Friday, March 30, 2012

You Look Marvelous! (Yes. I’m talking to YOU!)

From the time I was a wee little Sassyfat, I’ve been told I have a pretty face. Isn’t that a nice thing for someone to say? Wouldn’t that fill you with warm fuzzy feelings and increased self-confidence? Unfortunately, as any tried and true fatty can tell you, the Pretty Face Comment (PFC) misses its mark. Big time. 
When you tell someone she has a pretty face, what she hears is what remains unsaid: “Golly, if only the rest of you weren’t so gosh darned fat!!” Growing up, I usually got the PFC as an afterthought from some adult who had just puked praise and worship upon Sweet Little Sister’s golden head. (“What a beautiful little girl!! Look at those big blue eyes!! She’s gonna be a real heartbreaker when she grows up!! She should be model!! [quick glance at me] Oh, and you have a pretty face, Hun.” Um, thanks?) Instead of swelling with pride over my pretty face, I would suck in my gut and pull in my shoulders and generally try to shrink myself down enough to be a beautiful, magazine-cover-worthy future heartbreaker, too. Didn’t work.
As a child I lacked the insight and confidence to say, “Lady, I am a flabstastic diva and you will address me as such!” Instead, I believed what society reinforced every time I turned around: I was the problem. My body composition was incorrect, and it was all my fault for being gluttonous, lazy, and stupid. The truth is, I ate what my underweight siblings ate; oftentimes less so that I could not be so darn fat any more. Moreover, I was as active as they were. Our parents sent us outside to play and I ran around with the sibs and our friends, riding my bike for miles almost every day for years. But out of four children, I was the only fat one. So obviously, it was all my fault.
Incidentally, I’m also the only one with blue-green eyes – Sweet Little Sister’s are pure blue, Elder and Younger Brothers’ are pure green – and I’m the only one who can’t get a tan. But those physical traits are considered genetic. The fat thing, well, that can’t possibly be genetic. Obviously it’s an outward sign of my seriously flawed character. 
Pfft. Whatevs.
Of course my parents tried to address the problem. My pediatrician put me on a diet at the age of four because I had outpaced the growth charts. My mom didn’t even know I was overweight until the doctor pointed at the chart. Not because she’s unobservant, but because I didn’t look significantly chubbier than the other four-year-olds in my preschool class. Never mind that I was also taller; the doctor wanted to nip my fattitude in the bud. So he gave Dear Mama a diet plan for me to follow (all I remember is celery) and wished us both the best of luck.   

Ever since that fateful well visit, I’ve either been diligently observing a diet or cheating on one. Food has never been simple fuel for me; it has always been cause for thoughtful calculation and self-praise or a tool for rebellion and self-flagellation. Whether patting myself on the head for eating something “good” (and ignoring the lingering hunger in my tummy), or beating myself up for eating something “bad” (and ignoring the painful over-fullness in my tummy), I have had an emotionally difficult relationship with food and my body for 34 years. I have only been alive for 38 years. So I’ve had plenty of time to get really good at being screwed up in the head.

Define "normal"
The problem with traditional dieting is not just its emotional toll. There is also a significant physical toll. When you restrict your caloric intake too far, your body lacks the nutrients it needs to function properly. Too much calorie restriction also makes your metabolism all wonky. Your body thinks there’s a famine, so it slows its processes down to burn fewer calories. (It hasn’t read the same magazines that you have. It does not give a shit about appearance. It just wants to survive.) As soon as you go off your diet, your body says “OH THANK GOD!!!!” and it holds onto every last calorie you put into your mouth so it will be ready for the next famine. Any weight you have lost is most likely fat AND muscle, and the weight you will most likely gain back will be all fat. Not only will you look bigger (fat takes up more space than muscle), but you will also be less healthy.
But Sassyfats, you say. Why on earth would you gain it back in the first place? Have you no self control??
Oh, dear sweet reader of thin privilege. It’s not that simple. Did you know that weight loss has a 95% failure rate over five years? Yes, ninety-five percent. If you had a 95% chance of dying in a plane crash today, would you insist on booking a flight? If the answer is a resounding "NO," how would you feel if everyone around you insisted that you book that flight no matter the odds, on the off chance you might make your destination? What if they told you that over and over again, day in and day out, by way of TV, radio, magazines, thoughtless comments, shouted insults, and heartfelt discussions? Would you be instilled with confidence, or frustrated that nobody understands you?   
Here in Fatland, not only do we have society telling us we need to roll the dice over and over again, but there is also a SIXTY BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR diet industry that bases its very success on the knowledge that you will need to come back to them again and again. If their products actually worked, they would go out of business. So their operating model is to steal your self esteem and then sell it back to you. For profit. With a product that is practically guaranteed NOT to deliver the results you seek. Their highly educated (and highly paid) marketing geniuses line their pockets by reinforcing the societal belief that fat is ugly, and ugly fat people are obligated to keep on trying to lose weight so that everyone else doesn’t have to keep looking at our disgusting bodies. And then the world will magically be a better place when we all meet our goal weight! Yay, rainbows and unicorns!
Yeah, kinda like that.
But Sassyfats, you say. What about health reasons for losing weight? We don’t want to get The Diabeeeeeetus!

