Embarrassment: I didn’t die

Fourth grade was a rough year, but for me it went out with a bang.

This was the year the powers decided to change up the way fourth grade classes were designed, so we had real class changes for the first time ever. It was rather fun to go to four main blocks each day with different teachers!

At the end of the school year, we had exams for the very first time. The teachers didn’t stress us out over them, and most of us were just fine because we knew the material. It was just another normal test for each class with a different name.

The coup d’état to our innocent confidence was a vicious summer cold that swept through the fourth grade that last week of school (in June). Rather often kids will go to school when they have just a cold because it’s one of those things, but this cold was so nasty kids were staying home. I was one of those kids who HAD to go to school because I just couldn’t miss and my friends and we had important stuff and I had to do the exam and I knew it all and…and….and…..

My mom gave me some of the cold medicine to help with the symptoms but not enough to make me groggy.  She wanted me to do my best, but if I simply couldn’t make it, I could ask the office to call her.  I was determined to make it because it was the history exam. My favorite class. I totally rocked Virginia history! YEAH!

Stop. Before we go any further, you must know that me at that age (oh, say 6 to 24) did not like to draw attention. I didn’t like people looking at me (snort, I still don’t like it and now I’M the teacher). However, I now like the me that I am, and I enjoy much of the weirdness that comes with it. And ……  back to the story!

Picture this, a classroom of small-person desks in neat rows facing the front of the room. These were the traditional desks of the time and area; they were the one-piece metal things with the wooden seats and you could reach to your left under your seat to store books and other things.  All of the desks were cleaned out for the summer, and every wiggle made them squeak.

As we settled into the exam, there were sniffles and coughs here and there, but not as many kids were there as should have been. I was the only one present  sitting smack dab in the middle of my row on the far side of the room. My nose began to get stuffier, and it started to run a bit. As the only one in my row, I knew they would all look at me, so I did my best to hold in my coughs. I didn’t want to sniffle, but I definitely didn’t want to walk to the front and get a tissue and then blow my nose noisily.  The sniffles and snot started making my nose tickle.  Worse.  I had to sneeze.  I couldn’t stop it……but I sure did try.

I used everything I had to keep that sneeze quiet, but it was a lot of pressure.  So much pressure. That pressure had to go somewhere. With the top part of my body under tight control, there was only one place left. Yeah, the bottom.

There is no way on this earth that a cannon of flatulence that loud and big should have come from such a tiny, 4-foot-nothing girl. Fart is the only description as the vulgar pressure hit that thin, wooden seat reverberating, rolling, and building into deep thunder inside that metal body and focused out of the opening like a megaphone aiming at the rest of my classmates.

I couldn’t look. I just knew life was over with the last reverberation of that kill shot. The sound of squeaky balloons sounded as my classmates were melting from the horror of it. Nope. They were just laughing.  This was our exam!  When I finally looked up to see if I was in trouble, all I could see was the top, bright red inch of my teacher’s forehead as she held a workbook open before her face and seemed to be silently shaking.

Okay. If she was laughing, I couldn’t be in trouble.

After a few moments, when the teacher could speak again, she quieted everybody down and we got back to work.  She was nice enough to walk over and give me the hall pass so I could blow my nose in solitude.

I confessed the whole horrible ordeal to my mom when I got home, and she promised to give me a stronger dose for the next day. I sure hoped it would help for that last day of school, but that’s another story.


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