Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I Knew I'd Never Be Cool: The Famous Bird Poop Story
I've never been one of the cool kids. I tend to fall down, mistakenly curse people out in Bosnian, or do other ridiculous things. And I can tell you exactly when I knew I'd always be a hopeless dork.
The date? September, 1990. My parents, in a fit of misplaced ambition and suburban sadism, enrolled me in a fancy private school. I'm in the ninth grade, and I'm enduring my adolescent Ugly Year. The Ugly Year is that time nothing fits, nothing looks right, and various body parts are growing faster than others. I was all nose and no boobs.
But I'm doing OK. There's no worry about expensive clothes, I've got a uniform. I've also got the right spiral perm (poodleriffic!), some purple eyeshadow, and the braces really aren't as bad as I thought. So far no one had noticed my basic Hoodbridge-iness or that my mom drove the wrong kind of car. (True story: because all the moms drove identical Volvos, there was a problem with kids getting into the wrong cars at the end of the school day. And because of the uniforms, the moms would sometimes drive off with the wrong kid. The rich really are different. Except when they all look the same, apparently.)
So, back to the story. The new school is OK. I figure I can hack it. Until we take a class trip to a ropes course at the hoity-toity Madeira School. Yup, there's no better team-builder than encouraging 14-year-olds to hurl one another over logs or shove each other onto zipwires. It was like a coed Lord of the Flies.
But it's OK. I'm fitting in. That is, until it's time to get back on the bus. As we're assembling, I feel something. A LOT of something. That's because a passing bird decided to let out its stuff on my head. It was, like, a bucket's worth. I think there was more poop than there was bird. I was absolutely drenched.
A few of the nicer girls and one of the teachers tried to clean me off with napkins. Most everyone else stood there and gawped. Eventually a hose was procured, and I was forcibly de-pooped in front of the entire freshman class. And from that day forward, coolness was over. I was the Bird Poop Girl. Endlessly mocked, treated as outer-burb trash, target of bullies.
Overall, and I really mean this part, the Bird Poop Incident was a good thing. I spent the rest of the year openly disliking most of my classmates, which was much easier than playing along and being phony. I developed a lifelong aversion to bullies, snobs and jerks. And, thankfully, my parents let me switch back to public school the following year. And that's when I met some of the people who are still my dearest friends.
The only drawback I can still see is that birds hate me. It's partially due to some suicidal parakeets I kept as pets, and mostly due to the Bird Poop Incident. Pigeons follow me around and fly at my head. Seagulls strafe me. Parrots try to bite me. It's just all really, really weird.
Anybody else up for telling an embarrassing high school story? Come on, I want to see if you can top the Bird Poop Incident.