Oh, dear sweet reader of thin privilege. It’s not that simple. First of all, research results have been incorrectly reported time and time again. While there is a correlation between obesity and diabetes, not one study has proven that obesity causes diabetes. Do you know what has been found? The single biggest factor in whether you’ll get The Diabeetus is your family’s history. Know what else has been found? Diabetes can actually be triggered by weight cycling (AKA yo-yo dieting). Know what else? There are a heckuva lot of thin people walking around with diabetes for years before they’re diagnosed because their doctors are using weight, not bloodwork, as the primary indicator of health.
Do you know what makes you healthy? Healthy behaviors (among a variety of other factors, like genetics, age, and environment).
Do you know what makes you unhealthy? Unhealthy behaviors (among a variety of other factors, like genetics, age, and environment).
Do you know what makes you thin? Your body type (among a variety of other factors, like genetics, age, and environment).
Do you know what doesn't make you thin? Self-loathing. Period.
So what’s all this got to do with looking marvelous? We live in a society that puts a LOT of value in outward appearance. Our society believes that only one body type is worthy of praise. Those of us whose bodies do not adhere to the chosen body type are shamed, ridiculed, and outcast. We receive a steady stream of messages every day that we are ugly, lazy, stupid, and worthless. We also receive a steady stream of messages every day that we have chosen to be ugly, lazy, stupid, and worthless, and we therefore deserve to be shamed, ridiculed, and outcast.
You know what? That’s a whole lot of bullshit right there, y’all. And I’m tired of hearing it. The more we can embrace the idea that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the more we are free to see the beauty in each other. And the more we see the beauty in each other, the more we are free to see the beauty in ourselves. If we stop hating our bodies, we will be better motivated to treat our bodies with the care and respect they deserve – healthy behaviors for a healthier body, whatever size that body may be. And that my friends, is truly beautiful. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Respect Among the Stacks

If you’ve ever spent any time perusing the fatosphere, you’ve come across the term “fat shaming.” Fat shaming is the practice of making negative assumptions about people’s health, lifestyle, and very character because of their size, then telling them what awful, lazy, stupid, selfish, ugly people they are. 

Oh, Sassyfats! That's terrible! I'm glad I've never done such an awful thing!

Unfortunately, most people are so subtle about it they don’t even know they’re doing it. Have you ever laughed at a fat joke? Have you ever demanded to know, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” Have you ever lost weight, then posted your “before” picture on your refrigerator as a deterrent to gaining that weight back? Then yes, you are familiar with fat shaming. Don’t beat yourself up too bad about it; it’s so socially acceptable that most people don’t even realize it’s an issue.

Then there are people who view fat shaming as a sport. Not content with being subtle, these people will let you know in a loud and public fashion that they don’t like you. Some will shout you down in a crowded mall. (Yes, that happens.) Still others linger on the Internet to troll health, fitness, and weight related websites and leave comments that would make any decent person’s blood boil. If you want to Google "weight loss articles" and check it out for yourself, go ahead. I'll wait. 

Scary, isn't it? If you’ve been significantly fat for any amount of time, chances are you’ve felt the sting of such vitriol. Welcome to my world.

Since most fat people are all too familiar with how it feels to be ridiculed in public by people who don’t even know them, many of my kind are reluctant to engage in a variety of certain activities in front of other people. We've tried before, we’ve been hurt, and we’ve decided we’d like to avoid getting bullied again. One such activity is public exercise. (Emphasis on the word “public.” Plenty of fatties love to exercise - without witnesses.)

