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You can’t always get what you want. | Fetch My Flying Monkeys
Everyone needs a fleet of flying monkeys to rip the stuffing out of the annoying people in their lives
— Laura

You all have heard me talk about my crazy-ass papaw a lot on here; how he tried to murder me by buying me a poisonous lizard, how he’d force us grandkids to listen to made-up war stories, showing us pictures of General MacArthur and telling us that was him, and how all his stories ended with him getting the clap from some whore in Okinawa. Once when he was babysitting me and my brothers, he gave me a knife to take to Show and Tell and he told me to tell the class that “he took it off a dead Jap.” Yes he did, and yes I did.

After reading my friend Rick’s story about his first bike, I remembered a birthday my crazy-ass papaw help make “special.”  I don’t know how old I was, because I never remember how old I was, but I was of the age I needed a two-wheeled bicycle. I had outgrown my tricycle, and had “borrowed” my brother’s bikes enough to have taught myself how to ride. Training wheels were for suckas. Anyway, my birthday was coming up and months prior I started priming my mom for a new bike. “Please Mommy! I need a bike!” and she’d say “Maybe for your birthday” because she always would say ”Maybe for your birthday or Christmas.” To make things easy for her I picked out the bike I wanted, nay, HAD TO HAVE. It was a lime green Stingray with a yellow banana seat, hand brakes, and shifter! Like this:

Stingray Bike

This bike tells the world you are one cool-ass motherfucker not to be messed with.

Finally my birthday arrived. I was so happy because I knew this was the day I was going to get my new  lime green Stingray bike. I remember picking out clothes that wouldn’t clash with my new lime green Stingray bike. People would look out of their doors as I was speeding by and be all “Who is that cool kid on that cool new lime green Stingray bike? She sure looks cool!”

So the day went by slowly, because in my house you didn’t get your presents until after dinner and birthday cake, and all I could think about was my new lime green Stingray bike and how I better get it soon because daylight was burning. We had dinner, ate cake after I blew out the candles, and I sat there waiting, wishing I’d get my new lime green Stingray bike already. I was handed several brightly wrapped boxes, all too small for a bike and I thought “Oh, okay we’re going to play that game.” So I opened the gifts, thanked whoever I had to thank,  and tossed them to the side. I sat there with my hands folded in my lap. Waiting. Finally my mom said “So Laura, you still want a bike?” “YES PLEASE!” I said with a huge smile on my face.  And that’s when she said “Your grandfather wanted to get it for you.” I suddenly stopped smiling and said “Did he know what bike I wanted? Did you show him the picture?” She said yes. I was still worried.

Within minutes there was a knock on the door. MY NEW LIME GREEN STINGRAY BIKE IS HERE! I jumped with joy!  My mom took my hand and led me outside. I rendered y’all a drawing of that moment:

There, leaning on its kick-stand was my ”new” bike:

Old Bike

This bike tells the world you're in Special-Ed.

It was used. It had been refurbed by my papaw. It had god-awful whitewall tires and it weighed 500 pounds. I wanted to cry so badly, but I held them back as my mom said “WHAT DO YOU SAY, LAURA?” Through gritted teeth I robotically said “Thank you, Papaw” holding the tears back. Then my mom told me to get on it. So I did, and as I started to pedal this monstrosity, the chain fell off and  it fell over on me. I swear to God, it was so heavy I couldn’t lift it, so I just laid back and cried. They lifted the bike off of me and I stayed on the ground crying, not because I was hurt, but because my soul was crushed. There was no way I was getting a new lime green Stingray bike now. I stayed on that ground crying softly as my  mom offered my papaw a piece of cake. They went in the house leaving  my brothers there to laugh and dance around me pointing at the bike then at me, reciting a chant of “A retarded bike for a retarded girl!” over and over until they grew tired of it and went back in for more cake. Hours later, as I lay in the same spot I had fallen, tears dried on my cheeks,  my papaw stepped over me  on his way back to his truck and my mom again told me to thank him for my bike and tell him good-bye. Again, I robotically said “Thank you papaw for my bike and good-bye.” I heard him start up his truck and leave. I stayed lying in the grass staring up at the darkening sky thinking life wasn’t worth living without a new lime green Stingray bike. Then my mom squatted next to me, looked down at me and said “You know, there are kids in Africa who don’t even have bikes” and I said “Can we send them mine?”  She laughed, stood up, and told me to put my bike up and get in the house.

I never got a new lime green Stingray bike. I had my monstrosity bike for years until one day I charged out from between two parked cars onto the street with it and got hit by car. No one was hurt. The car was totaled though.


