Saturday, April 23, 2005

My "KICK ME" Sign

I have come to the conclusion that God plays with people's lives the way a child plays with certain toys: some are His favorite and although He seems to abuse them, He would be heartbroken if they were to get lost. And that's totally cool with me. I certainly don't mind if He wants to treat me like a Tonka Toy or a Transformer. He put me here and He can take me out whenever He wants.

This is the only explanation I have for some of the idiotic occurences in the short time I spent as a child -- those years before I reached the voting age. Some of these "happenings" are quite funny while others are not so amusing. You be the judge:

My earliest recollection of "why me?" occurred the day before my second grade picture was to be taken. The kids in my neighborhood were having lap races around a predetermined course set through surrounding homes. I was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else and feeling quite sure of myself when I suddenly lost my footing on a cement sidewalk and fell. On my 2nd grade school picture, I look like Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Dweeb. I remember my parents telling me that years from now I would look back on that situation and laugh. Why is it that I found no consolation in those words then?

My sixth grade class raised money for all of us to take a two-day trip to the Nation's Capitol and sightsee around DC. The first of our stops was on the steps of the Capitol building and a meeting with then state senator Charles Mac. Mathias. He asked our group if any of us knew the name of the statue that stands atop the dome. I smugly replied, "The Statue of Freedom." (I was a smart little tyke). The senator looked at my classmates and said, "Now she's right." (Can I help it I was a beautiful boy?) Even though my teacher corrected the Senator as to the actuality of my gender, the edit did not reach the ears of the reporter covering the story and a picture was published of me standing beside Mathias with a caption that read, "Sixth Grade Girl Matches Wits with Senator". Argh.

In eighth grade gym class, we were studying gymnastics. I was hanging upside down by my knees from one of the uneven bars when the cable that supported one of the vertical poles snapped out of the floor causing the horizontal bar and the vertical pole to clang together and catch my right knee in between the two. I hung there for a while because no one was tall enough to pull the bars apart and the instructor didn't have the strength to do it himself. An ambulance finally came and I suffered a broken femur.

I was accepted at the Maryland State Gifted and Talented Symposium (sort of like a school for the arts, a pre-teen "FAME" if you will) that lasted for two weeks during summer break at Goucher State College in Baltimore. The second day I was there, I was going to lunch with Darrell Cummings and Marc Jensen. We were jumping steps trying to see who could clear the most (during some spell of obligatory male competitiveness). Well, I didn't make all of them and landed sideways on the edge of the last step and banged my knee on the cement floor. Darrell ran to get a counselor and, again, an ambulance took me to the hospital. I busted my knee up pretty good and broke my ankle. The worst part was that since Goucher was a walking campus and the courses I was taking were all over the place, I had to leave because on crutches I couldn't travel fast enough to get from one place to another.

Another summer at Ocean City, my friend Janie had traveled down to stay with me for a few days. One night, we decided to take the bus north and go shopping in the Gold Coast Mall. While we were innocently sitting at the bus stop outside my house, a white Trans-Am pulled up in front of us and the occupants started squirting water at us with squirt guns! The group laughed uproariously and sped off. Janie and I sat there dazed, drenched, and discombobulated. I was just glad that she was there, because no one would have believed me if I told them it had happened.

It was a beautiful autumn day and my friend, Crystal and I decided to go for a drive. We were travelling down Route 9 just east of Oldtown, MD when in the distance we saw a big clump of something laying just slightly off-center on the middle of the road. She asked what it was and I said it looked like a garbage bag that fell off of a truck and since there was no room to go around it, I'd just drive over top of it. Twenty feet short of clearing the mass, the garbage bag suddenly sprouted a head, a long neck, and wings! It was a damn turkey! I hit my brakes but couldn't stop in time. I hit him with the front of my car, he flew up, hit the windshield and disappeared. In the rear view mirror I saw this massive blob plop to the earth and remain motionless, feathers flying everywhere. I looked at Crystal in amazement and said, "I can't believe I just killed a turkey."

I had been donating blood for about a year when I attended a blood drive held at my college. Since I was in a fraternity, I had talked all of the brothers into donating blood as well. I explained that it was a painless process and that it was such a great cause. They agreed to follow me. I checked in and sat down to have my temperature taken. An elderly lady with a name tag reading "Midge" was working that station. I guess she just wasn't paying attention to what she was doing because instead of putting the thermometer under my tongue, she rammed it up my nose. I reared my head back and yelled. It echoed throughout the gymnasium. All of my brothers got up in unison and left the blood drive. Flustered, Midge asked if I was all right. "Of course not!" I screamed. So then she tried to stick that same thermometer under my tongue. "Don't put that thing in my mouth, God!" Poor Midge was so confused. My nose hurt for five days after that.

One night I was driving home from a night out with friends when I hit a bat. Not a baseball bat, mind you -- a bat as in a mouse with wings (shiver!). It landed smack in my left headlight, busted it out and laid there motionless. I didn't want to touch it to take it out because I was afraid it was just playing opossum and would miraculously regenerate spontaneously and attack me. So, after about a week, I drove to the do-it-yourself car wash and sprayed the little sucker out onto the concrete.