Anyone who has ever started a workout regimen for the first time, or restarted after a prolonged lapse, knows how much extra motivation you need just to do the basics. (I’m talking to you too, skinny people. Don’t act like you’ve never dragged ass. Mmm-hmm.) Not only is it hard as hell to work up the energy to exercise a body that’s not used to it, but it’s also humiliating as hell to move your body in unfamiliar ways and work up a sweat in front of people who are likely to judge you harshly because of your size. Paradoxically, the judgy people are the very same people who are likely to tell you that weight loss is easy – just stop shoving potato chips in your mouth (nom, nom, nom!) and get up off your couch every once in awhile so you could be as skinny as they have always been. But for the love of all that is holy, puh-leaze don’t exercise in front of them, because they don’t want to see your disgusting body.
Because we all wear ridiculous headbands
and look sad when we have to move.
Having been a lifelong fatty, I can identify with the inclination to avoid public exercise. You already feel like a blob, and you've had to give yourself a hearty pep talk just to go for a simple walk. Just at that point in your walk when your energy level goes up and you feel all proud of yourself for doing something healthy (Yay, endorphin rush!), some anonymous douchebag drives by in his car and screams, “FAAAAAAAAAAAAAT BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH!!!!!”

NEWSFLASH: This type of commentary is not helpful. To anyone. Sure, Douchey McDoucherson gets the momentary thrill of humiliating a total stranger before going back to his sad, lonely life. That’s got to count as a positive. But when you’re on the receiving end of such commentary, it makes you feel pretty much worthless. It makes you want to disappear. It makes you want to go back home and hide from the McDouchersons of the world. And if you’re like me, it makes you want to drown your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry's. BREAKING UPDATE TO NEWSFLASH: Making me feel like crap will not make me skinny.
You don't say!
Fortunately, my many years of being a fatty – coupled with many years of therapy and the discovery of the Fat Acceptance movement – have allowed me to grow a thick enough skin (oh, is that what all these rolls are?) so that I’m not as afraid of public ridicule as I used to be. I've finally reached a point where I refuse to give the McDouchersons of the world rent-free space in my head. I don’t internalize the negativity as much as I used to. Yes, it still bugs me. It just doesn't consume me any more. Ergo, I can live my life out in the open and avoid becoming an 800-lb shut-in. Yay, me.

Since I’ve mostly gotten over my fear of looking stupid in public, I’ve been able to enjoy going to the gym more than ever before. But until recently, there was still a part of the gym that I did not want to go anywhere near: the hard-core side. See, when you walk in the front door to my gym, you turn right to go to the classrooms and the smoothie bar. You turn left to go to the warehouse-sized space that houses all the equipment. The right side of the room has all the cardio machines, spiffy-looking, idiot-proof weight machines, and your average suburban gym dweller – soccer moms, retirees, mid-life crisisers, etc. 

Home Sweet Home
The left side has all the free weights, scary looking no-frills weight machines that take some know-how to operate, and big muscular dudes. You know the ones – they wear sleeveless shirts to show off their ripped biceps and walk with their arms held out from their sides because their muscles are so tight they can’t reach their own waists.
Seriously, Dude. Put a shirt on.
For many years I stayed on the safe side of the gym with all the soccer moms and retirees. I figured if they judged me harshly, they would at least be quiet about it. They might go tell their friends later, “Wow, you should have seen how fat this woman at the gym was. I think I’ll skip that second glass of wine so I don’t end up like her!” But at least they wouldn't fat-shame me to my face. 

I was afraid to go to the hard-core side of the gym because I figured the body builders would point and laugh. (Leftover impression of jocks from high school are hard to shake. Them scars run deep.) But early in my relationship with my trainer Holloway, he led me straight into the dragon’s lair and said, “Your monthly dues give you access to the whole gym. You belong over here just as much as these guys do.”

What I thought inside my head: Do what, now? You want me to come over here with these dudes – and their college-age groupies with their hair all did up and their chests all jutted out so as to showcase their perky boobies – and exercise?!?!?!? Have you bumped your head????

What I actually said: Um. Ok.

