It all started at age three, with that age came nursery school. The very first day I was put into a corner and cried myself into hiccups. All because I hit a little boy on the head with a cardboard brick . Hey, what can I say… I was playing with the green phone first. I will never forget the teacher, a giant compared to me, grabbing my skinny little arm and telling me that I needed to learn how to share with the other children and until I did I would have to sit in the corner. In my opinion, the little jerk needed to give up the phone. Instead, he got to play with it for the duration of playtime and I developed a hatred of school and possibly people in general from that day forward.
Kindergarten was interesting. I’ll never forget the day when a little boy in my class who had a glass eyeball accidentally had it pop out and drop to the floor. The whole class stared in horrified amazement as his eye rolled across the linoleum. True story… it really happened. REALLY- creepy. That year was the beginning of a long episode of imagination and detention. My mother was completely stunned when she came to school to meet with the teacher for my first open house. Thanks to my creativity and imagination, she learned from my teacher that my father had been shot in the head during a terrible hunting accident and that she herself was soon to be expecting another baby. After receiving both sympathy and congratulations, she could only stammer “another baby?”
That year of kindergarten also started what I refer to as my “self-defense” phase. Known to others as my kicking and punching phase. Kids can be cruel even at a young age, and boys at that time seemed to me especially vindictive. So I became a little combative and in defending myself, they would get kicked or punched in the private. An area I had learned very quickly seemed to do the most damage. By the time I was halfway through the year, I had every little boy in the class terrified of my black patent leather shoes. Sometimes my kicking was accidental and unfortunately my beloved future brother-in-law was dealt more blows to his nether regions than I’d like to take credit for. To this day it amazes me that he and my sister have three children, because I’m sure at some point he thought I did some permanent damage.
I would love to say that elementary school went by fast, but it didn’t. The days dragged on and on and it seemed as if each year got worse. Second grade came along and with it my own desk in a corner of the room with a blue folder taped to it labeled “Completed Homework.” This file usually remained empty, so my teacher decided to implement a different tactic to help my distraction and to keep me focused. A big orange divider was placed on my desk with the direct purpose to hide the class from me and to make me the outcast and laughing-stock of the second grade. To this day I still think I need therapy. I really hated second grade.
I don’t remember much of third grade. Mostly because I had my head on my desk for the entire year so old, spinster Miss Robinson didn’t have to deal with me. I do remember one special moment when a girl in my class wiped a boogie in another girls hair who was standing in line ahead of her. I wasn’t a fan of third grade either.
Fourth grade did away with the orange divider and placing your head on your desk. I had graduated to marking down the number of times I got up out of my seat with little slashes on a piece of paper. Now, I have to admit… even to this very day I don’t see what that was supposed to do, because it didn’t matter to me. I thought it was funny. I would get out of my seat just so I could make a slash.
From fourth until about seventh grade my childhood went through a transitional period. It seemed as if everyone else around me was hitting puberty and making out after school at the basketball court. “Smear the Queer” was a popular sport played at recess by most of the boys in my class, which involved whipping a kick ball at each other’s heads as hard as you could; if you were struck, you were out. This was a very intense game that would often single out the weak from the strong. The boys found this to be highly amusing. However, nothing could compare to the “Atomic Wedgies” given on a daily basis. The most lethal experience any male child of that age could have. This would happen to the unsuspecting boy as he innocently changed in the locker room or was caught at the urinal. He would be held onto by two other boys and a third boy would reach down the back of his pants and pull his underwear so far up his arse it would cover his head. At least that was the goal… to rip the band up over the head of the victim. This cruel form of entertainment was only considered a success if the band of the underwear ripped away from his briefs entirely.
Girls were wearing bras and talking about shaving their legs. I, however, was not yet capable of filling out anything that would be considered a bra and I had no idea why anyone in their right mind would shave their legs. The thought of a sharp metal object grazing my very flesh was enough to give me nightmares. At the time, I still slept with a nightlight on and once in a while snuck into my parents bed to sleep with them.
I will admit that I may have been a tad precocious, however, in my opinion I feel that most of my childhood issues were a direct result of my unsquelchable personality and lack of tolerance for stupidity. I remained a child for much longer than my peers and gratefully so. I have to give an enormous amount of credit to my mother who was subjected to my social and academic discrepancies for all those years. Now she laughs as I chase a two-year-old version of myself around the house. It’s true what’s said… “What goes around comes around.” I just hope by now, they’ve done away with the orange folder and atomic wedgies… for my son’s sake.