Last night I accidentally started watching Glee. When they started lip syncing “Gold Digger” Stephen and I threw up our dinner and then realized Wipe Out was on. During the commercial break of one of these shows, we saw a preview for a new show called The Middle. They showed a hilarious scene with Patricia Heaton and her son. She gave him a pancake for breakfast.
Son: But it’s still frozen!
Mom: Just lick it. It’ll last longer.
I don’t know how this scene ended but I cracked up. I’m sure this nerdy little kid headed off to school, frozen pancake in hand. It probably lasted him an hour and he had no idea how ridiculous this was. Because that’s the power parents have over little kids. Kids believe anything. Kids think that their behavior is normal… and it’s not.
Have I ever told you that I was really cool when I was in elementary school? The answer to that question is no. No, I have not told you that I was really cool in elementary school because I was not cool. I had coke bottle glasses and wore spandex shorts with oversized t-shirts. I specifically remember wearing my mom’s Jazzercise t-shirt. I was smart and nerdy and not very funny.
“We were all like that, Chelsea! All elementary school kids are nerdy.”
No no. You don’t understand. You and your scrunchie socks have nothing on me. Your side ponytail and pencil case full of mechanical pencils are far more superior than my perm from a bottle and sharpen-it-yourself pencils. There is no contest. Want proof?
In 3rd grade I entered the talent show. Huge mistake. Nobody should ever enter the talent show. Third graders don’t have talent unless their name happens to be Dakota Fanning or Shirley Temple. Third graders aren’t fully aware of their bodies and have a tendency to display awkward behaviors. I was the queen of awkward behaviors. And for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to consider myself “talented” and show McWhirter Elementary just how talented I was. So a friend and I made up a routine and jump roped to it.
We took this very seriously. Now I had experience performing my arts in front of crowds. I had played in my fair share of piano recitals. And it’s not very easy to play the piano while wearing a puffy dress made out of your great grandmother’s curtains. What I’m telling you is that I am good enough to perform in the most stressful of situations. When I was on the Spin Jammer team, I was able to perform in front of a mob of 17 senior citizens at Moody Gardens. I know, you had no clue. I never cease to amaze you.
In case you were cool in elementary school, let me educate you. This is a Spin Jammer.
That’s not me. That’s a professional. Although I did have the lime green Spin Jammer with black writing. And clearly I had no fashion sense because our uniforms were red, white, and blue and I probably should have bought a Spin Jammer to match, but who could be bothered by such small details.
Let’s back up a bit. I’m not done telling you about the talent show.
My friend and I had some serious jump rope skills. We could criss cross at the same time and we almost never messed up. So she was in charge of coming up with a routine and I was in charge of music. I wonder if she realized her mistake in asking me to do this. In elementary school I listened to Christian music and oldies. That’s all. And since I didn’t own any CDs I enlisted the help of my parents. They sent me to school with a frozen pancake.
We flipped through their CDs. I couldn’t use Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith because I already had roller skate and hula hoop routines to all of those songs and I would just get confused if I tried to jump rope to them. So we busted out the Rich Mullins CD. I will not be shocked in the slightest if none of you have heard of the song that we choose. It’s call “Screen Door.” The chorus says:
Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing,
It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
True story. I jump roped to that. WE jump roped to that. In matching royal blue full-body leotards. I had to borrow the matching one from a friend of ours that was in gymnastics with her. It should be noted that she was probably 7 inches shorter than me.
I was too naive to know that I should be embarrassed. As far as I knew, everyone knew that song. And if they didn’t, they should. Because what’s more funny to a 3rd grader than the idea of a screen door on a submarine? Nothing. So we jumped our little hearts out. Whenever I feel like I need a good dose of humility, I’ll post the pictures my mom took that day. My parents encouraged these behaviors. The Spin Jammer team, the jump roping, the Cup Stacking team. (The Cup Stackers were a branch of the Spin Jammer team. We had talent oozing from our pores and needed another hobby. Enter: cups with holes.)
That’s the job of parents. They encourage their kids to get involved. Maybe they are secretly laughing at their kids and thinking “Won’t it be hilarious when our daughter is older and she remembers her awkward childhood?? Maybe she’ll write about it or something.” But they don’t say those things out loud. They only manipulate encourage us to participate. And then they send us to school with a frozen pancake and a song about a dysfunctional submarine.
Sarah from Life More Exciting is responsible for that post. You can blame her.
Leave two more words in your comment and we’ll give this another shot next week!