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Authors: James Howe

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BOOK: Totally Joe
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The wedding was awesome, especially at the beginning when Aunt Lainy walked down the aisle and at the end when she and Uncle Scott kissed. Uncle Scott is very handsome and Aunt Lainy is very beautiful, so it was sort of like a fairy tale. Besides, I liked kissing. I called it “getting smoochy.”

The party afterwards was even more awesome than the wedding. There was this huge bowl of fizzy punch with different colors of sherbet floating around in it and a
in the middle of it! And the wedding cake, which must have been taller than I was, had, like, a zillion sugar flowers all over it, with little gold leaves! Looking back, I'll
bet the whole thing was way tacky, but at the time I felt like I was in a

That was the beginning of my wedding obsession. I had this doll Aunt Pam gave me (she had me so figured out) (a lot more than my poor grandparents, who gave me a fire engine for Christmas the year after the truck) (again: loved the box).

Anyway, I wanted a wedding dress for the doll—formerly known as Cinderella Beauty and renamed Lainy—and Mom took me to the mall, but we couldn't find one, so she got this woman she knew to make one that would look just like Aunt Lainy's dress. It took more than a month, and when we finally went to pick it up, I practically peed in my pants I was so excited. But when the woman saw me, she laughed and said, “I never made a doll's dress for a
before!” I totally wanted to die.

(This was my first clue that maybe to other people there was something “wrong” with me.) (Not that it stopped me from dressing up or playing wedding.)

My mom says that I played wedding for about a year and that I kept asking everybody if they would marry me. Even Jeff. (That was the only time anyone can remember Jeff threatening to clobber me on a regular basis.) I had my Lainy doll marry my Ken doll. I also had her marry some of my
Barbies. And G.I. Joe. (I hated that the soldier doll had my name. I mean, please. I didn't play with him much. He was another Christmas present from my clueless grandparents. One time when they were visiting, my grandpa asked me if G.I. Joe had been in any wars lately. I said, “No, but he and Ken got married last week.” Every Christmas since then, my grandparents have sent me a check.)

J is for Joe: The Middle Years

I'm in the middle years now. I mean, not really, but I'm counting my future as the “later years.” So this is me now:

1. I am 5' 2” tall.

2. I weigh 98 pounds. (Kind of skinny, but not a string bean.)

3. I have thick, wavy, medium-brown hair, currently streaked with red.

4. I have dark brown, close-set eyes. (On some people close-set eyes can be attractive. I'll have to wait and see what the rest of my face does.)

5. My nose is too big. (Not much hope there.) (Curse you, paternal genes!)

6. I have nice ears. Not that ears matter much, but at least they don't stick out like Jeff's. His
friends used to call him Dumbo. (Note to parents, if I ever let them read this: I have
ears for an earring.)

7. I
clothes! Right now, I'm into oversize, long-sleeved shirts (oxford button-downs, mostly), which I wear over colored T-shirts. In warmer weather, I like wearing these big, baggy Hawaiian shirts (also over colored T-shirts). I'm into cargo pants or baggy jeans or shorts, worn with oversize belts. Or sometimes I wear these totally retro dress pants I find at the thrift shop on Main Street. What can I say? I have a
and totally original sense of style.

Now that I think of it, Colin has never said he likes the way I dress. He's also never said anything about liking my streaked hair or the way I paint the pinky fingernail on my right hand. (Actually, Aunt Pam paints it for me. She does all these amazing tiny pictures. Like, right now, I have a sun/moon face.)

Oh. My. God. Maybe Colin hates my clothes and my hair and my fingernail. Maybe he wishes
I wore the kind of boring shirts he wears, with their Easter colors and little polo guys on them. Colin is pretty Ralph Lauren, when you come right down to it. So is his whole family. I'm sorry, I would rather eat raw tofurky than wear cotton pullovers with little thingies on them—polo guys, sailboats, whatever that Tommy Hilfiger logo is supposed to be. I am
not into logos.

What if Colin and I are incompatible?!?!?!?
What if I get an earring and he goes, “Ewww”?

This is
Romeo and Juliet! True love torn apart by tragic differences!

8. I just reread what I wrote, and I thought, I
sound so shallow!
That's what Addie would say, anyway. She's all about thinking about things, and I'm all about how things look. Well, excuse me, but it's not like I never think. And one thing I
is that appearances matter. It tells the rest of the world who you are. And who I am is Totally, Awesomely Stylin', Thank You Very Much.