127 Responses to You can’t always get what you want.

  1. Jennifer says:

    LOLOLOL! I LOVE your childhood stories! This is a great story!

  2. Joe the Blog Stalker says:

    Even your balloon was disappointed.

  3. Jade says:

    OMG I can just picture you laying on the ground for hours! LOL!!

  4. Tink says:

    I would have chosen Africa As Well. Suck!

  5. Cindi says:

    I’m laughing so hard I can hardly type! General MacArthur’s head on your “papaw” made me lose it completely.

  6. Holly says:

    Aww that’s so sad – I really want to buy you a lime-green stingray bike now :(
    D has lots of stories about gifts he got that weren’t what he’d asked for…I don’t know what I did differently but I never had that problem…but then maybe they made those mistakes with my brother, and maybe that’s how sibling rivalry starts :) .

  7. PRINCESS says:

    I never got a new bike either. I always got the “Hand-Me-Down” bikes from my older sister.. now my baby brother got new bikes… Oh yeah he did! It sucked being the middle child. I got hand me down dresses, toys …school books.. the only “New” things I got was underwear… mmmhmmm! Thank God! I feel better now……

  8. Tad says:

    OMG..LMFAO…Cracked up at “I stayed lying in the grass staring up at the darkening sky” It was like watching “The Christmas Story” in my head… Hysterical.. oh sorry!

  9. Anastasia says:

    What DRAMA! I can totally relate to the Drama…I was the same way as a child.. my dad used to call me “Sarah Bernhardt” (silent movie actress) so now when my kids do the “Drama” thing I’m like… OMG,,,Too funny. thanks for sharing….

    • Laura says:

      I used to fake “faint” sometimes if I got too upset as a kid. Not a trandrum, just get weak and fall down. My mom would step over me and walk on. Ha!

  10. June says:

    To Fucking Hysterical… just lying on the ground like that … lifeless….destroyed… broken hearted… I felt every pain… To fucking funny… Happy Monday!

  11. hoodyhoo says:

    Offering to send unwanted crap to the starving kids in Africa never worked for me either — and how many times did you have to charge out into traffic before someone would FINALLY hit you and total the bike? I know your ways…

  12. John Green says:

    That was a mighty big bike for a little girl.

    • Laura says:

      Dude, it was massive. It was years before I could actually sit and pedal. I had to stand and use all my might to pedal that damn thing. And forget hills. I had to walk it up them. It was a tank in the bike world.

  13. Yabu says:

    I taught my younger brother to ride a bike on a gravel driveway and on an old metal 16 inch wheels deal. Damn thing had solid rubber tires. All said and done, his ass was busted up pretty good. I don’t recall how many times I gave him a push start, he always got up, bleeding. After he got the “balance thing” down, my father brought two Schwinn Stingrays home. One gold, and one lime green. Since he was still a bruised and bloody mess, my father gave him first choice. He chose the gold one, and I got the lime green one. That was my first pimp ride.

  14. Julia says:

    That is the most awesomest bike every…and to think all I had was a BMX.

    Speaking of bikes my son is now riding my daughters pretty pink bike because he has broken 3 bikes so far this year… and now he broke hers!

    anyone know where I can find a child proof bike??? and maybe some bubble wrap!

  15. This brought back memories of my maybe thirteenth birthday. I wanted a kitten, and got a Barbie car. Which would have been cool if I hadn’t stopped playing with Barbies a couple of years earlier. I wonder which things my kids have really wanted that they didn’t get… maybe I should make it a point to not buy them something, just so they can learn a lesson.

  16. I never had a new bike until a few years ago. It got stolen offa my porch within just a few months.

  17. I always got hand-me-downs too. I had a big sister, so I got hand-me-down clothes, hand-me-down bikes, hand-me-down boyfriends… wait, what?

  18. Same thing happened to me. Except instead of a Papaw it was my grandmother, and instead of getting a bike, I got a freakin’ ORGAN!!!!

    Fucking hell, that memory makes me want to drink heavily.

  19. MorningGlory says:

    This story just explains so much about you. It’s part of what makes you the way you are, so in my opinion it’s a great story. Good on your Crazy Papaw for giving us Laura: attention-whoring, goat-loving, drawing-rendering, T-Rex worshiping, voodoo-practicing, rabies-and-leprosy-carrying Laura (did you notice both hyphens AND commas in there?).

