One cold blistery Maine winter morning, I climbed my way up the rickety stairs of my elementary school.
I joined the line of third grade girls on the left side of the staircase, as one the the teachers was heading down.
“Renee, how was your weekend?” She cheerfully asked me.
I thought for a moment before slowly and sadly reached up touching my throat. In the raspiest most pained whisper I could muster up said “I had my tonsils out.”
Maybe I was trying to test my acting ability. Maybe I was an eight year old chronic liar. Or maybe it was the earliest beginnings of me becoming the giant attention whore I am today. Any way you look at it, I had most definitely not had my tonsils taken out.
The teacher looked very surprised and shocked. She quickly told the other third grade teachers what I had said. The next thing I knew they were all surrounding me making a huge fuss and asking for details. Shocked at the big deal this was becoming,I answered the questions in my fake pained whispers. The sympathy for me was growing by the minute.
Some of my classmates asked what was going on, and the teacher announced to all of the kids that I had had my tonsils out. Then all of the kids started asking me questions. Did it hurt? Did I get presents?
After I told everyone how great it was to eat ice cream, and be put to sleep for surgery, I came dangerously close to getting busted by Mrs. Clark.
“I thought the hospital didn’t do surgery on weekends?” She asked.
My eight year old brain started to panic to provide an answer.
Fifty people now knew about my fake tonsil removal and I now had to maintain the lie. Racking my brain for an answer, I finally blurted out. “Well, someone in my family works there so they made special arrangements for me.” She believed me. Phew. Relieved I finally made my way in line up the stairs and into my classroom.
During my class's art period, it was announced that the class was going to make get well cards for me. Awesome!
I was starting to like school being all about me all day.
I got some cute cards.
As the class worked diligently with crayons and construction paper, I relayed them with tales of all of the gifts I got in the hospital. Flowers, a dream builders set and gummi bears.
It was the most successful and ballsy improv experiment I had ever attempted. I was on fire with my imaginary stories and it was going off without a hitch. I had made all of my peers want to go home and have there tonsils out asap.
When it came time for afternoon recess, I made my way to the coat rack, and put my coat and gloves on.
“Where is your hat?” Mrs. Clark asked me inquisitively.
I hadn’t worn a hat to school that day, and told her so.
“I cannot believe your mother would send you to school after having your tonsils out with no hat in this weather!” she exclaimed.
“Me either!” I said, totally throwing my mother under the bus without a second thought. Mrs. Clark found a hat for me to wear in the lost and found bag. It was a boy hat with orange foamy spikes. I put it on, knowing fully having to wear it was punishment from Jesus for lying.
After a half hour of recess things took a turn for the worst. The teachers had been chatting excitedly in a group and glancing at me angrily. “Oh shit!” I thought. “I’ve been found out.”
“Renee, can you come over here?”
I moved slowly toward the group of teachers knowing that my game was over and I was going to be in deep crap. My orange foamy spike hat bobbled in the wind, and I was never going to get that ice cream cake I was hoping for.
The teachers stared me down, as I did my slow walk of shame through towards them through the playground. I stopped in front of them and Mrs. Clark harshly began to oust me.
“We called your mother to find out why you didn’t have a hat to wear today.
She told us that you never had your tonsils out at all! Why did you lie to everyone!?”
I told them I didn’t know why, and then they made me apologize to everyone.
I was so humiliated, but all I could think was “how could I have forgotten my hat!?”
At the end of the school day my very angry mother stood waiting for me at the bus stop. With my hat.
“What is wrong with you?!” She yelled
“I don’t know what is wrong with you but I am taking you to the Dr. right now to get your brain looked at- you stupid ass.”
We got in a taxi (my mother had no drivers license) and before I knew it I was sitting in the pediatrician’s office getting interrogated. The Dr. actually seemed more amused than concerned, smirking as my mother made me tell my story.
My Mom even made her check my tonsils.
After a brief out of the room private conversation, the Dr told my Mom that I was fine and just testing my limits.
We made our way down the long dim hall and waited for our taxi to get back home.
After a few minutes I interrupted the thick awkward silence.
“Mom…..can we get some ice cream on the way home?”