Friday, July 29, 2011

I hath drunk from thy healing waters, Princess Owatonna

My parents are relatively trustworthy people. However, when their college friends come over for the weekend and storytime rolls around after a few beers/dirty martinis, I think I have a valid reason to trust them less.  This is what went down that night, as they recounted their many visits to the guys’ hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota:

MOM’S FRIEND: Oh God, did they ever make you drink from the Owatonna Princess?

DAD: Those are some healing waters, right there!

MOM: Oh yes. I had to drink from the Princess.

DAD’S FRIEND: And she was healed of all her infirmities!

[They all laugh. I stare. The conversation shifts.]

ME: Whoa, hang on. Wait a second. What is this Princess fountain?

DAD: You’ve never drunk from the Owatonna Princess fountain?

ME: Nope.

DAD: Yes you have! Of course you’ve drunk from the Owatonna Princess! You’re my son, and Schroeder boys drink from the Princess.

DAD’S FRIEND: Healing waters!

[Smirks. Snickers.]

ME: No, I haven’t.

DAD: Are you sure?

ME: I swear by the Princess herself.


MOM’S FRIEND: Ugh. I refused to drink from the Owatonna Princess. It was too gross and I’m not that kind of lady.

DAD: Well you need to. How do you expect to ever experience the fullness of joy without drinking from the healing Owatonna Princess Fountain?

DAD’S FRIEND: [Stands, gesturing towards heaven.]

O, Princess Owatonna,
one sip of thy cool flowing waters
is all that I desire
…or need.
Bless me with thy watery beauty
that falls freely from thy willowy locks…
I need consume nothing more!

[They snicker and punch each other in the arm. A knucks bump is shared.]

I would say that I had reason to be concerned. Though they very well could have been talking about an actual fountain somewhere in Owatonna, this was beginning to sound like either a reference to some bizarre drug experience or a disgusting sexual encounter. NEITHER OF WHICH I WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT.  (I wouldn’t even include them on my other sex blog.)

Needless to say, I dropped the subject, assuming this was some sort of deranged local Owatonnean practice or rite-of-passage that I really didn’t want to hear about.

Weeks pass and I forget about the Princess. On one weekend my dad and I take a road trip to visit my grandpa, who lives in Owatonna, for his birthday. We eat angelfood cake and the conversation mysteriously shifts to, you guessed it, the Princess Owatonna Fountain.

DAD: Can you believe Brian has never drunk from the Princess?


DAD: Healing waters, right there!

ME: You know about the Princess Fountain too?

MY AUNT: Of course! It’s the very heartbeat of Owatonna history and culture! You have not LIVED until you have drunk from the Princess. 

By the smirks on their faces, I can tell that they’re putting me on. This is obviously some sort of inside joke that all Owatonneans have about some kind of frat-house initiation that they all do to outsiders which ultimately ends with the visitor embarrassed and sore, possibly dripping wet and feeling a little violated.

DAD: I’ll take you to the Princess before we leave today.

ME: Like sh** you will.

DAD: Hope you brought your camera!

ME: I’m uncomfortable.

DAD: You could blog about this!

ME: IF I live to make it back to my computer, which I’ll probably use to tell the authorities about you instead.

DAD: Can’t you trust your father?

ME: Not if he’s from Owatonna.

DAD: This is non-negotiable.

ME: I need to make some calls.

Before we left town, Dad drove me to a park with a stream running through it and he said, “There she is. Princess Owatonna.” And I saw this:

[Click to embiggen so you can read THE EPIC LEGEND.]

Princess Owatonna is REAL. And it’s an actual fountain. From mineral springs, which do have healthful and sometimes healing qualities.

I took a drink. It smelled like sulfur and tasted slightly of metal. I’ve drunk from natural mineral springs before in Bad Hamburg, Germany and I’ve had much worse—warm waters that tasted like liquid sand or human sweat, which were apparently wonderfully good for my health and well-being. This, however, was cool and refreshing, though a little mineraly, and I have no idea how it cured a dying Native American princess. Frankly, I was just happy that this experience didn’t leave me tarred and feathered.

So how about that? My parents are relatively trustworthy people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The day I learned why it's wrong to spit on the ground

I led a conflicted existence in second grade. As you’ve read from my journal from that year, my struggles with being a musical kid in a football-dominated elementary school as well as the fact that my best friend was a forbidden GIRL gave me a lot to worry about. I walked a thin line those days, making sure to remain as masculine as possible as to not lose my present male friends or damage future rendezvous with the lady-folk. There was a standard in second grade, and I was constantly struggling to meet it.

Spitting on the ground, I soon discovered, was really quite a novel idea. My dad did it occasionally, baseball players in movies did it all the time while chewing what appeared to be a big brown sock, and so I began as well. My friends also joined me in this venture, and soon we were a gang of spitting hoodlums, not walking a dozen paces before generating as much saliva as we could in order to leave our slimy, foaming signatures on the playground blacktop.  

 [It was increasingly necessary to stay hydrated in second grade.]

