In 1st grade, we were all sitting indian style on the rug while Mrs. Swanson played the piano. She was pretty good at the piano and we would have “music class” where we sat and listened to her play. I had picked up a small rock from the floor, the kind that sometimes comes loose from asphalt, and was playing around with it. I was putting the rock in my ear, and then letting it fall out into my hand. It was fun for some reason, pretending that a rock was coming out of my ear. I remember sitting there putting it in and taking it out, over and over. Then one time, it didn’t come out. I tried to dig for it, but it was gone. I started crying and told Mrs. Swanson what had happened. She sent me to the nurse, where I again explained that I had got a rock stuck in my ear. The nurse used one of those lighted scopes to take a peek, and then announced that there was no rock in my ear. I faintly remember her sentiment being that I was lying, either to get attention or get out of class. I’m almost certain I remember them either calling my mom and informing her, or giving me a note to take to her explaining why I was at the nurse’s office. Either way, I’m sure my mom knew about it – even if she thought I made the whole thing up.
Come 5th grade my family followed the Space Shuttle to FL, and I left CA behind. Sometime in the 6th grade, I went to the doctor to have my ears cleaned out. If you’ve never had your ears cleaned out before, it’s not the most fun thing ever. They ask you to hold a little tray under your ear while they squirt warm soapy water into it at high pressure. I don’t really remember why I was having it done, but I was. All of the sudden, the doctor stopped and exclaimed: “I think this is a rock!” I knew immediately where that rock had come from. No one in the room, my mom, the doctor, or the nurse could believe a rock had just come out of my ear. When the doctor asked how it had got there, I lied and said that it must’ve happened while playing with my brother in the driveway or something. Secretly, I knew that rock had been in my ear for five years – ever since the day I put it there in 1st grade.
When we got home I told my mom the real reason there was a rock in my ear, and that it had been there since 1st grade. She swore then, and still swears to this day, that she never knew of the incident in 1st grade. Never knew I had put a rock in my ear and gone to the nurse, who brushed me aside as a liar. I knew that rock was there all along, but no one would believe me. When I think of my head growing around a rock for five years, it kinda freaks me out. But it never caused me any discomfort or hearing problems, so I guess I got lucky. And as for mom’s denial, I think she does remember – but she’s so embarrassed that she let her son live with a rock in his ear for five years, she has gone into denial. That’s OK mom, I know it’s easier to believe the lie if you tell it to yourself too – I forgive you.
All throughout gradeschool, I had an awesome tactic to make people think I was smart. I somehow got it in my head that I would look like I was doing something important if, during storytime (or any other social on-the-floor time), I sat there and very obviously counted to myself. I don’t know where I came up with the idea, but I figured that if I made a show of using my fingers like I was counting, with a fixed look of concentration on my face – the other kids would think I was important. I would even count for a while, all serious looking, and then pretend to mess up: shake my head, maybe mutter a bit, but then return to counting with my fingers while my eyes looked left or right as I did some obviously complex mental calculations. I always thought that people might think I was “planning” something, figuring something out in my head. For whatever reason, I thought counting would give that impression. I was a loon.
I think it was 5th grade. In the bathroom at the house we had these in-wall heaters, for cold mornings. The heater was just a bunch of coils built into the wall and covered with a metal grate. You would flip it on before you got in the shower and when you got out the room would be nice and warm, the metal coils glowing orange and radiating heat through the grate. One morning I got out of the shower, bent over to dry my legs and feet, and stuck my butt right on the grate. It was the worst pain ever. The heater grate instantly branding a “waffle” pattern onto my tender 5th grade butt. I was so embarrassed, but it hurt so bad I had to run out of the bathroom naked and cry to mom. I remember the humiliation of lying on my stomach on the couch while my mom put ice on my butt… ugh. For a few years after that my folks would jokingly call me “waffle butt” due to the nice scars I had. Thankfully, the scars either went away – or became totally obscured by a thick forest of ass hair. Either way, I can no longer rightfully be called “waffle butt.” “The incredible bearded butt,” maybe… but not waffle butt, that’s for sure.
Mmmm… stories. ‘Nother day, ‘nother blog. Dave out.