Saturday, June 27, 2009

Roots (There I was, languishing)

(Pre-Script: The song of this post is most definitely "Winter," by Joshua Radin, #30 on the playlist, so go there, click it on, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (... Still waiting...)

I was born in an igloo on an iceberg in the North Pole, to an Eskimo couple who worked hard to make sure they had enough pelts to keep my baby self wrapped up in that first year of my life. Most of the pelts were made out of polar bear fur, and to this day, if I see a picture of a polar bear on TV or in a magazine, I get a warm feeling deep inside, from some memory I do not remember. Sometimes my dad would find a beached whale, drag it home, say something corny like, "Look what the cat dragged in!" and we'd have whale blubber fill in the blank for months at a time, which is good, because it got us through the coldest part of the winter. Whale blubber stew, whale blubber sandwiches with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and stuffing, whale blubber casserole with potato chips crumbled on top, blubber and eggs, spam and blubber, blubber jerky, blubber and rice, you name it, we ate it. Well, my parents ate it, anyway; I was just a tiny baby, so I drank the rich, creamy, abundant breast milk that whale blubber -Surprise!- is good for producing. You never heard that before because no one but Eskimos know this, because no one but Eskimos eat whale blubber. Now you know. At night, we would sit in front of a cozy fire, in our snug igloo, and I would fall asleep on my father's chest as he hummed me an ancient Eskimo tune which his own father had hummed to him, and his father had hummed to him, and on and on for many generations of Eskimo infants falling asleep on their father's shoulders wrapped in polar bear pelts in front of a cozy fire in a snug igloo, accompanied only by the sound of the wild coyotes howling along outside.

No one has ever told me this part of my history, but they didn't need to. I could read it between the lines of the version they actually told me, which went something like, "You were born in Portland, Oregon, your brother was born 15 months later, then we all moved to San Jose, California, when you were just 2 years old." Blink blink. "Oh, and here's the birth certificate to prove it." Blink blink. Well, I don't remember any of it, so I am sticking with my Eskimo story.

"But Michelle, um, excuse me?"

OH, there is my Imaginary Reader chiming in, yes, Imaginary Reader, what is it?

"Michelle, the Oregon to California story makes more sense; there is a birth certificate, after all, and here you are, in San Jose, California to this day."

"Gentle Imaginary Reader, Don't you know, haven't you heard? Eskimos don't use birth certificates, at least my parents didn't. My "parents" could have doctored up the "birth certificate" they showed me, just to make me believe it.

"But Michelle, do you even remember the North Pole?"

I just told you, Gentle Reader, I know it in my bones."

"But Michelle, the North Pole is just frozen ocean, it is not a land mass. Babies are not born there."

I was.

"But Michelle, they have the birth certificate, and..."

Oh, BITE ME, Gentle Reader, go ahead, you know, the whole birth certificate business, I bet that my current parents adopted me from my Eskimo parents when I was two, and they had flown in to Portland to purchase supplies to last through the springtime, produced a phony document, then moved me to California, to be farther away from the North Pole."

"But Michelle,"

Oh, what is it NOW, Gentle Reader??

"Michelle, if this is true, then how is it that your daughter looks like your mother?"

Gentle Reader, talk to the wrist, 'cause the hand ain't listening.


And also, Gentle Reader, don't be a playa hayta, sweetie.

Ahem, again.

I am so sorry to be so graphic. That Imaginary Reader who sometimes interrupts has a way of getting to me, though, and I think she knows it, too. Still, the rest of you should not have to read such harsh language, and for that I apologize. I must explain here how I realized the truth of the Eskimo theory. You see, I may have lived in California since I was two, and the weather may be very nice here most days of the year and all, but the moment we DO have a hot day?? I wither. I freak out. I become incensed and can't see or think straight. I instead think "Get me out of this great oppression called "heat," no matter how dry and non humid, for I shall surely wilt and die otherwise." And that's my point, you would think that after living here for so long I would naturally adjust, at some point, to the climate, right? RIGHT??? NOT when you have Eskimo blood you don't. Trust me on this.

So to my long lost Eskimo parents: You did a good job taking care of me that first year or two of my life, and if I had grown up with you, I am sure that I would have gotten very good at mucking and quilt making, and chopping perfectly square ice block bricks for igloos. You would have gotten tired of how often I asked for a Wooly Mammoth for a pet. I am sure that I would also be so good at capturing snow rabbits for light soup on days when the temperature gets above zero. I want you to know that your baby girl is doing well in California, as long as it is not a hot day. Oh, and sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up to the memory of having been hummed to, that sweet, sweet, ancient Eskimo tune, and I will not soon forget it. Yes, there is the matter of my daughter resembling my mother, but that is just a technicality.



Holly said...

Hahaha, this blog is awesome. :P

Michelle said...

Thank you!

vic-a-la said...

love it!