Pamela Harris

The first swear I ever said out loud was "Lake Titicaca." I was five and had gone to the Stop & Shop with my mother and sister. The Stop & Shop had a wall of vending machines filled with candy or prizes and our mother had given us each a five dimes and two quarters to entertain ourselves with while she food shopped.

My sister immediately went for the candy and fed dimes into one machine after the other while she stuffed candy into her mouth. I was discreet, targeting the prize machines, which were a quarter. There were eight prize machines and I didn't have enough money to play all of them so I took my time casing each machine.

The first one I fed had a bubble ring near the top and my patience worked: I got the ring. It had a fake stones around the edge and a bubble in the middle with a doll in it and the best was you could open the bubble. The doll was neat looking and I all that, but I wanted the ring for all the stuff I could put in that bubble and carry around with me, like marbles or rocks or a small ring I had that didn't fit me. A ring in a ring made more sense than a doll in a ring.

The next machine had a joke book near the top and I wanted it. I fed my last quarter in and got a pin with a sticker back instead. I tossed it over my shoulder while I fished dimes from my pocket. It took the rest of my dimes but I got the joke book.

My sister was still cramming candy into her mouth while I read the first joke out loud. I don't remember the question but the answer was Lake Titicaca. I snickered, then started laughing uncontrollably. Titi sounded like a swear and caca was something I once did in my snow suit. When you put the words together they had to mean something bad. Now I had a ring that could hold a ring and a dirty joke book and I turned to my sister flush with success. "Lake Titicaca," I said and started howling it was so funny. "Shit up," she said and went back to feeding her dimes into the candy machines. Last I remember was our mother giving me a fruit roll up to shit the hell up while she dragged us out of the store.

"Shit up" was what I wanted to say to the DMV guy I got this morning when I went to exchange my Mass. license for a New York State license. I've been meaning to exchange it for over twenty years but it seemed much easier to do it in Mass. when I'd go up for a visit. My license had expired and I was coming up on the date where New York would no longer recognize it as valid and if I wanted to avoid a road test it was time to make the switch.

The DMV had changed a lot since the last time I considered changing my license. You can now go online and make an appointment, which I did, and was so happy to see that I only had to wait for fifteen minutes before I was called up to the window. I had all the proper documents but had missed that my middle name wasn't on my passport yet its initial was on my license and SS card. The guy I was dealing needed to see my birth certificate, which meant I had to go back home and get it. That document doesn't have my name on it so when I got back to the DMV and got called up again all my paperwork had to get special approval. It did and what's great is when it's time to renew I can do it via mail.

Our little Ginger was sleeping when I came home so I fed her then took her back to the dog run that Joe had her at for an hour this morning. That Rottweiler is her best friend and he lets her steal his ball right out of his mouth. No shit up will ever go on between those two.


Great story. Really enjoyed it. Since you wrote this on St Patrick's Day, my patron, alcoholic saint, I only wish that you could have given the DMV guy your bubble ring, and when he opened it, there would be a small leprechaun inside giving him the finger while singing that famous Irish lullaby "Moon over Titicaca".

Paul Murphy | March 20, 2014 at 04:22 pm

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