Tom Hanks, You Ruined My Life


I've had a pretty eventful life, and as I've headed into adulthood, I started really taking a look at who I was, and where my life was headed. My therapist told me that I needed to "let go" and "stop creating things that are getting in the way of my success."

I am not going to lie to you, I have no idea what she is talking about, but during the course of my therapy I started to notice a reoccurring theme…

Tom Hanks has singlehandedly ruined my life.

My Parents' Divorce

It is 1984, and I am 3 years old, and my younger brother has just been born. The movie Splash, starring Tom Hanks is out in theaters. My Mother and Father are arguing over dinner.

Dad: "You used to look just like that Darryl Hannah… I miss that… maybe eat a salad or something once and awhile…"

Mom: "I just gave you another Child goddamn it! Besides, she's a fucking mermaid!!"

Dad: "Don't raise your voice in front of the children…"
A few months later they were divorced.

Tom Hanks, you've ruined my life.

My Body Image Issues

It is 1988 and I am 7 years old and in first grade. Everyone has seen the movie Big, starring Tom Hanks. I am the tallest girl in my class and all the kids start calling me Josh Baskin and teasing me incessantly.

"Josh Baskin! Josh Baskin! Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Puff!!"

I start self-medicating with food and my parents decide to have me placed into a special school for pre-adolescent overweight and extremely tall girls.

Tom Hanks, you've ruined my life.

My Crippling Fear of Dogs

It is 1989, and it is my first summer break after being transferred to a special school for pre-adolescent overweight and extremely tall girls. Although the curriculum is structured around a strict diet and exercise regimen, I am not yet at my physical peak after gaining a staggering amount of weight due to Tom Hanks' role in the Motion Picture Big.

It is late August, and I am walking through my neighborhood, getting my heart rate up in preparation for the first day of school. Turner and Hooch starring Tom Hanks is my current favorite movie. I come around the corner in my cul-de-sac and a brown bulldog charges at me.

"No Hooch! No!!" the neighbor boy yells.

The dog ends up biting through my jeans, and I have to go to the ER for a Rabies shot.

Tom Hanks, you've ruined my life.

My Stepfather's Passing

It is 1990 and my Mother has since remarried. My Stepfather is a shoe salesman who's allergy to cotton has given him chronic and incurable bronchitis from inhaling shoestring fibers, and he is given 6 months to live. His spirits are lifted after seeing Joe Versus the Volcano starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Wanting to spend his remaining months in peace, he quits his dehumanizing job and we take a family trip to Hawaii. We are on a guided tour of the mountains when I trip on a rock in the hiking path, which causes me to push my Stepfather's wheelchair, and him, into the open mouth of a live volcano. His body is never recovered.

Tom Hanks, you've ruined my life.

Look… this is very difficult for me. I'm slowly, but surely making progress. Everyday I am able to uncover more of the truth… allowing me to be able to accept myself, and move on with my life. I am ready to stop making excuses for the way my life has turned out, and just really take ownership of the fact that Tom Hanks has ruined my life.

Republished with permission from Better Than the Van.

Tom Hanks, You Ruined My Life

Lauren Alexis Wood began writing at an early age, sending in a hand-drawn manuscript to a publisher listed on the back of one of her Children's books, which was returned a week later due to improper postage. She vowed to "never write again". Since then Lauren has created the Pulitzer Prize nominated Qorviq the Nondenominational Winter Solstice Celebration Seal as well as Animals with Hitler Mustaches. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Cinema and Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa, and took several MBA courses only to quit after realizing that "corporate America totally blows". She's now joined the cast/writing crew at Minneapolis TV.