Here's a new hat pattern for ya'll:
The Post Office Hat
by Shannon Murphree, 2006
Please don't use this pattern to compete with my sales on Etsy. Anything else is fair game, 'kay?
I saw this gorgeous old lady wearing a hat like this in the post office the other day. I'm pretty sure hers was knitted, although I didn't get a really close look. The distinguishing features are the little tail on top and the glorious puff-stitch.
I'm also working on some writing about my kidhood...nothing is quite so therapeutic as making fun of yourself on paper. It really makes the drama seem a lot less important...tell me what you think. This is my original material and may not be copied or borrowed from.
By Shannon Murphree
When I was a kid, I used to be a compulsive liar. Trust me. Ha ha. No, really, I lied about everything, on general principles, although I’m not sure which principles in particular dictated that a lie must be told in every circumstance where the truth would do just as well. Certainly I was punished for lying, when I got caught, but the problem was that most of my fabulation took place outside my parents’ earshot, usually for the benefit of their friends and relatives. Charming, eh? Often, at 2 a.m., when a red-hot humiliating memory plays on the wide screen in my head for the six hundredth and eighty-seventh time, I scream to my parents of ten years ago, “Why didn’t you STOP ME?” But the obvious answer is that I was too damn good. I probably lied my way out of punishment more times than I went to church in my life, and that is no mean feat, really.
Lie Number One: The Lie of Ignorance-Defending
I read a stunning number of books per day in my childhood, since we didn’t have television because it might corrupt our minds.* The books were primarily to do with animals. I was a big fan of books on pet care, and I educated myself thoroughly on the housing, feeding, varieties and training of every domestic beast from guppies to Guernseys. My repertoire was amazing, although really quite useless, since due to my little brother’s allergy-induced asthma, I did not succeed in twisting my parents’ arms for a cat until I was twelve. I had a tank of fish, which died like flies from, according to my fish book, Ichthyophthirius.**
The one blank in my encyclopedic knowledge concerned the small, yet vital, area of sex. We did not, and do not to this day, allow such things as reproduction into our home. I may have been protected from knowledge too heavy for my eight-year-old shoulders, but know this: The day I told my Sunday School teacher (who owned a horse farm) that my great-aunt Lenore had a beautiful black stallion named Samantha, who had just given birth to a colt named Daisy, lives on in my memory with all the horror of an illicit glimpse of ###########.
Sunday School teaching is not a job for the timid, and my teacher had little patience with me anyway, due to my pompous insistence that I knew more than anyone else, including the teacher, on any subject you cared to name, including Bible stories. I got a look of flesh-withering scorn as she informed me that it was impossible for my stallion to have borne a colt, especially a female colt, since these were terms for the male of the Equine species.
I was crushed, but physically unable to be gracious about being wrong. With increasing volume, I insisted that Samantha was a stallion, just like Black Beauty, until I was crouched in a corner, tear-stained and snuffly, for the duration of that day’s service. In years to come, I would repeat my performance on such subjects as male calico cats, whether my street tabby was a purebred Abyssinian, and the multiplication table.
*This is Irony.
* *I also kept pet flies in an applesauce jar.
Lie Number Two: The Lie of Supernatural Powers
When I was four I thought I could remember being in the womb. I told my daddy so, and he insisted that I could not possibly remember such a thing and that I was making it up and it was wrong to lie. I was so sure I did remember it that I expanded my story to include conversations heard through my mother’s swollen belly and playing checkers in Heaven with baby Jesus and Grover from Sesame Street, my personal God. My insistence that I was in possession of supernatural powers continued through the years, and ranged from super-speed due to my one-16th Indian heritage, to talking to trees and moving things with my mind. It ended when I was twelve and told some neighbor boys that I was one-half cat and could see in the dark and walk over dry leaves without making a sound. I stuck to my guns on the subject for forty-five minutes, as they staggered around the yard, laughing until snot came out their noses. Finally it was just too embarrassing and I laid my Feline Secret Identity to rest. My cat, Marbles, felt betrayed. She told me so.
Lie Number Three: The Totally Unjustified Lie
I really can’t explain this one at all. I lied when there was absolutely no need to embroider the truth. My personal favorite of this variety happened when I was eleven.
My dad had given me a toy cat for Christmas. She had lovely peach-and-white fur, and was the most beautiful, most magical thing I had ever owned. She was perfect. I took her to a friend’s house to show her off, and my friend’s mother commented on how pretty she was. My mouth opened and I heard myself say, ”Well, my dad got her cheap because she was the last one and she was a mistake because the factory made her wrong because her fur wasn’t supposed to be this color and you see how she’s got this funny eye, so she was made wrong and that’s why she was so cheap.”
As my friend’s mother’s expression changed from polite interest to raised-eyebrow puzzlement, I realized that I had no idea why I had just said that, and also that I had a problem. All of my small lies about horse’s gender, stolen cookies, hitting my brother, cheated-on math tests and peeked-at Christmas presents had added up until I was lying for no discernible reason.
As I think about it now, there were several types of lies, all very devious in their own special way, but all based on the premise that the world really ought to be better than it was, and anything I said to contribute to that result was vital. My world was so frightening, so confusing, and so often totally wrong that any sort of lie was bound to be better than being held responsible for what was really true. I know now that the truth is the only thing worth being responsible for, the only thing that allows you to take the consequences knowing that you are in control.
However, I really can walk through dry leaves without making a single sound.