Things Posts About Me"
#100. I have a small chunk of pencil lead embedded in my right knee.
This is why I'm not a 'tough guy'.
Back in the fourth grade, I was more of a tough guy, though. Well, not so much a tough guy as an angry loner. Well, not so much a loner as a shy, unconfident, closet asocialite. Well, not so much a closet as a wide open field. Well, not so much wide open as tree-lined and hedge-rowed. Well, not so much tree-lined as... wait.
What the hell was I talking about again?
So, anyway -- I had a little something to prove back in elementary school. Or felt I did, or something
. I've repressed most of what I was actually thinking and doing back then, but one of the memories I have left is the one where I got my pencil lead.
So there was this girl, Marlo, who sat beside me in the fourth grade. I didn't like her, and -- apparently -- she didn't like me.
(Later, in the sixth grade, I ate her strawberries.)
(That is so
not a euphemism, by the way.)
Anyway, for reasons I now forget but which probably were entirely
not my fault, Marlo decided she wanted to play the old, 'Does It Hurt Yet?
' game. And I was the contestant. So -- you can probably see this coming by now -- she jammed a pencil into my knee, through my jeans, and asked, 'Does it hurt yet?
I said, 'Nah. Dudden hurt.
' And it didn't, much.
So she pressed harder. 'Does it hurt yet?
'Phfft. As if.
' I yawned. Secretly I wished she would stop.
More pressing. 'Does it hurt now?
More wishing, and now a little sweating. Through clenched teeth, 'Nope... dudden... hurt.
She really got behind it then; I'm not sure, but I think she actually stood up, to better wield her Pencil of Doom
. 'How 'bout now? Does that hurt?
She may have added, 'Bitch?
' I'm not sure; we were only ten years old, though. So it was probably 'Boogerpants?
' instead. I'll have to check my notes.
I managed to choke out a 'Nuh-uh.
' I wiped a tear from my cheek before she saw it.
Well, that pissed her off. She was just as determined not to lose as I was. She made one final bid for all the marbles, and shoved on that pencil with every ounce of strength a pre-pubescent suburban girl could muster.
'Awright. Now I know that's gotta--
She pulled the pencil out of the now-visible hole in the knee of my jeans. The jagged wooden tip of the pencil was tinged with blood, but the lead was nowhere to be seen. On the bright side, the mind-numbingly searing pain in my knee eased back a few notches. I think that's when the teacher came over to see what we were mumbling about. 'Where the hell were you for the last five minutes?
' I thought. And I think I added, 'Bitch!
' You know, in my head. That was okay.
Anyway, I don't remember much of the aftermath. I may or may not have ratted Marlo out. (If I didn't, I should have, the lousy... well, bitch, if you really want to know.) I may not have had to -- with my ripped jeans and oozing knee, it may have been obvious that something evil had been done to me. Or what blood there was may have stayed under my jeans, and maybe I just went on with my day, limping around the schoolhouse. I really can't remember. But I've had the pencil lead with me ever since.
It's a reminder to not be stubborn and proud just for the sake of winning, no matter the cost. Not a constant reminder, unfortunately, as I still have to occasionally re-learn that particular lesson, but still a reminder. Maybe if it hurt every once in a while, it would jog my memory a little better. But it just sits there under a few layers of skin, winking up at me and acting all cool. I guess I'll always have it with me, barring any unforeseen amputations or gory accidents with the cheese grater.
Ooh, actually I do remember one aspect of the aftermath. I don't recall whether I told my mother about the incident right away, but she found out at some point. She was aghast -- somewhat, I think, that some girl would disfigure her son in such a way, but far more so because I now had a pencil lead embedded inside of me.
Mom: You've got to get that taken out! You'll get lead poisoning!
Me: Ma, there's no lead in pencil leads.
Mom: Well, still! It could decompose and get into your bloodstream!
Me: It's graphite, Mom. It's fine.
Mom: It could clog your arteries! You could have a heart attack!
Me: Mom, it's not going anywhere. Don't worry about it.
Mom: Well, it's a foreign object! It could cause problems!
Me: It's made of carbon, Ma. I'm made of carbon. It's okay.
Mom: Well, maybe it's infected! What about all the bacteria on it?
Me: It doesn't look infected. Mom, really, it's cool. I'll be okay.
Mom: But... but you'll set off metal detectors!
Me: Mom. Let it go.
Mom: You'll write on the insides of your pant legs! Won't somebody think of the pants?!
Me: I'm gonna go play outside. Love you, Mom.
Okay, so maybe she wasn't quite as hysterical as I've made it out to seem. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that she was more hysterical, and I've forgotten most of the ordeal. Either way, she was far more worried than she needed to be. I mean, look -- I've had the thing in me for over twenty years now, and it hasn't affected me at all. I've turned out okay, right? Um, right? Hello?