Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Buckle

We went to some church event in my early childhood where the more responsible teenagers watched the little kids so the adults could finally have some peace. The kindergarten room was pretty quiet because Meg and Vlad, the teenagers in charge, had a really large bucket of markers and a lot of construction paper.

Sedentary art projects are a good idea for mass child care. A less good idea is a healthy game of “Let’s All Call Vlad Names.”

I don’t know how this activity got started, or how it got approved, but none of us had ever played a funnier game.

We were all five- and six-year-olds sitting in a church, and it didn’t even occur to us to use Bad Words. I’m not sure I even knew any. We got creative instead.

I needed something really hilarious to keep up. I scoured the room for inspiration. After a couple of minutes we had used up pretty much everything on the table, all the furniture, and most of Vlad’s clothes. But no one had mentioned his belt! That comedic goldmine was all for me, and I announced triumphantly:

I had no time to enjoy my success. Before my first victorious “HA,” Meg yanked me out of the chair by my shirt and marched me into the next room.

It was dark, I was completely bewildered, and no one thought I was funny anymore. I was all set to cry even before it turned out I was in trouble.

Meg was very, very mad all of a sudden, and I had just remembered that this room had the haunted house in it last Halloween, and also weren’t there dead ghosts in the basement and could they get in here? And now she was yelling at me, too.

That’s when the real crying started.

I couldn’t even defend my innocence because my eyes and mouth were too full of liquid injustice. No matter how much I shook my head and wailed, I remained wrongly accused. It got even worse when she made me go back in and apologize to Vlad.

Meg was a really big buckle.


  1. Great story & outstanding drawings!

  2. : ) Take heart -- it happens to many a kid! To tell another person's story, my friend Jack says that when he was a kid and an elderly female neighbor told him to get back in his yard one day his father heard him mutter, "That's a fine ultimatum." (Jack was precocious, vocabulary-wise.) He reported getting into a good deal of trouble because what his father thought he had said was, "There's a fine old tomato," and in his father's day "tomato" was slang not unlike the "ho" of today -- definitely inappropriate for addressing one's elderly, gentile neighbor! I don't believe he got to explain either. Adults can definitely be buckles.

  3. Thank you!

    Aunt Elizabeth--the "didn't get to explain" is always the most scarring part for me. My speech centers tend to detect injustice and shut down utterly, opting for crying instead. It's embarrassing and ineffective, but kind of fun to draw.

  4. Nice made-up names.
    Vlad. haha

  5. Why don't they let kids explain?! They always think we're just lying.

    It's like the time, when I was 6 or 7, that I heard someone using the word "'coon" when referring to raccoons. I didn't know what the word meant so I asked my dad. Unfortunately, I had to pick the one time when one of the only African Americans in Albuquerque walked past to loudly ask, "Dad, what's a 'coon?"

    My dad was not pleased. But how was I supposed to know??

  6. Sean--the trouble with these scarring accusations is that the adults involved remember them completely differently, or more likely not at all.

    Andres--"Vlad" is actually a play on the guy's real last name, which I can't tell you either, so pretty much I'm the only one who can get it. Oh well.