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.


Justin said...

I can't beat it, but I can match it. Field trip to Williamsburg or something like that - standing around, completely and utterly dehydrated, sweating out the wazoo, paired up with the hot girl I have a crush on (I think this was like 7th grade, but c'mon)... and... well

plop. plop.

God that was gross.

Rats with wings, I tell ya.

Shannon said...

Dude, I feel your pain. The only thing worse than getting pooped on in Williamsburg was actually having to GO to Williamsburg in the first place. Three hours each way, only to have some stupid tour guide ask me my name and then say, "A fine-sounding Irish name!" Seriously, every tour guide at every field trip everywhere said that to me.

Not Irish. But thanks!

Jonah K. Haslap said...

Ah, bird poop. The great equalizer. If only there was a picture of Angelina Jolie with bird poop on her head, Brad might come to his senses and go back to Jennifer. Although it wouldn't matter if Brad had bird poop on his head. He could make it work.

Shannon said...

Jonah, I agree. And bird poop is a bit like life: one moment, everything is going well, the next, SPLAT!

I'm wondering if we could entice Marissa to tell her story...

Ibid said...

I'm the exact opposite. Birds love me.

I was standing in the field kicking dirt from the plow when a blue jay landed on my shoulder. She rode with me the rest of the day.

In a bird store a conure latched onto my shirt and insisted on coming home with me. So she did.

Shannon said...

Ibid, I'm picturing a Disney princess bit here...which is creating all sorts of funky mental images.

Ibid said...

This should fix that.

I almost never returned home from the field without some living creature. Usually a bunny but sometimes a bird or an opossum. See, when killing weeds you start along the fence and work toward the middle of the field. So you have an ever shrinking patch of cover that pushes all the bunnies toward the middle. As the patch gets smaller the bunnies start to make a run for it. When they do I'd pull back the throttle, take the tractor out of gear, and chase it down. Some I'd catch and some I wouldn't.
Sometimes a coyote would pace the tractor waiting for me to stir something out of the weeds. The coyote and I would work out an arrangement. I'd catch catch one bunny and he'd catch the next. It would sit there quietly and watch me chase that sucker down and then I'd watch it go after the next one.
Toads went to the egrets. Mice to the hawks.

Don't worry. When I got home I'd release the bunnies into the wind row or pasture or lagoon.

Shannon said...

Ibid, killer of fluffy bunnies. I don't want to laugh, but that's HILARIOUS.

Ibid said...

I NEVER killed a bunny. Ok, a snake ate that one I put in the lagoon but I swear I didn't know the snake was there.

"Go on. All the grass you can eat."
-hop- -hop- -hop-

It was simultaneously one of the funniest and more horrific things I'd ever seen.