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Monday, January 28, 2013

A Boomerang (Almost) Ruined My Life

This is NOT San Antonio, Texas!

So, we spent the weekend driving to San Antonio, Texas because Lorri has a conference there this week. I had never been to Texas, except for driving through the northern chunk on my way to Vegas, because why on earth would anyone ever want to intentionally go to Texas?
Laura Leonard's (imagined by me) vacation destination of 2013 (I imagine)
As we were driving, my mind got to wandering, as it always seems to do when I drive (I've been known to look around after a few hours on a long drive and have no idea where I am), and somewhere in the back of my mind, I recovered long ago repressed (and still very traumatic) memories. As I pouted and quietly cursed my fate at having to spend a week in Texas, I finally said aloud, "I'll bet Laura Leonard doesn't have to vacation in Texas this year!"
"What?" Lorri asked. She was confused. But it was time that she knew. She had to know. Maybe then she would understand what had happened to me, and why I break down and burst into tears at random times (like during sad commercials, or when we run out of mayo and she suggests that I use mustard, which is just nasty stuff, really, and who in the hell would ever want it on a turkey sandwich? Yuck).
Innovator? Oh yeah, especially since we didn't even have cell phones in 1982!
The year was 1982 (or possibly 1981), and I was a young mover and shaker; a second grader on my way up in the world. If Forbes had a list of people to watch in the second grade, I like to think that I would have been on it. It looked like nothing could come between me and the success that I was destined to achieve.
The teachers' lounge (if it had been located on Wall Street)
Then came the day of the Irving Elementary Spelling Bee Championship. Naturally, I was the favorite to win. All of the teachers were wagering on me (or so I can only assume, because why wouldn't they). By the end, there were just two of us left standing. Success was but a word away...
Not actually an image of Laura Leonard  
It was just me and Laura Leonard. I knew I had it in the bag, but still I cast a nod of respect toward my opponent before approaching the podium and adjusting the microphone (we were actually just standing in the library and there wasn't a microphone, or a podium, or anything). Then, the teacher gave me my winning word. "Boomerang," she said. I smiled. Victory was mine...
Recovered repressed memory?!?!
I don't fully remember what happened next, but I assume that Laura must have screamed or caused some distraction, because when I spelled the word, it came out, "B-O-O-M-E-R-I-N-G." BoomerIng? Even as the 'I' heard round the world had passed over my lips, I knew that it was wrong.
I was horrified. How could this have happened? Then, Laura moved in for the kill like a circling shark (if an eight year old girl were anything like a shark, and by circling, I mean standing in one spot). You'd have thought that since it was an obvious mistake (and not a legitimate misspelling) that she would have simply misspelled the word also, thus giving me another opportunity to win that which was most clearly, rightfully mine. She didn't. She stood up at the podium (there still wasn't a podium), and spelled the word correctly, "B-O-O-M-E-R-A-N-G."
Needless to say, the attending teachers and faculty (I think it was the librarian reading the words), were beside themselves. It was an awful scene. There was probably even talk amongst the educators of giving me the first place award anyways, since Laura had practically stolen the competition.
Still not actually Laura
But Laura wasn't having anything to do with that sort of talk. She wanted, no, she demanded her trophy even though it was rightfully mine (or at least that is what I assume happened based solely upon the now fully recovered memories that I just now imagined having happened).
Not an actual teacher from Irving Elementary School
The teacher (or librarian), through her tears (I also imagine her weeping because it's my recovered repressed memory and I can imagine remembering it however I want to, and if you don't like it then you can go and make up your own repressed memories), anyhow, through her weeping and sobbing and teary eyes, the teacher (or possibly the librarian or even the janitor) ultimately submitted and gave the first place trophy to Laura Leonard.
Still not Laura, or the actual trophy, and why is there a lumberjack in the background of this picture?
Laura took her trophy (which I imagine was probably even bigger than the one in the picture above). She went on to the city-wide competition after that, which no doubt, would serve as a virtual spring board, catapulting her into a successful future (because one can only assume that the city-wide contestants make up some sort of secret society like Yale's Skull & Bones or the Shriners or something, where success and fortune are a virtual guarantee of anyone who walks through the doors).
These are the actual second place trophies (Okay, not really)
I, on the other hand, received a second place trophy. Having disappointed every teacher in the school (who I assume must have lost a lot of money to bookies when they had bet on me to win), I would go on to lose every recess to detention for the remainder of grade school, even though I specifically remember being innocent of all charges (except for putting the stinking dead raccoon in the principle's car, because that is just funny shit even now, and can you really blame a third grader for taking advantage of an opportunity like that, and isn't leaving your car unlocked when you are a grade school principle an act of entrapment anyways?).
This is NOT Laura Leonard's house (It's probably actually much nicer).
Anyhow, Laura went on to become incredibly successful (at least, I can only assume because of her affiliation with the secret city-wide spelling bee group, even though I haven't actually seen, nor spoken to her, since the sixth grade).
I would leave school in that town a few years later, having been unjustly persecuted by vengeful educators (again...my story), and carrying the shame of a failed and broken man upon my shoulder (my family moved to Florida).
The actual advertisement that I based my entire future on. As promised, I often actually earn between $10 and $50 per week.
Not to say that I didn't find my own successes in life.
I've made my own success, with ingenuity and unique marketing strategies.

