Feb 24, 2011
I'm Fat Because You Can't Put Your Hands Around My Waist (and other things I learned from Little House on the Prairie)
I read a tonne (yes, metric) as a kid. And what do I have to show for it except a cool pair of glasses? Yes, like all the other nerds: an English degree.
However, I remember so little of the books I read, it's shocking. Let me clarify: it's not shocking how little I can remember; it's the things I remember that are shocking.
Who didn't love reading Little House on the Prairie? I know I did. At the time I didn't wonder how old Ma had to be when she married Pa. But now I do. Because one of the only things I remember from that book is the fact that when they were married, Ma’s waist was so tiny that Pa could span it with his strapping hands. Think about THAT for a minute: Her waist fit in his hands. Make an "O" with your hands together and look at the space in the middle. Picture a late 19th-century lady in there. A tiny, little kitten-sized 19th-century lady. Because a kitten is about all I could span with my hands. I have long fingers and I can’t even wrap my hands around my two-year-old’s belly (however, she is shaped a little like little George Costanza — like all two-year-olds).
So thanks, Laura Ingalls Wilder, for making my tween self feel fat for not having the dimensions of a kitty cat.
Some of my other fave books as a kid and the useful things I remember:
• Harriet the Spy — If you write shit about your friends, they WILL find it. (So be nice on your blog.)
• Anne of Green Gables — This one really is useful: croup symptoms can be allieviated with steam and syrup of ipecac. Also: in the olden days crying together was like playing Wii. Girls did it together all the time.
• Little Women — falling thru the ice is a great way to garner enough sympathy to be forgiven for anything. Also: if you’re writing a novel, back it up, dummy!