Middle school was terrible for me. I was fat, gay and foreign AND everybody knew it. I was hiding from myself and as a result I sometimes lashed out.
Because I was so weird, I was always reaching out to people in the ways that fat gay foreign kids do: making locker-adjacent chatter, pretending I hated the Spice Girls, doing the Beavis voice, all the usual cries for attention a lost middle-schooler cries. Now I can’t put my finger on the inciting incident, but one day I said something weird that pissed off the wrong popular girl: Lee Anne McLendon.
The worst part about Lee Anne McLendon is that she wasn’t even that popular. She was popular run-off, popular remainder, the social tofu of popular girls. She merely stewed in their popular flavor and reaped all the benefits. In some ways, I’m sure she was just as confused and alone as I was.
Soon after I pissed off Lee Anne is when her and her popular lady friends began to play a game with me that was, for lack of a better descriptive, the cruelest thing anyone has done to me. From time to time throughout 6th grade Lee Anne and the rest of my Mean Girls (Katie Jones, Katie Marks, Katie Cooke and Laura Mills) would approach me in a pack, walk around me in a circle and pretend to fawn over me saying things like “Oh, you’re so sexy and chiseled.” And “Please take me to prom, I’d love to show up with you on my arm.” And “Why won’t you ask me out already?!” And if you couldn’t tell, the joke is that I was so unappealing that the notion of dating me was absolutely absurd and therefore satirical to them… so yeah, it fucked me up pretty bad.
I’ve never been a fighter, but I have no problem being a totally sassy bitch. In fact, I’ve been told that I was born with the audacity of a teenage black girl. I’m not sure if it’s because I love creative writing, or because I never excel at any physical sport, or maybe it’s just my creamy gay center- but whatever it is, I love sassing somebody off.
When you grow up in a house with Greek immigrant parents and unsupervised access to cable, you learn some colorful language. I was allowed to watch anything I wanted! I’m not sure if I learned more from Real World Reunions, Taxicab Confessions, or maybe it was Cinemax’s award winning soft-core porno Emmanuel, but they all armed me with an arsenal of dirty language weaponry that I cultivated for my onslaught against Lee Anne McLendon. And one day after school, I decided to let Lee Anne have it.
The school day was over, the teachers were gone, and I said something to Lee Anne that I thought was mean but in reality just didn’t make sense.
I gathered what strength I had, walked up to LeeAnne, poked her stupid pink LL Bean bookbag and said “Hey LeeAnne, Your slutty dyke moms suck each others’ cocks.” After that, there was some heated discussion on whether or not her parents were indeed slutty dyke moms who sucked each other cocks, but i just kept saying it! She became quiet, shocked even, and when her mom arrived to pick her up I noticed that she started to cry. SUCCESS!
I went home that day feeling a sense of accomplishment. I stood up for myself, I slew the dragon using only my sassy tongue. All was right with the world… until the next day.
I wasn’t an amazingly academic kid NOR was I a bad kid. I floated somewhere in the middle. But the next day, I became familiar with the gut-wrenching feeling associated with hearing the intercom buzz on and hearing my name preceded by “could you please report to the principal’s office.”
Was I caught? There I was sitting in the office of Dr. Terry Worrell, the lady principal from hell. She was a 90s woman who came to work everyday in a long skirt and tennis shoes, that’s right, she was indeed ‘having it all’. I sat quietly in her beige office, waiting to hear the worst thing possible. But I wasn’t above deluding myself: “Hey, maybe this isn’t about that. Maybe I’m getting a secret super-cool award for my excellent art work! Yeah that’s it, that pagoda silhouette I drew was hanging in the school hall after all, maybe a famous artist had seen it and I was getting praise for it! Yeah that’s it!”
That was, until she showed me the hand-written list of all the horrible cuss words I had said to LeeAnne and point blank asked, “Did you say these words?”
I crumbled, I cried, I confessed. Was this the right time to tell Dr. Worrell about the cruel game that LeeAnne played with me? Was this the time to try and gain pity for my complete lack of appeal? Was this the time to confess that this all started because I was a sad closeted foreign fattie who just wanted to make some friends?
No… no it wasn’t, because those things take time and courage I didn’t have. So I swallowed my pride and reluctantly received my somewhat undeserved punishment: 2 days of In-School Suspension. It sucked. But the good part was, all the kids in ISS knew what taxicab confessions was.