Thursday, May 10, 2012


The Best Time I Asked for Something and Got It

The year: 2003. My grandma was turning 80! So my big brother and I went down to her house in Fort Lauderdale to hang out with her and celebrate. We went to the Mai Kai and drank tiki drinks … we went to the Rustic Inn and ate garlic crabs … and, of course, we went to the beach.

Usually we opted for Dania Beach because it's generally pretty quiet and deserted. (I think 'cause there's nowhere to buy beer.) But for some reason, that day we ended up at hot, crowded Hollywood Beach. My super-tan grandma oiled up in the sun, my pale brother read a paperback in a cabana, and I headed straight out to the water.

Because, you see, I am a December Capricorn, a sea goat, a creature of the deep. One time when I was buying tampons at a Rite-Aid on Delancey Street, the cashier looked at me for a long moment and said "You … you come from the water." And, I guess it was an odd thing to say in that context, but she was right. On land, I can be awkward, a little slow to get going. But in the sea, I jump and dash and dive like a dolphin. I become the glitter on the water. I disappear.

On that particular day, the sky was bright blue and dotted with impressive Floridian clouds, and I sparkled on the surface of the waves, giddy and weightless. The ocean tossed me merrily up and down, and, as I often do when filled with immense joy, I began to sing. 

I want to be where the mermaids are I wanna see,

wanna see them swimming

Flappin around with those, whaddaya call them?

Oh! Tails!

Plodding on feet you don't get too far

Fins are required for gliding, diving

Bouncing the light off your, what's that word again?


Down where they swim

Down where they twirl

More like a fish and less like a girl

All open sea

Wish I could be

Part of that world

Don't worry, I was far enough out that there was no one near enough to hear my ridiculous little song.

Except King Triton, maybe. Or possibly God. Because when I came out of my reverse-Ariel reverie, I saw something. Two little heads, bobbing in the water, hundreds of yards further out into the ocean.

Immediately I knew — something wasn't right and I had to act. Put another way, I had earnestly requested to be a mermaid, and now I was being called upon to become one.

So I dove into the waves and swam as fast as I could to what turned out to be two tired little girls clinging to each other and dully treading water. When I got close enough, they climbed onto me, gratefully and without a word. And the three of us made our way back to shore.

We found their older brother further up the beach. He nearly burst into tears when I handed them over. Gracias, he said quickly, hugging the little girls tight. De nada, I replied, and flapped back into the water.

Later, over giant scoops of creamy cold ice cream, I told this story to my grandma and my brother, but I'm not sure they believed me. Ah well.

Previously: The Best Time I Was a 200 Pound Beauty* Queen.

Megan Dietz usually makes custom dresses and talks shit about the fashion industry at Wear the Shift. But today she is getting ready to go on vacation! To Florida!!!

Photo by R. Gino Santa Maria, via Shutterstock

69 Comments / Post A Comment

Passion Fruit

What the! Is this real? I loved it, amazing story.


one of the best@m

Reginal T. Squirge

Yeah, I need to know more about these garlic crabs. Asking for a friend.


Aghhhh you got me right in the feelings!


Now my emotions are coming out of my eyes!


@franceschances Me too. It was not what I expected. Love this!


Who is going to be singing Part of Your World all day now? This gal right here.


@lora.bee That song is my karaoke JAM.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

This...this is amazing. You ARE a mermaid, in my mind.


What I want to know is was that song made up on the spot? I'm impressed by your ability to rhyme that well on the fly.


@Dancercise What! No. This is from The Little Mermaid.

ETA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex3n6nFJbSo -- sorry everyone.


Yes, but with new lyrics and new rhymes.


@Dancercise Clearly I need to revisit my cartoon classics.


@Dancercise i did make a lot of it up on the fly! it wasn't this exact version though


@carbonation Could it be from the sequel they did about Ariel's daughter wanting to go back to being a mermaid? At least that's what I think it's about based on the cover.

runner in the garden

@lobsterhug - oh man, best idea ever:
Who's in?!


@runner in the garden YES! I've only ever seen the Aladdin sequels so there is lots of ground to cover.

runner in the garden

@Dancercise - I am fully expecting them all to be terrible.


This made my day! Thanks, Megan, from one mermaid to another...


This is the GREATEST. Especially this: "One time when I was buying tampons at a Rite-Aid on Delancey Street, the cashier looked at me for a long moment and said "You … you come from the water." "

And also especially the ending. so many feels



One of my feelings about this excellent story was "There is no Rite-Aid on Delancey. She must have been dreaming. Or on Grand Street."

This is what happens when Madge, head of the Hairpin Fact Checking Department, takes Thursdays off to play slot machines in Atlantic City.


@atipofthehat hahaha i was thinking that i should research what drug store it was but i couldn't figure out how! the incident occurred in approximately 1997. let me know what you find out!



I was living just off Delancey then. Unless it was the old GEM store, it was the Grand Street Rite-Aid.


There is, however, a Duane Reade.



Boy, is there ever. Good point. I hated that place.


@liznieve WORST Duane Reade. And that's saying something.


@atipofthehat i was assuming she meant that terrible duane reade too.



oh! valencia

ditto, everyone! I truly loved this.


meep! megan here and thanks :)
every word is true!


And now I have the Toadies in my head.


Ahh the best! You were a mermaid fairy godmother!

Lily Rowan

Love this!

