For months, Cynthia’s been after me to write somethin’ for her website. Now, I don’t think I’ve really got much to say. Well, nothing that hasn’t been said before in one way or another. But she says I’m wrong about that. That I need to step right up to the microphone, so to speak, and say what it’s like to be me.
I told her, “You already talked about me in that novel you wrote.”
But she says, she didn’t tell everything.
Well, Cynthia, here you go. Every so often I’ll just hop right in here, tell a story, and hop out.
I’m sure folks’ll let you know if they get tired of hearing from me.
I’ll make this first one short. It’s about the year I lost my giggle.
See, I was really chubby in grade school. And, even though you probably knew someone like me, there’s stuff about being chubby that a regular-sized person can never understand.
I didn’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t fit into clothes. I didn’t fit in at school. Even at home, I was different. So, square peg that I was, I found a hammer to pound me into that round hole. And that hammer was laughter.
I learned to laugh at myself when someone made fun of me. Mama said if they didn’t get the “desired effect” they’d leave me alone. (She was wrong, but I never told her.) I’d giggle when somethin’ struck me as funny. And sometimes, out of my very mouth would spring the most hilarious statements. You know, the kind you can’t believe you even had the wherewithal to say. The boys . . . they liked me better than the girls did. Probably ’cause I cracked up every time they said somethin’ the least bit funny.
But, before the end of fifth grade, that train ran out o’ track.
See, someone I was really close to, had a crush on this boy. As usual, he didn’t feel the same way. On this night in particular, she was really sad. All I could think to do was try and make her laugh. Instead, I made her mad. “You think the world is one big joke!” she said, and started to cry. The next week, I was called aside by the three most popular girls–Debbie, Jan, and Frances. “You laugh too much,” they told me. “From now on, if you feel like laughing, just look at one of us. If it’s okay, we’ll give you the signal.” For the whole rest of the year, I don’t think they ever gave me the signal.
Now that I’m older, I realize they probably just didn’t like the fact that I could talk and laugh with the boys so easily.
Back then, I just stopped giggling. I started thinking–a lot. On the night table next to my bed was this deep blue glass vase that kind o’ looked like the “I Dream of Jeannie” bottle. I’d just stare into that thing for hours at a time. I’m sure seeing everything through that vase didn’t do much for my mood.
People should be nicer to each other from the start, don’t you think?
That’s it. Talk to you next time.