As far as comments go, this has been the most entertaining week ever. You guys have some pretty cringeworthy stories of all sorts and I loved every last comment. Call me crazy, but I think that much like having one's heart broken, embarrassing families are sort of a right of passage. I think they give you perspective, and a sense of humor and generally build character. (Note to my parents: this is not you cue to ramp up the embarrassing behavior, I'm bubbling over with character, thanks so much.) Though, I think new parents can also take heart that quite a few of my commenters think their parents have always been awesome, even if some only discovered this in hindsight.
My random number generator picked julietn as the winner of the book, which is wonderful because she was one of the people on my rather expansive list of possible winners for best comment. Juliet, I've sent you a note requesting your address, if you don't see it, you can contact me with the Contact button up on the top of this page.
And here's her fantastic story:
My parents are wonderful, and my mom is a bit of a free spirit and says almost anything that pops into her head, which I now love. Not so much when I was younger, though. The first moment that comes to mind of her embarassing me was when she dropped me off at college for the first time. There were some sophomores and juniors hanging around as everyone was unpacking, and my mom took one look at this one guy, marched up to him (she's about 5' 1", this guy was easily 6'), poked him in the chest and snapped up at him "You stay away from my daughter! I know what you're doing here!" I was just about ready to drop out of college right then. The best part is, though, that she was right--the guy turned out to be notorious for going after younger girls. Her methods may have been objectionable, but she's a good judge of character!
Your mom sounds awesome. I just love this story and yet, I can completely see being utterly mortified by the whole situation.
Picking just one story to win the Twist Collective gift certificate was a more challenging process. I decided to set a few criteria for determining a winner. I think as a general rule, there must be non-family witnesses who are your peers, to hold the event over you for the rest of your life. There must also be some breech of normal societal protocols; something that would get you kicked out of a nice restaurant. Your parents' junker or poor fashion choices are indelibly etched in your mind, but are probably mostly forgettable to anyone who may try to blackmail you later.
So with those rules in mind (and knowing full well I eliminated some fantastically horrible stories in the process) I was able to narrow my list down to 4. Like picking only a single chocolate from the Godiva box, it was no easy feat, but for the sheer quantity of pain for all parties involved, I decided on Meredith's story.
Marnie, your story really made me cringe. Just the crocheting or the hammock would have been bad enough for a kid, but to combine them and then take it all public? You poor child.
My story is another about fun in the sun. When I was a kid we had a pool in the backyard. In the summer, my friends would come over to swim, and my mom would sit in a lounge chair smoking cigs and drinking ice t. She was a woman well endowed in the breast dept, and I kept thinking that eventually I'd get big boobs too, but I never did and that's another story anyway. She would wear those terry cloth rompers, held up only by boobage, while she was lounging. So my friends and I, all about 11 and very self conscious, were swimming and goofing off, and my mom fell asleep in the sun. With her boobs out. She had thrown up her arms to shield her eyes and her top slipped out. Her boobs were fried with sunburn. It was awful. I think hers were the biggest boobs my friends had seen, as there moms were more average sized, and they were embarrassed, and left as quickly as possible. Stories were told about my mom's enormous lobster-red boobs. Still not as bad as the banana hammocks though!
Meredith, I've sent you a note, though if you don't see it, feel free to write me from the email address to which you'd like the gift certificate sent, by clicking the Contact button at the top of this page.
Thank you, sincerely, to all of you who made me laugh and cringe and who reminded me that all families are weird. You guys are the best. Trust me, it was not easy to pick a best/worst of the bunch.