My parents claimed often and vociferously that I was born with my grandfather’s white-hot Irish temper. They swore there wasn’t a diaper change, a feeding, a bath … a moment … that wasn’t accompanied by needle sharp shrieks that melted every microscopic cochlear hair deep inside the whorls of their ears. They claimed that the sounds from my tiny body could peel wallpaper and liquefy the floor.
At two, my mother kept a leash around my waist because I followed strangers. Down the street. Out of sight. Not even a glance back. Buh bye, gone. I vividly recall as a four-year old, kicking a hole in my bedroom door because I didn’t want to change out of my princess dress and into play clothes suitable for digging in the sandbox. In the end, I changed clothes … but a child’s size 4 shoe hole seemed evidence enough to me that I had won that battle.
I was also that charming child who could wheedle and whine her way to candy before dinner and a third popsicle right before bed. If something made me cry, I threw my whole body into it — holding my breath until I turned blue and fainted. Literally. I held my breath until I fainted.
Thank goodness I grew out of those shrieking, kicking, tantrum-giving, fainting episodes. My days as a wild Irish heathen (as my mother referred to me), ended at around six. From that time on, I was, ah-hem, a model child. I was perfect. The Irish family curse was broken.
Now it’s back.
Well, not the screaming tantrum part, but rather the other family curse part. It seems I’ve got the bad … I mean really, really bad … cholesterol level that has bedeviled (and killed) many of my family members. Yes, I have the oh-my-god, I could have a heart attack or stroke any second now because of these cholesterol numbers thing. Apparently, the arteries of this sweet-natured, formerly-bad-Irish-girl-gone-good have quietly been clogging up.
This just makes me want to hold my breath until I turn blue.
Instead, I’ll take my medicine and hope to goodness that the sludge that’s been silently building will have the good sense to reverse course.
Not a lick of gravy is henceforth allowed to touch these lips. I’m off the double cheeseburger wagon for good, and you know those french fries? gone like a two-year-old without her leash. I’m off the sauce and … gulp! … on the treadmill. Yeah, baby … it’s the old diet and exercise routine for me.
Either that or I hold my breath permanently … and I’m just too cursed with that family streak of stubborn Irish to let that happen yet. So if you need me, I’ll be the squatty gym babe on the StairMaster, third from the end. You know, the limping woman with the chronic sinus condition. Yeah, that one — the one trying to keep her really bad Senator Levin comb over in place while sweating out all those bad cholesterolies — all the while fondly daydreaming of sweet by-gone days of steak and mashed potatoes drowning in butter.
Wish me luck.