So, last weekend I was supposed to have a little dinner party. Instead, I ate about five onions and pooped in Karl Marx’s house.
Throughout my life, my mother’s parents have been an influencing force. At five, my grandfather told me that the moment I was born I started to die. Deep thought for a five year old. I spent the next 28 years worrying about that.
At eight, thinking I needed some guidance, they encouraged me to go to church. They had recently converted from Catholicism to Mormonism. My grandfather used to be a Mason. I don’t think you can be a Mason and a Mormon, but I’m not sure. They converted their two youngest kids. At my aunt’s funeral, after her suicide, my grandfather praised the Mormon faith for saving her life and ensuring that some day he would see her again, behind the veil. I guess the part about her being dead didn’t quite reach him.
Off I went, every Sunday, looking for my religion in the arms of the Mormon Church down the street. I never found it there, but after being spanked at my Baptist private school for bringing in a Mormon children’s magazine, I felt the Mormon god was far nicer than the Baptist god. The Catholic god was just boring. I mean, how many times can a kid listen to a Latin service or endure another Chicken or the Egg sermon (we only went at Easter). And as I never got the snack everyone else did (communion), the Catholic god lost my support early on.
When my parents divorced and I switched schools, I tried the Protestant youth group, TNA (Tuesday Night Alive), with a friend. When I told my Mom I wanted to go to TnA she chuckled and thought it was a fine idea. I went on one trip to LA with this group. We slept in churches and sang our little hearts out at some crystal cathedral. It was fun until I got in trouble for bringing a Ouija Board. The youth pastor asked that I not return as I had obviously not accepted Christ into my heart.
In high school I went to Friday night services with a Jewish friend. Wow, it might have been our age, but the Friday night co-ed sleepover was all about finding one’s religion in the arms of the closest person of the opposite sex when the lights went out. The Protestants might have coined TnA, but the Jews put their money where their mouth was and got to work.
After that, I gave up organized religion. The next two years I explored Sufism, Hinduism and Re-Incarnation. A friend of mine had met Meher Baba and his parents were heavily involved in the local Sufi Center.
I read Middle East poets and waxed philosophical at every turn. I started dream journals and visited new age books stores A LOT. I traveled to psychic fairs and learned how to read palms and tarot cards. And yes, this was a very difficult time for my parents.
My grandparents, realizing that I was not quite Mormon stock, chose another path for me. My grandparents were not just Mormon, they were Republican. My grandfather had a bust of Reagan in a little nook in his house. Next to it was a bowl of Jelly Bellies.
By this time I was a leading member of the speech/debate team. I was no Paris Gellar, but I could hold my own. I have always been an opinionated shit, but in my teen years, I was more. More everything. That intensity of teenage willfulness needed a direction and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Smith had that direction.
They polished me up and took me to an event in Napa. It was at a gorgeous winery. The food was delish and the people friendly. The kids my age were really nice and the boys were gorgeous. I mean gor-ge-ous. As a boy-crazy 14 year old, this was important. Especially as these gorgeous boys were talking to me.
I was baptized into the Republican Party. I became a Young Republican. Yes, its true, this is a dark time in my human development I know, but the boys were so cute. I went with my staunchly Republican grandparents to all their Napa fundraisers. I came to believe Reagan a hero, saving me from the nuclear destruction of the Soviets and discovered that there was no better place to kiss a boy than in the middle of a vineyard.
So off I went to my meetings in my polo shirts with the collars up, Sperry Tennis shoes white and my hair all neat and shinny, playing in the vineyards and flirting with boys, sucking up doctrine like cherry-flavored jelly bellies.
An opportunity came up to travel to Washington D.C. for an “Economic Intensive”. My parents were not so interested in funding this little boondoggle. To pay for it, I gave speeches at the Lyons Club, the Rotary club and any other place that would listen to me speak about Phytoplankon: The Ocean’s Bread Bowl. It was as interesting a subject as it sounds, let me tell you.
Next thing I knew, I was in a D.C. conference room with 15 other YRs. The subject was Affirmative Action. The question was whether or not I wanted a job I was not necessarily qualified for, just because I was a girl. I answered yes, that I would take any job I wanted, regardless of why I got it if I thought I could do the job. This was apparently the wrong answer and the beginning of the end of my reign as the great white hope for my grandparents. Holy apeshit, Batman, there’s a democrat in the woodpile!
My first semester in college I took philosophy, poli-sci, art-history and psychology. I was fascinated by how everything seemed to interconnect with everything else and I swear this was from scholastic wonder and had nothing to do with the vast amounts of mary jane smoked in the vicinity of my dorm room.
As a rather naive Republican, I had never really been exposed to the whole abortion debate. I didn’t have an opinion on it because I thought it was just a given, having the right to chose, like having cosmetic surgery or braces. You got to decide if you wanted to or not. I knew that there were emergency situations were it was required like getting your appendix out. For some reason that is beyond me now, I had no idea that women’s rights were in jeopardy in MY time.
When I finally understood this issue, the transformation was complete. And my motto became “As a woman, how can you be anything but a democrat?”
I called my grandparents and let them know. They took it well. They said, like religion, one needs to explore before coming back into the fold with a pure heart.
The next semester I took a course on Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. I had found my new gods, my new religion and it was in German thought meisters (a little foreshadowing?). I read the Communist Manifesto, I saw Metropolis, and I read Freud and Jung. I was still wearing my polos, but I was no longer a Republican.
I was a Marxist.
I called my grandparents and let them know. My grandfather and I debated this for a while and he ended up disowning me. I was a Commie. How could I possibly believe that drivel? How could I possibly do this to them, after all they had done for me?
Recipe for disownment
1 part argumentative skills
1 part natural aggression
1 part education
3 parts Uni studentin passion
While the passion of a college student is essential for revolutions, its not much good for anything else.
Why do I bore you with this? Well, because I went to Trier this weekend, the birthplace of Karl Marx.
Karl Marx, it turns out, had a problem affording his Bourgeois lifestyle. Engels and his Capitalist moolah supported Marx and his family for the rest of thier lives and yet they still could not live within their means. I find this hysterical considering it’s the same reason I’ve let go of my Marxist tendencies. If those Napa events taught me anything it’s that I was born to the Bourgeois and frankly, I like it here. The grass is waaaay greener.
So, you’re probably wondering where the onions and pooping come in, right?
For some reason, I had a craving for beef and onions all weekend. In Rüdesheim I had a Kellermeister steak with onions. The entire plate was covered in onions and I ate every single one. We had Chinese food for dinner in Trier, tons of onions. In Luxembourg I had a fabulous Onion Soup. I had enough onions to be safe from the yellow spotted lizard. And probably breath to slay a dragon.
Why does this matter? Well, by the time we hit Karl Marx’s house, the whole onion overdose started to catch up to me. Along with the three pots of coffee I had that morning at breakfast (our hotel had the most divine coffee). So after a two-hour tour of Marx and his contribution to the world, I needed a potty break.
As I sat there, doing my business, it occurred to me that I was pooping in Karl Marx’ birthplace. I revered this man at one time and now I’m pooping in what used to be his basement. It felt a little blasphemous, really.
So I took a picture and sent it to my brother. A little joke between siblings. That rat showed my dad and let me tell you, my dad did not find it as funny. Making him proud, the world over…
You thought Heisse Scheisse was just a blog name? Oh no, my dears, it’s a way of life…