(Originally written on January 10, 2011)
I have to say, with the exception of literally about two or three people, there are very few souls that I call my friends who don’t know how to laugh.
How is it that all my life I have been surrounded with crazy people that laugh with food in their mouths, wide open for the world to see or at least to tempt fate and either spit it out or choke on it. Either way, I seem to be surrounded with people who can laugh at themselves; probably while they are laughing at me, but its laughter nonetheless.
I have truly earned the name dork. Even though the name calling (to my face at least) started with a close friend about 10 years ago, I think I have been building to it all my life.
As a little girl I was clumsy and skinny, but somehow my dad made it ok by calling me Olive Oyl and making me feel like a star. But I have had some really em-bare-ass-ing moments.
In the third grade my friend Jeannette’s mom who was the secretary at my elementary school cried tears of hysterical laughter when I careened (crying as well) into the school’s administration office to see if she could call my mom. I had an accident.
I remember it like yesterday.
It was the day that by sheer fate, I secured the fact that there would be a shot gun wedding in my future; my own. You see, it was summertime and it was hot. We were all enrolled in summer school and during recess we liked to play on the swings at Sierra Vista Elementary school. It was the only way to get a breeze in that little central valley town.
On the day that my friend was unwittingly betrothed to me, I was on one of those swings.
I went higher and higher. Eventually, the bell rang and we were called back into the classrooms. Eager not to be the last one in, I yelled to my friend, “watch me jump!” I pumped my legs one last time and when the swing was in the perfect dismount position, I let go and flew into the air, skinny legs bracing to meet the ground.
I landed perfectly and with my head facing down at my black shoes and white ruffle socks only to realize in shock and horror that my black cotton skirt with little yellow flowers was missing from around my waist.
I gasped, caught my friend’s eyes watching me, and turned around lickety-split to see where my skirt went.
There it hung, from the right side of the swing, flapping in the wind. Back and forth it flew. I ran back as fast as my skinny legs could go and flailed my arms as I tried fervently to pull it off the chain where it had snagged.
I grabbed it and wrapped it around my waist and headed to the office; crying hysterically, knowing that he had seen my white chonies.
I don’t know if anyone else on the playground laughed, mostly because I couldn’t hear above the roar of the white-hot embarrassment ringing in my ears. I don’t even know if anyone else saw my chonies. They were probably too busy trying to get into the classroom so as not to be late.
But I know he saw them. I’m sure of it. But he never made fun of me. I think he knew even then to be afraid, very afraid.
Jeannette’s mom on the other hand, couldn’t stop laughing to save her life.