Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cornflower Blue

Recently I found some old grade-school friends on Facebook. In briefly chatting about some school photos, one girl said to me, "I remember you! You had to go to the hospital that time with allergies or something. I was worried!"

Oh lordy.

That memory rather depressed me because it reminded me of what an annoying FREAK OF A CHILD I WAS! (No, I didn't just become annoying as I got older...)

This "hospital case" started out with a simple sneeze. We 8-year-olds were all coloring at the time. And I, obviously desperate for attention, decided to announce to everyone that I'd sneezed because I was allergic to the "Cornflower Blue" crayon in the crayon-box: "So, keep that crayon away from me!" Of course, everyone immediately dug that crayon out and stuck it under my nose. SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE. "Stop! Stop!" SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE.

Our teacher, understandably, got irritated with the commotion and told me I'd have to go out in the hall if I didn't quit it. Stubbornly: SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE. Out in the hall I went. SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE... Passersby stared. The teacher came out a time or two to give me more warnings. SNEEZE, etc. By this time, I'd sneezed myself right into a figurative corner. I, of course, wasn't allergic to the darn crayon. But I didn't know how to get myself out of the hall punishment without seemingly losing face before all of my classmates. (And a part of my antagonistic little brain was also thinking, re the teacher: "How does SHE know that I'm really not allergic? I could very well BE allergic!") SNEEZE x 50, x 100...

After god knows how long, the teacher finally got a little worried. (HA! See?) It was decided that I had to go to the hospital! (Whoops. Back down now and admit I was faking? Too late!) My mother was called; my teacher herself drove me to the hospital, Mom meeting us there... The nice young doctor promptly put a paper-bag over my nose and mouth and told me to breathe deeply... I wasn't quite sure what this technique was for, but I decided that now, upon "treatment," was my chance to be officially cured. I breathed and breathed, with just a tiny sneeze popping up every now and then, until finally, whew! A MIRACLE!

What was wrong, what was wrong??! The diagnosis: Hyperventilation. YES. A GREAT-sounding face-saving term that I could take back to school with me the next day. (It oddly satisfied all the grown-ups, too. No one looked at me askance. My teacher felt chastened for doubting me. Ha!)

But the fact remains: I MADE THE WHOLE THING UP! WHO DOES THAT?? :0 Luckily, I didn't go on to be one of those serial Munchausen Syndrome people! But, looking back, that's exactly what I was doing in that one case -- feigning a freakish illness for attention. (Ultimately, I think, the mental effort involved in faking such a thing for hours and hours, and the accompanying guilt at the deception, was way too strenuous to ever attempt again!)

(In a similar show of freakiness, around the same year, on the playground, I pretended that, when I pressed my ear to the ground, I could hear what The Devil was saying! Being a ringleader, I had 5 or 6 other little kids all stretched out on the ground trying to hear Satan! I did have a bit of grudging respect for one girl who was true to her religious self and said solemnly, "I don't think we should be doing this," and walked away. But at the same time, I also thought she was terribly stodgy! Looking back... WHO DOES THAT?? WHO THE HELL ACTS LIKE THEY'RE LISTENING TO SATAN ON THE PLAYGROUND?? :)

Hey, don't get me started on the "Flying Ants" in the kitchen when I was 6! :)

No comments: