Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here's a story

Have you ever thought of something from your childhood and, for the first time, realized you've never properly reasoned out the events with an adult's mind? Not like you just forgot about it or something and then one day it popped into your head. I'm thinking more of something that came to mind occasionally throughout the years and you just never challenged your then-assumptions. Ever do that? Well, it happened to me once at least. I was embarrassingly old, maybe around 23, when it happened.

One year I was She-Ra for Halloween. This was in the early 1980s, so the costume was more or less a trash bag or, more accurately, a plastic pillow case with arm holes and a picture of She-Ra's body stamped on it. It was certainly nothing sophisticated. And it came with a mask, too. It was the kind of mask where there's a picture of She-Ra's face and then three ovals cut out so I could see and breathe. It was awesome. I wore it to the Temple, my Jewish preschool where nobody was Jewish except for one of the teachers, Mrs. Goldman. But we did sing a happy birthday song to the tune of the dreidel song any time anyone got older.

This particular year, I was going to fool everybody. I was going to leave my mask on the entire day and nobody would know it was me. And I really had them going, too. The highlight of my prank came while we were out on the playground. I very casually planted myself near a group of chatting teachers and listened in on their conversation. I heard my name, followed by inquiries as to my whereabouts. They said I would sure be sad to have missed such a fun class Halloween party, and that they wished I had come to school that day. Success! I was so proud of myself. I went home and told my mom.

Fast forward several years. I was telling this story to some friends one day in a discussion about Halloween costumes of our youth when it dawned on me that the teachers had put on that whole show about me missing school because they knew all along that it was me in the trash bag costume! You see why 23ish can be considered old in this case! It is not as though I was surprised to find that my teachers outwitted me at that age. In fact, it would have been surprising if they had not. But for some reason, I had never reworked my 6-year-old perspective. And how disappointing for me, now. I may never have a costume that convincing again.

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