Hello there, and welcome to what you could call “Niceole unplugged” but what I think of more as “rambling with purpose.”  Too many stories to share — that’s my problem, so I decided, hey, blog some of them!  But first… let’s have proper introductions.  If you’re going to jump on board this train and enjoy these nuggets o’ silliness in the proper context, there are a few things that you should know about me.

1.  My body is a character in my life.  Seriously — it has a mind of its own that is wholly separate from Niceole’s mind.  Friday night, for instance, I knew I had to go for a walk and my mind was in total agreement — no skipping the work out!  My body?  Not so much.  It filed three formal protests–a back spasm, a flare of knee pain, and just for good measure, a cramp in my calf muscle that remained post stretching.  My body’s mind is evil and it often does not like me.

2.  My family is crazy… but crazy in the good “hi-larious” kind of way and not the way that ends up with a Lifetime movie “based on a true story.”  I love them dearly and yet often threaten to give them up for adoption.  I’m sure they feel the same way about me, they just don’t blog it, so I get to live in denial.

3.  I really love what I love and I really hate what I hate.  I can listen to you tell me why you love what I hate or hate what I love objectively and respectfully, just know that it will not change my mind.  For reference, see “Faux ‘Battlestar Galactica'” and my friends who love it but know this O.G. “Battlestar” girl will never watch a minute of it.  Also see The Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins.  Nothing will ever make that hate go away, even if a few of my friends wish it would.  But I love them in spite of their poor football fandom and university choices, and they love my USC- and 49er-loving ass right back.

4.  I love shoes… more than someone should love shoes… and chocolate… and coffee… and television… and football.  These topics will probably pop up often, sometimes no doubt as part of or as a result of (see coping mechanisms) one of the crazy family stories.

Given all that, if you’re still reading, here’s the first crazy family story.  File this one under “parental contribution to the child becoming a writer.”

July 4th made me think a lot about my dad because I spent it watching documentaries.  One was “The Tillman Story,” which was great, though it broke my heart to watch this family have to fight so much ridiculousness just to get an answer to the question “how did Pat die?”  The second was “Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good,” which detailed Gary Sinise’s work to support the troops, much of which involves his band, the aforementioned Lt. Dan Band, performing shows for the troops and their families at home and overseas.

My dad was a 22-year Navy man, and he told me about some of the shows he saw while he was in the service, so I know how important it is for anyone with talent and the will to share it to go and entertain our servicemen and women.  My friend Jackie Kashian, who is a great comic, has done so as well, and I admire her more for it than I could probably convey (though I hope the homemade “welcome home: you’re awesome” cookies were a decent attempt).

Anyway, thinking about the military reminded me of my dad, and brought to mind this day when I was probably about 4 years old.  I noticed that my father was mostly bald, and then I noticed that he was bald in every picture we had in the house, no matter how young he’d been.  He had a halo of dark, curly hair, but mostly, the whole top was bare as could be.  And being a kid who asked questions, I walked up to him one day and said, “Daddy, what happened to your hair?”

“Well, (embarrassing nickname withheld to protect the innocent),” he said, “when daddy was over in Vietnam, one day this grenade flew over top of my head.  And right when it blew up, it grabbed all my hair and just pulled it right out.”

I know what you’re thinking.  But in my defense, I WAS 4!  What 4 year old thinks her daddy would lie to her about anything?

A few years later, I was busy playing some form of cops and robbers on the playground when suddenly that story popped into my head, and I had that moment of “wait, what?! if a grenade went over his head, how is his head still on?”  I got my Mama to call my dad’s older sister and told her the story, my mother trying not to laugh in the background, but my aunt couldn’t keep it in.  She laughed till she cried and said, “Girl, don’t believe nothin’ that man tells you.  You know how he lost his hair?  He walked some girl home in the freezing cold with his head all out, and then didn’t listen when I told him he had frostbite and not to put hot water on his head.  He put that damn hot water on there, and all his hair fell out, and it ain’t never come back.”

For the record, I think my dad was just cursed with a receding hairline that took its toll by the time he was in his teens.  Which is not to say I haven’t Googled “scalp frostbite baldness” in about twenty combinations just to double-check.  I like to cover my bases.

When my dad got home that day, he was met with my stern little face, arms crossed in front of me, body planted on the front porch stairs.  No doubt my hair was in two super tight long black braids, one on each side of my head, which was my mom’s favorite way to do my hair and which probably made me look a lot like a furious munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz.”

“Daddy, you lied to me.  No grenade tore your hair out.  Auntie said you got frostbite and that’s how you lost it.”

He laughed and shrugged.

“Well, I never told you it was the truth, now did I?”

Yeah, get hit with that when you’re 6 or 7.  I became super fact-check girl before I could write my name in cursive.  Suddenly every story my family told me was suspect… haunted attics in New Orleans?  Yeah, that needed research.  Mysterious graves with chains on them in Mississippi?  Someone would have to show me that in person before I believed it.

But I suppose my research skills had to come from somewhere.  A goofy story from my father about his bald head seems as good a place as any.  It’s just too bad I didn’t know about my dad’s love of a good fib before… like say when my siblings decided to tell me I’d been found in a trash can.  But that’s a story for another blog.

Stuff to check out:

http://www.tillmanstory.com/

http://www.ltdanbandmovie.com/

Jackie Kashian, Stand-Up Comedian

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