Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once upon a time...

Gather round, children, and I'll tell you a tale of a bitter woman and how she came into existence...

A long time ago, when I was in high school, I studied German. One of our first assignments in the first year was to choose a German name. (Everyone who studied a language in American high school probably did this.) We never thought that maybe some of our real names
were German? We kind of liked the idea of picking our own; doing the job our parents did years ago, know...better. I ended up with Anna, which is actually not so different from Amanda. (I guess my parents did alright on that one.)
My German teacher was big on stories and skits. In the beginning, she would dictate a story using us as characters, and we would write each line down. We drew pictures to illustrate each sentence, to help us remember the story later. (We did the same with new vocabulary words. It is a wonder I learned any animals at all, considering that each picture looked the same except the shark. Which was a fin sticking out of waves. Mad drawing skills, right here.) Later, we wrote the stories ourselves or with partners. Some patterns emerged in the class; things that showed up in story after story. (She deeply regretted the day we learned "to throw up.") After writing and illustrating them, actors were selected and these scenes were brought to life.
I got talking with a friend from that class recently at a dinner party. Donning his tux and gesturing with a wine glass, he brought up these fateful stories. And thanks to that conversation and my borderline packrat tendencies, I have unearthed a very important one, featuring a character you might be interested to meet.

Anna Monster.

You may recall that I was Anna. Sometimes...Anna turned into a monster. When she was angry. And what was she usually angry about? Boys. Boys doing stupid things. (Does this sound familiar?)

In an early story our teacher created, a boy in our class under the pseudonym "Axel" received a Jaguar for his birthday and drove from Detroit to San Francisco. There, he met and fell in love with Anna. (
Gross.) They drove to Las Vegas and according to my drawing, went for Chinese food. (In a castle? Damn, I cannot draw.) Axel saw Pamela Anderson and fell in love with her. (Jerk.) Anna got so angry that she turned into a monster and ate Axel for dinner instead of Chinese food. Following her meal, regular Anna came back, took Axel's Jag and drove to Detroit to see a Red Wings game. (I'm not sure why she went back to Detroit, considering she used to live in San Francisco. But here it is, in black and white.) That was Anna Monster's first appearance. A jilted lover getting a bit of revenge.
Fig. A: Anna turns into Anna Monster for the very first time.

From then on, anytime people (mainly boys) did stupid things in skits, Anna Monster came in and ate them. She always looked the same--our teacher had drawn her on the board and we stuck with that image. We eventually decided upon the noise she made--that was a heated debate. (See figure B.) She often had no role other than coming in, turning into Anna Monster, eating people, and exiting. She was the deus ex machina for our German class; plot resolution. Sometimes she got a line or two. But she always got angry. And then she got revenge. I delighted in having such an integral role. Sure, I had been typecast, but I had been typecast with such perfection that who cared?? There are many things in my life I'm proud of, but I am not ashamed to admit that Anna Monster is somewhere on that list.

So boys and girls, even though Bitter Amanda would not emerge in her current state for several years, I believe that is when she got her start. Because Axel fell so quickly out of love with her, in favor of Pamela Anderson.
And that shit is just not ok.

Fig. B: Anna Monster's appearance was refined over the semesters. Note angry noise.


Robbie said...

Wow! What a revelation - at last we know the origins of Bitter Amanda - and with Triple Umlauted U's noless!
Thanks, and have your Bitterest New Year ever!

P.S. I'm in LOVE now, for over 6 months, and I just wanted to let you know that to help jumpstart your bitterness for 2010!!!

Amanda said...

Ugh, GROSS. Go brag somewhere else!!