The Short, Sad Life of Vibrator Girl

Vintage Wahl Electric Vibrator Circa 1940s (Image via Ebay)

I don’t recall how the discussion of vibrators arose. Only that it came up while I was riding home on a sweltering school bus filled to the gills with students of every age – as is often the case with private, parochial schools. A popular, older boy named Jerry mentioned that someone had a vibrator and his comment was received with fits of laughter from the more mature kids, all of whom were crammed into the last few rows – because the back of the bus was, is and always will be the coolest place to sit.

As a fifth grader at a new school, I was anxious for friends. Especially older friends. One’s market value could easily be assessed by how many older kids you knew. Particularly if those older kids didn’t give you noogies or shoot spitballs at you. And making people laugh was a good thing. Bill Cosby made people laugh. I could hear the audience roaring in the background when I listened to my father’s copy of Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow Right! on our record player. Fonzie made people laugh every time he told someone to Sit on it! And everybody loved Lucy, including the band leader with the Cuban accent thicker than my yet-to-be-tweezed monobrow. Being funny could garner me significant clout, particularly if the people chuckling were old enough to grow wispy mustaches or wear bras. Their laughter was my clue that something about vibrators was humorous. But what?

The Family Vibrator Looked A Lot Like This One (Image via Etsy)

Fortunately, I knew all about vibrators. Our family shared a heavy one with a rounded, spaceship-style head the size of a large bagel and used it to massage the kinks in our muscles. After a long day at work, my dad would often say, “Cristy, go get the vibrator and rub it over my lower back, would you?” It worked wonders on my calves after a Saturday afternoon of riding my bike non-stop through the neighborhood. My mom stored it in one of the drawers of her nightstand, so technically I considered it to be her property, but I was permitted to use it whenever the need arose. As I balanced my small frame sideways on the edge of the bus seat, my book bag and Tupperware lunch bucket resting on my knees, I pondered why the kids around me considered vibrators so darned amusing. I supposed ours was funny looking in a way, but its appearance had never made me giggle out loud. Then again, if you used it on your neck and spoke at the same time, your voice sounded a bit like a robot. Perhaps that’s what all the fuss was about.

So without hesitation, I loudly announced, “My mom’s got one of those!”

Grinning proudly, I waited for the laughter to flutter down upon me the way dead leaves did when I shook a tree branch good and hard. Instead, I was rewarded with a collective gasp from occupants of the last four rows. The older kids visually inspected me up and down, and hesitated, as if waiting for a punchline. A punchline I didn’t have. Darn! What had I done wrong? Why weren’t they laughing?

Erm, Not This Kind Of Vibrator (Image via screened.com)

Finally, Jerry said, “A vibrator. You sure?”  His brows were raised so high that they seemed like an extension of his hairline. Again, I heard a rumble of snorts and titters at the mere utterance of the word.

That must be the trick. You had to say the word. “Yeah, my mom has a vibrator,” I repeated. “She uses it all the time. We all do. We all use the vibrator.”

The back half of the bus erupted in howls. Pleased as punch, I beamed as I watched the older boy’s face turn red and contort in glee. The laughter continued for several minutes, cresting and ebbing over and over again as though it was being fueled by invisible, winged fairies whispering the word vibrator repeatedly in each student’s ear. A few girls wiped at their cheeks as tears poured down their faces. One boy’s body heaved up and down as though he’d just finished twenty laps around the football field.

It was awesome. The students’ reaction to me saying the word vibrator was exponentially greater than it had been when Jerry had said it. I was certain no one had ever laughed this loudly at Bill Cosby or Lucille Ball. Perhaps I’d found my magic catchphrase. Fonzie had Ayyyyy! and I had vibrator. It was kind of like having a super power. The noise level rose so high that Mr. Webber, our ancient and cantankerous driver, did what I would later discover he always did in these kind of situations: he pulled the bus off the side of the road. Rising from his seat, he turned, hands on his hips and growled, “Y’all gonna stop with this nonsense or I’m gonna put you offa this here bus.” He pointed his knobby finger at the door. The bus grew so silent, you could have heard a pubescent boy’s balls drop.