And, as it turns out, San Antonio is an awesome place, and yes, I would actually recommend it as a vacation destination. At home, in Iowa, it's about ten degrees, as opposed to eighty here in Texas, and the river walk is like Venice (not that I've ever actually been there, but I assume that it is), and it is amazing, and the Alamo is visible right out of our hotel window. Yeah, it's all pretty awesome!
This isn't Laura either, but I assume that all of the success that I imagined her experiencing would have eventually led her to swear off of material things and seek enlightenment elsewhere, because that's what really rich people usually end up doing, you know, swearing off of cash as a means of spiritual enrichment (not to say that they actually give their money away, because they keep it all for themselves, but they try to find something else in their lives, like standing on rocks with crystals glued to their heads to have positive effects on their Chakra (whatever that is), or, like Tom Cruise, they end up joining the whole Scientology cult).
So, Laura, wherever you are, I want you to know that I forgive you (my therapist says this will help me begin to heal. Okay, that's not really true. I don't have a therapist. I'm a writer and can't afford to address ALL of my issues with anyone who bills by the hour, but I imagined what it would be like to have a therapist, you know, like Tony Soprano, and I sort of figured that she would say something like that if she actually existed). Either way, I forgive you. Congratulations (thirty-two years later is better late than never still) on winning the spelling bee...
...and I hope that when all of the neighborhood children are gathered around, staring in wide-eyed awe at the glory that is your 1st place, 2nd grade spelling bee trophy (I can only assume that it still retains a place of honor in your home), I only hope that you will have the decency to at least mention that it might have been mine, save for the time that I stumbled, and tripped upon a boomerang.

Thanks for Reading!

Seriously though everyone, San Antonio is amazing!
P.S. I'm sorry, Laura!

-Buzz Malone- 

6 comments:

  1. You lived in Texas once upon a time ago, so you have been there! Although you were just three, perhaps you will be able to come up with some repressed memories of that time in which to write about.

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  2. Hilarious..... I think I remember that spelling bee!!!

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  3. That is excellent Mary. That means I will be able to call upon you as a witness when I sue to get my trophy back. Thank you.

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  4. Anonymous,

    There are only a handful of individuals in the world who would have known that...my immediate family, AND the angry monkey who lives in Chris' closet on The Family Guy. How in the hell did you find me here, Monkey?!?!

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  5. Interesting. Buzz's typo-writing goes all the way back to the second grade. Maybe his current defect is the result of PTSD.

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    1. This post was only for the newbies in our community, Doc. It's in very bad form to comment on it now. Very bad form. Very. Bad. Form. Don't make me go to your page and review backlogged material.

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