As far as I can remember this was an activity that had no negative consequences, and was something that set us apart from everyone else. We were golden. Little did I know that our actions could cause something so dangerous, so life threatening, that even fifteen years later it would remain a globally destructive and horrible epidemic for which there is still no end in sight.

A fellow student (and by fellow student I mean complete a**hole tattletale who doesn’t even deserve to share the same playground with me) came up to my friend and I and questioned our behavior. Actually, it was less of a question and more of a TAUNT.

JERK: Why do you spit on the ground?

US: Because it’s COOL.

LOSER: It looks kind of messy.


BUTTFACE: No I don’t! I’m telling the teacher that you’re spitting on the ground!

US: Oh yeah?!

My friends and I then sent a barrage of spit-tooies to the ground to demonstrate our defiance. 

Then the teacher walked over and sent us to the principle’s office.

My rebellious vigor dwindled slightly.

Okay, I may have cried.

So there I was sitting in Mr. Eaton’s (the school’s principal whose round stature encouraged a slew of puns about his last name) office, and he began interrogating me.

MR. EATON: Why were you sent here, Brian?

BRIAN: I spit on the ground.

MR. EATON: Is that all you did?

BRIAN: More or less.

MR. EATON: Excuse me?

BRIAN: That’s all I did.

MR. EATON: Okay. Did you ever spit ON anyone?

BRIAN: Not unless the peripheral damage of my giant loogie splashed someone in the nearby vicinity.

MR. EATON: So, no one?

BRIAN: To be honest, I was the one who was the most at-risk in that situation.

MR. EATON: Okay. So you were sent here because you spit on the ground?


MR. EATON: And I’m guessing that I’m supposed to tell you WHY merely spitting on the ground outside is a bad thing.

BRIAN: It would make this whole situation a lot clearer.

MR. EATON: Something that sounds truthful, then, so that your limited six-year-old understanding will accept it as absolute fact and I can get you out of my f***ing office?

BRIAN: What?

MR. EATON: Nothing. See, the reason that it’s bad to spit on the ground is … that, uh … um … There’s this disease going around called AIDS, and it’s really bad.

BRIAN: Really?

MR. EATON: Really. And spitting on the ground spreads it. So what you’re doing is dangerous.

BRIAN: I’ve never heard of AIDS before.

MR. EATON: You’ll actually learn about it in class next year, and by then you’ll probably have forgotten that I even told you this.

BRIAN: Interesting. So what’s this disease like and how does someone catch it?

MR. EATON: Oh, you don’t want to hear the specifics; it’s really complicated.

BRIAN: Try me.

MR. EATON: Alright, it’s not passed through saliva as though someone could absorb it through the soles of his or her shoes, the only way that that could happen is if you had blood in your saliva and they had an open wound on their foot, which shoes really prevent from happening anyway. Usually, though, it’s actually sexually transmitted.

MR. EATON: See what I mean?

BRIAN: Vaguely.

MR. EATON: Close enough. Go back to recess.

I left his office with a new knowledge about the consequences of my actions, and a creeping feeling that he was feeding me complete bullsh**.

And that’s the day I learned why it’s wrong to spit on the ground.

(Because you could kill someone.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dreambomb, or 50-Word Sagas, or I’m Doing Something I Really Shouldn’t Be Doing.

Another round of dreams I’ve had that are too small to devote a whole post to, so I lumped them together as short stories, written with no more or less than fifty words each. Just like the other 50-Word Dreams, these four share a theme. This time, it’s “I’m Doing Something I Really Shouldn’t be Doing.” I hope you enjoy your face off. 

Dream #1
            While sharing a pool with three women (it wasn’t a sexual dream, like the other blog), our conversation was repeatedly interrupted by one girl making a sound like a muffled car horn. My frustration increased to the point of consciousness, where I discovered the sound came from my snoring dog.

Dream #2
            Mom was sick, so I agreed to assist her in eating the potato chips held between her toes. When our new Romanian maid arrived, I let her take my place. (It’s a two-person job anyway.)
            “She’s doing it wrong!” my mom croaked immediately.
            “Be patient, Mom; it’s her first time.”

Dream #3
            Secretly lighting cigars to celebrate God knows what, my friends and I smoke (but oh dear Lord don’t inhale) happily at my roommate’s cabin, making sure to avoid the gaze of disapproving parents. Suddenly one approaches and all cigars are extinguished, save mine, which I shove wholly in my mouth.

Dream #4
            The tour of a WWII destroyed mansion was getting boring when, upon inspection, I discovered a Krisp Kringle hidden amongst the rubble.
            Oh boy! My favorite crunchy, chocolaty treat!
            Then I saw another.
            And another!
            They were everywhere! It was like a Krisp Kringle egg hunt!
            I stole them all.

The end. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Flowerth of July!

["Aww! Cute little ones!"]

paTOP! paTOP! Fsssssshhhhhh KAPOW!!
["WHOA! Didn't expect that one to come out amongst the others!"]

["Ooh pretty! This is probably the grand finale!"]

Shoop! Shoop! Shoop! Fizzzzzzzz!
["Oh they surprised me again! Nice little interlude!"]

I could do this all day. 

If only we could grow Tom Thumb donuts, I'd never have to go out for the 4th of July again.