Growing up, I never really had to make friends. I know that sounds weird. What I mean is that from about 3rd grade on, I went to school with, give or take a few, the exact same group of people. Prior to that, I was friends with whoever my parents let me hang out with, mostly consisting of kids in my class or peeps at church. I don’t know how you really make friends with people when you are a kid, other than who lets you hang out in the sandbox with them or whoever shares their Hostess cupcake at lunch. The food = love thing started a long time ago for me, folks.
All through elementary school, junior high, and high school, I was friends with this one girl, Jen. I’ll be honest, what attracted me to Jen initially was purely physical: she had THE most amazingly long blonde hair I’d ever seen. I don’t mean that in like a lez way. I’m just saying, Jen’s (Jenni, then) hair was the envy of everyone at Oscar Hinger Elementary. Jen was (is) the opposite of me: sweet, kind, compassionate, smart, beautiful on the inside and out, and soft-spoken to the general masses. I LOVED HER. We literally grew up together, we had the same teachers through elementary school, we did cheerleading in junior high together (well, I was the mascot…), we were doubles partners all through high school in tennis, as well as theatre. I have more stories about Jen because we just spent so much time together. There were a few other people that I loved as much as Jen, but no one for as long.
Like this one time, we had this club called the Kids Kare Klub. Now, there are immediately two things that are wrong in this story. One, if you know me, you know my incessant and unrelenting hatred of cutesy misspellings. Maybe that hatred stems from this story, I don’t know. Two, the Kids Kare Klub is abbreviated with 3K’s. Clearly, we had not reached the point in American History where we learned the role of the Klansmen. At least, I hope. Either way, the Klub’s mission statement was something to the effect of, “We want to care about people.” I don’t think we ever actually did anything (might have something to do with the big KKK on our stationery), but we met nonetheless.
Anyway, I (of course) had somehow muscled my way into being the President of the KKK. I was usually the President of all our club endevaours, mostly because we took a “Which Baby-Sitter Club Member Are You?” quiz and I was Kristi (the bossy, tomboy, ugly one), and she was President of the BSC, therefore, I would be President for all eternity. I know it’s hard to believe now, but I was an incredibly bossy child. Jen was the Secretary (I believe), because of her excellent penmanship and likeness to Mary Anne (from the BSC). I honestly do not remember the names or positions of anyone else involved, but I have ideas of who they might be. Either way, there were lots of them. DROVES, my mind recalls.
Being the President of something like the KKK is very difficult. It’s lonely at the top, and no one understands all the hard decisions you have to make. I don’t remember the exact sequence of events, but the KKK had had enough of me. I had pushed them too hard. I had forced them to kare too much. And they were gonna make me pay.
I guess I had to go to the bathroom or something during recess (our meeting time), and so I left the klub in the kapable hands of Jen and whoever else was an officer. When I got back, the mutinous forces had joined together to kreate a cheer for their leader. I think the conversation went something like this:
Mutinous Force Member: Hey Erin. We kame up with a kheer while you were gone.
Erin (sniveling): Oh. That’s kute.
MFM: Kan we show it to you?
E (sighing overdramatically): Yes, yes. Fine. Let’s see it.
It seems to my young mind that every girl on the playground stops whatever they are doing to either watch or participate in this cheer. There are rows upon rows of young, Girbaud-wearing almost teens lined up, facing me, waiting to drop the bomb on my sweet & (a little bossy) self. The cheer went like this:
“Open up the barnyard, kick out the Erin! We’re the girls from the Kids Kare Klub! Turn on the radio and who do you hear? Erin bossing everyone around…”
This story is, by far, one of my favorite childhood stories. We’ve been telling it for years, and it’s gained epic proportions, sort of like when you try to explain how awesome LOST is to people who don’t watch it and you end up making a fool of yourself.
That’s how I feel right now. I just thought you should know.