Growing up, I spent a ton of time at my grandparents house. And next door to them was another older couple whose granddaughter I went to school with. Let’s call her Tammy Sue. That’s not her real name, but I had to come up with something that could express how annoying it was when her mother or grandmother would call for her in their high pitched, screechy voices, “Tammy Sue, sweetie! Tammy Sue!” See, Tammy Sue’s mother was possibly the most annoying person that ever lived. Except maybe for Tammy Sue’s grandmother, who treated her daughter, Peggy Lynn, the exact same way that both she and Peggy Lynn treated Tammy Sue – like she was the bestest, greatest, most wonderful, popular thing that ever was.
Now, don’t get me wrong – we all think our kids are great. But while most of us will show up at our kids soccer game or dance recital and take some photos and videos, Tammy Sue’s family would all pack up and go to every practice, with full-on photographic and video equipment, staging and restaging things – putting Tammy Sue in front. Peggy Lynn is the stereotypical pushy pageant mother, only without the pageants, though in her defense, she seemed to have gotten it straight from her own crazy mother.
Once, when I was very young, I was playing with TS at her grandparents’ house, a neighbor girl named Kelly came by and asked if she could play with us. That’s it – just, “Can I play?” I said yes, but before Kelly could even open the front gate, Tammy Sue had run inside and told her grandma and grandma came running out of the house with a big wooden spoon and chased Kelly home. I left immediately, went to Kelly’s and never played with TS again. Because even at age 6, I knew a crazy fucker when I saw one.
But I always felt a little bad for TS. Her mother was always pushing her into the spotlight, whether she wanted it or not. TS was a reasonably popular girl – she was a cheerleader and seemingly had lots of friends. But no one was really a friend, because she (or her family) would scare people off – they were pushy and competitive and crazy.
Normal parents would send some cookies or candy to school for the Halloween party. I remember Peggy Lynn delivering Tammy Sue’s treats to our 4th or 5th grade Halloween party dressed as Daisy Mae from Li’l Abner. Now, most of you are too young to know what I am talking about, but she was dressed almost exactly like this (only with shorter shorts):
We were young, but not too young to know that it was totally inappropriate. I remember telling my friend Carol about it afterward, and describing Peggy Lynn’s look as “An H-O-A-R” (my spelling has since improved). The thing is – Peggy Lynn wasn’t a skank – but she thought (and acted like) she was Tammy Sue’s sister rather than mother, and she needed attention – for both her and for her daughter. I can remember thinking – even as a child – that Tammy Sue wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if it weren’t for her mother and grandmother.
Everything with her mother is a competition – and not a subtle one, either. She’s the type that will ask straight out what you paid for your house or how much you make. Then (if you are stupid enough to tell her), she will proceed to tell you how much more she (or her kids, or husband) paid or makes. Once, when we first built the addition on our house, we were both in the hair salon. Someone mentioned how nice our house looked, and Peggy Lynn almost went ballistic, pulling out photos and dropping measurements and prices about HER recent addition. As three or four people came in and out of the salon and made comments to me about our house (we live in a small town, but on a well-travelled road), she would just get madder and madder, and shove her own room addition photos in their face. This is a 60 year old woman, people!
Aaaaanyway, there is a point to this story. On Friday, I joined the alumni marching band on the field for the final game at our town’s 70+ year old football stadium, and when I showed up for practice before the game (yes – practice – the majorette coach actually made us learn and perform a routine, which was a delight), I heard the voice – that screechy voice. Yes – Peggy Lynn was an alumni majorette and I had to spend the evening with her. Yay me.
From the first moment of practice, when they lined us up to learn the routine, I watched this crazy ass bitch push and shove her way to the front (and center). Every. Single. Time. Every run through – every photo, for the pre-game festivities and the postgame festivities. The worst was when we were lining up to march across the field for the post game routine. We didn’t have assigned spaces – it was just get on a yard line, stand at attention and do it quick. Well, as we were spreading out, she ended up getting pushed further down toward the end zone. And she was NOT happy about it.
I could hear her screeching from 25 yards away, “But I was on the 45 yard line in practice! I need to be on the 45 yard line!!!” And although people were telling her to shut up and not worry about it – it didn’t matter where we were lined up, she just kept at it, “Hey! You! Move down – I’m supposed to be on TH 45 YARD LINE!!! “ Since no one was listening, she decided to start yelling at the only person she knew – me. “Gina! Move down! I’m supposed to be there (I was on the 45). I yelled back that I had nowhere to move (we were spread almost the entire length of the field -everyone was in place and at attention – we weren’t going to rearrange our positions seconds before the cadence, just so some crazy bitch could put her big face front and center. Everyone ignored her (most rolled their eyes). And then, she took a full on tantrum on the field, stomped up to where I was and shoved her way in between me and the woman who was standing on the 40 yard line! So now – she is the only person not on a yard line and she refused to move. Everyone else was forced to shift positions so she could be front and center.
And then I beat her to death with my baton. Or maybe I just vividly imagined it. One of those.