suggested I title my memoir "Mr. Lawrence - Diary of a Failure." I
think it was supposed to grab people's attention, but I thought it
put a negative spin on my life which is, by the way, far from over.
I'm an optimist, so I see my life as full of potential for better
things to come. I'll let you decide whether I've failed at life or
life has failed at me.
called me Lawrence. Just Lawrence. Kind of like "Cher" but without
the fame, fortune or Bob Mackie. My father apparently abandoned us
as soon as Mother brought me home from the hospital. According to
Mother he said, "I couldn't possibly father anything that ugly. His
head has more lumps than your gravy." Mother rallied and raised me
alone - something for which I blame her daily.
On a more
Need car insurance on a monthly basis?
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Mother had no fashion sense to speak of and dressed in a manner I
now think of as "suburban hooker." I suspect she may actually have
been one, since she never went to work and I had more men I called
"Uncle" than a boy should. In elementary school, I found out most
children did not have a diet primarily consisting of snack cakes,
soda and cheesy poofs. I felt sorry for them. My teeth were always
rather loose, which is probably why so many fell out when Tommy
Belcher gave me my daily pounding. I think Tommy was disappointed
when my permanent teeth finally grew in.
School was frankly boring. I taught myself to read when I was 4,
using back issues of the National Enquirer. I had no idea what the
capital of the United States was, but I could name all of Elizabeth
Taylor's husbands. In comparison with my usual reading material,
Dick, Jane and Spot had little to recommend them.
Fortunately, I had my friend Randy Taylor (no relation to Elizabeth,
sadly) for entertainment. Randy had a mean streak a mile wide, but
he generally reserved its use for bullies like Tommy Belcher, girls
who thought we both had cooties and anyone who gave him the stink
eye. A long list.
When I was in fifth grade, Mother was convicted of drunk driving and
taking out the Bobo speaker box at Clown Burger with her turquoise
Gremlin. She wouldn't have gone to jail for the offense, except she
grabbed an empty Jack Daniel's bottle off the passenger seat and
started swinging at the police officers who responded to the 911
call. I went to live with Randy's family as a foster child.
Having Randy for a quasi-brother was a mixed blessing. On the one
hand, I got to hang with him and enjoy antics such as him gluing
snobby Candy Wallace to her chair before the school spelling bee.
But on the other, it meant he expected me to participate in his
start-up venture: selling pot to the bullies who formerly beat us up
but now stayed too stoned to bother. I admired his chutzpah but was
not eager to follow in Mother's law-scoffing footsteps.
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