The wine was left untouched at parenting group this week. I don’t think that has ever happened. And it isn’t because I bought the $3.95 bottle of Shiraz because, frankly, this group isn’t particularly discriminating. I could put out soy sauce in a decanter and they’d drink it up.
No, the reason there was no drinking is because the discussion topic captured everyone’s attention. Evidently, there is an epidemic of lying going around the world. Well, not around the world. Well, maybe around the world. I have no idea, I mostly make shit up, but there was a strong interest in the subject of children and their lies the other evening.
I asked the group to share the biggest lies they made up when they were kids, and if they learned anything from the lying incidents. Their answers will crack you up, but this is my blog so here’s my story:
When I was in third grade, our class had a savings account at the local bank. The details are sketchy (maybe that’s the way our teacher wanted it?) but I remember that we had to bring in 50 cents every week in one of those envelopes that had a button and a long string that you wound around and around the button to secure the envelope. The teacher collected our envelopes and put them in her desk drawer, saying she’d go the bank and deposit the lucre in our class account.
Hold on. I am having a hard time finishing this story because it is slowly dawning on me that we never did have the party the teacher promised us we’d have. In fact, we never saw the fruits of our savings. In fact, we never saw our teacher after April…..
Oh God. I can’t get stuck on this. Must. Continue.
So, one Monday I forgot my money. I sweated through the Pledge of Allegiance, knowing that money collection (which I will now call “the shakedown”) was next. When the teacher called my name I walked up to her desk and whispered, “I don’t have my money.”
She wasn’t a scary woman. This wasn’t the third grade teacher from across the hall, Cruella de Ville, who made the kids line up according to height,the daily mortification of tall girls and short boys. No, my teacher was lovely. Sweet. She looked just like Jackie Kennedy to me.
“What happened, Ann? It isn’t like you to forget your money.” Mrs. Jackie Kennedy asked me.
(Note to self: was that a jab at my being Jewish? Research statute of limitations on hate crimes)
The lie burst out of my mouth without warning. “I was at the hospital last night.”
Uh-oh. Where the hell was I going to go with that opener?
Mrs. Jackie Kennedy put her hand over her mouth and gasped. At the time, I thought I had really hit the jackpot with that lie. Even my teacher was silenced. In retrospect, perhaps she was simply appalled at the fact that I was such an ignoramus not to know polio had been eradicated. I mean, what the hell did I think the blue dot on the sugar cube – the blue which we all called THE POLIO VACCINE – was?
I don’t remember much else. Only that my story included iron lungs and outdoor swings and, I think, a musical scene from “Pennies From Heaven”. By the end, I was covered in flop sweat. I think I might have actually contracted polio.
Well, of course, I was busted. Of course, the teacher called the Principal, who called my mom (after he called the Centers for Disease Control) and of course, I had to face Mrs. Jacky Kennedy and tell her the truth.
And of course, it taught me a valuable lesson.
It taught me that polio was eradicated in 1959.