When Amanda first left a comment on my blog, I thought, “This Mandie girl is really funny.” And then I checked out her blog and thought, “Okay, this girl is REALLY funny. And she’s Canadian? I have the same sense of humor as a Canadian? Oh dear. What does this say about me?”
I’m not bashing Canadians in any way. They’ve just always been somewhat of a mystery to me- like pageant queens and people who watch horror flicks- so it surprised me that I would share a sense of humor with one. My sister asked me who “Mandie Marie” was because my sister knows every single person in my life and knows everyone who comments on my blog. I told Heidi, “Oh she’s my new blog friend. And get this- she’s Canadian.” Yes, I felt very proud and cultured to announce that I have a Canadian friend.
One of the first posts I read by Amanda was THIS POST in which she explains how to pluck your own eyebrows. As a girl who used to pull out almost all her eyebrows when stressed (true story), this post was both applicable and hilarious. Girls, if you’re struggling with eyebrow maintenance, read that post. It will change your life.
When you’re done reading here, leave a comment and then go check out Amanda’s blog HERE and check out some of her other posts that will most certainly make you chuckle. She’s a riot, folks. She’s a Canadian and she’s a riot. I know. I didn’t think this was possible either. Here she is, Miss Amanda Bast:
I have never met Katie in person, but if I did, I assure you we would hit it off. The first time I read her blog it was about what to do if you pee your pants at work. I was enthralled. The first time I commented on her blog, it was about boogers. I was more than fascinated with this young woman. As I keep reading/internet stalking Miss Hardeman’s work, I see many similarities between the two of us. Making hideous faces and ruining perfectly good pictures, to name one. But there are also some pretty glaring differences between us. She appears to be tall. In my books, anyone over 5’9” (the height of my sister in law, the tallest in our family) is a giant. So I’m certain she is tall. As a just barely 5’2” individual, I’m a wee bit jealous. Secondly, she is athletic. I’m also rather jealous of this. Oh my dear internets, to say that I am unathletic is a vast understatement. Remember the kid in gym class who always got hurt? That was me. Remember the kid you lapped three times on the track? That was me. Remember the kid who was standing in line after recess and got knocked to the ground and trampled and had to be sent to the ER to check for a dislocated shoulder? That was most certainly me. I was (am?) that kid.
But let me tell you about a glorious exception to the Amanda-is-tiny-and-pathetic rule. One that helped shape me into the young woman I am today. In grade seven, I was on the basketball team. Read that last bit again and let it really sink in. It’s true. It was a fluke year when the players weren’t separated into really good players and nice effort but you still suck players. We were all one. And there weren’t very many of us girls, so I made it onto the team.
When I say that I was a head shorter than the shortest kid on the team, I am not exaggerating. I was LITTLE. But I was ballin’. I could do a perfect layup, but it was three feet short of the net. I could defend an opponent like you wouldn’t believe, but they could just catch the ball above my head. I could execute the perfect jump shot. The only problem was my two inch vertical.
My height did not stop me from achieving greatness, because I was too snarky to let it. I distinctly remember showing up to games and getting pointed at by other teams. Coaches whispered about me. Coaches yelled for their players to hold the ball over my head so I couldn’t reach. I overhead many conversations in which people (parents of other team members, even) giggled at my height. People were cruel. But I was having too much fun to care. How often does a shorty get to play basketball? I took advantage of the situation. I usually responded with a huge grin and a wave to the other team. It threw them off. It shamed them a tiny bit because they thought I couldn’t hear them. I called them on it. And then showed them I was a force on the court.
I do have a tiny confession to make. I had a secret that my coach did not know about. I’m sure she wouldn’t approve. I’ve never revealed this until now, so considered yourselves honoured recipients of this confession.
My secret to basketball greatness? ELBOWS.
I threw so many elbows into stomachs that year it was almost criminal. In the middle of a shuffle I could stab someone in the gut and go completely unnoticed. Someone would double over, but the short kid never got in trouble. I don’t care if you didn’t have the ball in your possession, you still got an elbow in the breadbasket. I’d step out onto the court, elbows a blazin’, ready to show them who was the boss (certainly not Tony Danza, don’t be absurd!). Don’t mess with the little one or she’ll mess with you. I crippled preteen girls across the whole school district. And I must admit: IT FELT GREAT. It was my subtle way of saying “I hear you making fun of me. But I’m not going to stoop so low as to acknowledge it, I’m just going to use blunt force instead”. The injured girls never said anything because they knew I had heard them tease me. They knew if they responded physically, it would look as though they were pounding on the weak and defenceless.
They also learned to never to mess with a shorty.
It was a brilliant strategy, and one that has stayed with me to this day. However, I’m not sneaky and deceptive about it anymore. I give fair warning because I’m polite like that. Before I enter a crowd I yell something about elbows and people get jabbed if they are in my way. It’s a coping strategy. It’s the only way I make it through a crowd alive. I may still be unathletic and pathetic when it comes to sports, but I am no longer the kid who gets trampled, thanks to my days on the grade 7 basketball team. It was there that I discovered the power of the elbow.
So I tell you this: if you are ever in a crowd and you hear a voice from below yell “ELBOWS OUT!” I suggest you guard your gut. For your own safety.