Thursday, May 8, 2008

To the girls sitting in the cafe who think they are in The Hills

Know what? Twenty years from now everything “Green” and “Organic” will seem as trite and cheesy as mood rings and pet rocks.

I had a pet rock.

The craze swept through St Thomas elementary like Britney’s paparazzi.Looking back, I’m very curious about how it started. Did someone’s mom tell them about the idea? Cause this was the 80’s, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the world had long ago moved on to only wearing one glove.

Here’s a question to those readers in therapy due to being a young adult in that period... what did you do with the other glove? Did you only buy the one? Did you have a drawer bulging over with sequined left gloves? Did you go halfsies with a buddy and carefully schedule glove wearing days so no one would catch on? When the craze died out, were there sad little empty glove stores everywhere?

The kids in my school only seemed to have their pet rocks for a short time. Two or three days, it seems. They picked ones that looked like little faces. I picked up a rectangular stone with a chipped bit on it. I took a red pen and coloured in the “mouth” and called it Sharky. My pet rock was a disembodied shark head. Make of that as you will.

Long after the craze had passed in my fellow 4th Graders, I held on to Sharky.For a while I held him proudly in my hand during recesses, but gradually I became more and more embarrassed of my attachment to this good natured yet savagely visage inanimate companion. First, I kept him hidden in my pocket during recess. But soon I began to fear discovery, so I kept him in my desk, but close at hand along with my pens and pencils. I would touch him tenderly but secretly from time to time. But then I feared what would happen if he was discovered in this intimate place, and he moved into the bowels of my desk, which opened from the top and was constantly jammed with orange juice stained text books and pencil shavings.

At the end of the school year, we all reluctantly opened our desks to “clean” them. This process didn’t involve much in the way of cleaving as it did dumping damp handfuls of happily biodegrading papers into a waiting trash can, while saying things like, “That’s where that smell was coming from!”

And there was Sharky. Waiting patiently. He never gave up on me. I picked him up and turned to the trash can. My fist clenched tight around him, hovering over the waiting rotten orange (that’s where that juice was coming from) and the barely legible six month old note to my parents. I willed my hand to let go. Let go, I told myself. Let go.

But I didn’t. In a motion too quick for anyone to pick up on, I stuffed Shaky deep into the pocket of my hand me down corduroy bell bottoms. The bus couldn’t take me home fast enough my secret shame, my shameful love, a hard lump in my pants. I rushed into my room... shut the door... and held him.

Years later I found him at the bottom of my sock drawer and tossed him in the trash.

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