I guess it's a little funny that one of the memorable events in my life deals with writing about a memorable event in my life. When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, Mr. Huge-and-Angry, told our class that he was entering all of us into a statewide essay contest. The topic of the essay was to be "A Significant Event In My Life."
Now, this wasn't an optional assignment, and I could not think of a significant event that I could write about.
When I asked Mr. Huge-and-Angry, "Does this essay have to be true?" His snotty response, before the entire class, was, "I don't see how you could write a good essay if it isn't true." I can smell a challenge when it's waved before my delicately-nostriled and since-tastefully-pierced nose.
So when my wistful essay about my (100% still living) grandmother dying before me while whispering that I needed to follow my dreams and that she'd --- and I quote --- "see me in Heaven, save me a dance"....well when it won honorable mention in this Massachusetts-wide essay content, my presence was -- naturally -- requested at the Statehouse in Boston for a ceremony.
Of course, there were several important people sitting at my table with my family and I at the ceremony. Unsure of the penalty for admitting that the essay was fiction, Mama and Papa Smirf hid their inappropriate chuckles as best they could behind a Statehouse-laundered napkin while I fielded off questions from Senator Nuciforo's daily appearance stand-in about how I felt when my Grandmother passed, and had we been close? "Uh...yes." Oh yes. Closer still today than you could even imagine.
And here I sit, one solid decade later, still holding in the secret of the Significant Event That Wasn't. As huge and angry as Mr. Huge-and-Angry was, and as rudely as he had responded to my simple query that day in English class back in '98, he sure did enjoy himself on that awkward road trip with my mother, father and I from Western Mass to the Statehouse. Yes, he got to tag along. And tag along he did, like a dog with his head out the car window, beaming and slobbering like an idiot in rapture, when really you haven't done anything notable to entertain him besides push your foot to the gas pedal.
He was a big dumb animal, and a grumpy grumpy grumpy one at that. I will tell him one day -- how solidly and unapologetically I proved him wrong. I will one day relish in the joy of my proverbial spit in the face of the man who spent enough time spitting in my face with venomous verocity in each linear diagram-fueled English experience.
I will accept advice on when this moment should be. Factors to note: his blood pressure must be high from the anger "issues" and he smoked like a chimney, so his day could be coming soon!