For some incredibly random reason, this little rhyme popped into my head this afternoon and I couldn’t get it out.
Did any of you guys ever sing this in elementary school? I remember G.E. and I sang it quite a bit. It was about as rebellious as you could get in a Catholic elementary school.
The “Missouri” version is most similar to what we sang.
Elementary school, man.
It is November 20th today.
As you may or may not know (depending on how long you’ve followed my blog and/or how much attention you pay to past blogs), November 20th is the birthday of the person known as Lead.
Lead, for those of you who don’t know, is the nickname I use for the person that I had a massive, massive, massive crush on all throughout the end of elementary school, junior high, and high school (and it would have started earlier, I’m sure, except he didn’t come to Moscow until 5th grade).
I have long since ceased giving a single fart about this guy, but just the date “November 20th” brings him back into my memory because he was a serious part of my existence for about seven years of my teenage life.
Today, that also brings up something that I’ve come to realize about my mad obsession with this dude that I’ve never really shared. This is a realization I made a long while ago—like, 8th grade, maybe—but was one I kind of kept inside hoping that it wasn’t true, because that truth was more pathetic than frantically stalking a dude for the sake of true love.
(At least, that’s what my 14-year-old brain convinced me of).
This realization? I wasn’t obsessed with Lead because I was in love with him or was soul mates with him or any of that lovey nonsense. I was obsessed with him because I wanted to be him. He was everything I wish I was, especially in junior high and high school when I was so painfully apathetic about, well, pretty much everything but Lead.
The guy was popular. The guy was good-looking. The guy was athletic. And most of all? The guy was smart.
Like… S M A R T.
I don’t know if he actually had a genius-level IQ, but I’m 99% convinced of it. Super smart. He put everyone else at that garbage bag of a school to shame with what he could do with his mental prowess and how easily he seemed to do it. He got a full ride scholarship to some school in Montana after he graduated, but I’m sure if he didn’t take that he could have easily gone to MIT or Harvard or Oxford or something like that. And he would have blown those fuckers away at those schools.
That’s what I wanted. I wanted to be that smart. I probably could have faked my way through high school a lot better if I’d given a crap (I think my cumulative GPA at the end was like a 3.5), but it would have taken work. I would not have been able to do it with the ease he seemed to do everything.*
This is the Amateur Hour psych student in me, but I think I hid my jealousy of him with admiration. I thought, “hey, if I can’t be this guy, maybe I can get him to like me. If he likes me, that means I’m good enough to at least be liked by a dude of this caliber. So let’s do that!”
Anyway. I know, I know, stupid shit. But I figured I’d mention it now that I’m so far removed from him that I don’t even think we’re Facebook friends anymore. Or at least, I’m no longer obsessively checking his Facebook like I used to. Haha.
*Yes, I know I might be wrong about this. He made it look like it was easy for him. Maybe it wasn’t. But goddamn, he sure made a convincing argument that getting through school was as easy for him as slicing butter with a hot knife.
As many of you know, I went to a Christian elementary school. We had an hour set aside for “religion” study every day, went to church every Friday morning, and had Bible-themed Christmas plays every December and Bible-themed spring plays every April or so.
Every once and awhile, we’d have an event (a BBQ, a “party”, a something-or-other) that required us to be at school during non-regular hours. To entertain us (i.e., to keep us all in the same room), our teacher or principal would opt to play a TV show or movie on our little TV-on-a-roller-cart. Being a Christian school, we never got to watch anything but—you guessed it—Christian-themed shows! The most popular one for us was Veggies Tales, but I was never really into them at the time. The one that I enjoyed (though “enjoyed” is a relative term) was called McGee and Me!
It’s basically about this kid, Nick, who has a drawing of his come to life and together the two of them get into all sorts of “you can get out of this by being a good Christian” mishaps. Actually, they were mishaps you could get out of by just being a good person, but they made sure to add “God” and “Jesus” in there because you can’t be a good person without those two guys in your life, right?
Example: the episode “Beauty in the Least” is about Nick’s Romanian pen pal coming to visit unexpectedly during Thanksgiving. Romanian Pen Pal is, according to Nick, super annoying and plan-ruining when he’s not in pen-pal-letter form, so Nick is a jerk to him and the poor dude gets upset (understandably). But through the guidance of God and the “love thy neighbor as thyself” idea, Nick realizes that he’s been a jerk and does his best to make it up to Romanian Pen Pal and his father. So like I said, it’s basically a “be a good person, dammit” show with a Christian bend. I always enjoyed it, though. It was better than Veggie Tales.
