Or How I Had to Talk Myself Down From Jumping Off The High Rise
So every morning, my parents would proceed on the LOOOONG trek of bringing my father to work, then dropping us off at school Uptown. Every day, we passed the dreaded entity, known to all New Orleanians as “The High Rise.” The mere act of getting on THR was a major feat. It often meant the difference between getting a ride and being told to kiss someone’s ass:
“Can you drop me off?”
“Um…I’ll see. Where do you live?”
“On the other side of The High Rise.”
It was high, it was fast, and people had this habit of driving like the other side might not be there once you reached the apex. (Either that, or the entire city was filled with morons, completely unaware of the laws of physics. ACCELERATE!) It was basically the bridge to Downtown, and Uptown, and Mid-City, and anywhere else that wasn’t New Orleans East. Of course, this made it prime ad space. There was always some huge billboard or another. Around my sophomore year of high school, Hooters advertised there. We passed it daily for months sans incident. Ultimately, it was too much for my mother to handle.
“So…what is this Hooters?”
“It’s a restaurant,” Daddy replied, CLEARLY not wanting to continue the conversation with my three sisters and I in the car.
“But…Hooters? What’s that name about? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
“It’s something about the women that work there.” He really wants this to be over. He REALLY doesn’t want her to ask another question. But Mom isn’t letting up, and at this point, she’s giving him the complete Scooby Doo “ruh?” face. “Hooters is a slang term.”*
“Slang? For Women? Like ‘yahoo’?!”
At this point, my sister and I look at each other in horror. What in the name of all the fuck shit are they doing in that bedroom? Yahoo? Bruh…bruh…my damie. No. I guess Moms Duke didn’t get pregnant five times playing gin rummy, but still. Gross.
At this point, Pops is over it, so he sighs deeply and says, “Lou, Hooters is slang for BREASTS. All of the women who work there have extremely large BREASTS. [How YOU know, my n-word?] So they named it Hooters because of the theme – BREASTS.” (Yes, he emphasized it each and every time.)
And Mom, cool as a fan says, “Well I guess they won’t be hiring me.”
There are things you can never un-hear, and the fact that I did not slide open the door to our Aerostar and make my peace with Jesus is really a testament to my ability to survive anything.
That’s also probably why, when I started driving myself around, I took the long way, aka the Danzinger Bridge.
*Yes, my dad said “slang term.” He also says relations or intercourse, and refuses to use the word gay, it’s always “homosexual” – for men and women. He has no time for your fancy talk. Sometimes, I really just can’t with that dude.