Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday #5-To Be Human

"I am a man, I consider nothing that is human alien to me."
                      - Terence

My lips and tongue have embraced the expression that I "want to make a change" in my life and that I am "on a mission to change", but my mind has not done so yet.  I still eat crap and I am not moving enough to burn calories.  I have the MyFitnessPal app installed, but I conveniently forget to put on the foods I am eating.  And then as the day passes my mind turns into the part right before the climax of a romantic comedy when I tell myself that, "Too much time has can't ever be like it was.  It would just be better if I left this day blank."

I do understand that this is a life long process and I can not expect a change over night, but the gravity of the situation escapes me sometimes.  As of Monday, September 29, 2014 I am 323.9 pounds. 

I eat to fill the time, and that horrible habit has not ceased..yet. 

There is nothing in the world more awkward than being one in a room full of hormonal elementary school students learning about that forbidden subject we often call "sex education" (that was in whisper font).  Looking back what is so weird is that sex education is actually a life long process, but what it means changes over time.  When you are a kid, it is all about "what" it is.  When you get older it becomes about "what different things" other people are doing.  And then you want to learn "how to do it well".  And you want to practice a lot..over and over and get the point.

But this story is about when I was a 5th grader who was very excited (that was a pun) to learn about "sex education" from a series of slides on a projector.  All of us boys were put in one room and the girls were put into another room, because everyone knows that putting the sexes together to learn about sex education will produce illegitimate children.  That is a biological fact, so we were smartly protected from one another's loins.

Now looking back over my life as soon as I walked in the room, the instructor should have gently grabbed my shoulder and said, "Sorry son, but you can be excused.  You won't be needing to concern yourself with any of this for another the looks of you..maybe twelve years.  Go study, read a book or something."  But thankfully no one did that so I took my seat amongst my classmates and learned about vajayjays.

Now during the slides one of my classmates kept talking and giggling.  Let us call him Deion.  Now the way I remember Deion is that he looked like Mike Tyson.  Mike Tyson when he was in 5th grade.  With a very fast rate of speech, but without the classic speech impediment of the Champ.  Mind you, I knew who Mike Tyson actually was and one would have thought that any little person who resembled him in speech, physical build and stance would be someone I would avoid trouble with.  NOT SO!!

Well Deion kept talking and giggling and our instructor, who was a woman who seemed "old" to me at the time--which means she was probably in her early 30's--had had enough.  She said something to the effect of, "Deion, you have to leave the room now!"  Deion rose from his seat which was close to mine and began to walk out of the room.

When you look back at life you sometimes wonder openly, "Why did I do that?".  You hear people say things like, "THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!" and you assume they are just lying.  Here is what actually happened in my life at that moment.  I felt something in my stomach start to bubble up.  This force rose through my chest and filled it up with air.  This air pushed its way up my esophagus, started to vibrate my vocal chords and began to press its way into my mouth.  It demanded to be freed, but before it did this unexplained smile came over my face.  And then I said it.



That was the actual sound that totally filled the room full of boys, who were my classmates and the people I was wading through puberty with, when Deion had cocked back and punched me in the side of my head.  Not the jaw, or the eye, or the ear, but literally the side of my head that my hair was covering.  I had never been punched that hard before, and the funny thing was it happened so quick that I would not have known it happened except for the SONIC BOOM that resulted from the punch and the fact that my head was bumping after he hit me.

What was I to do?  I'll tell you what I did.  I stood up and stared at Deion.  I think back then I had a good 4 to 5 inches in height on him.  I don't know if any of you remember this, but the custom when two brothers were engaging in a fight was that they had to get really close to one another (about one to two inches apart) and stare at each other before fighting.  Well, we were close enough but I was staring down at him where he was about to my chest level and he was staring up at me and not flinching an inch.

                        Iron Deion:

What was I to do?  Apparently, not a damn thing.  I stared at him with a menacing "BOY-IF-THIS-AIR-BETWEEN-US-WASN'T-HOLDING-ME-BACK-BECAUSE-IT-PROBABLY-HAS-SOME-TYPE-OF-POLLEN-IN-IT-AND-I-HAVE-ASTHMA-I-HEAR-MY-MOTHER-CALLING-BUT-I-WOULD-MESS-YOU-UP-IF-IT-WEREN'T-TUESDAY!" look, which I know put fear into his heart.  

After everyone could see that our "fight" consisted of one punch, Deion was cleared out and I was left staring after him with that menacing "way too long of a phrase to write again" look.  

At that moment the instructor crushed my soul.

In a deathly silent room full of boys all suppressing the irresistible urge to laugh when you have seen someone get punked she looked at the one tall boy in the middle of that room who had been punked and said with pity in her eyes, "Young man, you did a good thing." 

What I just wrote is what she actually said, but there are three different things I heard:

#1 "Young man, are your testicles the size of raisins or lint?"

#2 "Young man, do you like this skirt.  I am going to buy you one to wear tomorrow.  Would you like red or purple?"

#3 "Young man, your momma called.  She said you can't come home until you punch him back."

Looking back, I know she was saying what she felt.  Having enough restraint not to fight is sometimes the best way to prove your manhood.  The site of two young black kids fighting over some nonsense was definitely not what she signed up for and I know she was relieved to not have to see that from her people.  But I realize all of that in hindsight.  At the time, I could not think of anything more mortifying unless right after that my mother ran into the room grabbed my face and gave me several kisses while she yelled, "DID HE HURT YOU, MY BABY, MY BABY!!"  That did not happen so the teacher's toxic reassurance was my worst nightmare.

Ladies, some day you may have some slides of vajayjays and want to teach a room full of elementary school boys about sex education.  You may be faced with a young man who looks like a pre-pubescent Mike Tyson talking too much.  You may ask him to leave and as he is leaving the most handsome, manly and suave 5th grader you have ever seen may say something smart to Iron Mike.  Iron Mike may KUMITE the side of Mr. Suave's head.  Mr. Suave may stand up and stare down Iron Mike with a "I'm forced to do this right now, and I don't know what to do next" look.  Iron Mike may get escorted out by the authorities (Janitor). 

Let me tell you what you should say next.

"PENNISSSSS!!!  PENISSSS!!!"  At the top of your lungs.  With everything you have in you, you need to be yelling "PENISSS!!" and if you choose you can include a few "VAGINNAAAASS!!".  I know, it doesn't make sense now but I will connect the dots in a few sentences. 
                           Iyanla gets it:

Eventually, the authorities (Janitor) will escort you out of the classroom and building as you are yelling these obscenities.  You will never be allowed to teach sex education again and you may have your privileges to be around small children again revoked, but here is what you will gain.

A room full of boys will believe they have witnessed the greatest freakout in the history of the world and all they will remember is there was some fight (who was in it again?) and then THIS LADY JUST STARTED YELLING PENIS AND VAGINA!  After a few years the only part they will remember is your freak out.  But there is one boy, Mr. Suave, who will know what really happened.  He will know you took the fall for him that day, and you deflected attention away from his emasculating moment.  He will always remember you just the way you are.

Join me next week as I continue this journey.  I might even write down something I ate and get back to walking. 


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