It’s back to school time, and for me that means, well, nothing really. I’m not in school anymore. I had been enrolled in a Creative Writing Master’s program but had to quit that for a few reasons. Maybe when I’m able I’ll enroll again. But as I hear/see stories from Dubai and around the world of students of all ages going back to school and they are dreading/loving/totally indifferent about it, it got me thinking about some of my favourite school stories. And not all of them revolve around nudity. Let’s be honest here, you all want nudity. I came up with this one:
I remember it well; I was 13 going on 8. I was a small kid. I was pigeon-toed, pigeon chested, had the physique of a pipe cleaner man too. Didn’t grow too much until my mid-teens. We were playing floor hockey and I was goalie. I was pretty good too. Scratch that – I was to floor hockey goalkeepers what Charlie Chaplin was to silent movies, minus the moustache. If they had a professional floor hockey league I would have been a cinch to captain the all-star team, but I digress. We were playing another school, in a show of solidarity. At least that’s what the teachers called it. We knew what it really was; a chance to kick the ass of the losers who went to the other school. They felt the same the way, don’t judge me. Okay, I can still see you shaking your heads at me. Stop, I’m sorry. It was all about solidarity.
And kicking the asses of losers.
So, our gymnasium is packed. I’ve just entered junior high, although I look like I should be in grade two. I’m standing in net, goal pads, big goalie glove, no face mask. I’m old school. Face masks ruin your hair. Who cares if I looked like George Harrison of the Beatles? No face mask was ruining my mop-top damnit. I should tell you that this was in the 80s and the Beatles had long since packed it in. Yeah, I know, I’m a loser.
So, my best friend at the time, we’ll call him Roy Munns because he doesn’t deserve anonymity, is a bit of a prankster. We’re winning, and when I say we’re winning I mean we are kicking the asses of the pathetic bunch of losers who bothered getting in the school provided mini vans to suffer a humiliating defeat. The other team doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’d have cried if I were them because the beating we laid on them wasn’t worth laughing about. So, Roy, my best friend, sneaks up behind me and pulls my sweat pants down. Now, ordinarily it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I’d have underwear, and even in my dodgiest ginch it would still be pretty funny. Unfortunately, Roy grabbed more than sweat pants, he grabbed ginch too.
So, I’m standing there in a packed gym, sweats and underwear around these goal pads I’m wearing, showing off my mangina to the world. It seemed like the world to me; but I may be exaggerating.
I froze. Why didn’t you just reach down and pull up your pants I hear you say? Well, the game was still on and the other team finally decided to take a shot on goal. There was no way I was going to let them score on me so I stood in. I saved the first shot just fine, but with my pants hooked over my pads I slipped over just in time to take a plastic hockey puck in the ‘nads.
Well, not even the teachers wanted to see if I was alright. At this point I’d like to say I don’t think it’s just the cold that causes the “kids” to hibernate inside the safety of your pelvic region. Nope, I think fear does it too. Hundreds of kids, a lot of them girls, and older ones at that are looking at me. I can still feel, all these years removed from the incident, exactly how my body turned from teenage boy to department store manikin in a matter of seconds. One minute, mini Penguin was there. The next minute, gone. I was smooth, void, a living Ken doll without trousers.
So I lay there, tears welling in my eyes, flat on my back, legs splayed, puck between my legs, bare assed and embarrassed. I finally managed to shake the gloves from my hands, hike up my pants, stop a small tear from forming, pull my nut sack from my stomach, and continue.
We won the game. And every girl at school smiled at me for the next week. Except they weren’t smiling to say hi, they were smiling to say… We’ve seen your penis! Damn, I hated junior high. But I think I would still love floor hockey.