  20. Larry says:

    My grumpy ass one-armed pawpaw got me NOTHING! and I LIKED IT! OR ELSE! now QUIT CRYING or I’ll GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!
    Yes he really did have one arm. The other one got cut off in a corn picker up to the elbow. That’s probably why he was such a grumpy ass. I, on the other hand, am a rockin’ cool pawpaw! Because I said so! Now SHUT IT! lol

  21. Dannie says:

    sorry had to laugh at this story….you sound like both my mother and my daughter is having these dramatic tendencies as well so I’m learning I need to follow the wish list to the letter.

    • Laura says:

      TO. A. TEE. Never vary or waiver. Never, ever.

      • Dannie says:

        coming from a tomboy (me)…I decided to switch “dresses” on my girl at the last minute because the weather did a 180, no drama right? Oh.My.God. You’d think I destroyed the castle, queen, and Prince by changing her attire.

        Well her birthday is coming up so must take a trip to the store and see what she goes trippin’ over so I can get it….of course in the mornings she goes crazy looking at your flying monkey on the banner so maybe you can send me one and I’ll tell her it’s from a crazy ass woman blogger.

        • Dannie says:

          oh and by the way….on the way to work, I saw that bike (your red one)….a homeless guy had it and it reminded me of the mean aunt/neighbor???? of Dorothy on the Wizard of oz….I LOL’ed so much I”m sure the cars next to me thought I was missing a few up there.

        • Laura says:

          She likes the flying monkeys? That is so cool. Most people say they were afraid of them. Pssst..I do believe I have one if you want to email me an address.

  22. Ahwww memories. My second bike, after the first one was destroyed when I was hit by car as well…no one hurt; was a hand me down 3 speed painted the most god-awful pee gren color. I hated it but my best friend at the time loved it she would let me ride her fancy 10 speed just so she could ride my pee green 3 speed.

  23. Jan says:

    My main childhood toy-related grief was always having to leave stuff behind. The military will only pay to move a certain amount per family and we always had to meet the weight and space requirements. I had a cherry red bike with a banana seat similar to the Stingray which I loved, and my parents sold it right out from under me. I got a new bike at our next posting, but I still miss my cherry red one. Sigh.

    [Don't we really sound like a bunch of fucking whiners? :) I mean, if these are as bad as the childhood scars get, we're doing better than 99% of the rest of humanity!]

    • Laura says:

      I KNOW! And I had a delightful, wonderful, action-packed childhood really even though it was full of murder attempts both by me and my siblings! Sometimes when I hear what other people went through I’m all “OH MY GOD I was sooo lucky.” It’s like you won the lottery somewhere to be born to who and where you were.

  24. Curtal Friar says:

    Ha! Great story. No way in hell would I ever post a pic of the first bike I got. I don’t think anyone besides me remembers that travesty, and I’m not going to remind them.

  25. Steph says:

    I am so sorry you got Pee Wee Hermans bike for your bday. Can’t believe you’re not in therapy over it.
    Also, I’d start taunting you and calling you Pee Wee, but you have that secret gov assassin gig going for you….

  26. Wiccapundit says:

    “This bike tells the world you’re in Special Ed.”

    Unless you kept the bike in pristine condition for forty years and sold it for beaucoup bucks on eBay. That tells the world you’re an arbitrageur. A badass one.

    Seriously, the StingRay. Banana seat, “ape-hanger” handlebars, stickshift strategically placed to rack your nuts (for a guy) when jumping the curb and pulling wheelies. Does childhood get any better than this?

    Not anymore. It’s “safety”-this and “safety”-that, and Special Ed kids grown up into positions of legislative and regulatory authority who suck the joy out of childhood for everybody else.

    As revenge for getting a bike like yours.

    • Laura says:


      Childhood is supposed to be dangerous! Remember the playgrounds? Literally a bloodbath everyday. And it was FANTASTIC! The whole falling off the monkeybars, hanging on to the Merry-Go-Round big spinner thing where the G-forces would sling you off into a fence or the gravel, “bailing out” from the swings and crushing gravel into your knees and hands or shattering them on concrete! Good times. Good times.

      • Wiccapundit says:

        Yeah, my brothers and I would spend every summer barefoot, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt, and every morning we would plummet down the driveway on our bikes like an out-of-control luge into the street (no looking both directions, of course). The last words we heard from Mom were: “Be home for dinner.” We got into so much shit, it’s a wonder we survived.

  27. AmyLynn says:

    Oh that totally sucks.
    I did get a good bike as a kid.

    But a few years ago, my mom got me an ice cream cake, even though she knew I was lactose intolerant.


    that is all

  28. Alice May says:

    I just love your blog! You seriously make me happy. Thank you!