9. So, okay, some other things about me:

a. I love cats, but my mom's allergic, so we can't have any. When I need my feline
fix, I go next door and hang with Addie's cats, Kennedy and Johnson.

b. English is my favorite subject!!!!!!!!

c. I hate Phys Ed. (Duh.)

d. I love brownies and ice cream. (Especially peppermint stick ice cream. The Candy Kitchen makes this only at Christmas, which is totally unfair.)

e. Christmas is my second-favorite holiday. My family gets into it big time. (Even if my mother is one-quarter Jewish.) (Which I guess makes me one-eighth Jewish.) (Who says I can't do fractions?)

f. I like movies, music, and magazines.

g. I also like books, but I wish there were more books about boys like me. I mean, most of the books “for boys” are about guy-guys. The characters are always trapped in the wilderness, where they become friends with a wolf, or their biggest worry in life is how they're going to score the winning point for the team. Yawn.

h. I love to daydream, especially about the future.

J is for Joe: The Later Years

So, what is my future? Well, I'll probably live in a big city—New York or Paris or Hollywood. I mean, I so don't see myself in Paintbrush Falls for the rest of my life! And I'll probably be famous. I don't know at what, but I've got time to figure that out. I was thinking about being an actor or a singer, but I'd
having to deal with the paparazzi all the time! And the
Always bugging you for your autograph. And some of them are totally crazy and live in the bushes outside your house, and then you have to have bodyguards. (Having bodyguards might be fun, but I don't want people living in my bushes. That is

With my natural style sense and all, maybe I'll be a fashion designer. If I am, I will
use logos!!!!!!

The only other thing I think about the future is that I definitely want to get married and have kids. What I forgot to say before is that during my wedding obsession year I insisted that my mother buy all the bridal magazines at the supermarket checkout. She was, like, “But honey, you don't know how to read yet.” Hello, who
bridal magazines? Of course, when I get married there isn't going to be a bride, although it might be fun to ask Jeff to strap on some soccer balls and be my maid of honor.

I wonder if Colin wants to get married someday, too.

(I just remembered what Kevin and Jimmy said about Bert and Ernie getting married and about that being so sick it made them want to puke and all.) (They're the ones who are sick.) (Kevin and Jimmy, I mean.) (Totally.)

: There should be a magazine called


on Monday! Okay, remember how in J I said I was worried that Kevin and Jimmy were going to tell everybody they saw Colin and me holding hands? Well, guess what. It was a whole lot worse! By the end of third period it was all over school that Colin and I had been seen kissing!

I mean, hello.

Third period happened to be art, which is one of three classes Colin and I have together. We were coming from English (which we also have together) when we heard all this giggling and laughing and “They did
and “They did
coming from the art room. The minute they saw us, everybody went, “Shh, shh, shh,” and turned their heads away, acting like we weren't there. Some of the girls were still giggling, though, and some of the boys were making kissy noises and punching each other on the
shoulder. Kevin and Jimmy aren't even in our art class, but I was, like, one thousand percent sure they were behind whatever was going on.

I looked across the room at Bobby, who rolled his eyes and shook his head, which didn't tell me anything. I was all set to go over and ask him what was up, when Mr. Minelli came in and told everybody to get to their tables and take out their sketchbooks.

Ordinarily, I am very happy that Colin and I sit next to each other in art. Mr. Minelli lets the class talk in low voices while we work, and Colin and I have this goofy thing we do where he's Moonet, the famous cow artist, and I'm Pigasso, who draws three-eyed pigs playing guitars. We have other goofy routines, too, and we're always making each other laugh and then bumping elbows to make each other stop. Sometimes, I think we do it just as an excuse to bump elbows. But no way were we bumping elbows on Monday. We weren't even talking to each other!

When the bell rang, Colin grabbed his backpack, mumbled something about having to meet up with Drew, and was out the door before I was even out of my seat. I turned to Kelsey, who sits on the other side of me, and said, “Okay, what is going on?”

Her hair was hanging over her face, so I wasn't sure I heard right at first, but when I asked her a second time, I got it: “Everybody says you and Colin were kissing.”

That's ridiculous!”

I expected her to say, “I know,” but instead she said, “Well, what if you were? It's nobody's business.”

Bobby came around from the other side of the table then, and the three of us kept talking while we walked to history. It turned out that seeing us holding hands wasn't good enough for Kevin and Jimmy (a.k.a. The Twin Faces of Evil). No, they had to tell the whole school they'd seen us
. When I reminded Bobby and Kelsey that they'd been with Colin and me the whole time, so they knew it wasn't true, Bobby said that Kevin said it happened when we were standing by ourselves waiting to cross the street and no one was looking.

“Look, Joe,” he said. “I don't care if you and Colin kissed. It's not a big deal, okay? It's just so unfair that Kevin and Jimmy—”

“The Twin Faces of Evil,” I corrected him.

“Fine. The Twin Faces of Evil. It's just unfair of them to spread it around school.”

“But we weren't kissing!”

Bobby nodded, like,
uh-huh, whatever

I know I said before that I liked kissing, that I called it “getting smoochy” and all that. But that was when I was little and wasn't talking about doing the kissing myself. Not
kind of kissing, anyway. I mean, bumping elbows is one thing, and holding hands is awesome, but actually putting your mouth on somebody else's mouth and exchanging saliva?

BOOK: Totally Joe
5.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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