Holloway, not one to waste time or show a whole lot of mercy, got me working right away. He had me sit down on a weight bench near the middle of the hard-core area. Then he had me stand right back up again. And sit down. And stand up. Over and over again, practicing for my debut as a whackamole stunt double. And, oh here. Lift this medicine ball over your head and slam it on the floor as hard as you can when you stand up. (Huff. Puff. Grunt. WHAMO!!!! Huff. Puff. Grunt. WHAMO!!!!) If you’ve never been party to such an activity, let me enlighten you: it draws attention. My cover was totally blown. I was exposed. Vulnerable. Easy prey.

Every time I looked up I expected to see the indiginous peoples of the weight stacks staring, eyes wide and mouths agape. I kept expecting to see them nudging each other and trading amused glances. I kept expecting to hear snickers (the laughter, not the candy bar) and rude comments. I expected scorn, ridicule, and cruel amusement. On the outside, I was working my patootie off and trying to look tough. On the inside, I was bracing myself for the onslaught and hoping I wouldn’t cry like a little girl in front of my tormenters when it came.

But you know what? The onslaught never came. Sure, I saw some guys staring when I first got over there. There was not ridicule in their eyes, but something more akin to puzzlement. (What’s a fat chick doing over here? Shouldn’t she be at McDonald’s or something? Oops, I forgot to flex for a second!) But once I got down to business, they went back to theirs. Nobody pointed. Nobodoy laughed. Nobody sounded an alarm that there was a fatty at the weight stacks. (Red Alert! Fatty at the weight stacks! Get your cell phone cameras out and prepare to enterain the Internet!)

To my surprised relief, the big muscular guys just got on with their routine of picking heavy things up and putting them back down. Then I realized something: by walking me over there and then stating out loud that I belonged, Holloway had given me an all-access pass to a world that was previously forbidden. I was on the hard-core side of the gym, and it was OK.

Now when I walk over there, I do so without fear. Head up, shoulders back, mind on whatever masochistic thing I’m about to inflict on myself. When I see people I recognize, I meet their gaze and nod in salutation. They nod back and then go on about their business. When I see new people looking at me with that familiar look of puzzlement, I meet their gaze and nod in salutation, and then I go on about my business even if they’re still trying to figure out why I’m not actively shoving french fries into my mouth by the fistful. (nom, nom, nom!)

When I work out, I work hard. I do not whine. I do not complain. I do not give something a half-assed attempt and then stop after two reps. I keep at it until I get the hang of it. I huff. I puff. I sweat. My face turns an alarming (yet lovely) shade of red. And when I finish a set of something particularly difficult, I sometimes let out an involuntary, “Hooooo!” as I set down the weights. (Cleansing breath. Inhale… hold… and Hoooo!) I’m not worried about who may be watching. Screw ‘em, I gots work ta do. And by going about my work with even the illusion of confidence, I get what every person on this planet deserves – respect.

I invite the fatties of the world to join me in living out loud, so to speak. The less we hide, and the more we get out there and do stuff (whatever your chosen “stuff” may be), the more society will realize that we’re no less worthy of respect than anyone else. I’m not saying it’s easy. But it is a worthwhile pursuit.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Two Days at the Theater: Third Graders vs. Kindergarteners

From this post's title, you might think I attended a two-day event in which third graders and kindergartners engaged in a bloody cage fight for dominance (and bragging rights, bro) as rowdy spectators placed their bids. You would be sadly mistaken. Seriously, why spend good money on that when I get to see a third grader and kindergartner try to beat the snot out of each other every day in my living room? (The third grader has a size advantage and rudimentary martial arts skills, but the kindergartner fights dirty. No match is over until the dog is howling and both opponents are crying. Anyone who gets blood on the carpet is grounded. House rules.)  
No, I did not attend a show in which children competed against one another in any capacity. But what I did do was take a couple of days off from my day job as a grammar cop to chaperone two field trips. Check me out, I’m just like a real mom! Although both trips were to The Theater (you have to say it like this, “thee-ah-tah”), the experiences were quite different. What struck me was the level of complexity between the two plays, and how well the producers of both plays – and the educators who coordinated the trips – knew their target audiences.
Daughter1’s class, comprising that sophisticated age group of 8- and 9-year-olds <roll eyes here>, saw On the Wings of Ikarus Jackson at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater in Washington, DC. Alluding to the character from ancient Greek mythology, Ikarus tells the ageless tale of overcoming the ridicule of your peers to take pride in the traits that make you stand out from the crowd. A timely message for kids quickly approaching an age where being branded as “different” can make your life a waking nightmare. Take it from me, the shy fat kid.  
As one would expect from the Kennedy Center, the production quality was top-notch and the actors were undoubtedly professional. To prepare the children for this dose of high culture, the school taught the children a little bit about the play in the days leading up to the trip. They learned the basic plot and talked about the main characters. In addition to learning some literary elements of the play, they also learned basic theater etiquette: dress nicely (they looked adorable), arrive on time, stay seated during the play, and be quiet. The play was only an hour long, which was just about as long as the kids could refrain from shooting spit balls at each other and telling fart jokes. A good time was had by all. 