  29. Rob says:

    My Dad tried to convert the bike I had into something that would look like the sky blue Schwinn my friend had. The banana seat didn’t really look right on it and the fenders were painted white instead of the shiny chrome on my buddy’s Schwinn. I give him a whole lot more credit for the effort now than I did then. Schwinns were/are expensive.

    I eventually got less expensive, but pretty cool, purple Western Flyer Buzz Bikes courtesy of my crazy ass Grandpa, who owned a Western Auto. The first one was stolen, recovered, and stolen again. The new one was also stolen, recovered, and stolen again.

    Sonofabitchin’ thieves

    • Laura says:

      Damn. Where did you live? Sherwood Forest?

      We never give our parents enough credit until we’re older do we? How my mother, as a single parent, even put up with my drama (let alone all my brothers) as a child is beyond me.

  30. Handflapper says:

    Was your papaw Cotton Hill? I’d heard he did get around.

    That is so sad. I feel your pain. I got the beautiful white bike with pink trim and red racing stripes I wanted for my eighth birthday, but my father deemed the white fake wicker basket with the plastic daisies “impractical” and ruined my bike’s stylishness with an ugly square wire thing paperboys used. I’ve never forgiven for that.

    Also, why don’t grownup bikes have banana seats? SO much more comfortable.

    • Laura says:

      That monstrocity had a cast iron basket. I swear to God it did. I would wreck and sparks would fly from it, and it would never bend.

      And no, my papaw had his shins.

    • Jena says:

      I had a bike similar to it and hated the fact it was so girly. I still rode it tho! My parents tried so hard to buy me “girl stuff” when it was my bros that wanted that shit and all I wanted was a knife. I rarely got shit being the youngest and the least favorite. I rarely wanted anything because I KNEW I wouldn’t get it. I was happy for my hand me downs. That meant I kinda got what I wanted. Except for the knife. Fuckers.

  31. Liz says:

    I was in Mexico for a week and couldn’t read or comment.

    So, to cover all the blogs I missed:

    1. J needs a goat to slap him upside the head (not too hard, just enough to startle him). How can he not understand the love for cute baby goats?

    2. The patriotic spider is the bestest wall you’ve done so far.

    3. Your eye doctor has lied to you. I cry a LOT more now that I’m older. Or, maybe it’s the menopause. Either way there are MORE tears, not LESS.

    4. I could only hope to be rescued by baby goats and now am jealous of you! Or, maybe your story scared me. I’m confused now.

    5. Give J time and he’ll warm up to your neutron bomb idea.

    6. Your singing to the bank while waiting for your boss was pure GENIUS!

    7. I always tried to send my peas to the kids in Africa. My Mom told me that was a stupid idea. I wish I had thought of fainting instead.

    And, I just want you to know that while I enjoyed my vacation, I missed my Monkey fix terribly!!

  32. PlayinPosse says:

    My siblings got really nice bikes (that is until I “borrowed” one, ran it in the a telephone pole and several years later, “borrowed” another one and ran into a ditch. Mine never got damaged, just theirs

  33. laura, if you rode that “special ed” bike today, you’d be the queen of retro chic.
    Not that you aren’t already with the office spider and shit.
    Remember, drink more gin.

  34. Jena says:

    bbwbahaahaa. How did you survive to be the sweet sweet killer of worlds that you are?

  35. DearSweetMama says:

    Reminds me of the year I turned 16 (yes, Hoody, I can still remember that far back) and the numerous hints about my gift – wood paneling, leather seat, 4 wheels – so excited to think I was getting a Woody or some other neat car. Soooo disappointed to get – Goddess help me – a hope chest. To a little hippie chick. Good grief, Moses.

  36. Elphaba says:

    We should examine the silver lining here, which is the strength of character that you’ve acquired by your many childhood trials and tribulations. Disappointment made you a stronger person. Also, it’s clear that your crazy ass Paw-paw gave you more than disappointment. I knew that your special brand of insanity had to come from somewhere (and it is one of your finest features)!

  37. Cheryl says:

    Great story! I wish I could give you a lime green/yellow banana seat stingray – they were and still are too cool for school. Being the oldest of four growing up in the 60-70′s I somehow always had used bikes, which was fine. BUT, after marrying too young, having 3 kids and then getting divorced, when I turned 36 I bought myself one brand-new hot Trek mountain bike then raced with NORBA for three years. Did ok for an “old” lady :)

  38. When I was 12 years old I had plans to run away and join the Rolling Stones but my hopes were dashed when the guitar I got for Christmas was not only not electric, it was mostly cardboard and had a cowboy printed on the front. It took me two tries before it finally broke over my brother’s head when he laughed at me.

