Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bedtime Story

It's been awhile...but I'm awake, so there.

What we're gong to do now is go back. Back to September 1984, where a chunky introvert began his high school career.

There were so many reasons to be nervous about starting High School, but the one that caused me the most grief was having to take Phys. Ed. -- and in the first semester when there's still hot summer-ish days, with outdoor sports; shirts versus skins! Stomach flips at the thought.

The time for gym class comes. There I am sitting in a gymnasium with 30 other boys, all of whom are more likely to be far more capable with a basketball than I could ever hope to be.

We're getting the rundown from the teacher --a mid 40's man with his track pants pulled up to his sternum. You can imagine the repercussions of such a fashion choice. I'm sitting there, in a too tight Grey t-shirt with too short maroon polyester shorts. Cue the chafing music for when my too fat thighs will start to rub together during some dreadful sport ball game.

There was only one game with a ball that I liked and that was Dodge ball. You could be quick and agile, or you could do like me and make the choice to get hit early so that you can stop playing.

How, by the way, is this a prerequisite for a diploma??? I'm going to be an artist, not an athlete!

After some excruciating Fitness Tests on this tragic first day of High School, the time came to start the countdown to the next class. But my clock watching was interrupted when we were instructed to "hit the showers!" Hit the showers? I'm going to hit the deck!

It never occurred to me that I would have to take a shower!

"Detention for anyone who skips out on showering," the teacher would say. "No one wants to smell a classroom full of sweaty teen aged boys for the rest of the day!"

We all headed to the locker room and I was amazed at how easily the guys stripped off to nothing and walked around so nonchalantly with their business on display.

I took a deep breath, stripped off and took the quickest shower on record. While I dried off, i began to feel liberated and unlimited. My frantic need to get dressed subsided slightly. I was laughing with a friend, both of us sitting on a bench, when Dick walked up to me.

I looked up at him and he was quiet for only a moment; a look of total disgust crept across his face.

"Kevin, why don't you lose some fucking weight?"

Then, there was laughing from all four corners of the locker room. I'm sitting here, not doing anything except talking and wham-mo!

There were plenty other targets that day. What about Chris who was so shy that he showered with his underwear on? What about Darren, whose back was covered in angry pink acne? And Carlos, who was the hairiest 13 year old I had ever seen. Even Billy, who was bigger than be by at least 30lbs.

"Why don't' you lose some weight?"

I could have said a million things, but all I could muster was a feeble, "Shut up."

A couple of weeks later, I convinced my mother to cough up $350 so that I could lose 15lbs. Actually, I lost 20lbs, but not one person said a thing. Even Dick said nothing after I dumped all that extra fat. Matter of fact, the only other time Dick ever said to me during the next 4 years was, "Wanna come to my Grad party?"

I've since accepted a friend request from him on Facebook, but I did it because I wanted to see if he had gotten fat; he's heavier but unfortunately, that is an empty victory that quickly became very tired.

8 comments:

  1. I find it interesting friending former high school friends/frenemies on facebook.

    I can see how being so hateful has aged them terribly. Just one friend who I had a serious crush on has aged well.

    Or maybe that's just me.

    And I wish #*#(*@#$ blogger would fix their OpenID issue. It's making me crazy.

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  2. Why DID they include gym as part of an education? And why didn't they just call it Sissy Torture and get it over with? To this day, I will do anything to avoid throwing a ball in public, up to and including faking a seizure.

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  3. I hated gym class so much. It was awful. Why help someone who isn't ahtletically talented when you can make fun of them instead? Kids/teens are so cruel.

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  4. Don't you feel vindicated? I would, especially since I'm in better shape than all the people who made fun of me in my high school gym class.

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  5. Kevin, I felt as if I was there with you - except I was seeing that old, musty-smelling, asbestos-ridden locker room. My humiliation was along a different line - I was forcibly stripped and forced to shower, as the resident fag. You'd think they would have been appalled to have a fag see their little dicks. The one guy I did have a huge crush on was in that class so there was a slight, ever so slight, silver lining in that cloud from hell. I would become physically ill at the thought of gym class. Sissy torture is an apt name. And dodgeball was always my favorite. I ALWAYS stood there and got nailed, regardless of how hard the assholes threw it on purpose to hurt me - just so I could sit down.

    I did have a few of those guys apologize to me in the past ten years or so, and have added a few to Facebook. I do enjoy seeing those who are miserable now - the ones who were the WORST, and wouldn't dream of feeling bad for any of the torture inflicted! Karma, bitches!

    I'm sending you a big hug for your post, Kevin.

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  6. Well i was there with you. I was totally tortured for my weight. I think its stupid to make us take gym. Mine was 1st period too. Dodge ball was fabulous! I was always taller and chubby so i could catch that dodge ball easy and knock alot of the bullies out. My little revenge. Hugzz sweetie.

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  7. I imagine this post will resonate with many of us who hated Phs Ed and/or got teased. It seems a very common theme.

    I, too, have befriended some old school classmates on Facebook, just to see how they turned out. Alas, the passage of time is a mighty equalizer. Karma can be delightful to see, too.

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  8. Aww, puddin'. You're perfect just as you are. Handsome at any weight, and finally in your own skin.

    Welcome to being liberated, darling.

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you better make this good.

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