Okay, this is a funny story. Well, at least I find it funny, and more than mildly embarrassing.
Perhaps you remember junior high.
Of course you remember junior high!
If you are normal, you were probably scarred for life by it, and I’m not just talking about zits. I’m talking about those long ago uncomfortable memories which seem to pop up at the oddest times.
The Set Up
Recently I have been studying about the art of blogging. There are a staggering amount of things to learn. A few nights ago when I was doing some on-line reading and clicking on link after recommended link, I ended up on Pinterest. I had been instructed to observe the number of followers for a certain Pinner and the types of boards and pins that she has.
The Pinner has 139 boards and over 10,000 followers. I was in awe and found myself wanting to be like her. Then suddenly an old 7th grade memory popped into my head. I slumped a little lower into the couch and turned a faint pink color at the memory.
The Wanna Be
My family had just moved to Lewes, Delaware and once again I was the new kid in school.
It takes a new kid about five seconds to get the lay of the land, the proverbial hierarchy of who is popular…and who is not. I was always on the “not” list. That’s okay; it builds character. I didn’t know it then, but I do now.
Back in junior high almost everyone wants to be popular. The school which I attended was populated with kids who had known each other since kindergarten and, to their credit, they seemed to all get along very well. Still, there were the “in” kids. I wanted to be an “in” kid. I wanted it so badly. I mean, it was 7th grade, and if I didn’t make it as a popular kid in 7th grade then there was no hope for my future.
The seating arrangement in most of my classes was such that I was often seated beside or near the number 1 most popular boy in the 7th grade. He had long blond hair and brown eyes and I thought he was amazing. He carried a Blue Horse three-ring binder, a standard binder of the early 70’s.
Down the spine of the binder, Popular Boy had penned an eight letter word. I would say that word over and over in my mind, wondering what it meant. Sometimes my classmates would say the word out loud in a sing-song way. Everyone would laugh, including Popular Boy. Clearly, the word had some secret meaning, but I was completely clueless about it.
I often thought about writing the same word down the spine of my notebook so that I would look cool, too. I thought about it a lot. It didn’t occur to me that Popular Boy was the only one sporting it openly.
The Femme Fatale
One day I noticed that Popular Boy was with a very pretty girl, whom I had never seen. They were holding hands and talking quietly to each other in the classroom doorway before school started. I stared at Pretty Girl. I wanted to be her. She was confident and had beautiful long hair that went halfway down her back and she wore great clothes.
The bell rang and Popular Boy and Pretty Girl said good-bye. “I’ll see you this afternoon,” they said to each other. As a parting gesture, Pretty Girl kissed Popular Boy on the cheek and commanded him to work hard in class. And then she was off, long hair billowing around her head and shoulders as she turned.
Popular Boy sauntered into the classroom and some of my classmates started teasing him and saying that mystery word in that kind of sing-songy “secret code” sort of way. Popular Boy just smiled and laughed and said the word right back at them.
The Death Scene
I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to, had to, had to know what the word meant. Working up some courage, I turned to a girl I mostly trusted and quietly asked, “What does delphine mean?” The girl kind of laughed at me, but not in an overly mean way, then whispered, “She’s [Popular Boy’s] girlfriend. She’s in 8th grade. That’s her name…Delphine.”
I died. Turned bright red and absolutely died at the thought that I had almost written DELPHINE down the spine of my notebook. The possible social ramifications haunt me to this day.
How was it possible for a kid who had already lived in 5 states and was attending her 7th school in as many years, to never have encountered the name Delphine? Come to think of it, though, she is the only Delphine I have ever encountered. Ever.
You’d think that I would have learned a “forever” lesson from that incident. The lesson being, live your own life in your own way. Just live, for heaven’s sake! Be yourself.
But, no. Apparently I didn’t learn it well enough because a few nights ago I sat on my own couch right here in my own home and momentarily felt like a Pinterest wanna be with 139 boards and 10,000+ followers. Gawh!!!!!!
My Cyber Manifesto
If you like something and want to Pin it, then Pin it! Don’t worry about whether it will get any repins and don’t act all dejected when apparently you are the only one in the whole world who likes that hot pink hand crocheted Care Bear doily with sequins. (It would be a shoe-in for a white elephant gift. 🙂 ) Disclaimer: I don’t know if such an item actually exists; I was just making something up. Okay?????
If you like something on someone’s blog, leave a nice comment in the comment section. (By the same token, if you don’t like it, then please keep your thoughts to yourself. Be nice. There’s no need to make fun of someone. They’ll know. Believe me, sooner or later they’ll know and it will probably hurt them when they see it.
Make some cyber friends. Be a cyber friend! Even if you only have one person or one place on the internet where you feel you belong, that’s okay. I honestly believe that it is important for us to reach out to each other even though we may never meet in person. I believe that we can impact each others’ lives in positive ways through on-line connections such as Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs.
And, finally, if you like Hawaiian Chicken, but no one else in the whole world looks at your pictures and your recipe and says, “Gee, I really want to make that outrageously, scrumptious looking dish”; it doesn’t matter! YOU like it. So make it and take pictures of it and put it on your blog and don’t be afraid or embarrassed about what other people might think. (Just make sure you know what all of the words mean on your blog post before you push the “publish” button.)
I’ll bet that you were waiting with baited breath to see how I was going to tie Hawaiian Chicken into a lengthy post on 7th grade angst and the mess I barely escaped. But I showed you; yes I did.
So, Hawaiian Chicken.
I have a giant question for you. What was one of your embarrassing stories from junior high or middle school? Come on…let’s share in the comment section!