Scribbler's Debris

Running with random topics twenty minutes at a time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Topic: Kickball: David Grim

I wasn't a popular kid in elementary school. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I went to three of them in the space of three years. Fourth grade had promise... I had a teacher that was sensitive to the "New Kid's" plight. She arranged it so that the other whelps voted me in as class president. This ruse somehow worked for my esteem, although I had a mere 15 subjects to rule. I held my position for a number of weeks until Ms. Sensitive spotted me hitting another kid on the playground during recess. I would like to say that I learned this from Ronald Reagan's example, but in truth it was 1979. Maybe I was using Iranian terrorists as my model. Well... it all comes around, don't it??

So what does this have to do with kickball? My attack on that poor kid, who was ostensibly my friend, wasn't motivated by game-day furor. We were playing some other game, the object of which was to run through some no-man's land without getting tagged by the growing array of losers that had been tagged previously. I don't know what set me off. All I know is that Ms. Sensitive was watching from our classroom window upstairs when I did my dirty deed. One moment led to my political downfall. One oversight... on both my part and on my teacher's behalf. I was shocked and dismayed to learn I was caught. I went from hero to zero on that afternoon, and I didn't recover any social status for years.

The year after that I got shipped off to yet another school filled with kids from a higher tax bracket. I had learned my lesson. I wasn't going to lose my temper and get off to a bad start. Instead I went to the other extreme. I was all set to be chums with the popular kids. Then I made an irrevocable mistake. I allowed myself to be "turned out" by a little fifth-grade seductress. Anita Knibbe, wherefore art thou?? She convinced me that I should join her in a separate kickball game, in protest of the boys who wouldn't let her compete on equal terms. I spent a fateful couple of recesses out there kicking that inflatable red ball with Anita and a few of her female cohort minions. It was social suicide.

I had warnings of course. My newest friend Chris told me in hush, stern tones that the other boys would look askance at me for entering Anita's camp. I was a traitor to boyhood everywhere. I came to (alas) too late. Having had some serious second thoughts, prompted by some not-too-discreet smirks and comments from the blue side, I tried to switch back... leaving my new friends on the pink side to play their solitary game. But it was too late. I spent the rest of that year, before going on to middle school, wandering the playground alone... rejected by all. The thing I regretted most was the hurt in Anita's eyes. She was right after all. Her day had truly come, and I was abandoning her. We ended up finishing our public schooling together. I could have really used her help later on. But my betrayal left undertones that kept us from ever being friends. Once in awhile, I wonder where she is now. I couldn't give a fuck about the whereabouts of those nasty boys.


  • At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    She seems to have gotten over the trauma and moved on. On the other hand, the boys have not been heard of since...but then, you didn't ask.

  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger Merge Divide said…

    Wow... you ain't kidding. I could have probably predicted she'd be exceptional in one way or another.

  • At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anita Knibbe is alive and well living in London. Sorry to have scarred you so! Was only trying to be a friend.

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger Merge Divide said…


    Not at all. I was affected by my own decision to betray a genuine offer of friendship in the service of "gender-appropriate" roles. I learned an important lesson from that experience, and rather than being "scarred", I feel like it eventually changed me for the better.

    Good to hear Anita is well. I wish her nothing but the best, and would like her to know that she was a positive influence that she is still remembered for.


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