Jul 1, 2010

Dawn of the Cunt

I first began writing when I was in the second grade, the year I had a teacher named Miss Cuntbreath who did not like me at all.

Of course, her last name was not actually Cuntbreath, but after much consideration, I’ve decided that exposing my teacher's real name on a public forum would be crude and unprofessional. Thus, in the interest of good taste, I shall refer to her as "Miss Cuntbreath".

Miss Cuntbreath was a purebred Boston Brahmin. She wore her sandy blonde hair in the obligatory blunt bob, often accessorized by a grosgrain ribbon headband. She donned the requisite fair-isle sweaters and preppy wrap skirts in pinks and greens, some with lobster or frog or ladybug appliqu├ęs. At circle time, she would tuck the folds of her knee-length skirts under her muscular, tanned legs (undoubtedly bronzed and toned from years of field hockey and lacrosse) as she sat on the carpet and read to us from storybooks, often with a small, blond child tucked under her wing, or even, on occasion, on her lap.

She had a handful of pets in the class—most with old-money, robber baron surnames like Weld or Westcott or Hallowell —and Miss Cuntbreath coddled each and every one of them as though they had emerged from her own womb. The school had a very high concentration of WASPs, and a large number of them—Miss Cuntbreath included—belonged to a local country club (or should I say, cuntry club) well known for its exclusion of African Americans, Jews, Asians, Latinos, and pretty much anyone else whose ancestors could not be traced back to The Mayflower. Miss Cuntbreath had played golf with these kids' parents, had dinner at their homes, even babysat for the towheaded minicunts themselves. These kids were more than just her students ; they were her tiny blue-blooded homies.

Anyhoo, Miss Cuntbreath hated me, and while she never said so directly, I’m pretty sure the reason she hated me was that I was a seven-year-old Jew bitch. She also hated my friend Tien, as she was a half-Chinese AZN whore. In addition, she hated my other best friend Shelly, also for Jew bitch status, although Shelly’s qualifications for that status were admittedly debatable. While Shelly’s mom was a devout Catholic and Shelly was in mass every Sunday like clockwork, Shelly’s dad was Jewish, consequently making Shelly’s last name Abromowitz and consequently making Shelly Jew bitch enough for Miss Cuntbreath.

Miss Cuntbreath never called on the three of us in class, unless it was to scold us for some trivial misstep that undoubtedly would have been overlooked had we been among her chosen brood.  She never chose us as snack monitors. She never commended us--on anything. Not a smiley face, not a gold star. Nothing. Sometimes she shot us a look or snapped at us for really no reason. For the most part, though, it was as though we did not even exist.

Needless to say, Tien, Shelly, and I were never invited into the Talbots-upholstered lap at story time.

Neither was Carl Frampton.

Carl Frampton was the only black kid in our class. Actually, Carl was one of the only black kids in the entire school. He was tall for his age, lanky with a short afro. His mother dressed him almost exclusively in patterned double-knits, which, even as a Garanimals-clad second grader, I could discern to be dorky.

Carl Frampton talked to himself. He sang to himself. He played, almost exclusively, by himself, often recreating television characters such as JJ Evans from Good Times (a twirl, followed by an exuberant "Dynomite!")and, much to the eyebrow raising of the rest of the class, Wonder Woman (a twirl, followed by an exuberant "Won-dah Wo-man!"). For some reason, he was really into characters who twirled.

Of course, the rest of us pasty-faced brats didn’t take into account that Carl’s solitude might have had something to do with being the only black face in a sea of Caucasians, a sea navigated by a Third Reich captain in Lily Pulitzer. Similarly, we didn’t take into account that our own cliquishness might have lead this boy to operate as a loner. It didn’t occur to us to see his behavior as anything other than plain old batshit crazy. That said, it’s hard to fault a room of seven year olds for finding oddity in the tallest boy in the class whirling like a polyester-clad dervish while crying out, “WON-DAH WO-MAN!” It was an unfortunately complicated situation, to say the least.

One afternoon in February when a blustering rainstorm forced the teachers to keep the schoolchildren inside for recess, Shelly and I were sitting quietly in the corner of the classroom, trading stickers. Shelly had just offered me a Lisa Frank ice cream sundae for a puffy Little Twin Stars--a terrible deal for me to which I responded with great insult. I slammed my sticker album shut and, hugging it tightly across my chest, ran around the outer circumference of the room to my cubby in the opposite corner, the cubby where earlier I had taken off and stored the big puffy moon boots I had worn to school that day.

As I ran my stubby seven-year-old legs from one end to the large classroom to the other, my stocking-clad feet glided effortlessly across the linoleum (one of the reasons we liked taking off our bulky snow boots—playing ballerina or figure skater was one of our favorite indoor-recess activities). Shelly, eager renegotiate the terms of her previous offer, jumped up and pitter-pattered after me in her ruffled Bonnie Doon anklets. What neither one of us realized in the midst of our sticker-trading hysteria, was that Carl Frampton, having spent a good portion of recess chanting his “WON-DAH WO-MAN!” mantra whilst spinning himself into a super-heroic frenzy in the cubby area, had apparently spun himself so dizzy that he vomited a large puddle of brown and yellow puke (incidentally, the exact color scheme of the double-knit pants he was wearing that day) onto the slippery white linoleum.

There is that moment of lag—the kind that you experience when you’ve sliced your fingertip with a very sharp knife or SBD-farted in a small room occupied by only one other person—between the moment something sucky happens to you and the moment you actually become aware of the magnitude of its suckiness. When Shelly and I slid through Lake Vomit in our stocking feet, it took a few more steps in our now-warm, wet socks for us to notice the horrible event that had befallen us. This was only a second or two, about as long as it took for Judd Bray to point and scream,

“Ewwwwwwwwwwww! Shelly and Tsada stepped in Carl’s throw-up!”

