Respect Is Earned (Book Excerpt)

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Someone posted this image on Facebook today and it reminded me of my childhood, so I thought I would give you a little book excerpt.

This is from Chapter 17 – “Homeless at Fifteen”.  I actually named that chapter after a show that I watched called James at Fifteen, except James wasn’t homeless, I was.

Just before this excerpt, my parents were guilted into letting me back in the house, we actually lived in a trailer park.  Even though it wasn’t technically a house, it was our home.

“My mother lectured me about how much I hated my step-father. She would always tell me that even though he is not my real father, he is still my father. Her exact words were “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” It made me sick that she would tell me that because he was not special at all. I don’t consider a child abuser to be special, or to be a real dad. She gave me that lecture so many times in my life and it pissed me off every time. What pissed me off even more was that my sisters would give me the same lecture, as if they had any right to.

“George came outside to talk to me about respect. He told me that I needed to earn his respect because he had no respect for me. Well, back at’cha fella! I told him that I had no respect for him so we were even. He told me that I had to respect him and I told him that I didn’t think I did. I told him that when he stops punching and hitting me and yelling at me for nothing, then I might respect him, but I don’t think that will ever happen. This conversation didn’t go as well as he had planned. Him telling me that I had to respect him no matter what was bullshit to me because he never once in my life gave me any reason to respect him.

“He thought that I was out of control, but I think what was out of control was how they thought of me. All of the things that they thought I did that I didn’t really do was what lost their respect. All of the smear campaigns against me from my sister and from George himself had made me the enemy and there was never anything I was going to do to change anyone’s minds.

“He deserved my respect as an elder, but that was it. He lost my respect when I was a baby the first time he hit me. As far as I was concerned, he didn’t deserve my respect. As far as I am concerned to this very day, there is no respect earned from either one of us and I don’t expect that will ever happen.”

I would never tell someone to disrespect their elders, or to be disrespectful to their parents, but you can’t help how you feel about someone when all they do is embarrass you, beat you, yell at you and treat you like a second class citizen day-in and day-out your whole life.

Respect is definitely earned and it goes both ways.  You can’t expect your child to respect you when all you do is treat them like garbage.  If you show your child the respect that they deserve, then they will show you the same respect that you also deserve.

Adele’s “Massager” (Book Excerpt for Mature Audiences)

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Of all of my childhood memories, this has to be one of those things that has just made me laugh every time I think about it.  I may have been 13 years old during this time, but this is a mature subject so use your discretion.  Oh and this isn’t the actual “massager” but it is very similar.  Same color and same shape.

The apartment building that we lived in had four duplicate buildings. Ours was right on the corner so there were five in a row. My mom had a friend named Adele who was an older woman in her 80’s who lived with her husband and her niece and their sixty cats (I kid you not). I don’t know how my mom became friends with Adele considering they lived in the last apartment building so far away from us.

Adele was always calling to ask if I would come over and take her trash out for her. She would pay me $10 as a tip for helping her, so I really didn’t mind. Sometimes she had a lot of trash and then she would give me $20. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was mostly all cat litter and that stuff was heavy. I usually had to make two or three trips to get the rest. It made it particularly difficult because she lived on the third floor and I had to take the stairs because the elevator was too far away from her apartment.

I was over at her house one day and as she was gathering her garbage for me to take out. She grabbed something very strange, it was long and beige in color and had a curve at the tip. It had a little switch on the bottom that you turned and it would vibrate. She held this strange object up and showed it to me and told me how she uses it to vibrate the stiff muscles in her arms and she held it up to her face to massage her cheek. I was only thirteen, but I knew what a vibrator was, I wasn’t stupid. I don’t know how I knew what it was, but I did. As she was showing it to me she said “it’s in the darnedest shape though.” …yeah.

I went home and told my mom how Adele showed me her vibrator and she was laughing so hard that she was crying. Her laughing made me laugh. She didn’t know that I knew what a vibrator was, so hearing her thirteen-year-old kid say that so matter of fact made it even funnier.

We lived in the first apartment building on the left (black dot) and Adele lived towards the end, but I can’t remember if she lived in the 4th or 5th.  I’m pretty sure it was the 4th though.

Elvira Mistress of the Dark (Book Excerpt)

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People who know me probably don’t know that I love Elvira Mistress of the Dark.  Not because of her big… er um puns, but because she helped me escape into a totally different world every week.  Her show is actually one of the reasons I love the macabre so much and why I have such a punny sense of humor.

“I hated coming home from school. I hated sleeping in the same bedroom as my sister. I hated that we had a little black and white TV that she would never let me watch if she was in there. I hated everything about living in that house.

“I discovered a show on a channel called KHJ called Elvira Mistress of the Dark. She showed these cheesy movies from the 50’s and 60’s and made fun of them. I looked forward to every Saturday afternoon when her show was on because she made me laugh. Nobody ever took that away from me. I sent $12 to the official Elvira fan club and got my self address stamped manilla envelope filled with goodies such as a newsletter, a bumper sticker and an 8×10 signed picture of Elvira. I don’t know what ever happened to any of those things though.”

Now when someone talks to me and I say something cheesy, you can blame Elvira.