In 1977, I won the hula hooping championship of Rosalie Villa Avenue. I marched those streets, my banner across my chest, swinging my hula around my arm like a cowboy preparing to lasso his steer. Yeehaw.
Passers-by dodged me. Dogs barked, offering me a treat. Old people redirected their wheelchairs and walkers into the busy street to make room for Amy, hula hooping champion of Rosalie Villa Avenue.
My swirly hips were unstoppable. A car ran me over, but it didn’t break my streak, didn’t dent my plastic donut. Steal and speed were no competition for my centrifugal force.
A person yelling, “HELP!” out her firey window as her house burned to the ground didn’t shatter my concentration. I was hula hooping champion, and none of these human distractions were going yank my plastic donut off my hip circles.
The hula hooping championship leaked into other victories. I ended up winning at poker for a few years. I even made it to Vegas and became the youngest kid to chain-smoke and bluff during a Deepstack Championship held at the Venetian.
I couldn’t lose.
Monopoly? I always got Boardwalk with hotels. I was impossible to beat, and that’s me being modest. I was a tsunami in a world of pond ripples.
Competitors came at me from every direction. My Sisters? They howled at their misfortune. “Why,” they screamed, “does she always win at Monopoly? Bitch takes Boardwalk every time! The game is rigged. Fake news!”
My friends? They tripped me when I walked into a room. They poisoned my lunch tray. They left firey poop on my doorstep. “I don’t wanna be no sidekick,” they wrote on a note tied to a brick they threw through my window.
But then my luck ran out, and the people all came rushing back. Misery loves company. Every person who’d run from my Wonder-womanness took their place above me on the metaphorical totem. So I was back being the bottom yertle the turtle, the upperlings breaking my shell.
I blame the hula hoop. She made me too grand too early. So, friends, hip swirlers, lucky ones, be careful where you hang your waxwings, kids. Hula today. Gona tomorrow.