My Dirty Secret
by Tish Cohen
Somehow, the summer I was seventeen, against my will, I became my family’s cleaning woman. My single dad needed help around our California house and who better for the job than his beach-obsessed teenage daughter? Few of my friends happened to be working that summer, and my best friend’s family had actually rented a house that opened right out onto the sands of Newport Beach. What that meant for Anne and I was a long hot summer lying on our towels, listening to the pounding ocean, eating Pogos and tricking surfer boys into sharing their boards.
It was going to be the perfect summer…until my father showed me where we kept the Pine-Sol.
It wasn’t as if cleaning our ranch bungalow would mean a forty-hour work week. But I was supposed to spend a couple of hours a day cleaning and I just didn’t have that kind of non-surfer boy time to spare. So what’s a California girl to do? She figures out a way to give the house the appearance of being clean without actually being clean. After my dad left for work, wearing my beach clothes beneath my pajamas, I got to work. I didn’t need to vacuum the entire house, only the hallways and my father’s bedroom. Mopping? Only the front entry and the centre of rooms, along the paths my father might walk. Bathroom sinks didn’t need scouring, I just rinsed out the dried toothpaste and Windexed the faucets to make them sparkle. I barely split a fingernail my summer as a maid.But I did learn how to stand up on a surfboard.
My Big Switch
by Vicki Grant
The question seems easy enough: If I could switch lives with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I sit down to whip off my answer. Then I think: Anyone?
I’m seized by the same panic I feel when faced with the dessert menu at a fancy restaurant. I can only choose one? I can’t have a small piece of lemon meringue with some tiramisu on the side? No. Pick one.
Being female (or should I say ‘shallow’?), I immediately think of great beauties: Angelina, Scarlett, any of the Jennifers. That’s what I want. The attention. The clothes. The chance to use my celebrity to do something good for the world like raise money for Africa or talk Brad into shaving his beard. I picture myself on the red carpet, hand on the hip of my vintage Balenciaga, lips pouted toward the wall of cameras and it hits me.
I’d hate that. You don’t get into the dress without the diet. You don’t get the lips without the injections. You don’t get the photographers without the paparazzi. I consider other options. A famous hero? Too chicken. A life-saving surgeon? Don’t like blood. Leader of the free world? Wouldn’t leave enough time for Scrabble. I realize there’s only one person I’d like to switch lives with. Me at 17. I’d make sure David C. knew I liked him – or at least knew my name. I’d try out for the musical. I’d go away to university. I’d take all the risks I was too scared to take at the time and not worry how they turned out.
Now that would be a switch.
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