Another quick childhood tidbit as I battle an absolutely insane week:
Okay, so me, in kindergarten. I was five. (I’d show you a photo, but I used it yesterday.)
Just imagine it here. Smiling face. Chubby cheeks. In a dress, most likely.
My classmates and I were outside for recess, playing in a large alcove by one of the many sets of doors my first elementary school had. The first bell rang, and I guess we had been trained to do this, because we all lined up by our door, against the brick wall like good little children/robots.
Except this one jerk of a kid – Morgan – wasn’t standing still. Instead, he was turned the wrong way – facing my friend Jocelyn and I – and making fun of her name.
“JOCELYN! JOCELYN! What a stupid name! BLAH BLAH BLAH I’M AN IDIOT!”
NOTE: My interpretation of what was being said. It’s all you need to know, really. Plus, the first half is totally true.
Jocelyn had started to cry.
“Stop it! STOP IT!” She wailed helplessly.
Then I stepped in. Because if there’s one thing that makes me angry,* it’s when someone picks on someone I love.
Now, I don’t know if I have some Hulk blood in me or what, but I remember what happened next very clearly. I grabbed Morgan’s shirt collar and I pushed him into the brick wall. I didn’t shove him or anything – I held him there, like a mafia boss threatening one of his victims in a movie.
“Don’t you EVER make fun of Jocelyn again!”
Morgan shut the hell up. And he turned really red, like he was gonna cry.
But he didn’t, because before he could, our teacher had come out the door and saw what was happening. She broke us up, ushered our whole class inside, and then ushered Morgan and I into the grade two classroom, which was empty at the time, because maybe they were in gym class or something.
I don’t remember what happened in the meantime, but I remember the principal showing up. He sat on the edge of one of the tiny tables – which, under his tall stature looked like dollhouse furniture – and crossed his arms.
“Do you want to tell me what happened at recess?” He asked sternly.
And then I did this:
Yup. I burst into tears. Not just whimpering, but full on CRY CRY.
It wasn’t an act, by any means. I was terrified. I had never been in trouble with the principal before, and confrontations – even to this day – make me severely uncomfortable.** So I let it all out. I sobbed. I sobbed until I was doing that weird hyperventilating inhale thing. You know the one.
I have no idea what Morgan did. I think he just sat there. The principal, from what I remember, was taken aback by my tears, and I think he also took them to mean I was innocent. He basically just told us to “stay out of trouble,” or some other principal cliché, and sent us on our way.
Anyway, that was the day I learned:
(A) That it’s important not to get caught when you’re defending your friends, and
(B) That tears will, in fact, get you anywhere.***
*Lots of things make me angry, but it just sounded right.
**And they still usually make me cry, even if I’m not sad. Remember that episode of Friends? Where Rachel cries at her boss? That.
***Like the time I landed in Glasgow to live there for a year and had the wrong paperwork and the customs agent told me he should technically send me back to Canada and I sobbed and he let me into the country.