do the cajone-coverup? Mars, Venus - my favorite planets.

{i}Post said...

Ugh. Man Cave. How Neanderthal. I once had a childhood hideout as well...but it was less fancy than yours. It was a bunch of blankets tented over various pieces of furniture in the basement of our Rancher. I have to say, though, I never signed any incriminating notes. *I* was smarter than that! ;0)

Baroness von B said...

Countess iPost: I know - what an idiot, right? I remember facing the classic writer's dilemma - do I send this anonymously, or do I make sure that I'm credited for such a fine piece of work...Ego, FTW!

imom said...

Great story! One of my friends had a fancy chalet style playhouse in her backyard, complete with electricity. I would bring my record player over and we'd listen to music. We were so innocent, but thought we were being "bad" listening to rock and roll (The Partridge Family, Donny Osmond and the Jackson Five). Good times.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

We never had a child cave, but we still got into enough trouble.

We have to agree to disagree with the manscaping hate. I love the word. It gives me the giggles, and the fact that a tiny trim makes the snausage look bigger and the ego boost that goes with it seems to be win-win for everyone.

And I appreciated the correct spelling of smörgåsbord. That was not wasted on me. :)

Baroness von B said...

Countess imom: Perhaps you, as a child, were clairvoyant with the whole "bad" Michael Jackson thing, hmm? And Danny Bonaduce? Total badass.

Countess NATUI: While I'd like to take credit for all the oobliks and geegaws adorning smorgasbord, it just spelled-checked up that way.

Thank blogger, if you must.

RiverPoet said...


Oh, I needed that laugh this morning!

My hubby has a man cave and loves it. It's messy, just like he likes it, and full of vanilla candles (the only scent he can stand).

Peace - D

Baroness von B said...

Countess D: Hold up here a minute.

Doesn't the presence of scented candles (and vanilla to boot) violate some kind of Man Cave Code of Conduct?

Now, open fire pits and burning vanilla plants - that's something they could seriously get behind!!!

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