In college I had three friends named Jody. One was cherubic and bubbly, with long curly black hair and a talent for acting. If Cherub Jody ever became famous enough to merit assaulting the public with her own fragrance, it would be called “Wholesome” and it would smell like peach cobbler, Christmas Eve, knitting shops, and well-behaved, clean toddlers playing with puppies. Cherub Jody transferred to Madison after our sophomore year, so I can say with some degree of certitude that she now buys organic food and perhaps subscribes to Utne Reader.
Another Jody was skinny and tan, with Girls Gone Wild flat-ironed blond hair. Her favorite hobbies were looking great in jeans, steering me toward illegal activity, and breaking up and then reuniting with her football-player boyfriend. I’m not sure, but I think GGW Jody dropped out after our sophomore year. Either that or I got tired of her shenanigans and just stopped returning her calls.
The last Jody also had curly hair like Cherub Jody, but a hard streak from being raised “up north.” Also because she learned in college that her dad had a secret second family. Which, as you may surmise, would give anyone a hard streak.
Once while visiting Up North Jody we attended a party hosted by boys who liked dirt bikes and beer can pyramids. As soon as we walked in the door the other Up North girls wanted to beat me up because I was wearing some new-fangled necklace that hadn’t hit the scene there yet. I know this because they said so right next to me, loudly. “Who’s this bitch? She must think she’s hot or something. Wonder what she’d do if I kicked her ass.”
Well, I would burst into a song and dance routine from the musical Oklahoma! and then distribute fun size Milky Way bars to everyone. Duh.
Anyway, I earned their respect by drinking half a bottle of peach schnapps, employing some self-deprecating humor, listening raptly to their relationship woes, and enduring lots of Guns ‘n’ Roses around a bonfire. If I could make them laugh with a well-timed belch or fart, that was good, too.
(Note to young people everywhere: if ever you find yourself in a situation where you need to placate or endear yourself to a bully, try my scientifically-proven Asskiss system. One sale now for the low price of your dignity at retailers nationwide.)
For those of you who read this post about my stellar observation skills, I was riding that Greyhound bus to visit Up North Jody. She’s the girl I met at art camp. We bonded over a comedian’s routine about how you can substitute a nasal, “Eeeeewwww, bugs, eeeeewwwww” for just about any Bob Dylan lyric. So Up North Jody was really a high school friend turned college chum.
But back to the Jody trifecta. I often wonder what’s happened to them. I can totally imagine Cherub Jody going on to make a well-balanced, cheerful wife and mother. I see her as a teacher for special needs kids. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find her volunteering with local literacy programs or community theater troupes and wearing reindeer sweaters without irony every Christmas.
Girls Gone Wild Jody is probably also a wife and mother, but one with a little more drama in her life. I see drunken brawls with her husband at his company picnic, followed by tearful reconciliations in the car. I imagine her children pushing other kids off the slide or pulling the legs off of insects at the playground while mommy calls daddy to check up on him for the eighth time that morning. GGW Jody has likely become the kind of woman the rest of us can blame for feeble feminine stereotypes and lines like this in movies like The Island: “Never trust a woman with your credit card.” Hahahahaha! Haha! Ha! Ha. Ha …… *cough*
Up North Jody is a social worker working with inner-city toughs, last I heard. But now she lives Down South. Which is Milwaukee, if you’re from Up North. She’s the one I miss the most.
Do you ever wonder what became of the Jodies in your life?