At which point, Judd unleashed his own small eruption of sympathy vomit onto the linoleum. Splat.

There was a moment of mass chaos--screaming, crying, pointing, laughing--before the teacher on recess duty became aware of the situation. He sent the two boys down to the school nurse, then gave Shelly and me grocery bags and told us to wrap up our socks and put them in our cubbies. Then he sent all of us to another classroom with the principal’s assistant while he spent the remainder of recess mopping up puke.

When recess was over, we were sent back to our classroom, where the recess teacher was sharing the vomitastic details with Miss Cuntbreath who, in retrospect, I think had a big crush on the rather dashing male teacher.

“You poor thing,” she said, patting his shoulder. She batted her blue eyes and flipped her hair a la Blair Warner (if you don’t know who that is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog).

But as soon as the handsome recess teacher left the room, Miss Cuntbreath turned to Shelly and me. Her gaze went from doting schoolgirl to vengeful ice queen.

“Go get your socks,” she said pointedly.

“What?” The word slipped from my lips, and I gasped at myself. I was a pretty timid kid back in the day, generally terrified to question authority (especially authority figures who I knew disliked me).  But in this case, my response was purely visceral--like vomit itself.

“Go. Get. Your. Socks.”

“But…” Shelly began.


It was at this point that Shelly and I realized that this shit was no joke. This bitch was crazy, and even small children have the intuition to know that one of life’s most basic rules is Don’t Fuck With Crazy. She might as well had thrown us in a dungeon hole with a bucket of Lubriderm on a rope and told us to rub the lotion on our skin. We fetched the Stop and Shop bags from our cubbies and brought them to Miss Cuntbreath.

“Take the socks out of the bags. Now.”

By this time, we were crying. Slowly, we removed the damp, bilious socks from the bags. There we stood, holding them before Miss Cuntbreath, who looked at us with disgust—even more so than usual.

“ Now take them to the bathroom and wash them with soap and water.” And with that, she ushered us into the tiny classroom potty area, where she handed us a crackled, dirty cake of hand soap. “Do not come out of here until your socks are clean.”

And so, even though we were living in the latter part of the twentieth century, with ample access to electric laundry facilities, Shelly and didn’t dare fuck with crazy. We turned on the water and began to scrub.

I can still remember the feel of the socks as I ran them under the insufficiently pressured flow of the tiny faucet, Shelly and I battling for its meager, flaccid stream. The harder we scrubbed the socks, the more the little disgusting bits of puke became ground into the double-knit fibers. To call it an effort in futility would have been inaccurate, because that would imply that we were not effecting a change, when in fact, we were actually making a already disgusting situation more and more disgusting by the minute. Of course, I have no doubt that this was Miss Cuntbreath’s intent. For months my friends and I had felt that our teacher was doing her best to quietly crush us. It seemed that today, she had met with the proverbial perfect storm of vomit.

When Shelly and I got home from school that day, we told our mothers what had happened, and gave them the bags with our wet, vomit-imbedded socks. They of course were appalled, and both of them—after tossing their daughters’ vomity, soapy, soppy socks into the trash—picked up their telephones and made irate calls to the head of the school.

Miss Cuntbreath was not fired, but I do imagine that she was given a stern talking-to. And while I still sensed she disliked us (possibly even more so now that we had snitched on her) I did begin to notice that she was paying a little more positive attention to me in one particular regard—my writing.

Around the same time as the vomit incident, Miss Cuntbreath had given each student a lined composition book to be used as a journal. We were to write in our journals every day, for twenty minutes. Most of the other kids hated journal time, many spending the majority of the period whining that they did not know what to write. For these children, Miss Cuntbreath would supply “hints” to get their literary juices flowing, sometimes a picture clipped from a magazine, or an artificially triggered memory about summer vacation. This I never understood. As kids, we spent all day having the teacher tell us what to do. Why would I want Miss Cuntbreath to tell me what to write about when I could write about whatever I wanted? It made no sense to me at all.

And so I started writing stories; well, more like a group of linked stories starring heroine, Pinky The Pig. Pinky was a foxy teenage pig who dressed and rocked out like Leather Tuscadero (if you don’t know who this is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog). Pinky also had an evil sister, Sheila The Pig, whom I named after the sloppy drunk who lived upstairs from my mother. Each day, clad in Lycra and Candies El Greco, Pinky would embark on a new adventure, partying with her friends or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, or dancing at the school carnival with her boyfriend who bore a very close resemblance to a porcine Danny Zuko (if you don’t know who this is, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog). Pinky lead an unusually exciting and dynamic life, even for a fabulous pig like herself.

Not only did these stories provide me respite from the suckiness of Miss Cuntbreath’s class, but the textual applause that Miss Cuntbreath left me each week in the margins provided me with a kind of gratification I had never before experienced— praise from an adversary. My writing had managed to pave a common ground in our previously non-existent relationship. Every time I turned in my journal, I found myself in great anticipation of its return, of the copious red-penned comments Miss Cuntbreath would leave on the pages. For some reason, a slutty, fictional pig had awakened something kind and attentive--borderline-nurturing, even--in Miss Cuntbreath. And this, in turn awakened something extremely profound in me. In the wake of a vomit storm, an attention whore I mean writer was born. 

And while I (probably) won't be writing about promiscuous pigs on this blog, while I pray none of you ever have to endure the trauma of scrubbing vomit socks with your bare hands, I do hope that at some point during your time on here, something I write speaks to you in a way that connects us on some completely random, fucked-up level.

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Douglas said...

I can't believe this story waiting so long to be told. Fantastic and vomitastic. Nicely done!!

kevo said...

That's a lot of reading!

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