Friday, January 30, 2009

Gluteus Maximus

My elementary school PE teacher was a very creative educator. I didn't attend the most well to do elementary school in the district, but she certainly didn't let that obstruct our physical education. We never spent a PE period simply running around the gym to burn off the pizza and french fries our cafeteria served us for lunch. (Apparently, the food pyramid was just a mild suggestion of what growing children needed in their diets). One week, our class focused on learning about our bones and muscles. Our favorite lesson taught us about our Gluteus Maximus, better known to second graders as the Butt. This became an irresistible source of jokes for our class. How could the grown-ups possibly know what we were talking about when we were using such an advanced term to talk about our hind parts? And even if they knew, we were just using our knowledge - how smart are we?! We know the anatomical term for a part of our bodies that involves poop! POOP!

At the end of the week, we filed into the school gym for PE class, as usual, but our teacher was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, techno music filled the gym with thumping bass and prolonged electric guitar riffs (it was the late 80s, you can imagine). Our teacher burst through the doors, a bundle of energy, screaming and dancing as if possessed by some physical education demon, or perhaps high from a great line of cocaine. She was wearing a track warm-up suit (ubiquitous in the 80s, and frighten
ing in and of itself) and before we knew what was happening, she was ripping her clothes off! Flashes of flesh filled my eyes! I was confused. Always a strict rules-follower, I knew that proper ladies did not remove their clothing in front of anyone - let alone boys! The atrocity! But, I also knew that teachers were to be respected, and I wasn't about to disrespect an authority figure by ignoring her - that would be breaking the rules! At seven years old my social mores were being challenged. Close my eyes to the scandalous strip tease being preformed at the front of the class and retain my right to lady-hood? Or participate in the inexcusable so as not to snub the almighty System?

Luckily, I didn't have to make that choice. Upon closer inspection I realized that my teacher was not, in fact, stripping down to her birthday suit and robbing me of my innocence, but instead, disrobing to reveal a nude unitard decorated with anatomically correct bone and muscle systems. Oh Happy Day! All was right in the world again! Ladies did not remove their clothing in front of children, and teachers would never subject their students to inappropriate dances while under the influence of illicit narcotics - and if they did it was only in the name of education (Lesson Plan - Narcotics and Their Effect on Perception vs. Ability to Drop It Like It's Hot).

But what was my educational inspiration saying now? She was describing a game our class was going to be playing. We were going to be drawing cards with the names of muscles and bones on them, and then running to the front of the room to point out that specific anatomy on her bodysuit. But good children keep their hands to themselves! And this game would mean I was going to have to touch a teacher (thereby insolently disregarding the rules!) And what if I drew the card that said Gluteus Maximus?!

Who's social mores wouldn't be challenged when confronted with something like this?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eternally Embarrassed

I often find myself embarrassed by my own actions. I know a lot of people have regrets about things that they have said or done, but I find myself cringing at my own memories on a daily basis. These memories of moments of humiliation come to me at the most random times - usually when my mind has time to wander - in the shower, while driving and at inopportune moments throughout the day (sometimes resulting in yet another moment to be uncomfortable about).

The embarrassing moments themselves happen routinely. As much as I try to avoid humiliation-making activities, I still manage to make a fool of myself quite regularly. Often, these moments have been while under the influence of booze - but more often, they are made of my own self-conscious manner. My hope is that writing about these gaffs will help me deal with how stupid I make myself feel, and maybe make me laugh in the process.