“Your Mom Has What? Mine Uses A Pineapple.”

At that very moment, I wanted nothing more than to scream, “Vibrator!” at the top of my lungs and show Mr. Webber who really had control of the students on this bus. However, the ability to make people shudder with laughter was a gift – and gifts had to be used wisely. Hell, with a talent like that, I could halt burglars (for whom I had an irrational and overriding fear at the time) in the their tracks. I imagined myself hollering, “Stop, thief!” and when the man dressed in black with a bag full of loot thrown over his shoulder failed to pause, I would simply shout, “Vibrator!” Immediately, the burglar would drop to his knees and giggle helplessly like a small child, while I removed the bag o’ loot from his grasp and tied him up with my trusty jump rope. Gotham had Batman, but Miami had me, Vibrator Girl. I would not wield my power indiscriminately, I decided right then and there; I would use it only for good.

Vibrator Girl And Her Trusty Rocket? (Image via allkpop.com)

I remained silent that day on the bus and everyone made it home safely as a result. However, when I arrived home, I couldn’t wait to tell my mother about my newly-acquired super power. Plus, let’s face it. I was dying to make her laugh uncontrollably. Heck, maybe I could even get an extra cookie out of her if I promised to stop saying vibrator over and over. My mother followed me into my bedroom as I changed out of my school clothes, as she called them, and into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. She’d been closely monitoring my progress at this new school and inquired every day as to whether or not I’d made any new friends. “So, how did it go today?”

“Excellent,” I replied as I slipped off my loafers and socks. “I made all the older kids on the bus laugh. I thought they were gonna pee their pants.” Ask me how! Ask me how!

“How?” my mother inquired right on cue, one eyebrow arching with interest. Perhaps I’d also gained the power of mind control.

Beaming broadly, I replied, “I told them that you have a vibrator. And that we all use it.”

My mother’s tanned face blanched. “You told them what?”

Was she deaf? She must be because she wasn’t laughing at my magical catchphrase. “I told them you have a vi-bray-tore,” I repeated, a little louder and a little more slowly this time. What little color remained in my mother’s cheeks drained away. Even her blue eyes seemed paler. “And that we all use–”

“Oh, I heard you the first time, dear,” she interrupted, shaking her head in disbelief.

That night, I learned why Lucy always seemed to have some splain’ to do after she made her viewers laugh. I also learned that our vibrator – the one shaped like the Seattle Space Needle – wasn’t actually a vibrator, but an electric massager. Despite my insistence, my mom refused to explain to me exactly what a vibrator was or why I was never to ever say that word – under any circumstances – in front of anyone ever again.

Apparently Vibrators Shaped Like The Seattle Space Needle Are Difficult To Use (Image via Wikipedia)

As for my mother and father, they learned to call things by their proper names.

With my magical catchphrase having been wrested from me, I no longer had a super power. I was Wonder Woman without her lasso. Batman without his Batmobile. Dr. David Banner without gamma radiation exposure.  No longer able to stop burglars with a single word, I slept in fear with a tennis racquet (what? it was the closest thing I had to a baseball bat/weapon) and a jump rope under my bed.

And I got picked on at school for the next four years in a row.

You’re Not So Funny Without Your Magical Catchphrase, Are You? Let’s Kick Her Ass! (Image via momlogic.com)


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54 comments

  1. Laura

    Wonderful! Your ascent to power and humiliating fall from grace… awwww. Were you teased about that forever? Do the former middle-schoolers who have found you on FB call you Vibrator Girl? At least your mom was understanding and not furious….

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      Oh, I didn’t get teased about the vibrator comment; I got teased because I was imminently teasable. Had I been able to work the vibrator joke a little harder with the older kids, I’d have had protection from the little bastards I went to school with. I needed a super power because there were just gobs of things to tease me about.