And I am also a total sea goat!


oh gosh part of your world is enough on its own to make me tear up! And of course the rest of the story.

So glad you were able to be in the right place at the right time.

Genghis Khat

@redheaded&crazie Once I sang that song at a bar where a bunch of off duty drag queens were hanging out and the DRAG QUEENS APPLAUDED! It was the greatest day of my entire fucking life.


My stepmom has this story about being saved from a shark by a dolphin when she was a little girl, but it would be better if instead of the dolphin it were Megan Dietz.


@frigwiggin i approve this edit to your stepmom's story!


@frigwiggin I hear these kind, benevolent dolphin stories all the time. WTF. My only experience with a dolphin was one BITING me. Where's my good Samaritan dolphin?

mc coolfriend

@travelmugs You know, I don't remember who ruined dolphins for me--and I feel like kind of a hater when I'm compelled (and yet I am compelled) to keep doing it to other people b/c people love dolphins I KNOW--but I learned somewhere that dolphins are the only other species besides us with documented incidences of gang rape to their credit. Not just of humans, we all know those quasi-urban legends, but of their dolphin brethren. Apparently a dolphin would steal your wallet and STILL punch you after you handed it over.

Vera Knoop

@pippi bongstocking Dolphins are smart like humans, and they're assholes like humans. Also, <3 your username so much.


Ahhh...Rustic Inn!!! I grew up in Fort Lauderdale and spent waaaay too much time on both Dania and Hollywood beaches with my sisters!! Dania pier was an AWESOME place to go with the fam. Thank you for the memories!! Awww!! And the Little Mermaid song was just....amaze-balls!!


@ThundaCunt I grew up in BOCA. I know, I know. BUT. Hollywood beaches were my favorite. I also liked the Deerfield beach, the one with the pier. They all seemed so exotic, with boardwalks and actual people on them. You know, Boca beaches are never crowded.
Also. FUCKING MAI KAI! My cousin Shelly had her sweet 16 there! That place is crazy. I didn't know it was still around.
Oh my god, I thought I hated Florida and here I am getting all nostalgic.


Capricorns unite.


@Decca For sure, but I was like... what... I am a mid-Jan Capricorn, and I am the goatiest of goats. I grew up near the beach, and my parents tried so hard, but I just don't go well with water.

Anyway, this was a beautiful, beautiful story.

Passion Fruit

@sevanetta Yay, woo! Goats. Early Jan lady here; delightfully uptight and reserved in person.

I'm pretty bad at water, too. But, I recently attempted surfing for the first time in February, and it was an amazing, innocent, giddy feeling of "Oh! This is why people love to swim in the ocean!" It was seriously beautiful, one of the best moments I've had in nature, ever. Thanks, ocean, for not eating me up!


"But in the sea, I jump and dash and dive like a dolphin. I become the glitter on the water. I disappear."
Oh yeah. You, you use the good words. And I know this feeling. The extent to which I imitate dolphins (and whales?) when I swim may be criminal. But.. I'm a dolphin. So.


What, this? It's time for my daily desk weep.


Aw man, I can swim, but I am a total land bull. Because the ocean is TERRIFYING.


I just moved to this area and keep driving by Mai Kai trying so hard not to be all, "MUST DRINK FRUITY DRINKS NOW!!" Like, I want to stop there and drink all the drinks but I'm a little afraid it's just a big tourist trap and I'll be disappointed.


@Mandalas it is a big tourist trap! and it is awesome! one of the last species of a dying breed! you need to go at least once! and see fire eaters and look at orchids and eat a pu pu platter!

i used to go when i was a kid and then spend hours building sand mai kais on the beach, though, so i may be slightly biased.


I love this story. I will tell it to my Floridian family next Christmas, and every Christmas after.

I love to swim but I'm a Leo...so I guess I'm a SEA LION.

Vera Knoop

@DH@twitter Sea lions, holla! Or, er, bellow!


Aaaah! I loved this.


Sea goats, represent! This was awesome and made me want to get to the beach ASAP.


Thought that said "Sex goats, represent!" for a sec. I almost dropped my taco!


Since you asked for something and it happened, now I am asking for a grandmother who lives in Ft Lauderdale.

And garlic crabs.

They need to happen now.




Sleater-Kinney - "The Swimmer" or am I just crazy?


From a fellow December Capricorn, I GET IT HOLY CRAP. The best parts of childhood (and whatever post-drinking beach trips I've had) has always been diving in the waves and singing Little Mermaid songs.

Leon Tchotchke

@alliepants I've always felt a really strong connection to the water, but I find that if anyone ever takes a picture of me swimming it completely shatters my illusions of aquatic grace for like... a month or so? Because I always look super awkward, like the dad who's wearing horn-rimmed glasses and grinning in a 1950s family beach picture where everyone is wearing super odd bathing suits pulled up over their belly buttons, only he looks especially odd because it looks like he stepped directly out of Accounts Payable onto the sand, shedding his grey wool suit as he went.

crane your neck

This is tangentially related: have you heard the Little Mermaid story on "This American Life"? I've heard it two dozen times and it never gets old. It's Act One: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/203/recordings-for-someone


i was pretty sure this was gonna be about asking your grandma for her awesome silk caftan and matching turban thingy and her saying yes. that was gonna be awesome, but this was even better.


oh my god i love this! the whole december capricorn paragraph was genius! i want to go swimming now.


Great work, fellow December Cap!


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