When I was growing up there was this family in our church community that would have big Christmas parties every year at their home. It was the kind of party that was filled with more or less every familiar face you’d ever seen in your life and the house was huge, so while about 200 adults cut loose up stairs, all of us kids would hang out in the furnished basement creating messes, beating the crap out of each other and arguing over toys. You know, kid stuff. It was the most fun of all the parties I was miserable being at every year.
One year, I was probably about nine years old, I was laying on the floor with a coloring book that I was too old for but too bored not to play with. There was a boy at the party who I recognized from church and he was kinda hot in an eleven year old way, but he was an asshole in that “my parents are divorced and I’m on the cusp of puberty” kind of way. I spent most of the evening trying to ignore him, using this holy night themed coloring book and an eight pack of Crayola crayons to keep me distracted.
After attempting for quite some time to shade the side of the manger red as delicately as possible, I finally gave up and held the crayon at an angle to maximize my coverage. I was kinda digging in there, trying to knock out the entire left side of the manger using as little wrist strength as possible and BAM! the crayon snaps in half.
Now, I don’t know if you guys remember this, but breaking a crayon of your own was always devastating. You had fresh new crayons that were longish and perfect and easy to hold with pointy tips that ensured that you were able to keep in the lines like it ain’t no thang… and then when one would finally break the whole thing would be over. Like, the way I feel about the economy right now, the feeling that my financial situation and the situation of others gives me? That’s the way breaking a crayon felt as a kid. It was like “Woah, man. Everything was fucking GREAT until this whackness went down.” But the kicker here was that it wasn’t even my crayon. It was a crayon that belonged to the child of a man who worked for my church. With God. And I carelessly broke the crayon because I was trying to cut corners and get the left side of the manger done.
The shame spiral set in and next thing I knew I was privately hyperventilating, thinking of ways I could somehow make this whole situation OK again. Maybe I would take the broken crayon and the next week bring one of mine to church that was whole and say that I accidentally took it from them? No. That would look like I stole the crayon and then pussied out. Maybe I could glue it back together? No. They only had that thick blue paste that you applied with a stick that came inside the jar. Maybe I could figure out a way to blame the kinda cute 11 year old boy? Probably. That was probably the best option.
First I put the crayon halves on the stairs and tried to trip him while he was walking up to get some more Sprite. He cleared the crayons and failed to notice them, but I did piss him off so I knew that I had another chance when he came back down. I put the pieces into my cardigan pocket and sat on the couch waiting for him to come back down to confront me.
At first it just started with him telling me I was an ugly bitch (I told you, he had angry parent issues!) Then I kicked him, which was always my signature move because I have long legs that allow me to hurt someone without actually getting that close. When I went in for the second kick, he grabbed my ankle and flipped me on my stomach. If the crayon in my pocket that I was trying to fake break wasn’t already broken, that would have done it. But that kinda hurt, that belly flop I did on the carpeted basement floor, so I stuck my foot in between his ankles and dropped him before I stood up, reached in my pocket, took out the damaged goods and cut him a deal. “You broke this crayon when you flipped me on the ground. I’m telling… or you take it and get rid of it and we won’t ever talk about it again if you don’t tell on me for tripping you.”
Then I sat on the couch drinking his Sprite while he snuck off into the back yard to hide the red crayon in the snow.
This is one of the earliest examples I have of me being kind of a bad person.
There’s no moral here, I just think that this is an element of my life I need to introduce at this juncture. I’ll post a fun song or something next, don’t worry.