Like most kids, mine always want us to tell them a bedtime story. Several months ago Erin got really interested in stories of us when we were kids. I remember loving to hear about my parents' childhood. Maybe because as a child you just can't imagine that someone that old could have ever been so young like you. Baffling, yet entrancing. So now, every night we get two requests: Three Bears and a story from when you were a kid. At first it was no problem conjuring up childhood memories, but since I feel like it has to be something new every time, it's becoming a bit more challenging. I think I've gone through all the stories that make me look good and have moved on to the ones that could possibly "teach them a lesson" (ie. the moral of this story is you should never pretend your sister's brand new cardboard house is a trampoline while she's at school, or the moral of this story is you should never convince your younger sister to throw away your older sister's Barbie because you are mad at her AND you should not silently sit by while your younger sister has to give her Barbie to your older sister as a punishment--do as I say not as I do, or did).
So in an effort to preserve some of my better memories, I thought I would write them here. This one sticks out for some reason. I was 10 years old and it was 1986, the height of the Lee Press-On Nail craze, at least for me. I must have seen one of these commercials and got it into my head that I must have a set. It was a secret desire of course, but somehow or another I would have Lee Press-On Nails. And I had a plan. I was in fourth grade so naturally I was responsible enough to be employed. My first job was to walk a first grader home and play with her for about an hour till her mom got home once a week, and then I got a dollar. As I walked home each week with that dollar burning a hole in my pocket, I thought about the many ways I could spend it. 3 Musketeers? No. Gum? No. I would save it for the prized fake nails.
Here are the commercials. Yeah, I still can't understand why they don't sell these anymore.
After what seemed like a really long time, at least a month or so, I felt I had saved up enough money to buy them, between $3-4. So I walked down the street to the local drug store with high hopes and a glimmer in my eye knowing, secretly, that I would soon have the most beautiful nails any elementary child ever had. I walked down the nail aisle and there they were, almost more incredible than the commercial. I didn't want the clear ones that you could paint. What I wanted was much better: the hot pink ones. Those would be mine. But then I looked at the price. $7!!! What? You might imagine a kid would give up after seeing that, but I was determined. I would just have to save up more money.
Finally, after several more weeks and careful counting of my money so I would not have to leave the store empty handed again, I walked there (unbeknownst to my family) and bought them. Surely, this was happiness. My first major purchase, and something so awesome! Upon opening them and putting them on I soon realized that these nails were meant for adult hands, and I was 10. Evidently the store I went to didn’t carry “Miss Lee Press-On Nails”. But that didn’t matter, I stuck those babies on and yes, they were incredible! Incredible and very big, and really long (I must have gotten the glamor length), but so cute. I wish I had a picture. After a short while I realized that I couldn’t do everything I had previously been able to do, like hold a fork or brush my teeth or close my hands all the way. I did however learn to ride my 10-speed around by pressing my open palms on the steering wheel. Admittedly, braking was more tricky, but I clearly remember riding around like that admiring the hot pink beauties. Yeah, I looked ridiculous!
After a while I realized that my summer would be spoiled if I kept those things on. Sadly, I peeled them off knowing that all my hard work and saving was, well, pretty much a huge waste. Fortunately, the nails kept some of their stickiness so I could reapply them whenever I needed to feel Lee Press-On-y again. I do remember keeping them in a box for several more years to come too, although for better or worse I do not have them today. Bummer, because they might actually fit me now.
So the moral of this story is… don’t spend your money for that which has no worth, or if you work hard enough you can get anything you really want, or don’t be drawn in by dumb advertisements, or sometimes you have to learn lessons the hard way like I did. Maybe there is no moral, but just lets my kids know that their mom was kind of just a weird kid with weird adult-sized hot pink fake nails.