Sunday, August 20, 2006

True 'First Day of School' Story - Excerpt from "Growing Up Cold"

*Names have been changed to protect the ignorant; derogatory nicknames remain intact.

Growing Up Cold: The Brown Bag Incident or How My Mother Killed Me

The first day of high school is the most important day of your life. Exaggeration? Absolutely not! That life altering day begins with first impressions. Your worthiness is evaluated, scored, and your social standing is chinked into stone by your peers. It is the defining period of your teenage years and thus will impact your future success, who you marry, who you become.
My first day began gloriously. My home-room was full of strangers - people entirely unaware of my nerdy past - and it was located in the coveted Technical Wing, home of shop class, machines, carpentry and electronics. Why was having your homeroom, thus your locker, in the Tech Wing important? For the boys, it meant not having to go far for most of your classes. But for us few and fortunate gals, it meant numerous daily trips to our locker with plenty of opportunity to engage in the age-old sport of Checking-Out Hot Guys.
I had it made!
First period, English; no problem, I could form a decent sentence.
Second period was computer science with Mr. Down*, or as the seniors called him ‘Hands Down’, as he allegedly liked to put his hands on the girls’ bottoms. I must stress ‘allegedly’ as I didn’t witness any shenanigans by Mr. ‘Hands’ Down. For the record, I was not felt up in high-school. By anyone. Not even by aforementioned Hot Guys in the Tech Wing.
Third period science was hosted by a frighteningly stereotypical absentminded professor by the name of Mr. Brumpty*, or as we affectionately called him, Humpty Brumpty. Many ‘kick-me’ signs would be affixed to this poor man’s back over the next four years.
Fourth period, right before lunch, was with Mr. Truelove. We could have had a bloody field day with his name, but he was the school principal so the students collectively, respectfully left his name in tact. Fact was, Mr. Truelove was a really cool guy and a terrific math teacher. Numbers were not my strong suit so I was naturally nervous, but the first 30 minutes in his class were enjoyable. I answered a few questions correctly and made the guy sitting in front of me laugh with a few well-placed sarcastic asides. Half of this stressful day was over and I felt great. Life was good. High school was awesome!
That’s when the knock came.
Mr. Truelove interrupted his lesson to answer the door and I was horrified to see my mother standing there. They exchanged whispers, then a hand-off. Mr. Truelove quietly shut the door and strolled casually to my desk. “Miss Gadowski? It seems you forgot your lunch. Your mother was kind enough to bring it.” Was that a smirk on his face as he handed me the neatly folded brown paper bag? I could feel the stinging heat of a blush creep into my cheeks as I buried the offending package in my knapsack. He knew that he had just witnessed social homicide and could now sit back and watch me struggle for the next four years. He knew he would get plenty of laughs in the staff room at my expense. Sure, kids were mean,... but teachers were meaner. Sadly, the tale doesn’t end there. My murderous mother condemned me to a slow torturous death by packing in that innocent brown paper bag, her famously delicious sausage. Home-made garlic sausage. The waft coming from the depth of my backpack was unbearable. I didn’t need to see the glances, the smirks and the notes being passed to know that I was finished. No party invitations, no dates, no prom. Welcome to high school.

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