This shirt may be offensive to some people out there, but interestingly enough I found out that the pentagram is sometime used by Christians to symbolize the five wounds of Jesus, which are both hands, both feet, and the spear wound he suffered in his side. Kind of interesting. Actually that reminds me of something I have always found fascinating: the phenomenon known as stigmata.
I found this really good article on stigmata. I especially like the woman who didn't eat for 35 years and who's intestinal tract had according to doctors withered away. Freaky if true, but like anyone with any kind of experience with the web I know you have to approach wild claims with a certain amount of skepticism. The article also talks about some medical conditions that could cause the appearance of stigmata, but doesn't have an explanation for the fact that the wounds never get infected. Surreal. My Italian Catholic grandmother would have a lot to say to me about my even doubting the existence of stigmata. She passed when I was a baby (ironically, give the context of what I am working on, of blood loss) but was pretty dedicated to the Holy See. She left me some money that somehow my parents talked the court into release to pay for my orthodontia.
I am of two thoughts on that matter. On the one hand, it would have been nice to have a couple grand on my 18th birthday. However, looking back on my life there is an extremely real possibility that I would have spent it on something really stupid, like a motorcycle that I would never ride or a tattoo that would be haunting me to this day. Also, when I look in the mirror I see nice straight teeth, and I know there is no way my dad would have scraped up the money for braces back then.
I really needed them, too. I had a 3rd tooth. You know how you have your baby teeth and then your adult or secondary teeth? Well, in rare cases it is possible to grow one or more additional teeth. I had one, which we had surgically removed. When I got it out it turned out to be about an inch long and fang shaped. No joke. It was coming down right between my two front teeth and would have looked freaky weird if it had grown in. Before we got it out it more or less knocked all my regular teeth way out of whack. My bite pattern more closely resembled a set of hack marks than a clean curve of teeth, and so my years of adventure in the wonderful world of corrective orthodontia began.
My orthodontist was well known for hiring hot women to do most of the grunt work, so while having enough metal in my mouth to build a scale model of the Eiffel Tower sucked, visits weren't so bad as I at least got to have my raging hormones stimulated. I bit one of the girls once, but in my defense she told me to bite and did not move her thumb out of the way in time. I did not draw blood.
The other weird thing about my orthodontist was the fact that his daughter went to my high school and was in my class. Like all parents everywhere he assumed we were great friends and made a point to ask about her every time I saw him. I generally mouthed some inane banality around his fingers, but the fact was his daughter was one of the most popular girls in the school and was voted homecoming queen our senior year. If she said ten words to me in the four years we were together I would be shocked. She was perfectly content to live her perfect, dreamlike high school existence (I assumed) while I planned to either kill myself or everyone else in the school in an explosive bloodbath. Honestly, I probably should have had some kind of supervision and/or guidance or counseling back then , but the school guidance counselors were for the most part focused on the "obvious" trouble cases and/or getting drunk.
You would think this story would end with Ms. Homecoming Queen and I going our separate ways and happily never talking to each other again, but our paths were destined to cross in a surreal manner a few years later. My mother cajoled me into attending my cousin Seth's wedding reception. Our family is not exactly known for dressing formally and so I was comfortable attending in blue jeans and a denim collared shirt. I felt OK doing this because I knew for a fact that Seth had attended one of his innumerable sister's weddings in a t-shirt. He claimed it was OK because the t-shirt had a pocket, so I felt like I might have been a little overdressed.
This was not so. It turns out his bride's family is VERY formal and very large. I walked into a sea of formal gowns and tuxedos wearing a lot of blue. Even my cousin Matt was in a tux, and he has been known to sleep on a metal shelf in a warehouse for several years. Yet another episode wherein I was the worst dressed man in the room. Then I found out that because Seth had invited about 20 people and his bride had invited about 200 I was seated at one of the main tables on a small stage positioned so that I was one of the most visible people in the room. The irony.
So while I was wandering around trying to find a waiter to mug for his clothes I noticed that at least three of the bridesmaids looked suspiciously like a bunch of the cheerleaders I lusted for and despised with equal measure just a few years before, including one that I had had a major crush on in jr. high and who later attended my college where she somehow managed to ignore me even more completely than she had in high school. Then I met the bride and realized that Seth had married the homecoming queen and that a part of the huge, elaborate wedding had been paid for by my grandmother's inheritance. I remember thinking that the joke was on her as she had just married into the crazy side of my family.
Anyway, I spent some time awkwardly trying to talk to my jr. high school dream girl, eating a ton of really good food that my family had help to pay for, and bailed out when my rejecto-meter had reached the red line. I would see the homecoming queen at holiday family gatherings where we more or less studiously avoided talking about how I was an untouchable in high school. One night at my cousin Lisa's house she and I started talking for the first time ever. Turns out she is actually kind of cool and not the vapid socialite I had always assumed she and her ilk were. We actually kind of connected and ever after that were, not really friends, but people glad to see each other at the Christmas dinner. I think she liked me as I was one of Seth's more sane relatives and she could talk to me to escape Mathew's Libertarian political lectures or Uncle Doyles dementia driven WWII stories.
Eventually she and Seth got divorced and, to be honest, I am really sad. I miss her at the family stuff. I ran into her at our 20 year reunion and kind of reconnected, but the divorce had been ugly and she was remarried so it was didn't seem like we were going to stay in touch. The two daughters she and Seth had are amazingly cute and, like most of my family, freakishly intelligent. I just hope they didn't inherit the crazy gene too.
What was this shirt description supposed to be about? Oh, yeah. Pentagrams. My Wiccan friend Kat probably likes this shirt a lot. I find Wiccans for the most part to be pretty pleasant and inoffensive. Usually they aren't really in your face about what they like to do, reserving that for dancing naked in the moonlight or whatever. Their philosophy is literally if you aren't hurting anyone do whatever you want. I can respect that.
November 14th, 2010