Here, have a link to the first part of this episode on YouTube, in case you were a ‘90s Christian kid and you want to nostalgia yourself to death just like I did tonight. That’s the whole reason for this post, haha.
So today I spent a lot of time packing for the move (when am I not packing for a move?) and I came across an old story I’d written in a journal in first grade. I’d like to share it with you because a) I want to demonstrate that my writing ability has in fact not improved since first grade and b) I have nothing else of interest today.
I remember we had to write a story about Halloween for this particular writing assignment, but other than that it was pretty open. My incredibly creative title for this thing was “The Poisonous Pumpkin.”
Once there was a boy named Jacob. His dad said, “Son, we are moving to Pennsylvania! But first we must buy some pumpkins, for it is getting close to Halloween.”
“Okay,” said Jacob. “Give me some money and I’ll got to the store and buy six pumpkins.”
“Okay,” said his dad. “Here’s six dollars, one for each pumpkin. Put on your coat.”
“Alright,” said Jacob. “Bye!”
Soon he got to the pumpkin selling place. “Here’s six dollars for six pumpkins!” said Jacob.
“Okay,” said the pumpkin seller. “Pick your pumpkins.”
So Jacob found the best six pumpkins. He was about to go home when he saw a pumpkin with a scary face and lips already carved out. He put back one of his pumpkins and took that one.
When he got home his dad had already packed. “Come on, son!” he said. “Put your bike and the pumpkins you bought in the back of the car. By the way, that’s a very strange pumpkin you bought.”
“I know,” said Jacob. “It was already carved. Can you believe it?”
“Now son, don’t start making up stories.”
“Now let’s go!”
So they got into the car and drove off. Finally they reached Pennsylvania. Jacob got out of the car. “What a house!” he said.
“Don’t forget the pumpkins,” his dad said.
“I won’t.” He opened the back door of the car…”Dad?” asked Jacob.
“The pumpkin with the face already carved out…”
“Yes?” said his dad.
“Is the window open?” asked his dad.
“Yes,” replied Jacob.
“Well, it probably fell out the window.”
“But we didn’t hit any bumps!” said Jacob.
“Yes we did,” said his dad. “The gravel road.”
“But those were just little bumps,” said Jacob. “Even I barely felt them.”
“Oh, let’s just forget about the pumpkin.”
The next day Jacob woke up. [best line in this whole damn story.]
“Come on Jacob!” Said his dad. “You don’t want to be late for the first day of school.” Jacob got up, got dressed, and went downstairs for breakfast. Jacob saw the old dry leaves out the window and remembered the crackling he heard that night. But before he could say anything to his dad, the school bus arrived.
“Hurry!” said his dad. Jacob got his backpack and ran outside. But the poisonous pumpkin was watching behind a bush. He knew that when Jacob got home he would have a friend with him, and that he could poison Jacob’s friend.
When Jacob did get home, he did have a friend named Andrew with him. Andrew was spending the night.
“Let’s go upstairs and play,” said Jacob.
“Okay,” replied Andrew.
They played until it was time for dinner. When Jacob and Andrew and his dad went to bed, the door opened.
“Did you hear that?” said Andrew.
“I sure did,” replied Jacob. “My dad’s asleep. Let’s go down and see!” They went downstairs, turned around, and looked out the door. There was the poisonous pumpkin with a can of pop and an ax in his vines.
“Run!” said Jacob. Jacob and Andrew ran as fast as they could, but the pumpkin came after them, waving its ax.
“Dad!” yelled Jacob. “The pumpkin’s alive!”
Suddenly, the as slipped from the vines and flew in front of Jacob. He quickly grabbed it. Then he ran after the poisonous pumpkin. The poisonous pumpkin was drinking his pop and spitting poison at Jacob. One shot almost hit him. After a long time of running, the pumpkin got tired. Soon, it collapsed. Jacob chopped him up and burned him. The poisonous pumpkin was never heard of again.