Daughter1 and BFF at the Kennedy Center
Daughter2's class, comprising that wiggly age of 5- and 6-year-olds, saw Laugh, Laugh, Laugh at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. This performance consisted of four or five comedy sketches geared toward little ones. There was not a cohesive moral to the stories, as the show was designed to entertain the crowd. Performers dressed in simple but bright costumes, made exaggerated facial expressions, and punctuated their punchlines with broad hand gestures and dance steps. There was singing, dancing, clapping, and - be still my heart - the liberal use of jazz hands during one energetic soft shoe routine. Since audience participation was encouraged, I did not have to shush any of my young charges even once during the hour-long performance. A good time was had by all.

Daughter2 at Maryland Hall
I'll be honest, I dreaded both trips based on my "success" as a chaperone on Daughter2's pumpkin patch trip in the fall. But I'm glad I got over my damn self and went on both theater trips. It was fun sitting next to Daughter1 in a real play and discussing the characters and themes afterward. It was equally fun sitting next to Daughter2 and hearing her giggle throughout the Laugh, Laugh, Laugh performance. Who knows how highly these events will rank in their overall life memories. But I hope they store these trips somewhere in their "fond" memory collection. I know I have.     

Friday, March 2, 2012

I DO Believe In Spooks!


When Sweet Sassyfats was a wee towheaded ankle biter, the Sweet Family Sassyfats moved into a four-bedroom cape cod house on a quiet suburban street. We had a big fenced-in backyard and a whole herd of neighborhood children with whom Elder Bro and I could run. We had been living in a small apartment in a questionable neighborhood, so Dear Mama and Good Ol’ Pops were more than happy to uproot us chid’rens to transport us to this sleepy little community.
What my parents did not know, however, was that the house was not altogether vacant the day we moved in. <cue the creepy organ music>
I cannot remember ever not knowing my childhood home was haunted. I remember routinely hearing the distinct sound of footsteps going across my parents’ room overhead while the whole family – including the dog – would sit in the living room and exchange startled looks. There were times I would see shadow figures dart across the wall, gone before I could get anyone’s attention. One time I even saw a mist figure materialize and walk across my parents’ bedroom. When alone in my room, I would sometimes hear someone whisper my name in my ear, and I frequently felt like I was being watched.
For most of my life I have had a distinct picture in my head of an older man with thinning grey hair and dark-rimmed glasses. He wore jogging attire, complete with terrycloth headband and wristbands. (It was the late 70s, if that matters.) He looked like a nice man, very grandfatherly. By the age of 5, I was convinced that Mr. Whositsface had died of a sudden heart attack in my bedroom shortly after going for a run. I do not know where I got that particular idea, so I have decided to go on the assumption that he somehow communicated the information to me. And even though he looked like a nice man in my mind’s eye, I did not like him hangin’ around my room. I slept with my bedroom light on, my door wide open, and the hall light on until I was in middle school. Cowering under my covers was normal nighttime behavior for me. Leaving my bed at night to walk three steps down the hall to the bathroom was an exercise in courage, right up through the day I left for college.     
Speaking of college, picture it: Boston, 1991. I was a fresh-faced new arrival at Berklee College of Music, ready to show the music industry how it was done, son! (Not sure whether to laugh or cry at my youthful naivete. Le Sigh.) My dorm assignment was in a building that had once been a hotel. The old building had been badly damaged in a fire decades before my arrival. The creep-out factor was higher than many of the students, so naturally the ghost stories started on move-in day. I ignored them. Happy to have left Mr. Whositsface behind, I didn’t have time for spooky stuff in my new life. I stubbornly decided that the people who told of strange happenings in their rooms were just making stuff up so they’d have a cool story to tell.
That is, until the day the spirits decided to give me a cool story to tell. <where’s that organ music?>
I was alone in my room one day practicing my keyboard (Rule violation! No instruments allowed in the rooms! I know. I was such a rebel.) To be more accurate, I was alone in my room’s walk-in closet (must have been a nice hotel). I started to feel like I was being watched. As the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, I told myself I was imagining things and kept practicing. Then the wire hangers on the rod behind me started to rattle. Again, I brushed it off. Could have been caused by the vibration of someone walking by in the hallway, right?
Ignoring my attempts to ignore it, the faint rattling gave way to a scraping noise, like a hanger slowly and purposefully sliding back and forth on the rod. I screwed up just enough courage to turn around and look – and the sound stopped. But the hangers were still swinging like someone had just touched them. Whatever wanted my attention got it, but it did not try to engage me any further. Which is good, because I didn’t want to be known as the girl who ran up and down the hallway that one time, waiving her arms in the air and screaming something about, “There’s a ghost in my closet and I done peed myself!!” I was socially awkward enough as it was, I didn’t want people to know think I was batshit crazy.  
"Yeah, man. I was there, man.
That girl was like, nuts, man!"
My dorm ghost would make its presence known every so often. It was a benign presence, albeit a mischievous one. Sometimes you would just feel like you were being watched. Other times you'd feel a little whoosh of air behind or beside you, like someone had just walked by. Still other times, items would go missing in the room. You’d tear the room apart looking for your keys, only to find them sitting in plain sight exactly were you’d started your hunt five minutes before. One of my roommates named our unseen domestic partner Herbie, because it’s weird not to have a name for the invisible force that messes with you just for funzies. We coexisted with Herbie and hoped he/she/it wouldn’t kill us in our sleep.

