SELECTION FROM

Little Weirds

Jenny Slate

The first thing that happened was that I was born.

  

And now that I’m shaking out the truth from myself, let’s just shake it out for one big shake:

I was born during the great Potato Chip, in the time of Jewish Deli Tongue Sandwich. I was born and the other items that were in the love net in which they caught me were Open Car Windows, Ghosts, Fear, Horniness, Rabbit Holes, Bird Nests, Emily Dickinson, Petticoats, Bustiers, Grapefruit Halves with Maraschino Cherry in the Middle, Chapter Books, Secret Passages, Sesame Street, Mermaids starring Cher, a messy bookstore called New England Mobile Book Fair, Grandparents, Ham for Lunch, Gems, Treehouses, Annie Oakley, Chicken Noodle Soup, Crystal Gayle, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Stage, A Theater, A Camera, A Bra, A Slip, A Mouth, A Butt and Vagina, Beer, Clarice Lispector, A Beech Tree, A Campfire, Romance, Music, Loneliness.

  

I was born with a love of dressing up and facing this world with an ecstatic and elegant personal style. I was born as a good girl with the kicky ability to skip so much class that I must owe someone (my grandmother) money for the huge bulk of time that they paid for me to be there and I just simply did not show up because I hate sitting still even when I love the thing that I am sitting to see. I was born with the talent for fucking off so majorly. I was born bucking the idea that I should have to be anywhere that I don’t like or talk to people who make me feel dead or trapped.

  

I was born into a world where many men want to oppress all of the women with violence and laws and you or I can’t say anything else anymore without also admitting that.

  

I was born hating how boring Hebrew School is and how breath is really bad in temple, especially on the day that you are fasting and saying sorry for the entire day. It is so hard because I was born with a love of useful rules but also somehow I am always dropping and breaking them and it makes me feel very bad.

  

I was born with a love of dogs and a fear of horses and I don’t want to change the way I feel about either of these things. I was born in a hatbox on a train in the past, when there were dining cars and menus and bud vases and chaperones and dandies. I was born as sweet as that and if I am too sweet for your tastes then just clamp your mouth shut and spin on your heels. I can’t add sourness to my sap anymore just to fit onto a menu in a restaurant for wimps.

  

I was born in the stacks in the Columbia University Library. I was born in shin-guards on a soccer field on a chilly little Saturday morning in the 1980s and I was too scared to even feel the sting of the ball on the inside of my shoe. I was born during tennis. I was born as a backyard swimming pool and my twin sister is an orange Popsicle and my mother is a bowl of pickles and my father is a hamburger.

  

I was born with a ticking clock inside of me that chirped and rang out many years later and its gears lowered my mouth open for a French kiss and made my skirt light up like a lamp with a shade saying “Someone’s awake in here…come see who it is.”

  

I was born in a Shirley Temple, and I came out with the stem of the cherry in my small, strong new hand and I walked that cherry like a dog. I was born ready to care for a pet and be a pet too.

  

I was born like that.

  

I was born happy but when anything that is large, alive, and wild gets hurt and confused, I feel so sad, and I notice that I wish I could nurse big scared things. And it is worth mentioning that “big scared thing” is one way to describe how my heart often feels. My heart can feel like an elephant who is feeling dread and has an exceptional memory and naturally possesses something valuable that might be hunted, poached, wasted.

  

I was born in the Atlantic Ocean, and I pray to goddesses that look like whales and waves and I make tons of wishes. I was born in the day, right before lunchtime, and I arrived with a full appetite and it hasn’t settled down at all.

  

I was born with a fatal allergy to both subtext and traditional organization techniques and I will tell you I have really had a few near-death experiences. I was born two years ago when one of my friends described me as “the least able-to-be-controlled person that I know,” and I started living right away.

Little Weirds