Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Story of Eduardo Retardo

Inspired by these stories on a random Angelfire thread uncovered by Gawker, I decided to write a few childhood stories of my own which I will publish throughout the day. But not in caps, because I don't want to steal Dave's wonderful and metaphorical stylistic thunder.

In elementary school, my best friend was a girl named Amanda. We were both in the gifted program which actually meant our peers secretly despised us because they thought we had a sense of elitism, which we probably did, but mostly because they tried to bump me up a grade so I thought I was cool and smart. Plus there was never a gifted program until Amanda and I attended Union Terrace Elementary School, so we like to think they made it just for us. The gifted classes essentially consisted of Mr. Rusnak, an oily but nice enough balding guy, pulling us out of our regular classes to do weird projects that were supposed to prove that we were somehow smarter than the rest of our peers. Amanda and I, like most things, took it as a big joke, and generally used the time to subtly mock and manipulate Mr. Rusnak.

Anyway, even though we were two of the smarter kids in school, we were also two of the most conniving and manipulative. I say this with not one ounce of pride. We went to kind of a tough school in a bordering on ghetto part of Allentown, PA. It was definitely not cool to be smart. We became manipulative as a result, because it helped us to develop thick skin. There was this one boy named Eduardo who was in 5th grade when we were in 3rd. He probably should have been in 7th because he was about 12 years old, and was definitely held back a few grades. He used to mock Amanda and I incessantly. In retrospect, it was probably because he had a crush on the both of us. We were little blonde girls with sharp tongues.

Our friend Brad Smith's Aunt worked in the school cafeteria. We used to talk to her because she was one of the only adults who took us seriously. One day we told her about how Eduardo always made fun of us, so she innocently told us to retort with "Eduardo Retardo!" We did this, and I guess Eduardo was sensitive about the fact that he was 12 years old in 5th grade, and he got super offended.

One day when we were practicing our cursive in Mrs. Jones's class, Amanda and I got called to Principal Laudenslager's office, only everyone called him Mr. Longlegger because he was super tall. Around Christmas time, he used to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the entire school (I guess we didn't have any Jews?) in a Pennsylvania Dutch accent so it sounded like a Canadian talking with a wad of mashed potatoes in his mouth. It didn't really make sense but it got us out of class.

Anyway, we both go down to Mr. Longlegger's office and even though we'd been in various types of trouble before we're totally sweating this one. We couldn't for the life of us figure out what we'd done. Was it because we always pretended not to hear the end of recess bell so we could run around to the front of the school and ring the speaker so they'd let us in and we could get to class late? Did they read the note I wrote about one of our classmates watching Demi Moore's 1996 thriller "Striptease?" Or was it something much worse?

Eventually Mr. Longlegger told us Eduardo had spilled that we were "making fun" of him and wanted to know who was responsible. Of course, being intrepid 9 year olds, we quickly ratted out Brad Smith's aunt, who had provided us with the cutting quip. She was promptly fired, and we had to resort to telling all of our secrets to the nice Janitor Bob, who was actually probably a child molester, considering he definitely had a handlebar mustache.

-Jess

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