Riveting. Man, that plot skips around like a scratched CD and then just crashes and burns, doesn’t it? Also, I love how the pumpkin has to infuse pop with the poison in order for it to be effective. And that he needed an ax, too, like as a backup. Way to write a villain, Claudia.
There are indeed illustrations for this, but they’re even more embarrassing than the writing, so you don’t get those.
This would have helped me so much in elementary school, you have no idea. I definitely think best when I’m moving (especially if it’s “light” activity like shaking my foot or even walking); I remember having trouble sitting still in elementary school just because I knew my thought process was a lot “fuzzier” if I had to stay motionless. Luckily my second grade teacher was super chill and liked me a lot; I remember swinging my legs and kicking the legs of my chair so much that I’d actually move my desk all the way across the tile floor.
Anyway, it’s not surprising to me that this would be beneficial to a LOT of students. And hell, if we’re starting to take away their recess time, at least let them freaking bounce their feet in class.
I’m tempted to buy one for my office in Calgary.
I’m posting this thingy I wrote for Non-Fiction because 1) I have nothing else to say today
and 2) looking back, this is freaking hilarious, even though at the time it was REALLY scary.
* * *
When I was in fourth grade, several of my friends and I attempted to summon Bloody Mary in the basement of our church.
Of course, good Catholic girls would usually never dream of doing such a thing. Church was for worship, and worship was to be carried out sitting in the pews of the main hall. The basement was reserved for storing old candle holders, robes, and broken organ pipes. It certainly wasn’t a place to summon apparitions.
And though we were indeed good Catholic girls who attended church regularly, prayed before every meal, and were kind to the nuns in charge of our elementary school, we were also a clique of tweens looking to entertain ourselves one dreary Saturday afternoon. Thus, the prospect of going down to the basement and getting in a little trouble was something none of us particularly shied away from.
St. Mary’s Church was a familiar place to all of us. Every Friday entailed a mini field trip for our whole school to the church to begin the day with a service before resuming our usual education. But we had ended up there on a Saturday due to the Easter service planned for the following weekend. Our parents, avid Christians themselves, had volunteered to help our priest to prepare the church for the lavish event that was Easter. The collective lot of us kids—seven girls in total—had been dragged along to help as well.
However, it became clear rather quickly that we were too distracting to one another to add any degree of useful labor to the situation, so we were ushered away from the flowers and candles and banners and told to “go play.”
My father was the head trainer of altar servers. Due to his lack of foresight regarding hiring a babysitter to watch me while he went to train, I would often be dragged along with him and forced to entertain myself as he worked. As such, I knew the basement of the church well. I proposed it as an option to my friends, and as we descended the stairs carpeted in a mustard yellow and flecked with maroon like old splatters of blood, Mariah, always the troublemaker, proposed the idea of Bloody Mary.
We were all familiar with the ritual, of course—stand in a darkened room in front of a mirror, chant “Bloody Mary, we have your baby” three times, and wait for her ghost to appear. We were bored, none of us could think of anything else to do, so we agreed without much argument. To the left of the landing at the foot of the stairs was a single-occupant unisex bathroom. On one side was situated a long counter and on the wall above it stood a large mirror with a string of naked bulbs in a row above.
It was perfect for our purposes.
We funneled into the bathroom, giggling with that sort of reserved nervousness that only arises when you know you are doing something that is likely to lead to trouble. I shut the door behind us and instruct Kelly to turn off the lights.
We ceased giggling as the room snapped to darkness, only the faded glow of the extinguished bulbs above the mirror and the slightest sliver of light from the hallway spilling onto the floor from the crack under the door still illuminating us. But it was too dark to see anything else.
Mariah, the instigator of all this, was rendered silent. It was Lara who prompted us to speak.
“So?” she whispered, as if even the faintest sound above our collective breath would evoke Mary from her mirrored entombment.
“We have to start it together,” I whispered back, too afraid to begin the ritual alone. Meredith suggested a count-off and, with nervous breaths beating whisps of noise into the static that was the surrounding silence, we began our chant.
“Bloody Mary, I have your baby…”
You could hear our collective consternation in the wavering of our voices. Of course, none of us believed for a second that upon the third calling of her name, Bloody Mary would indeed rend herself from the reflective glass and murder us all. But we barely whispered the call anyway, just in case the rumors regarding the ritual were true.
