Thursday, January 13, 2005


So I spent about 15 minutes whipping up this short throw-away essay for my application. (Do you like how I packed three disclaimers into one sentence?) Anyway, since you all were so helpful with inspiration and since it's basically a blog post, I thought I'd share. Sorry for the advocates of Samuel Jackson and Ben's Chili Bowl, but I just couldn't quite turn those into being something about me (other than gullible in the first case, and out drunk way too late in the second). So switched at birth it is. And it may be stupid, but I don't care, because they asked for it. Bombs away! (If you have suggestions, make 'em by tonight because I'm sending it tomorrow and your brilliant ideas will only irritate me. Or don't make them at all because I've already expended far too much energy on this bullshit topic.)
I can’t remember precisely when my mother told me I had been switched at birth, but it must have made an impression.

Like all children, I imagine, I nursed furtive fantasies that this prosaic suburban family of mine could not have produced me. My kin were the travelers in Narnia, the Murry children of a Wrinkle in Time. Many days I impatiently expected the portal to secret worlds to appear. It’s possible that I greeted her surprising news with more enthusiasm than she might have suspected. Finally! A remarkable tale of my very own.

My real family, it seemed clear to me, was an exiled coterie of royals; naturally there was never any question that I was actually a princess. My imagination never quite tackled the logistical quandary of what might have compelled the blue-bloods to Amarillo, Texas, but this mustn’t have bothered me. Perhaps they were fond of the rodeo.

In the end, my glee had only one insurmountable hurdle: I had been switched back. Rather promptly, at that. When my Mother noted the remarkably copious hair on her previously bald child’s head and found a different ID number on the little one’s bracelet, she ran banshee shrieking into the hallway. I’ve got the wrong baby! she yelped before being swallowed by a mob of nurses who had the fear of God or litigation in them something powerful. I was next door, in the arms of another woman (undoubtedly a queen), pensively wondering where her little darling’s hair had gone.

But dreams come true in funny ways. That I am indeed a changeling is the easiest explanation for how an Amarillo girl ended up with a wanderlust for those lonesome parts of the world so remote that they would have seemed like Narnia to a child. And as some will attest with rolling eyes, I did turn out to be something of a princess after all.


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