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Friday, July 21, 2006

The bane of my existence

“The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” ~Quentin Crisp

I was a hard ass. Or at least I thought I was one. I wore brown wet & wild lip liner with cherry flavored gloss. I slicked back my hair with ungodly amounts of gel. It was an in after years of out. The only way for me to be ‘in’ was to swear and get detention, said ‘triflin’ and the “n word” and apparently use gel that wasn’t made from all natural Aveda products. Obviously, times were hard.

At some point, via my new found friendship with the rest of the black kids at my middle school, I became friends with a girl named Amanda – whose last name escapes me now. For years she had been friends with a girl named Teresa. Teresa’s father owned a landscaping company and happened to be our landscaper. There’s nothing particularly interesting about Teresa or Amanda except that they had the proper connections to the people that I wanted to be friends with. I had gone with wistfully thinking of camaraderie with the kids who wore Abercrombie every mother fucking day, to the kids who drank Smirnoff ice in Altamont and taught me how to inhale my first cigarette.

A moment to pause; because What the fuck was I thinking?

Anyway one day while doing the landscaping duties, Amanda happened to join them on the duty of mowing our crap ass lawn which I took as a sign to become BFFE with her and we were going to braid each other’s hair in cornrows and hang out at Crossgates until 10 PM(!) After becoming better acquainted with her, we began passing notes in Social Studies.

Our Social Studies teacher was Mr. Zahurak. Mr. Zahurak, like every other one of my teachers, happened to know my mother. Mr. Zahurak also knew of my penchant for skipping class, getting detention and not doing my work via the other teachers in my 8th grade team. He was a tall fat man. OK, he was ‘rotund’. With a giant stomach, that reminded me of an upside down tympani. So one day, Amanda and I were passing notes – because that was the cool thing to do – and for some reason I thought it brilliant to write out:

“Mr. Zahurak is such a jerk and has a really fat stomach”

Amanda thought it was funny. I thought it was funny. Mr. Zahurak didn’t think it was funny. Especially when he came up to us demanding to have the note and I ripped it in half. Thinking Aha! That’ll keep him from reading my super secret message! Alas it did not. And instead it landed me in my dean’s office for roughly the 15th time that year. Now, given past experience as a bona fide ass kisser whose first detention came by way of a mix up, I figured that I would get off scot-free. Oh. Oh no. I did not. Instead I received super extended detention until 5:30 PM (this to make up for the note, my general lack of school work, and my underdeveloped vocabulary. Because really ‘fat stomach’? Surely I can think of something far better than that).

As was customary for things that arrived from Farnsworth Middle School, things that landed in the mailbox, were quickly retrieved and destroyed. If only I had an incinerator. But this time, despite my stealthy recovery and subsequent burial in the backyard where the tomatoes used to grow, Peg found out about my transgression. Mr. Zahurak actually called my mother. He called her! To tell her that she had raised a heathen who used the phrase ‘fat stomach’ as an actual insult. And my god! Why couldn’t she have raised a child with a more expansive cache of insults? Peg had the same sense of humor as Mr. Zahurak and her quick response was to ground me and force me to sit at home during the 8th Grade Moving Up Day Dance. I was heart broken, because my chances at popularity had been squashed. My mother even questioned why and how I had become friends with this Amanda girl.

Years later the letter resurfaced again. No, it did not spring forth fruit from the ground, but Peg called and asked whether or not I could remember exactly what I had written. Which, yes I recalled. She asked if I could write it down for her. Because the details of my note would be used during a Roast for Mr. Zahurak to end his 129 years of abuse at the hands of pretentious teenagers i.e. retirement. What I recall most about that conversation is how thoroughly entertaining my mother found the entire situation to be. She thought it was funny. Mr. Zahurak and all of his teacher buddies thought it was funny. I was only mildly amused given the fact that I had to miss out on the 8th grade dance and the fact that that could have been the greatest night of my life. Because in 8th grade, everything is imperative and everything that happens in the 8th grade will predetermine one’s entire life. Duh.

Don’t write shit that you wouldn’t want your mother/teachers to read. Don’t think that you can bury shit in the back yard. Don’t think that just because the popular kids are popular that you have to be exactly like them. Don’t think that your teachers are unable to use the phone. And for the love of God, do develop an insult repository beyond ‘fat stomach’. Lesson learned.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jacynth said...

Holy hell, this is one funny story. What would you use in place of "fat stomach" now? Hmmm?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

I'd probably call him a loquacious heavy set man with a penchant for spewing trite and vapid crap that does nothing except to bore the shit out of his students.

but fat stomach still rings true.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Dagny said...

You were so cheated. In eighth grade I wrote the school librarian a letter in which I called her a racist bitch. My mother made me apologize for upsetting the woman but I didn't have to apologize for the content of the letter. The counselor wanted to suspend me but my mother ripped her a new one when I wasn't present.

That sucks about missing the dance. Especially since they all seem to find it so humorous now.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Marci (aka Baby Banana) said...

OMG this is the fucking funniest story ever.

However, next time you see me, do not comment on my fat stomach.

4:38 PM  

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