A Birthday Present for Tata

Nose ringToday is my father’s birthday. You know him as Iggy the Plumber, but I refer to him more frequently as Tata. Tata, pronounced not like the ta-ta of a goodbye. More like, “She had a nice set of…”

Where is this blog post going? Let me pull us back. While I always associate February 11 with my father’s birthday, it has also become the anniversary of an unfortunate blip in family history. I thought it was an awesome way to mark my father’s birthday. My mother thought otherwise.

Sixteen years ago today, a freshman at NYU, I walked into a basement parlor on 8th Street, hopped onto a medical exam-type table, and paid someone I didn’t know to poke a hole through my right nostril. I ran back to my dorm, the diamond stud of my new nose ring twinkling in the night. It was getting late, and I hadn’t yet called my dad to wish him a happy birthday.

Sto lat!” I sang into the phone, kneeling in front of my dorm room mirror and examining my new face jewelry. “Guess what I did for your birthday, Tata?”

“I dunno. What?”

“I got my nose pierced!”


“No, really. I did. But don’t be mad, it looks really tasteful and—”

“C’mon. You pullin’ my leg. Here’s Mommy. Love you. Bye.”

My mom got on the phone. I knew she’d be a tough sell. But really, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to either of them. I’d been hinting about my plans since that Prince Albert incident.


I jumped right in, telling my mom what I’d done.

“Bullshit,” my mom got a little salty, trying to call a bluff that wasn’t. Continue reading