You all remember crazy Penny, don't you?
In my experience, she's a tough one to forget. Well I can't think of anything new to tell you right now, so you get another crazy Penny story.
I'd almost forgotten about this one... But I was talking to a friend, trying to think of which crazy Penny story to tell next. (Because I did promise you a mulit-part series.) And while mentally flipping through the encyclopedic volumes of crazy I accumulated in the time I lived with her, I rather rapidly flipped past an entry with a shocking mental image embedded in it... And as much as I wanted to flip back to that page to review the story, I had to do everything in my power to black out the image attached. Trust me when I tell you that once the mental image is there, it's there FOREVER. I have no doubt that when I am old and grey, and my brain has long since been melted away by alzheimer's and a few too many happy hour martinis enjoyed during my retirement years, that this image will still occasionally rear its ugly head and haunt me and produce siezure-inducing nightmares. I don't look forward to waking up in a cold sweat trying to claw out my eyes, cursing them for ever having looked over and seen this first hand. In other words, be glad you weren't there to see it first hand. REALLY.
So now that you're mentally prepared, I encourage you to brace yourself physically. I hope you have a barf bag or a trash can handy. And while you're at it throw a plastic bag over your keyboard because I can't be responsible for the damage that vomit would do to your computer. I don't know that my wordsimthery can really do justice to this experience, but if it can, you're going to need those precautionary measures in place.
So picture it. It's a cool fall Friday night. We have been living together for about two months. School is back in session for me, my friends are around, and some of their friends are visiting from schools down state. (Because when you go to college in Chicago, and your friends go to school somewhere out in a corn field, your friends really don't have a reason not to want to visit you at school.) So seeing as it's a Friday night, early in my senior year of college, OF COURSE I'M GOING OUT AND GETTING WASTED, or at least that was the plan...
My friend Alana came over for some pre-drinking and general amusment. Of course Penny was home. Penny hadn't shown her true colors yet, as it was still early in our lease, and so I asked if she would like to come out to the bars with us. And because I am awesome and hang out with only the very finest people, she accepted, probably in an effort to be cool by association... But I digress.
So Alana was over, we were drinking. And some of Alana's friends from down state decided to come to the city for the weekend, and we had decided to meet up with them at a bar in Wrigleyville. Now I'm not a fan of the Wrigleyville bars... Way too full of yuppie Trixies and Chads. But as a college senior, I wouldn't turn down going to many bars where men happily buy groups of girls lots of liquor because they think they might have a shot at going home with one of them later. (Because free liquor is free liquor... and I can always give him a fake number.) So we go out. And about two minutes after our arrival while we're waiting on Alana's friends to show up I am getting hit on by a couple of hot guys at a table, so I sit down. And because Penny was to the point where she was meeting guys on match.com and still getting shot down, she was feebly trying to get one of these guys to notice her. So she sits down too. At which point she proceeds to stomp all over my game. And as much as the hotter guy was going for my game, even though Penny was dragging me down into the sub-levels of the bad game sewer system with which she was so clearly more than a little familliar, his wingman was clearly not feeling Penny. And because Penny was just that wretched, the wingman killed it for the rest of us. And the men got up and left. (Not before the hot guy told me where they were headed next, and to meet up with him if I could get rid of the wretched roommate... but since we were waiting on a group, I was pretty sure that swinging the group over to that bar and losing Penny in the process just wasn't going to happen.) The one tiny little benefit that we got from Penny running off the men was that we got their table at an otherwise packed Wrigleyville bar. And then the rest of the group showed up. And they sat at the table that we garnered as a result of Penny's wretched personality and its effect on men. At this point, in the back of my mind I am still mad at Penny for stomping on my game, but since I am in the company of friends I try to laugh and get drunk enough to forget what just transpired.
Fast forward about 45 minutes.
We've been drinking and bullshitting, and someone starts talking about boobs. (OH COME ON, ladies, you know you've publicly talked about yours... and if you're going to insist that you haven't, then I'm sure you'll admit to having at least one friend that happily talks about hers no matter where you are.) Well of course, associating with the dirty minded, foul mouthed freaks that accept me as one of their own, and occasionally look to me for leadership, the talk of boobs rapidly turns to talks of individually specific mentions of anatomy. Crazy Penny, in her misguided efforts to seem cool, mentions that she has spectacularly large nipples. (As I typed that last phrase, I realized that I'm going to start getting some really awful hits from misguided google searches.) As if it wasn't bad enough to have your wretched roommate stomp your game, run off the best looking guy who has hit on you in a while, now you hear your roommate announce that she has spectacularly large nipples in a crowded bar full of strangers, she does it at a table populated by people with whom you are friends... And you thought you knew what it was to be mortified... You haven't begun to know mortification.
We've already established that Penny is more than a little attention starved... And since she'd decided to announce the fact that she had huge nipples, and that announcement managed to get her attention, (if only in the form of shocked looks from all within earshot,) she proceeded to go into detail. She mentioned that hers were (using her words here) "Bigger than the bottom of a coke can, but smaller than a saucer." Umm... yeah...
Mortification has really taken hold. I am responsible for bringing this girl out into a public setting with my friends... I blame myself.
And then it happens.
In an attempt to keep the focus on her, crazy Penny does the unthinkable. SHE WHIPS HER BOOB OUT TO PROVE SHE WAS NOT LYING ABOUT THE SIZE OF HER NIPPLES.
IN. A. CROWDED. CHICAGO. BAR. ON. A. FRIDAY. NIGHT.
She seriously whipped out the giant flap of skin that she called a boob, complete with a freakishly large nipple, and stretch marks that made her boob look as though her chest had repeatedly been clawed by a mountain lion. IN A CROWDED BAR. IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS. (And this is not at all the type of bar where this is an acceptable practice... I don't enjoy those bars... This is why I don't go to Carol's...EVER. Or any place where there are stripper poles, or acrylic shoes, an excessive presence of one dollar bills.)
I had to get up and leave the table from embarrassment.
At that moment, I knew the very definition of mortification. Even though I wasn't the one flashing a bar full of strangers, or a table populated by my roommate's friends I experienced the utter and complete humiliation and shame of being the one responsible for the fact that she was sitting at that table. Because clearly she felt no shame about any of it.
Why is it that humiliation is so much worse when you're feeling shame on someone else's behalf? I mean I know I've done some things that I've been ashamed of in my time, but I always feel more embarrassed when I'm feeling embarrassment for someone else who clearly has no interest in feeling their own shame. Seriously. If someone else figures this out, let me know. Why am I less embarrassed by my own shame, and more embarrassed by someone who has no interest or knowledge of doing anything shameful?
Yeah, so crazy Penny just seems more and more appealing as a roommate alllllll the time, isn't it?