Monday, June 13, 2011

revenge of the nit'pickler

punchy on dorm life, maggie and i would giggle and laugh and carry-on like maniacs during the witching hour— that’s the hour or so before you fall asleep after studying all night for mid-terms when everything seems really funny. delirious on caffeine, peanut m&m’s, and flash cards, we would blow off steam by playing a silly game of "what if...?"

"what if i name my baby jasper?"
"what if darth vader really was my father?'
"what if there were 'sorry i gave you chlamydia' greeting cards?"

we were especially fond of "what if" cocktail recipes because we were getting acquainted with liquor during a swingers moment in time. ice cold beef broth and vodka with tiny pickled onions? funny and potentially nutritious. tequila and clamato with a pickled hard-boiled egg garnish wedged on the glass indelicately? lethal and stinky. i’m not sure who came up with the nit’pickler, but after all these years, it still makes me giggle and kinda cringe. the nit’pickler is a cocktail composed of cheap rot-gut gin and pickle juice.* for 15 minutes in 1996, we thought the nit'pickler sounded disgusting and hilarious. we laughed until we cried, and then we fell asleep.

the next morning, in our intro to women’s studies survey, professor sydney gave a brief lecture on female infanticide. as she efficiently and cooly ticked off the many ways in which female infants and toddlers are murdered** as a result of gender bias/preference and cultural practice, the mood of the classroom grew very serious; it was quiet and tense. sad. our professor included a brief aside about death by gin. once upon a time in merry ol' england, death by gin was a common practice for disposing of female babies and as soon as professor sydney said gin, my mind immediately turned to the nit’pickler. maggie's shoulders started to shake, and i knew she was thinking 'pickler too. when you try to suppress laughter, it bubbles up and out in other ways with even more effervescence. maggie and i bowed our heads and wiggled in our seats in a futile attempt to suppress and quit the 'pickler.

but the 'pickler wouldn't quit. hot tears rolled down my cheeks. maggie's fair irish skin bloomed a bright irish pink. professor sydney made note of our wildly inappropriate response to female infant death by gin. she paused for the briefest moment, smiled, and then carried on as if we had simply farted during her lecture on female baby murder, or sneezed maybe, rather then practically fall out of our chairs in a fit of giggles. maggie and i stepped outside as discreetly as possible to collect ourselves, which really was not all that discreet. female infanticide is a heartbreaking tragedy, and regardless of your other politics***, most folks can agree that killing an otherwise perfectly lovely child because she has a vagina is stupid and barbaric. laughing during a lecture about said stupidity is even more ridiculous.

after class, we explained the nit’pickler to our professor as best we could, and apologized for the unexpected and poorly timed display of laughter. professor sydney found the humor in our situation, and was super cool about it; she was such a lady. maggie and i totally got a's in that class.

click here for more on unnatural selection. 
what if we stopped killing little girls?
*my husband thinks this sounds like a poor-man's martini and i suppose he might have a point.

***this is a stop-killing-children-who-are-already-shitting-in-their-diapers-issue, not a terminating-a-pregnancy-issue.

1 comment:

  1. I love how one of your category tags is just named "vagina".

    So, like this little piece a lot because I could literally feel myself sitting there with you two, drinking gin and M&M's, and then my heart sank just a bit, remembering when I first heard about female infanticide, in a co-ed high school classroom. There was this hushed moment, but it wasn't a pregnant pause. It was like, ew, that sucks. But, then we went on about the lesson. Nobody asked why. I think that's the hard part about today. Nobody asks why anymore.

    You have a delicious way of leading the reader into your stories. Great job, Dana D.