Happy Hump Day, Everyone!
I didn’t embrace the greatness of Hump Day until I went to college in Iowa. (And yes, I’m going to keep saying Hump Day until you giggle. Hump Day Hump Day!) I went to Grinnell, which is known nationally as being a great liberal arts school with a huge endowment, and known locally as “the one with all the naked kids.”
Let me back up for a moment. About me: I grew up in Wisconsin, just outside Madison, and after college I moved to New Mexico, where I taught middle school. Currently I live in Chicago, where I teach creative writing at StoryStudio Chicago and spend much of my day talking to my greyhound Zia.
My book, THE PRINCESSES OF IOWA, is a reverse-Cinderella story in which an It-girl who seems to have it all – the gorgeous boyfriend, the perfect best friends, and a spot on the Homecoming Court – starts to wonder if there’s more to life than being popular. (And, as Deb Tawna mentioned, there’s also a gay creative writing teacher, a fake car accident, a real car accident, some jokes about Muttnik, a sexy nerd, an angry alternateen, a disastrous homecoming parade, and an airbrushed T-shirt that says “I love my Iowa Grandma.”)
Just as Deb Erika’s book is a love letter to New Orleans and Maine, my book began as a love letter to Iowa. When I wrote it, I was living in a weird little house in the mountains of New Mexico with my dog Zeke, and homesick for the rolling prairies and fields of the Midwest….
Which brings me back to Hump Day.
So in college, the woman who took your ID card at the dining hall was named Norma,* and she was a little bonkers. We had many theories to explain her weirdness, ranging from Nazi War Criminal Deep Undercover to Slightly Defective Android. Norma tried to memorize everyone’s name, and she was very good at it unless you wanted to be called something different than the name on your Student ID, in which case Norma’s wires seemed to get crossed, and she would just start shouting random names at you.
And every Wednesday, Norma would greet you with “It’s Hump Day!” Only she’d kind of shout it. “IT’S HUMP DAY!”
We all loved her.
One Wednesday – the BEST Wednesday – I was leaving the dining hall with some friends, and Norma showed off her name skills by wishing us each a Happy Hump Day. “HAPPY HUMP DAY, PAUL! HAPPY HUMP DAY, KEVIN! HAPPY HUMP DAY, MOLLY! HAPPY HUMP DAY, ZACK!”
I’d walked out with just Paul and Kevin, so I glanced around for a Zack, but there wasn’t anyone else in the hallway. Behind us, I heard Norma say to herself, “There’s no Zack there.”
HAPPY HUMP DAY, everyone! I’m so excited to be spending a year’s worth of them with you!
*name changed to protect the Nazi War Criminal and/or Android
M. Molly Backes
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