Thursday, August 5, 2010

Part 12 of "Miracle Boy”

The Worst Date Ever:
War Crimes, Hollywood Heart-Throbs and Other Abominations

Yes, this link is an ad.  An ad from which I'm not earning a cent, BTW.   But it is an ad for great book I just gobbled up with gusto (whoever he is!).  Unfortunately, it's not published in this country yet.  Lots of Britishisms.  And definitely not for the kiddies.  But if you're over 16 and get into it, it'll make you laugh and cry out loud, perhaps at the same time, and you won't even be embarrassed because it's that good.

Speaking of embarrassed, read this next selection from my own humble memoir:

To be nearer my new school, we move from our second-story apartment on East 79th Street to a six-room co-op on the eighteenth floor of The Beresford, a cavernous Art Deco building on Central Park West. Alec, who is eight, is against moving. He likes life to stay the same. Or maybe he just likes to argue. Soon after moving, Mom and Dad have all the doorway thresholds removed and smoothed over, an access modification for me. This is thirty years before access modifications become codified by law. Mom and Dad and the men they hire have to figure it out on their own. Pioneers, again! Workmen and sawdust fill the place for weeks. The light switch in the bedroom Alec and I share is lowered so I can reach it, when I'm pushed close enough. I've never flipped a light on and off before. Who knew it was so simple? I flip it a hundred times that first day.

Still, other logistical problems come up. I start peeing in my pants at school. It's a logistical problem because I have no way of raising my hand to be excused, no way of taking myself to the bathroom. And I'm embarrassed to shout out for help. "What if you had a different way to signal you need to go?" asks Mom.

She tells me to suggest a word or phrase that's easy to remember—something I wouldn't ordinarily say, which has no other meaning, and that I'll feel comfortable calling out in public. It's genius! And it's lovely because it means Mom understands. I have no choice but to get my teacher's help in the bathroom, naturally. I don't have the luxury of privacy. Yet this should make it less humiliating. I ponder a moment. "How about, 'Judy, one two three'?"

Mom shares the code with Judy, my teacher, who likes the idea. I feel like Jonny Quest on an adventure, complete with a secret code. It's my way, using fantasy to deflect discomfort.

The battle may be won, but the war isn't over.

[Next up: The Battle of Second Grade!  And more...]

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