Welcome to The List, a semi-regular feature in which Julie Klausner enumerates pretty much whatever.
The Time Right After My Dad Told Off My Schoolbus
I was picked on every morning when I rode the bus to school by this group of older kids whose first names were all either David or Danny. They'd call me fat and expound upon that theme relentlessly, and sometimes this one guy would peek his head out from the seat in front of me and say "Howdy, doody!" which, admittedly, is very funny. But when I was little, going to school in the morning was awful. I told my parents about being bullied, and in response, my dad came onto the schoolbus with me in the morning to yell at the jerks to knock it off. When he left, the Dannys and Davids ripped into me like they were coyotes and I was fresh toy poodle meat. "I'm gonna call my daaaaddy!" went an impression of me. You know, as I write this, maybe it wasn't embarrassing as much as it was traumatic. Oops!
The Time I Lost a Tooth
Oh, Jesus. So I had been wiggling my stupid loose tooth with my tongue all day, and then, during second period Hebrew class with Mrs. Rotstein, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I wiggled that thing loose in the mirror until it finally came out. This was so exciting! I'd never lost a tooth during school hours before; usually I lost them at home and was rewarded during the night by my parents/"The Tooth Fairy." So I guess that was my cue to run back into my classroom, bursting open the door while Mrs. Rotstein was mid-lesson. "I LOST A TOOTH!" I bellowed, as I barged in, brandishing the physical evidence to my claim. A classroom of surprised faces greeted me, and soon the class — in addition to Mrs. Rotstein — collaborated on a group slow clap that bled into rousing, sarcastic applause. I saved the tooth for later.
The Time The Girls In My Bunk Found My Maxipads
I went to sleepaway camp twice — once before I got my period, and then, the summer after. The stuff I packed for my menstruating summer was mostly speculative; I knew I bled, but sometimes it was monthly, and sometimes it wasn't. Sometimes I'd spot and sometimes I'd gush. THE HUMAN BODY IS A COMPLICATED ORGANISM! Anyway, I packed for camp like my flesh elevator was going to re-enact The Shining at least twice in a summer; maxi pads took up approximately 45% of the space in my trunk. This was a pre-tampon era for me, so I shot to overestimate my absorptive needs. And one day, a girl named Sabrina got into my stash (we shared drawers), then loudly made fun of the onerous name of just one of the products I'd packed. "Always. Overnight. Extra Strength. Super-Absorbent. Maxi. Pad. With. Wings." She said it three times, like she was incanting some kind of witchy spell. I was so ashamed of my hypothetical flow.
The Time This Girl Overheard me Talking About Her To My Teacher
Has this list covered my remedial social skills adequately? Or do you need another example, from my awkward years, aka "everything preceding 30"? Fair enough! So, Melissa, this girl I went to school with was a sadistic, mercurial bully, able to switch up Best Friend/Worst Enemy status on me faster than a cat goes from "purring being pet" to "biting you being pet." I complained about her to my shrink mom with tedious frequency, and she finally told me what was, in her expert opinion, the deal with Melissa. "She's a very disturbed person," I found myself repeating to our third grade English teacher in what I thought was privacy, "My mother said so." "I don't know about that," Mrs. Whomever-owitz responded in a politically neutral tone. "In fact, I think Melissa is a lovely person." I looked up to see Melissa with her jaw on the floor, listening to every word. My heart sank. Two weeks later we were friends again.
The Time I Mailed Trey Parker a Photo Of Myself
There was a time during my senior year of college when I....wasn't applying myself to my classes the way I should have been. Around that time, South Park debuted on Comedy Central and I quickly fell in love from a distance with Trey Parker. Guys, I saw BASEketball in the theaters. So around this time, I decided that instead of putting my energies into writing a superlative final paper for my Women and Representation in The Age of Postmodernism class, I should instead put together a headshot of myself and send it to Trey Parker in hopes that he would be my boyfriend. I was 21. I was not 10. This is really embarrassing, mostly because it didn't work. That said, I WAS fully clothed in the photo I sent. Perhaps that was my first mistake. #BigNaturals
The Time I Sang "Rose's Turn" on Stage With No Accompaniment
I took musical theater classes at the Y after school with a colorful and eccentric divorcee named Nicole Ann. Nicole Ann was as fond of tangents as she was of Sun-In, and she'd cry at the drop of a hat. One time, while rehearsing the sleepover scene from GREASE, Nicole Ann embarked upon an emotional stream of consciousness that covered our acting as well as The Vietnam War, her father, and the pill. Right before our end-of-class final show, Nicole Ann told me that there was no way I could, as I'd planned to, sing Rose's Turn along to my cassette of the cast recording of the production of GYPSY starring Tyne Daly. If I was going to sing that song, I'd have to do it a capella. And sing a capella I did, in front of a lecture hall of yawning, cringing and stretching parents, When I halfheartedly asked "You like it?" to the audience, my friend Rachel shouted "YEAH!" from the left wing of the stage. Bless her and keep her.
The Time My Shirt Became Unbuttoned and You Could Totally See My Boobs
Finally, here is a story about my blouse opening on its own accord when I was in 5th grade. I was braless under a sweater that had pearl-style buttons, and when I put some textbooks down on my desk, our teacher, Mrs. Friedman (BY THE WAY I AM JEWISH) said to me, "Julie, your top is completely open." My cheeks flushed and I looked down—sure enough, my beauteous breast buds had, groundhog-like, peeked out to see what the weather was like beyond their cozy domain. My classmates did me the kindness of scattering, with the exception of Zachary Matzoh, who stayed to ogle. Cheers to you, Zachary. You really carpe'd the diem.
Julie Klausner is the host of the podcast How Was Your Week and the author of I Don't Care About Your Band. She lives in New York City with a tuxedo cat.
Image via oliveromg/Shutterstock.