Someone to the right of me reached down and grabbed hold of my hand. I jumped. It was only the sensation of the warm palm against mine and the fact that whoever the hand belonged to moved even closer to me that prevented me from screaming that our bloody apparition had arrived two calls early.
“Bloody Mary, I have your baby…”
The room was getting hot. The obvious reason for this—that the already-stuffy bathroom was full of 7 nervous fourth-graders all panting with anticipation and fear—never even occurred to us, or at least to me. I was convinced the heat was emanating from the mirror as we blindly faced it in the musty darkness in front of us.
The person standing to my left grabbed my unoccupied hand and I grabbed hers back and we clung to each other as the final four words were sent from our lips and jettisoned into the receiving darkness and whatever other beings occupied it.
“…I have your baby.”
In the silence that followed, I realized I had shut my eyes despite the darkness and decided to reopen them in a sudden surge of bravery. Had all my senses not been occupied in my intense focus on the mirror, I would have been aware of the fact that my hands were in a death-grip with the two individuals who had sought similar comfort from me. My ears were like receivers, trying to filter through that odd din of static that so readily beats upon your ear drums in the absence of any real sound, listening for any indication that Bloody Mary was on her way.
Nothing. Not a sound, not a movement, not even a change in the hot air encapsulating us all, save for the quick, nervous breaths of a group of young girls prepared for horror but relieved to find no such thing awaiting them. My heart, though still pounding so severely I thought in my 11-year-old mind that I’d actually experienced a heart attack, slowed almost immediately to a more normal pulse.
Then there was a bang. Had we been in a safer situation, we would have attributed the bang to its rightful source: our priest knocking a ceramic bowl to the carpeted floor or maybe a parent dropping a heavy box. But to us, it was none other than Bloody Mary herself, the angered apparition awoken from her slumber, banging against the back of the mirror before breaking into our make-shift sychomanteum to murder us all.
The bathroom erupted into blind chaos. Screaming, pushing, jumping, flailing—the two hands I was holding broke free of mine in a flurried panic as their owners shrieked and thrashed and thought solely of protecting themselves from the murderous specter.
I pushed my way through the choir of terrified sopranos towards the door, the sliver of light emanating from between the bottom of the door and the floor projecting like a ray of hope for escape. I clawed at the doorknob, my fingers rendered numb and useless from fear, until I finally heard the click of the hinge and I throw the door wide to save us all.
We burst from the darkened room, still hollering, still flailing, still shaking our hands and arms as if to shed ourselves of any residual poltergeist that may have touched us in the turmoil. But the immediate danger being over, our shrieks soon dissolved into nervous giggles and tense smiles as we realized we’d survived the summoning with nothing more than racing hearts to show for it.
But in another instant I caught a glimpse of Mariah’s hand, a sharp streak of red standing out against the white of her skin.
“What’s that?” I asked her, pointing to the offending mark.
The giggling stopped as our attention was turned to Mariah. She inspected the mark, then ran the fingers of her opposite hand across it. She brought her stained fingers together, rubbed them to get an idea of the substance.
“It’s lipstick,” she whispered.
Our silence due to curiosity gave way to the silence of shock as all of us, our eyes wide, glanced at one another with astonishment over the new development that had just taken place. There was no doubt in any of our minds now that Bloody Mary had indeed paid us a visit, and it was only our panicking and swift exiting of the bathroom that had saved us from anything more severe than a streak of blood-red lipstick.
We said no more to each other; we simply clung together, a herd of spooked young girls who had just escaped a brush with death, and made our way back up out of the basement. It would be years before we felt comfortable discussing the encounter at all.
Now some may question whether our shock over this bit of cosmetic displacement was actually warranted. After all, being 11- and 12-year-olds, we were in the right demographic for makeup experimentation. It could easily be assumed that the lipstick, belonging to one of us, had ended up on Mariah’s hand in the chaos that had ensued in the bathroom. This is a perfectly valid theory, and one we had all considered before the obvious reason for its dismissal occurred to any of us: good Catholic girls don’t wear makeup.
HOLY CRAP, so I was screwing around on StumbleUpon this afternoon and I came across some random page of NASA’s. Multiple clicks later and I came to this.
