Sometimes I wonder why I even dare to leave my house in the summer. Usually my embarrassing moments are a result of my severe hay fever.
I’ll explain why . . .
- I look like I’m strutting my stuff with pink eye. That ruins everything. How am I supposed to impress all the boys with a swollen eye that’s flushing out mucus every single time I blink? It’s not as hot as it sounds.
- I’m constantly snorting the snot dripping out of my nostrils back in.
- There have been times when I’m tempted to wear a “allergy fanny pack”, containing my special nasal spray, tissues, prescription eye drops, numerous pills, and cough drops (sneezing so much gives me a sore throat). Lock up your boyfriends, girls. Here I come.
- I wheeze every time I inhale. Adorable.
- Sneezing. . . when I’m in public, I have two options. I can hold in my snot, and pee a little (curse you weak bladder). Orrrr, I can hold in the pee . . . and blow snot every where. I always have to make a quick decision before the blow. Multitasking has never been my skill.
- Snot runs down my throat if I’m not constantly blowing my nose.
- My nose is constantly red from all the nose blowing
- I’m constantly complaining in a stuffy, wheezy voice ABOUT my allergies.
But sadly, this hasn’t been the worst part of my summer.
A whole 4.7 seconds of my summer beats ALL of this on the “wow, that was fucking embarrassing” scale.
This is a story that will take some of your time, but I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it was worth the time once I reveal to you what an ass I made of myself.
PRCA Rodeos have sponsors just like every other sport. You know how all the other sports just simply hang up the sponsors signs on the side? Everyone gets the message, and they don’t waste anytime boring you with a presentation of each business sponsoring the event with a damn flag for each one.
But noooot PRCA rodeos. It has to be a big deal.
If you are honored to be picked to carry a flag (HA!), you have to make sure your practiced up so the asshole 14 year old girl doesn’t make a point to tell you how you’re fucking up the routine and that you’d be better off in the stands sitting on your ass staying out of the way. (…sigh…)
Anyway, this whole “hauling ass around an arena in front of a somewhat large crowd on a horse carrying a flag” has been something I’ve been forced to do for the last three years by several people in my life. I’ve cried. I’ve screamed. I’ve begged. I’ve faked injuries, sickness, doctor appointments, and have even tried to literally hide. Not once did I succeed.
So this year, I was actually busy enough and got to skip the first day of the two day rodeo.
Thinking I had gotten out of it all together, I showed before the rodeo the second day with no hat, no boots, and most importantly no HORSE. It was literally impossible for me to join the “flag girl posse”. I put on my best “aw shucks, maybe next year” face. But inside I was doing a dance that consisted of me holding up my middle fingers high in the air, and spinning around while singing “AIN’T GEEETTTINGGG ME THIS YEARRRR!” (it’s really hilarious if you’re picturing it like I am).
Oh boy, was I wrong.
I was in for a shock when….alas!….they presented a perfectly tame horse by the name of Best Buy who happened to clear his schedule just so he could be my very own flag horse!
Picking up acting tips from Disney Channel sitcoms didn’t pay off in the situation.
As my smile literally turned upside down, and my eyes widened (I’m pretty sure they were flashing ‘FML’ in the center), it became obvious I wasn’t thrilled.
The man behind all the magic, John Smith (great guy, but he scares the living hell out of me), glared at me and said
“Get that stupid look off your face and get on the damn horse. If you work for me, there’s no screwing around”
I decided replying “DOES VOLUNTEERING FOR YOU MEAN I GET TO SCREW AROUND?” wasn’t the best thing to say.
So as I crawled atop the creature, I failed to notice the “I’m going to fuck up your life” gleam in his eye.
They had boots, a cowboy hat, and even a saddle for me. I was so grateful . . . .
I learned that Best Buy had never carried a flag before, but he was the tamest horse around the place. So there was nothing to be worried about. I actually wasn’t dreading it after cruising around on Best Buy for a while. He seemed like he was a nice guy who was just trying to do his best! A couple hours before the rodeo, we moseyed down to the arena to get to the “official” practice, and see if my borrowed steed would carry me around with a flag. I sat upon Best Buy, and braced myself for a blow up as the western clothing store flag was handed to me. Best Buy didn’t even flinch. We walked, trotted, and lopped around with the flag flapping behind us. We had no cares in the world. I dared to get a little bit excited!
The “flag posse” arrived for the official practice. I was told the routine, and stood in line with my horse to run into the arena when I was told.
Best Buy and I flew into the arena, and I guess Best Buy forgot to inform me he had a change of heart. Best Buy threw himself into a bucking rage before I could even get ahold of anything. He threw the flag and myself into the ground, and took off by himself.
I laid in the dirt feeling like the world’s biggest asshole when I turned my head to see my dad in the stands holding up his camera phone smiling and yelling, “MACKENZIE! I GOT A REALLY GOOD PICTURE! AHAHAHA!”
I was humiliated, but decided to give Best Buy a second chance. The horse decided he had been a jerk, and performed perfectly the next five times we did the routine with the other horses. I thought to myself, “It could have been worse! It could have been during the actual performance!” So I regained my confidence, put Best Buy in a stall, and went to find my sparkly shirt that matched all the other girls.
Two hours later . . .
The time has come, it’s time for Best Buy and I to put it all on the line, and perform in front of an energetic crowd flawlessly. I’m as confident as a woman warrior ready to wave my flag like a spear that’s used to stab through my enemies heart. My head is up high, and I’m ready to impress every single person in there. After two previous years of experience, I’m about to show the JS Rodeo Company that I’m the best damn flag girl they’ve ever HAD! Best Buy is playing the part of a war pony by snorting, and tossing his head around. The horse was even pawing the ground as to say “let’s….do…..this”.
We get lined up behind the four other flag girls, and it begins . . .
The first girl runs out, the second, the third, and as the fourth is making her way out . . .
I lean down and whisper in Best Buy’s hairy ear. . . “this is our chance to shine, my friend”
Everything seems to be slowed down to increase the intensity and epic-ness of the moment. The director of the flag girls is nodding her head at me, and mouthing “GO!”
Oh we go alright. I puff out my chest, put a smile on my face, get a good grip on my flag, and dig my heels into Best Buy’s sides. I had to resist letting out a war cry.
It was such a perfect moment. I knew the crowd was cheering, but all I could hear was my heart and Best Buy’s hooves pounding to the same beat.
As the wind hit my face, I noticed the flag seemed to be floating in slow motion behind us as we came around galloping around a corner.
I thought to myself “It’s like we’re fly-”
That thought was never finished, because I actually did fly . . . like a human fucking lawn dart.
The spiritual connection between Best Buy and I was quickly “disconnected” when the evil beast decided he didn’t need me along to finish our quest.
Best Buy didn’t exactly buck, it was worse. . . .
As I was thinking something special was going on, this horse was obviously thinking
“Well, it’s time for me to ditch the bitch”
Best Buy took a huge leap, planted his front feet, and ducked his head. I was thrown over his head, and face planted into the dirt a ways in front of him. Instead of laying there and pretending I was dead, I bounced up from ground spitting dirt. I somehow managed to smile as I got out of the arena once they caught Best Buy. I assured all the concerned people I was okay and pretended to laugh it off as I tried to shake the dirt out of my ears. I wasn’t going to be laughing once the pain in my ribs, butt, and pride hit me.
I walked out to the pick up, and decided I had every right to curl up in the back seat and bawl my eyes out.
I will leave the country next year if that’s what it takes to get out of carrying a flag.