The above words were the main ingredient in my recent phone conversation with my twenty- one year old nephew. He is a junior in college back east and although he has a heart of gold, his vocabulary is that of a Boston pick pocket. I have no worries discussing him on my blog, as I have tried multiple times to get him to read it but he always makes a strange gurgling sound when I ask. Clearly, the thought of reading his forty year old aunt’s blog horrifies him and would be as lame as having no cell phone and riding to class on a unicycle.
I was recently contacted by an old friend I traveled through Europe with in 1989. It was one of the fondest and fattest times in my life. Thinking back, my nephew is the exact age I was when I drank my way through eight different countries with my girls Val and Fran. Val is the hilarious bitch that posted me on Facebook at my chubbiest and Fran is still M.I.A. We hope we track her down so we can reminisce about how much cheese we consumed while barely managing to escape serious trouble. My favorite memory is the time when Italian man #1, his roommate, Italian man #2 and his creepy German girlfriend, sat down and started chatting us up at a restaurant we found in “Let’s Go Europe”. Can you say easy targets? The only people who eat at such places are lazy Americans and mass murderers.
After getting juiced like lemons, we got kicked out by the old proprietor who had four brown teeth and a vicious hatred for American women with large breasts and alcoholic tendencies. Man #1 then insisted we accompany them all back to his apartment. The red flag went up not because Man #1 kept pawing at Fran and looking at her like she was a Rib Eye steak. It was the fact that German girlfriend, who until now hadn’t uttered more than a Hile Hitler, wanted us to come with them more than anyone. And no, it was not a lesbian thing. She was much more aggressive and business like in her approach, trying her best to get us there as quickly as possible without making a scene.
Well, the moment Eva Braun got involved in the conversation I sobered up from a combination of adrenaline and bad mojo and suggested we go get a gelato instead. Something was clearly amiss and being raised to fear kidnappings and pedophiles above all else, I knew this could only end badly with a bottle of Chlorophorm and a five year stint in a white slavery ring.
After leaving the restaurant, we walked down a quaint, cobble stone street where I tried my best to take in the sights and not freak out and kick Heidi in her Leiderhosen. Fran and Val kept laughing and talking in broken Italian with these three smugglers while I scanned their persons for a hidden stash of antique weaponry and masking tape. As soon as we got to the gelatoria, Man #1 took Fran by her very lovely, drunk hand and began leading her away. I grabbed her other drunk and equally lovely hand and again, I told #1 that we would not go back to his place but that we appreciated the free desert and the lively one sided conversation. That is when #1, the Rapist From Rome, hauled off and punched me in my very round, very innocent face. At the top of my lungs, in my best Beverly Sills impersonation, I scream, “You fucked with the wrong girl! I am American!”
This was a time when screaming such words would not put you in more danger. It was when being an American could get you out of the shit and into an embassy with gold leaf furniture and a written apology from a state official. Times, they are a changing. Italian Man #1, Italian Man #2 and Helga the Whore Wrangler then ran for their lives, disappearing into the creepy Rome night as my friends tried to figure out why I was such a buzz kill and where we could buy some more cheap table wine.
I always like to think that thanks to my unbridled hysteria and uncommon paranoia, the three of us are not being forced to suck off a room full of very short, dirty men while wearing sequined tops and broken high heels somewhere in the former Soviet Union. Maybe my nephew will be as lucky as I to travel the world and see just how wonderful it can really be. I wonder how to say “word up” in Italian? Oh, Parola su. Thanks, interweb!
By the way, Val, this one's for you.