  39. Meredith Burleigh says:

    I urge you to buy stock in whichever company makes “Depends” because I can’t continue to wet myself while reading your posts–gonna order a case of ‘em now. Hey, it’s a better retirement plan than your current Lottery plan! ;)

  40. Crying not because you were hurt but because your soul was crushed. LOL! Wait. That’s not funny. Sorry.

    My soul was crushed when I didn’t get Home Alone 2: lost in New York for Christmas. It was all I wanted.

  41. Abby says:

    i love how i’m feeling all sad and a little tearful for you… and then you make me bust out laughing, out loud (for reals, none of this “lol” crap) with the last sentence.


  42. Timothy J McCorkle says:

    As Many Mentioned You could swap a whole Herd of Goats for either of those Bikes today…Be ing Budget contious I’ll recommend Sun comfort Bikes… the Amish Like them, and often have Goats…

  43. SB Smith says:

    Then you might kill me cause my first bike, while not a StingRay brand (was there such a thing ?), it was a short bike with a banana seat and the handle bars were like in your stingray picture. I’m thinking the brand name was Huffy or something like that. I rode it to school in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. It was one mile each way.
    Thank God the dorky headgear and pads didn’t exist then !
    I hope years later you borrowed someone’s HD “bike” and with it, not killed but, maimed all who laughed at you years back on that birthay.

    • Laura says:

      Yes, it was a Stingray and yes, I attempted to kill and maime everyone that laughed at me. That consisted mainly of my brothers.

  44. Gary says:

    Hey girl the same thing happened to me …all I wanted was a cool stingray with a banana seat, what I got was a sears red out of the wizard of oz bike…all that was missing was toto….loved our story…brought that memory back in a flash..thanks.

  45. Jeffro says:

    I soooo wanted a shifter Stingray. I didn’t get it, but I did get a Western Auto Buzz Bike, which had the banana seat and the ape hangers. I’m cheap and easy, so that worked.

    • Laura says:

      At least you didn’t get “The Tank.”

      • SB Smith says:

        You’re right about “the tank”.. When first reading this yesterday, I scrolled down and went “GACK!!” when I saw it!
        As already mentioned by someone, it would have been cool if you’d hung on to it and sold it in mint condition…Then you’d be laughing all the way to the bank.

  46. Bitterroot says:

    Hey, I had that bike!

    And I was going to tell you about it – how mine wasn’t electric snot colored, it was a beautiful, beautiful blue – like the vastness of the open sea – which is fitting, since that was how free I felt riding it! The “Banana” seat was of course yellow vinyl as Federal Law dictated that all “Banana” seats must be. BUT, it wasn’t a flat or even a solid shiny yellow, it was shiny metal-flake yellow – a marvel of plastics engineering. Possibly formulated by DuPont­® using real flakes of sunshine, it caught the light no matter what angle you were looking at it! The shifter gave me unbelievable access to its three speeds: Fast! Faster!! and Fastest!!! as I shot past little retarded children on their giant Edsel-like retarded bikes like a brightly colored comet, laughing the contented Laugh of Victory™ as four aces flapped in my spokes, clothes-pinned to the frame… I. Fuckin’. ROCKED!

    But I figured telling you all that might be rude, so instead I guess I’ll just say, “I’m sorry you were such a dork.”

    But hey, at least it was your pawpaw’s fault. ;)

    • Laura says:

      THAT was a fantastic story! And everything dork was my crazy-ass papaw’s fault.

      • Bitterroot says:

        Thank you – for your story and the picture… What a great memory! I had forgotten all about that bike.

        Of course I had also forgotten about how two very large, very brutish kids from the next street over threw dirt clods at me as I rode down the sidewalk, and how they chased me down, grabbed ahold of the banana-seat support posts to jerk me to a stop, ripped me off the bike and pummeled me for having courageously flipped them off as I not-so-valiantly rode away from the dirt-clod bombardment.

        Yeah, thanks for that memory, too. LOL

  47. mel says:

    I must be special because I like the red one. Laura, you know crazy skips a generation?

  48. Tracy says:

    Girl, I love this story. But, I am sorry that your mom didn’t get you that lime green bike. I thought maybe she would get it for you later. But, I guess not. I thought that was mean of your brothers to laugh at you and your bike. But, you know how kids are. Until, something happens to them. LOL

  49. hotpants™ says:

    But without stories like these, what would you ever blog about? :)

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