I had totally forgotten that we’d attempted to do this in fifth grade. I say “attempted” because at 4 days prior to the competition we realized that we were short a motor (we foolish children and our lack of inventory-taking skills!) and thus were forced to withdraw. No, I don’t know how exactly we had the majority of our rover finished before we realized “hey, we kinda need a third motor,” but we did. Probably because one of our members had to quit because he failed like 5 reading quizzes in a row and he was the one in charge of our Lego kit. We would have won, too, ‘cause my transmission was killer and Daniel built an exceptionally awesome rock scooper (that’s a highly technical NASA term).
So yeah. Nostalgia.
I also found a random flash drive this afternoon that had this previously un-blogged-about album cover contained on it:
Also, I need to get super hyper again in time for my calc final. I don’t remember a single damn thing I wrote on my test on Monday, but I did pretty well.
Today’s song: Hemvägen (Live Nyhetsmorgon 2007) by Detektivbyrån
Holy crap…I’m posting a blog at 7:29 AM. Odd I am.
Okay. Anyway, I was at home digging through the remainder of my crap in the closet and I came across another journal from 1st grade. This one has a plot, characters, and an actual ending (which most of my stories don’t, still today). Onward!
We’re the three little cats! We all live on the same street. Our names are Fatty, Ratty, and Big. Next door to Big lives a big bad dog named Dedo. Dedo is never outside. He’s usually inside. Today he went to the store. He bought some cat food and a blue coat. He put the coat on and then put the cat food in a big sack. He then went to Fatty’s house. Fatty is not very smart. He was inside reading the newspaper. Dedo knocked on the door and yelled, “Mr. Fat, Mr. Fat, are you home?” Fatty opened the door. “Who are you?” he asked. “I’m your grandma,” said Dedo. “Grandma!” Fatty cried. “Come in!” Just as Fatty was closing the door, Big came out. “I wouldn’t let that thing in,” he said. “Don’t be silly,” said Fatty. “She’s my grandma!” He shut the door. Five minutes later, Dedo came out with less cat food, and Fatty’s house was destroyed. Big went to Fatty’s house. No Fatty. Big went home. Dedo went to the store. He bought a coat and a hat. He put them on. Then he went to Ratty’s house and yelled, “Mr. Rat, Mr. Rat, are you home?” Ratty was a little smarter than Fatty, but not by much. He was inside, eating lunch. He got up and went to the door. “Who are you?” he asked. “I’m your grandpa,” Dedo replied. “Grandpa!” Ratty cried. “Come in!” Just as he was closing the door, Big said, “I wouldn’t let that thing in.” “Don’t be silly,” said Ratty. “He’s my grandpa!” He shut the door. Five minutes later, Dedo came out with even less cat food in the bag. Ratty’s house was destroyed. Big ran out. He looked through the broken wood. No Ratty. Big went home. Dedo went to the store again and bought overalls and sneakers. He walked to Big’s house, but Big already had a plan. Big has a friend named Little. Little came over to help with the plan. While Little held the scissors, Big put a chair in the middle of the room with a napkin in the seat. When Dedo came, Big let down the part of a box with “happy birthday” on it. Big came out. “Happy Birthday!” he yelled. “Since it’s your birthday, you get a haircut.” “But I don’t need a haircut,” said Dedo. “Yes, you do.” Replied Big. Little pushed Dedo inside. Big made him sit in the chair and put the napkin over his eyes. “Cut!” Yelled Big to Little. Little started cutting off Dedo’s fluff. When Little finished, he took off the blindfold. “My fluff!” cried Dedo. “What happened?” “Well…” said Little, holding a bottle of Rogaine. “That!!” shouted Dedo. “What?” asked Little. “That bottle of Rogaine! Give it to me!” “Oh!” said Big “That. I’ll give it to you if you cough up Fatty and Ratty.” “Okay,” said Dedo. Bbllaaauuugghhh! “There. Now will you give me that bottle?” “Well, okay, if you go home and never bother us again,” said Big. “Okay?” “Well, okay.” Said Dedo. “Here!” “Thank you!” said Dedo. “Now, git!” yelled Big. They never heard of Dedo again.
Despite the fact that it completely rips off “The Three Little Pigs” (which is a minor insignificance in my book), I kind of think it’s cool. Especially that Rogaine part. Bet you never saw that coming.