1986 was an exciting year. Wing peed his pants during story time, Dawn ate her pencils and erasers, and they sent me to the English Learning Centre because I was so quiet they figured it was because of poor English speaking skills.
If your kid fails grade 1, you might as well throw in the towel because chances are your kid isn’t going to graduate high school. They’re better off staying home to do chores until they can find someone who will accept child labour.
Wing lived down the street from me so we would get together sometimes. We saw jets in the sky one day and he told me that his father was away flying jets somewhere. I was in awe and as soon as I had a chance I told my mother about Wing’s father. In her half asleep state she said that Wing’s mother was lying to him. I couldn’t believe it. I get it now.
The final task of the day before we could go home was to smile. We were all sitting on the carpeted floor and when the teacher called on me I just stared at her. She tried to encourage me like how one would with trying to get a dog to shake a paw. Time is limited in the classroom so she skipped me while one by one every kid smiled on cue and went home.
The end scene was with me sitting there alone with the teacher 6 feet in front of me trying again to get me to smile. I continued to stare at her blankly. “Okay, you can go.” That, I did no problem.
To this day I have trouble smiling just for the sake of smiling. It’s like jogging. I’m not going to run from or to nothing. I’m not a hamster. I’m also not McDonald’s where smiles are free. But since technology is making everything that was once impossible a reality…