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Right Side Only

I’m weird.

My brain works in weird ways.

This should not be news to anyone who has read any of my blog posts. (If you haven’t, then what the f*ck are you waiting for!)

We have already established that I mismatch my socks.

YOU:  Why DON'T you match your sox?  MY REPLY:  Why SHOULD they match?

YOU: Why DON’T you match your sox? MY REPLY: Why SHOULD they match?

I wore jeans to my own wedding.

At certain points in time, I have had pink hair.

But I have another quirk as well…

I prefer to wear jewelery only on the right side of my body.

Now, I am right-handed. My mom says that right-handed people usually wear watches on their left wrists, so that they will not be in the way.

That doesn’t work for me. I can wear jewelry on my right hand or wrist without it bothering me. But if I wear jewelry on my left hand or wrist, it drives me crazy all day. I feel like I am being tied up and held prisoner. I just can’t stand it.

When I turned 18, I wanted to do something rebellious. Being a goody-goody, my desires never took me further than the ear piercing chair at the nearest mall. I already had my ears pierced, with the standard one hole in each of my two lobes. But I wanted to do something my mom would not approve of and get them double pierced (a second set of holes in my earlobes).

But to be even edgier and more different, I decided to just get one ear done. If you are keeping count, that means I would have three piercings total. Because of my aversion to jewelry on the left side of my body, I got it in my right ear. Now, I know, at least back in 1994, getting an ear pierced in one ear or the other had special meaning. If you got a single piercing in one ear as apposed to another, it might mean that you were gay. I had my reasons for getting it in the ear I did. I decided not to allow the external factors of the world affect my decision. Then again, I hope it wasn’t the gay side because at that time I was very much trying/hoping/praying to get a man into my life.

It was my first body modification to demonstrate to the world that I am not the complete goody-two-shoes that I seem. I hate that I look like a big giant geeky plain Jane, with my glasses and crooked teeth and nothing remarkable to speak of. (I AM INTERESTING, DAMMIT!) This is very important to me in my life. I would later get two tattoos as well for the same purpose.

I was worried about my mom’s reaction to my new earring. I wore my hair up, down, whatever. She may have colored my hair in that time. Six months, and she never said a thing. I figured she must have seen it, and just decided to say nothing.

Then one day she did notice. She was all mad–AFTER 6 MONTHS! Her discovery sort of lumped together with other unpleasant events at the time. I actually used that all as a jumping off point to write a story back then. I hope to release it in a short story collection someday.

FYI–I do not ever recommend getting a piercing done at an accessories store at the mall. My eighteen year old rebellious earring was done too close to the existing hole. (Although I guess it wasn’t too bad because I have kept it all these years.) Many years later I tried to get a cartilage piercing in my right ear as well at Icing. The piercing gun literally got stuck on my ear. Then the piercing never did heal up correctly. I ended up having to take the earring out and let it grow shut. There is still a small lump there where it was for such a short time. I think that is when I switched to tattoos.

God, I do love the feel of a needle through or against my skin.

Pain is sexy.

OK, where was I?

So, everyone in the Western World is probably asking the same question right now:

“Funnygurl2, what about your wedding ring?”

I will tell you the truth, that I wear it on my right hand every day. And I realize that society puts certain connotations on that as well. Screw society! I was up front with my husband about which hand I would wear it on before we were married, and he had no problem with that. And I am not a beauty who has to beat off other guys anyway, so he has nothing to worry about.

My right hand

My right hand

Occasionally, I will put my ring on my left hand.

For brief periods of time.

When I want to remember something.

You know, like the old “tie a string around your finger so that you will remember” type of thing. The ring annoys the Hell out of me, so I usually take care of whatever it is I needed to remember quickly.

Yes, it’s weird. I am weird.

But it is only after I began to embrace my weirdness that I have started at the very beginning of the path at being happy with myself. That could have started the day I got my third earring. I have learned by sharing my weird views on the world, I can often make others laugh. I REALLY LIKE to make others laugh (Note: Different from laughing AT me.). And now I think we have come full circle to my blog 😉

Gay Little Tootle

Some people can critique classic works of literature until the cows come home. Whole college courses can be based on picking apart the subtext of a single book. I am not one of these people. I needed Cliff Notes to make sense of Othello.