  2. 1pointperspective

    I like to think of myself as someone with a good sense of humor. That being said, I don’t often laugh aloud. Something has to be pretty damn funny to elicit an audible laugh from me. For the record, I laughed quite audibly alone, in my kitchen when I read of you telling Mom, and then some more when you repeated your statement louder for her to understand.

    It’s nice for the other writers that you only post once every week or so, or I wouldn’t bother reading anyone else’s stuff.

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      Yeah, that’s why I limit my creativity to once a week. I do it for the little people. It has nothing to do with procrastination or dirty laundry or unwashed dishes or sleeping in on occasion. I’m so glad you brought that fact to the forefront, 1point. Now everyone understands that I’m not really a slacker, I’m just unbelievably generous.

      • 1pointperspective

        I consider it a public service. I like to believe that you are too busy with novels and getting sunburnt to write anymore than you do, plus giving the rest of the inferior writers a chance at a little spot-light time.

      • cristycarringtonlewis

        I really SHOULD be too busy with novels. I swear, I’m dedicating the next two days to doing nothing but working on my non-blog writing! But thanks for the compliments as always. xo CCL

      • 1pointperspective

        No…thank you for providing us all with some cringe-worthy recollections for our amusement. I’ll be hitting the sand next week for my yearly communion with Jose Cuervo and will not have internet access for writing, only to read. I’m gooing to bring the laptop and try to get going on the book again. I swear.

        Always a pleasure.

        Dave

  3. Audrey

    Oh the pressure to be one of the cool kids, and inevitable faux paus that come from the vain pursuit. I’m right there with you, glorying in the pre-teen awkwardness! :)

  4. Stacie Chadwick

    This is equal to me calling my dad a “whorehead” in 5th grade. OK, it’s not really equal at all. I’m just trying to make you feel better. I did bite it as a freshman in front of the hottest senior in school though, and he laughed mercilessly at my expense. Does that count?

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      I want to read blogs on the whorehead incident and biting it (what does this mean? did you fall or bite something I don’t really want to imagine?) in front of the hottest senior. Why am I the only one out here humiliating myself? I thought you were my blogging bestie. C’mon, share the cringeworthy moments!

  5. stephenedwards425

    This is the reason I follow your blog…this is priceless!

    In the future please put up a disclaimer at the beginning of each wickedly funny post…it could read something like this:

    CAUTION: TO AVOID BLOWING BLACKCHERRY KOOL-AID OUT OF YOUR NOSE PLEASE SWALLOW BEFORE PROCEEDING

    Just a thought… :)

    Be encouraged!

      • stephenedwards425

        57 – and having tried every other beverage in the world…twice…I have found it better for me to stick to blackcherry Kool-Aid…a true man’s drink…and no hangovers.

        Be encouraged!

      • cristycarringtonlewis

        I respect your choice, Stephen! However, I guarantee you it would taste all the better with just a shot of Ketel One. And my posts would be even funnier if you read them while drinking said black cherry Kool-Aid with Ketel One. You could call it a Black Cherry Bomb.

  6. Richard Sanchez

    Excellent, and hilarious post! And even funnier that it’s true. Like that other guy, that part that made me chortle was you slowly enunciating the word “vi-bray-tor” to your mom, further hammering the inadvertent embarrassment into her brain. This does give me the inspiration to reveal my embarrassing dildo story.

    Just kidding, I don’t have a messed up dildo story …

    Or do I?

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      Mom, if you’re reading this, would you like to chime in on this one?

      Tennizzle, if there was a plausible, rational response to that question, I doubt vodka and I would share the close, intimate relationship that we do.

  7. Brian Westbye

    I am dying on so many levels: with you, for you, at you… Jesus. Tour-de-force.

    And now I want to go back and have us ride the bus together and make each other laugh…

  8. Melanie

    Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews had the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Cristy had the word Vibrator.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b-Z0SSyUcw There’s a song for Julie’s word; anyone know a good vibrator song?

