Lori McClain



Good Things Are Always Happening To Me!

By Lori McClain


It’s so funny, but when I was born, everyone said to my mother: "The Lord never gives you something you can’t endure, Dorothy. That child is marked." And it’s so true. Since day one, I’ve known that I was set aside for greatness. Good luck has followed me wherever I go (or as some Hollywood types might say, "good karma!" Har-de-har-har!).

Example: Once in Kindergarten my teacher, Mrs. Moore, told my mother that I was "special" and I shouldn’t be in the same class with all of the normal kids. And I’m here to tell you that she was right. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not like I’m conceited or anything. It’s just this inner knowing – a force – even a loud baritone voice sometimes that lives deep in my chest – that tells me that I can do anything. I’m a natural teacher. I know that I was put on this Earth to be an example to others. I love being me!

In fact, here’s another example of just how lucky I am to be me, folks: Last week, when I cashed my paycheck from the City of Chicago Tollways Division, I got a few of those new five dollars bills from the Currency Exchange. So, I quickly proceeded over to Walgreen’s to buy my copy of Teen People (yes, I still love those young hunks, even at my age!), and the cashier thought I handed her one of those new $20 bills, and she gave me $17 change.

I stood there and counted for a minute, while all the people behind me in line were grumbling, and I realized that she had given me something like ten dollars too much. I showed her the money in my hand and let her take back what was rightfully hers (I’m not a complete saint, though. I certainly let her know how dumb she was before I exited the store – and loud!). I caused quite a stir between her, the manager, and the security guard who escorted me out rather roughly (Meeeeooowwwch! Be still my heart). They’ll never forget meeting me, I can tell you! I touched their lives!

Another example of why it’s good to be me: When I considered going to college in ’78, I decided that the best way to get into the college groove was to live in the dormitories and just act like a student, without actually signing up for all of those expensive classes. I had plenty of time for soul searching and made lots of friends by riding up and down the elevators and pushing the floor buttons for people. They called me "Elevator Girl," "Buttons," "Freaky Chick," or other pet names. By the time spring quarter rolled around, the authorities had asked me to leave (Well, they never actually asked. I just walked into my apartment one day and found all my clothes in garbage bags and all of my meat stuck in my grocery cart). The thing they don’t realize is that I knew everyone in that dormitory, and all their dirty little secrets. They’d better not cross me. Ever. That means you, Mary Catherine! But again, I was someone those people won’t soon forget.

It’s not that things have always been rosy for me. Example of how I turned a negative situation into a positive: I escaped an abusive boyfriend when I lived near Philadelphia in ’89. I was waiting tables at a local dinner playhouse and met a very handsome Italian man named Frank (and even played a small part in an all-female version of "The Odd Couple." I got to play poker on stage, and I’ve never played poker in my life!). Frank had some problems, but I thought I could be the answer to those problems. Boy was I wrong. (Read: HE WAS NUTS! How did I keep attracting those people into my life?)

Frank washed dishes at the playhouse, but that was just his night job. During the day, he had his hands in many different businesses. Well, it started out pretty hot and heavy, and it felt great to have a successful businessman for a boyfriend. But soon, when Frank was pretty sure I wasn’t going anywhere (when I fall in love, I fall hard!), the True Frank came out, and boy-howdy! He wanted me to clean his apartment, make his breakfast, clean his guns -- and one time he forced me to kiss all of his friends and make passes at them! I told the police about it, but they just told me that I’d better let bygones be bygones, leave town and never come back. Can you believe he actually filed a Restraining Order against ME? C-R-A-Z-Y!

After I got Frank out of my heart, I never looked back. And let me tell you, I really never did look back. You can’t help someone who isn’t willing to help themselves. Thank you, Oprah! I just hope one day Frank realizes what he’s missing. He’ll be back. No doubt.

Well, I’m sure you think that all this is just the ranting diatribe of a lady who’s very sure of herself, but I hope that my self-confidence will be an example to other gals out there who don’t think they have what it takes in this world. I’ve been where you are, Sisters. And I’ve made it through. I’ve got a steady job, a nice studio apartment, and plenty of cats. And I’m here to tell you: I am my own best friend (but Ben & Jerry run a close second! Haw!). No one likes spending time with me more than I do.

My wish: that all of you will be able to say, "It’s great to be me!" just like I do every day at the Tollbooth.

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