I do see an underlying theme when I read the children’s book “Tootle” to my son. In a general sense, I believe it is trying to teach children to follow everyone else and do not dare to be different or yourself.

I believe more specifically that the purpose of the story is to convince those that might have gay tendencies that they should “stay on the tracks” and lead a heterosexual life. I will attempt to showcase my points below.

TOOTLE, by Gertrude Crampton, Random House, 1945.  All Rights Reserved.

TOOTLE, by Gertrude Crampton, Random House, 1945. All Rights Reserved.

Synopsis: Tootle attends the Lower Trainswitch School for Locomotives, but soon is distracted from his studies when he realizes he enjoys playing in the meadow more than staying on the tracks.

CHOICE OF WORDS

On the first page of the Little Golden Book edition is the following:

“The young locomotives steam up and down the tracks, trying to call out the long, sad TooOooot of the big locomotives. But all they can do is a gay little Tootle.

About halfway through the book is the line:

“It’s queer. It’s very queer, but I found grass between Tootle’s front wheels today.”

Now, I am not stupid. I know that the words “gay” and “queer” were not exclusively used to describe homosexuals in 1945, as we tend to use them today. But, both words in the same story? Add that together with the overall story, and I feel like the presence of these two words helps to prove my point.

SYMBOLISM

What is Tootle’s impetuous for leaving the tracks he knows that he is not supposed to leave, no matter what?

A horse.

Not just any horse. “A fine, strong black horse.”

It just sounds like Tootle was rolling past a gay bar (rather than the meadow in the book), and was seduced off the path of good (the tracks representing heterosexuality) into a life of filth and shame.

“When Tootle got back to school, he said nothing about leaving the rails. But he thought about it that night in the roundhouse.”

What else was he doing at night in the roundhouse as he thought about it?

Tootle comes upon a meadow full of buttercups.

He exclaims “How I should like to play in them and hold one under my searchlight to see if I like butter!”

To me, this symbolizes Tootle wanting to try out the gay lifestyle. In the next breath, his conscience is saying to him “Do you like butter? Do you? It is almost like the writer is implying he hears evil voices in his head, like when the little devil stands on your shoulder in a carto0n. Except apparently Tootle’s devil is in his wheels.

I mean, why would an engine ever say that? Even an anthropomorphic engine in a book. Thomas would never go off his tracks (intentionally).

There is lots of dancing whenever Tootle goes off the tracks into the meadow. And Tootle also seems to always wear flower chains while he is dancing in the meadow. Like he has to put on his club clothes before he goes out dancing or something.

Tootle is seen chasing butterflies by the Mayor. Is that 1940’s code for “fairy”?

The whole town has to come together to get him back on track (Get it?). They use red flags to stop him from continuing his meadow-playing ways. It makes me think of church folk telling him he will go to hell (Beware the RED flags!) if he continues down his sinful, trackless path.

The tracks. I can’t help but think, since Tootle is a male engine, that the tracks must symbolize his path to the female vagina? If it was “queer” and “fun” for him to play off the tracks in the meadow, then the normal route down the tracks must be boring and average.

THE MORAL

The book starts of and ends with Tootle being told to aspire to be a “Flyer”. The Flyer is fast. Probably too fast to ever have time to think about getting off the tracks.

Once reformed, Tootle exclaims:

“This is the place for me. There is nothing but red flags for locomotives that get off their tracks.”

He learns to “Stay on the Rails No Matter What”. As in, stay on the track to the life you are supposed to lead, the heterosexual one.

Embrace conformity! For it is the only way!

My son loves Thomas and all things trains, but I feel bad reading this book to him.

I mismatch my socks every day. I used to have three piercings in two ears. I have tattoos. I got married in jeans. I wear my wedding ring on my right hand. I live my life as “anti-conformity” as I can, while still being overly responsible and dependable.

If it leads him to a better path, I want my son to leave the tracks. I want him to follow the path in his heart, not what the Lower Trainswitch School for Locomotives (school) tells him, not what the townspeople (religion, society) tell him, if it is different from what is in his heart.*

I heard this story as a child, and thought nothing of it.  Now it perturbs me every time I hear my husband reading it to my son.

Maybe it is time for this children’s story to be retired.

 

* Except he is NEVER to become a vegetarian.  That is just not cool.

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