Thursday, August 18, 2011

The day I learned that it’s good to tell the truth about NOT making out with your 3rd grade classmates.

I’m pretty sure my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. White, had a personal vendetta against me. Or maybe I was just always in the wrong place at the wrong time, like that time I was recounting my most recent laser tag adventure with my friends and got chastised for making a gun shape with my fingers. Sure, it was only months after the Columbine shooting, but as a non-news following ten year-old, I had no idea that making a gun shape with one’s thumb and forefinger was now considered threatening. Well excuse me, Mrs. White.

Then there was that time that I was rolling my pencil from the top of my book to the bottom while not listening to the English lesson:

MRS. WHITE: So Brian, I see you’re playing drums again with your pencil.

ME: Clearly that’s not what you see.

MRS. WHITE: I see what I see, and you’re playing drums!

ME: How does rolling my pencil like this constitute playing drums? I’m not tapping it or anything.

MRS. WHITE: Just stop playing drums, Brian.

ME: What kinds of bands do you listen to? Do they play drums like I do? Can they only play on a slight incline? Does the guitarist play in the same fashion? I can’t imagine how that would work.

MRS. WHITE: Go sit in the corner.

ME: Bullocks.

Because of Mrs. White’s constant raking me across the coals, my tenth year was mostly spent with the sneaking suspicion that somehow I had, against my will, gone bad and was on some sort of inescapable moral decline.

Perhaps my succumbing to that very thought caused me to commit the following act, which haunts me to this day. This, of course, is the day I learned that it’s good to tell the truth about NOT making out with your 3rd grade classmates.

It was at recess in January and I was hanging out with my mixed-gender group of friends when one of them suggested, “Wanna play Spin The Bottle?”


Of course we didn’t want to play Spin The Bottle. I experienced my first semi-crush a year later, and any sort of desire to kiss a girl didn’t develop for a year after that. Spin The Bottle was something that I had always imagined happened somewhere around seventh grade.

(For the record, to this day, I have not once played Spin The Bottle. I think that game is just an allusion that television shows use to help preteens deal with questions about attraction and sexual growth. Maybe it was big in the sixties and seventies, maybe even the eighties, but not once have I heard of someone my age who actually played Spin The Bottle when they were younger. If anyone has, PLEASE take advantage of my comments section and tell me about it.)

After a clumsy silence, my friend quickly covered his steps.

FRIEND: Uh, of course I meant High Five Spin The Bottle. No kissing. Just high fives.

THE REST OF US: Sure, okay. That seems age-appropriate.

And so, we went up on the hill in our playground, circled up, and Tia—the Australian foreign exchange student—took off her Tweety Bird glove and placed it in the center. Then one of my more daring friends spun it and bashfully high-fived the girl it landed on. When it was my turn, I spun the glove and when I saw it landed on someone, I yelled “YEAH!” and high-fived her. This was met with gasps.

ME: What?

THEM: I think you’re taking this all too lightly.

ME: Really? It’s just a high-five.

THEM: It’s high-five SPIN THE BOTTLE. The stakes are much higher. If we were in seventh grade, we’d be kissing and some of us would be getting coupled-off to go have Closet Time. I saw it on The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

ME: I didn't know you watched that. 

THEM: We LOVE it! Two brothers, one name. What a hilarious situation! 

ME: Whatever. The deal is, we're not in seventh grade. We’re high-fiving like normal, non-sexually committed 3rd graders; it’s just that we’re leaving it up to the chance of a spun glove.

THEM: It’s so much more than that! This is practice for the world that inevitably awaits us. This game is the single most important stepping stone into our teenage years.

ME: I think you’re over-thinking it.


So I pretended to take it more seriously. We kept this game going for two recess periods, feeling more and more rebellious. There was even talk about one couple actually kissing but that never amounted to anything, because in second grade we had all watched a video about a kid who kissed a girl at school and got expelled and was screwed for the rest of his life, so we were all afraid of that happening.

Then someone told on us. One of the meanest, nastiest recess patrol officers walked up the hill toward us. She looked exactly like Meatloaf. The singer. 

You would have thought we were just told all of our dogs had died in a mysterious cement mixer accident. We were sentenced to a week's worth of recesses sitting by the outside wall of the school building, also known Azkaban, under the watchful eye of it's main dementor Ms. Meatloaf.

[I'm not saying that Evergreen Elementary hires cocaine users. However, if they hired Meatloaf, then that's exactly what I'm saying.]

It was a tough week. What’s such a mystery about the whole experience is that NONE OF US had the brains to tell anyone, “Oh hey, it actually was High-Five Spin The Bottle. There was no kissing. Just high-fives.” We took our punishment like little baby douche-raccoons, perhaps because we felt like playing this watered-down version of Spin The Bottle was too close to having Closet Time.

What's worse is that I didn’t tell my parents about this incident until parent-teacher conferences a month later, which means that I had nothing but diarrhea for thirty days. And still, I didn’t tell them that we only high-fived instead of kissed until one day, while retelling the story a decade later, I told them the truth. What a relief. 

*Honest to God, she looked EXACTLY like that.
**I distinctly remember her saying that. I also remember NOT thinking that she was born yesterday.
***Okay, there's a small chance that this Meatloaf picture is actually Neil Young.


  1. Very funny!!!

    Wow! You were such a well-spoken 3rd grader! :-)

    Oh and by the way, I think spin the bottle is a 50's thing because I never played it either.

  2. See? NO ONE DID. It's all a lie. Spin The Bottle is one of the best known and most respected LIES of all time!

    Of course I was well-spoken. Didn't you read my second-grade journals?

  3. This is SO FUNNY! I just hung up on the phone with real you to finish reading from blog you.

    LOVE IT.

  4. Did you know that bollocks actually means testicles? I learned this while watching "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares."

  5. I had a small inclination that that's what bollocks meant. Which makes it even funnier, in my head.

    I'm now going to text the three of you a picture of the actual woman, since I can't do it on here, so you can see that she actually looked like Meatloaf.

  6. 1. Douche raccoon is my absolute new favorite insult. I'm using it as much as possible starting right now.
    2. I did, in fact, play spin the bottle when I was growing up. I'm 25. I'm not sure what that proves, if anything.

  7. Glad you like it. It's not always easy to pair douche with other words. Successes: Douchenozzle, douchecopter, douchebag, douchecanoe, and now doucheracoon. However, douchevacuum, douchemicrowave, and doucheclipper don't work as well.

    On second thought, I kind of like doucheclipper.

    Knowing someone close to my age played Spin The Bottle throws off my whole theory, but thanks for telling me. :)

  8. We skipped right over spin the bottle and went to dirty dice.

    I grew up in a classy small town. Obviously.

  9. Dirty dice? WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? I must know NOW. :)