Chapter Four: When You’re Too School for Cool (Thanks, P!nk)
My memories from Kindergarten all the way up to fifth grade involve nothing academic. Zip; zero; zilch – save for the exception that I was always trying to exceed the highest reader in my class with an eighth grade reading level in third grade. I had the aptitude of a sixth-grader. He’s now won state wrestling championships… I’ll let him succeed in that specialty unchallenged.
As I said, barely anything I remember reeked of academia. I remember, mostly, exactly what you’d expect from a child-recess.
My mind is immediately taken back to the cold months. This is probably because we are entering the cold months ourselves, but either way, this is one of the strongest playground memories I have: sweater boobs.
Every child has participated in creating their own sweater boobs, and if they say they haven’t, they’re lying. Boobs were the biggest (no pun intended) topic everyone made fun of in early grade school, and I understand why. At this point in life, none of us had them-boy or girl-so we bonded over laughing about and trying to haphazardly recreate upon ourselves what we lacked.
There was this specific wall of the elementary school that would jut out onto the pavement of the playground a little farther than normal. It created a corner, which on frigid days, would allow hordes of us kids to huddle together, our knees clinging to our chests under our coats and sweaters, where we would surround the one lucky son of a gun who arrived there first and hope to receive some body heat as well.
The corner spot was the most coveted place on the playground for those of us who could not bear the cold. Every day before each dreaded winter recess, I would cross my fingers, hope with all my hope, that we’d be let out a little early so that I could rush to the corner, pop a squat, and contort myself into the sweater boobs pose.
The overwhelming majority of days, this did not happen. Some lucky girl or boy would seemingly materialize in that spot before we were even let out of class, and I-along with many other crestfallen comrades-would cluster around them, hoping not to be the last ones of the group who would have to face the cold all recess. When you were a part of this unfortunate front line, your extremities would freeze. First to go were your poorly-mittened hands, which you would remove from your sleeves and suck in toward your sweater boobs. Your D-cup immediately went to double D. Second to sacrifice themselves were your feet. If you wore the wrong kind of shoes or your socks weren’t thick enough, you would return from recess unable to feel your toes. Last to go would be your face… and there was nothing you could do about that. You could wear a hat, you could wear a scarf, you could wear a ski mask for all the weather cared-but it didn’t. The cold was relentless. You like your nose? Oops sorry now you can’t feel it. You like your eyes? Surprise, now they’re just round ice cubes. Those ears of yours look really great. It would be a shame if someone were to frostbite them.
Gloriously, I can remember a select few days where I somehow attained the coveted corner before anyone else could. I anxiously awaited those who would so generously donate their body heat, and when they arrived, I basked in the glory of my sweater boob companions. I felt powerful and warm. Those were the good days.
The bad days I mentioned in the paragraph prior to the one above, but I have yet to mention the worst days.
Oh, these days were the worst (if you haven’t caught onto that yet).
I would be the happiest hen in the pen because I had gotten to the corner first and was waiting for my horde of peers to come rushing at me… but they would never come. I would be left all by my lonesome in a cold corner, hoping that my body heat would bounce off the walls keeping me company, unaware that the bricks were just siphoning it off into the winter air.
Maybe now I’d have at least a little more cognitive awareness to analyze why some days I was the only person to sit in the corner, my sweater boobs at the double D maximum, my petite body freezing during the fifteen-minute break we had. It could have been due to a 28-degree day rather than a 25-degree day, could’ve been the repellent energies of my childlike demeanor, could’ve been a number of things. Regardless, I was cold and unhappy. Most of the time thought I was going to die. Spoiler alert: I didn’t; but that didn’t stop me from fearing the end of the world.
Those were the good ol’ days. I didn’t worry about my grades, didn’t feel like I had to keep up with the world and its inhabitants (including myself), didn’t feel as though I was being endlessly tracked by video-camera government-owned-and-operated bees (possibly more on that in a later post; my buddy Leo has this idea about bees not existing and it’s pretty great), and only worried about getting back into a heated elementary school. These days it’s a little more complicated.
Long story short, if you didn’t have sweater boobs as a child, you’re a liar and need to practice humility. From the sweater boob horde at North Oakview, we salute you and wish you the best.