taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Sunday, February 09, 2003

My parents were big gossips, and I'll never forget overhearing my mother on the phone one night saying to a friend, "Oh, her! She's got a checkered past, doesn't she?!" Checkered past! I'd never heard anything more ridiculous and mom-like in my life. I asked her afterwards, "Mom, what's a checkered past?" I imagined it was like women's suits of the seventies, kind of houndstooth. She said, "It means she's done a lot of things she doesn't want anyone to know about."

Now I'm ridiculous and mom-like. And I, too, have a checkered past!

The lame thing about a checkered past is that it's very interesting, and you'd have a lot of good stories, if only you could tell them. But now that I'm a mom, and work in a real office, I can only hint at it, and the hints are never so interesting as the real stories. The only person who knows about my entire checkered past is my husband, and he'd never tell. So I guess my checkered past, like that of so many others, will die with me.

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