Tuesday, January 30, 2007


When I was in Michigan taking care of my Dad, I dug through what remains of my childhood possessions. After a combined nine moves since I graduated from high school, my parents and I have become expert purgers of memorabilia, ruthlessly throwing out anything not deemed necessary to survival because we know that soon we will have to carry it across state lines with our bare hands. In the snow. And all we get for Christmas is an orange and a nickel.

I'd planned on bringing back a bunch of my old drama club t-shirts for the gym, because nothing makes the Jappy girls who hog the elliptical wrinkle their noses quite like having to share air with someone wearing something reading "Theatre Guild 1996 presents Sartre's No Exit." What I hadn't planned on, however, was the awesomeness of the photos I found buried underneath my Goo Goo Dolls: Dizzy Up The Girl Tour souvenir hoodie.

Paging through them in my parents' basement, I fell on the cement floor laughing. My dad (who had just had surgery six days before) hollered down to make sure I was okay. He thought I was having a seizure.

Wouldn't you fall apart laughing if you pulled these photos out of storage?

[As a primer for what is about to happen, I suggest that you first catch up on the concept of bershon. Read it? Understand it? Did you live it too, seething with silent disdain at everything around you as you awkwardly lumbered your way through the wonder years? I hope so, because you're about to get a crash course in bershon from my adolescence.]

My first Homecoming dance. I went with three of my girlfriends from middle school, none of whom actually WENT to my high school, because I was so scared and embarrassed by life. That's me in the maroon dress (which at least five other girls were wearing that night) and that's my best best best friend Carol in the blue. Note her expression of relative happiness and contentment versus mine of utter humiliation at being forced to take a group photo, like, Mom, can we just GO already? Jeez!

Looking at this picture, I'm very angered by all the time I wasted thinking I was fat. Sweet Mother Mary, I'd kill to have those legs today. Of course, I'd be much nicer to them now. I wouldn't swaddle them in sheer nude pantyhose.

Let's move on:

Bershon: The Play

Scene One: San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our heroes are on the last day of a swanky Caribbean vacation.

EJ: God, this is so MORTIFYING. I can't believe our parents took us on this CRUISE and now want to take pictures in front of this spectacularly gorgeous ocean. What if someone from school is in San Juan and walks by and SEES me posing for this photo?!

Jenny: Nice attitude there, killer. Aren't I adorable with my little short bob and skinny limbs? I'm so lucky I haven't entered my awkward phase yet, unlike SOME people. Everyone says I'm just so cute.

EJ: SHUT UP YOU LITTLE BRAT. GOD, if you could SEE my eyes behind my John Lennon sunglasses, you'd see they were ROLLING BACK INTO MY HEAD FROM DISDAIN. Why is everyone trying to ruin my life?!

This is the stage crew for my high school theater group production of Much Ado About Nothing. If you want to replicate the effect, here's the formula: gather the ten most awkward misfits from every grade, dress them in black and give them power tools and walkie-talkies. Of course, even if we hadn't just finished running the show, everyone would still probably be in all black anyways. God, we were so deep.

I'm not in this photo because I was in the cast, so I'm probably backstage putting on six layers of eyeliner and white tights. Of course, I did run stage crew for a number of other plays and spent my fair share of time in blacks, listening to the Cure over the whirr of the handsaw in the workshop while waiting for my mom to pick me up after school.

I look at this picture and think "Bershonsplosion."

This is not so much "bershon" as it is "awesome." Before I did the redesign yesterday, I was going to make this photo into my new banner with the tagline "EJ Takes Life: Reveling in Awkward Moments Since April 2005." But I think it's better for everyone if we don't have to be greeted by that photo every single day.

This is me in seventh grade. I believe that we're at start of term nature camp, and that my arm is in a sling because Ian Olson (the class bully) stepped on it during a game of what was supposed to be touch football.

I have no explanation for the glasses, perm, white denim shorts, pose or the sheer horrible awkwardness of it all.


I-66 said...

I must say, I can't believe you don't wear the Goo Goo Dolls hoodie today. What could possibly be wrong with doing that?

S said...

instead of bershonsplosion, perhaps this blog should have been entitled, "make sure you have a paper bag handy so you can use it when you start hyperventilating from laughing so hard and making your professor give you dirty looks from the front of the class and plot to publicly humiliate you at the next possible opportunity."

Ar-Jew-Tino said...

As you know, the photo caption of you and your sister cracked me up. I love looking through my and my friends' old photos, so I found this post particularly entertaining and hysterical.

Jen said...

How could that picture of me be not from my awkward phase? Was there a more awkward period of my adolescence than my mid-ear haircut, pre-contacts and non-teeth brushing phase? Have I blocked it out?

EJ Takes Life said...

Bahhah, Jenny! Be glad I didn't show the Internet that photo of your ninth birthday/slumber party, at which you are clutching a game of Clue like it's a brick of heroin and appear to be entirely unacquainted with the concept of showers.

carolbean said...

WHOA NELLY. i still have that dress. i probably look excited because jedd cohen was my date. and we both know what that means.

EJ Takes Life said...

That your night ended in a discussion of the Polish resistance's use of puppetry and a chaste hug?

carolbean said...

may i just say, l. o. l. i know it's lame to just leave a comment that denotes "laughing out loud", thus i will also mention that i have seen ian olsen recently, and he is with child and working at treasure mart hauling dead ladies' chifferobes up the handicapped ramp.

Lindsay said...

Oh god, the white denim shorts...definitely had a pair of those, although I'd like to forget about that