Fast-forward a little more to the year 1997. I was a fresh-faced young bride getting settled in my new husband’s old townhouse. He’d been living there about two years by the time we got married, so I’d already had plenty of time to get acquainted with the spirits that lingered there. They stayed silent most of the time and were easy to tolerate. Every so often they would knock on a wall or tap you on the shoulder. But the instances were few and far between, and just barely perceptible. What bothered me the most about the spirits in the townhouse was not being able to shake the idea that they were in that house because their lives had abruptly and violently ended there.
Not long after Miracle Man bought the house, he learned that it had previously been the neighborhood crack house/brothel. (One-stop shopping is convenient no matter what you’re in the market for!) We heard rumors of a suicide and a possible murder. I never investigated the claims, but would not be surprised to find some kernels of truth in the rumors. I was sad for the spirits trapped in that house. They weren’t evil or harmful, they were just plain lost. All I could do was pray for their peace and hope that they would someday move into the light.
As I have matured over the years, instead of leaving childhood fantasies of ghosts and goblins behind I have only become more steadfast in my certainty that ghosts are never too far away. But the paranormal doesn’t scare me like it used to. I have only had experiences with benign presences who have not meant me harm. At times I have even had experiences with loving presences who just stopped by to check on me. I’m not into seances or Ouija boards or anything like that; when you open the door between the physical and spiritual worlds you can’t control what comes through. I’ve seen enough horror movies and watched enough episodes of Ghost Adventures to know that some seriously bad shit can go down when you’re not careful.
When my kids ask me if ghosts exist, I neither confirm nor deny their suspicions. I don't want to outright lie to them and say “no.” Nor do I want to open up a frank discussion on the paranormal with my young children; then they'd never go to sleep at night.  My answer is always the same: "What do you think?" They both say there's no such thing a ghosts. I'll go with that for now. I see no reason to be all like, “Why yes, my darlings. There are ghosts, and some are evil AND WILL EAT YOUR FACE OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!!!! Here, watch this instead of iCarly tonight. You want to snuggle with your clown doll?”
Nighty-night, Children!
And on that note, I will bid you, gentle reader, a good night. If you hear anything go bump in the night, don't freak out. Just tell Mr. Whositsface I said Hi, pull the covers over your head, and continue on with your sweet, sweet dreams. <and organ music crescendos... then fades to silence> Mwa-ha-haaaa