Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just an Observation

I tried out for Cheerleading 8 times in high school and never once made the squad. It was traumatic to me at the time.   I was never sure why; perhaps it was because I wasn't athletic enough...or peppy enough...or loud enough. But after years of self-therapy and a lot of wine I had an epiphany. I didn't make Cheerleading because of a counterfeit observation!  Let me explain.

The Cheerleading coach, Miss Peckrat was also my gym teacher. For you Glee fans, she was a cross between Sue Sylvester and Hannibal Lector. Only meaner.

I went to school in Buffalo where winter begins in September and ends in April.  Our school had an indoor swimming pool and Miss Peckrat strategically waited until the chill factor was below zero before beginning the 6-week swim curriculum.  (I really think Miss Peckrat liked to look at very cold teenage girls in their swimming suits if you get my drift.)

I hated everything about that swim class. Putting my skinny, pallid body into a swimsuit and jumping into an ice cold pool was torturous to me. So was standing in a line with the other girls in my entire goose-bitten body shivering uncontrollably while Miss Peckrat took attendance.

What was even worse was getting out of the pool into the 60 degree air, taking a 1 minute shower and running to the next class smelling like chlorine. I'd have a bathing cap indentation across my forehead, along with 'bathing cap' hair. The indentation would gradually fade throughout the day, but the hair was there to stay.

There was only one way to avoid swimming: having your period. As if having a period was a humiliation to all women, Miss Peckrat required her students to use a secret code if it was 'that time of month'. The code word for period was 'observing'.

I would pray to no avail for my periods to last 7 days...even 10...15 days. And on one blustery winter morning I felt excessively brave and decided to claim I was observing, when in fact my observation had concluded the day before. 

Given my reputation as a goody-goody among teachers, I figured Miss Peckrat probably wouldn't suspect me of perjury. I was also banking on the fact that she wouldn't ask for proof. Just in case, though, I wore a pad, complete with a fake observation.

Miss Peckrat called my name:
She raised one heavy, dark eyebrow and said "This is the third class in a row you've observed"
" I have a heavy observation this month."
"You better be done observing on Thursday or you're going to the school nurse"

It felt so good to be sitting in the bleachers, 'observing', without my period. It may have been my imagination (or my guilt complex), but Miss Peckrat looked at me suspiciously off and on the entire class.

So that's my story....and I'm sticking with it! Miss Peckrat saw through my fabrication and that's the reason that I wasn't ever picked. I mean who wants a liar on the Cheerleading squad?

Either that or she thought I had serious gynecological issues that might interfere with my splits.

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