Some people post old pictures for Throwback Thursday, but I decided it would be so much better to tell you all a story. A story of a time, long ago, when I endured what might have been the most mortifying event of my life. It’s also maybe one of the funniest.
When I was in grade 7, my best friend (we’ll call her Lucy)and I basically ruled our elementary school, or at least we thought we did. We were part of a foursome of girls that resembled “Heathers” about as closely as 12-year-old kids could. We were in choir, volleyball, and out-of-school recorder band (don’t laugh, we learned how to play “The Greatest Love of All” on those suckers). We were lunch monitors, crossing guards—back when it was a great idea to have kids try to stop cars from running over other kids—and we were office monitors.
It was kind of a big deal to be an office monitor, because only the most responsible students were granted the privilege. We were basically the secretaries when the paid one was on her lunch break: we made copies, answered the phone, and a bunch of other stuff that is not important to this story. What is important is that we were taught how to use the overhead PA system, usually to let one of the staff know when they had a phone call (I’m guessing nowadays the staff room just has a phone in which calls could be transferred, but they didn’t then).
One day, we were goofing around and Lucy was teasing me because I had a huge monster crush on this boy (let’s call him Dave). In retrospect, he was probably a bit suspicious because—surprise—12 year old girls are not especially subtle. He was definitely not my first crush, and since I had not had an actual boyfriend yet, I was fairly experienced in the whole unrequited love thing. I was fairly certain he was not interested, and I was actually pretty sure he liked this other girl (I don’t actually remember her name, so now it’s Ruby), who was taller than me, and had probably kissed a real boy before. Nevertheless, Lucy teased me mercilessly about him, and decided to pretend to announce my crush over the PA system.
Now I’m sure, dear reader, you know exactly what happened next. In order to use the overhead microphone, you first had to slide a switch to on, then press and hold a button while you speak. The previous user had failed to turn the switch off, so when Lucy pressed the button and announced that I had a “gigantic” crush on Dave, she announced it to the entire school.
Thinking back on it now, the staff probably had the laugh of a lifetime, and I’m sure the principal had trouble putting on her stern face to tell us how just much trouble we were in. We should have been suspended, she said, but because of our brown-nosing service to the school, our only punishment was that we were never to be office monitors again.
At this point, I will confess that a small part of me hoped that, rather than being at least as mortified as I was, Dave would suddenly discover his deep and profound love for me, and all would be grand. This did not happen. In fact, I don’t think Dave uttered a single word to me, unless absolutely necessary, for the rest of the school year. And, I moved away that summer and never saw him again.
But now that I think of it, I did learn something: real life isn’t like a romantic comedy. Which is kind of a bummer, actually. But at least I have a good story.