    Maybe if you get old and senile you will start yelling Vibrator! Vibrator! again and again randomly in public. Or you could maybe hide it in everyday conversation – just for laughs. It could be a drinking game. Several possibilities out there.

    Nice blog very funny.

      • Melanie

        Reclaiming the title? I found a vibrator song
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUA8NGWG95w&feature=related Its by Motorhead, there are actually several vibrator song on you tube. I suppose you can find a lot just by looking. It all makes for a rather strange anime show….. The vibrator theme song and you a Vibrator girl and your adventures on the school bus. I don’t think it would work out (the show idea). It would probably be best to just leave it as the blog and move on.

        We do need to do some planning for the visit.

  9. magicalme

    lol. brilliant. modern-day ramona quimby. if there were vi-bray-tores in my house, they weren’t discussed, but they were always yelling about some “school clothes”.

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      Ramona Quimby – oh, I used to love those books. I think that’s a lovely compliment. Yes, school clothes were made of a unique blend of fabric that could take a beating on the school playground, but would turn to dust if you dared watch a cartoon at home after school whilst wearing them. You had to don “play clothes” for that. And yes, I make Hubby take off his “work clothes” the moment he gets home, but that’s mostly because I don’t want him to spill his dinner down the front of his shirt.

  10. Fathead Follies

    Thank god you weren’t super cool and never picked on because I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t be nearly as eloquent and funny. This may sound like a selfish wish but I’m actually thinking of you. Think of how much personal fulfillment you get out of amusing me…and all of these other people…but mainly me. I imagine your life increasing exponentially in joy each time you make me laugh.

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      You know, I actually am glad that my life has gone the way it has because the gods have gifted me with so much damn material to write about. Who wants to read stories about how popular someone was in school or how they did something perfectly? If all my flubs and flaws make me funnier, that’s not such a bad tradeoff. I’d rather laugh at myself before somebody beats me to it. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  11. Simon

    I have been a bit out of ouch lately so I guess this is how I will learn my lesson. How did I miss this until now? I really wanted to share some story and commiserate with you but I got nothin’ compared to that. So funny and well written and though I have no vibrator story of my own, I relate with the premise completely. You are awesome.

  12. Kathy V.

    And now I’ve read it, and it’s a beautiful thing. You know, my mother-in-law calls massagers vibrators, and even though we’ve explained why it makes us giggle, I still don’t think she has any concept of what we think of when she says ‘vibrator’. She’s an innocent.

    • cristycarringtonlewis

      Thanks for reading, you perfectly average mother fucker. That’s Cristy for: thanks so much for reading my blog, you perfectly sized person who never has to worry about finding jeans the right length. You are what I aspire to become. Shorter.

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  15. wingedparadise

    This is definitely the best school humiliation story I have ever heard. Just your pure innocence when all the school-children were hysterical! That childhood innocence is something special though, before we grow up and become more ‘reserved’ (a.k.a scared of something we were blind to as kids – embarrassment). Love your blog! :)

    • Miss Snarky Pants

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Unfortunately for me – but not so much for you – I have dozens of humiliating school stories I’ve yet to share. And thousands of stories in which I suffer humiliation in general. I’m so glad you enjoyed my blog. Hope to see you back again soon. I will be posting again tomorrow.

  16. Amylieinlyon

    When I lived in italy, I mispronounced the word “fig”, said “figa” in italian… instead saying “fica” which generally means “pussy”. And if placed in the sentance “I like [insert word of choice]” well needless to say, “you’re going to have a bad time”. Guess who was teased as well for her remaining years in highschool?

    Love the blog, love the sass, love the topics… please stay snarky forever :)

    • Miss Snarky Pants

      Absolutely! Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so glad that you can relate to my childhood foibles. I knew something had to come from being humiliated over and over again throughout my life. Now if you’d be so kind to call the head honchos over at Harper Collins and let them know that they need to make me a multi-book offer and allow me to become the female David Sedaris, I would greatly appreciate it. That’s not asking too much, is it?

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