Thursday, July 19, 2007, 8:44 PM
A couple of days before Oogie turned the big four-oh, I went razy-cray with black and orange marker ink. There were black and orange ink smudges up and down my forearms, and I'm almost positive my dreams were black and orange-colored, but it was a mild inconvenience; I was making a poster that would be taped to the back of Oogie's 1980-ish silver Datsun Charger hatchback hottie, a poster that would announce her four-oh-ness to the whole frigging world.
Or to anyone driving behind her.
I don't remember who came up with the idea of the poster, but it consumed my every waking moment for days. How should the poster look? Should I even dare? Would Oog be mad? Did I have enough talent, enough Xs and Os to pull it off? There was also the knee-slapping hilarity behind the poster's intent, about how turning forty saw you standing with one foot in the grave, practically daring Death's odds. When you're umpteen-years-old, forty seems seems an impossible age, especially when the days between Easter, your birthday, Halloween and Christmas druh-druh-drag.
So it was mid-August, but Oogie was turning forty and the colors of black and orange seemed like the right, gooly kind of thing to do. Egged on by a devil's imp, I drew a gray-haired lady dressed in a black dress with a white lace collar. She's laying on her side with her head propped up on her hand. Her other hand is holding an umbrella-shaped cane at a cocky angle. The perspective is off and the drawing looks like she's having an epileptic seizure, but people still got the drift of the message.
Honk your horn! the message said. Today I'm 40!
I imagined Oogie driving to work befuzzled and shocka-fied over the car honking going on. Nevermind that Oogie isn't the wide-eye type or fooled for long. Us kids knew she had eyes in the back of her head, a mile-long stare that made even the neighborhood bully squirm, and was unbeatable at Scrabble. Plus, she wore high heels, underwire bras, and heavy black eyeliner, the better to stare us kids down with. (But almost anyone could make her heart go squish if they tried hard enough.)
Oogie said later that she saw the sign taped to the back of the car before she even got in the car that day. She'd suspected something harey-carey afoot all along, but decided to be the bigger person about it because that's just the type of person she is. I know now she was a bit embarassed about the poster's message, about the honking, but she never let it show.
She still has the poster.
I found it last November in the spare bedroom behind the stereo bookcase thing.