Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Real Title is at the Bottom of this Post

I was a member of the Gifted and Talented Education program in elementary school. The Gifted and Talented Education program (or GATE, for short. I bet some bureaucratic hack felt pretty clever coming up with that, although, because I’m a jerk, I’d like to point out that it should have been GATEP, since it doesn’t make sense without “program” tacked onto the end, and GATEP is significantly less clever.) was a thing where they took the smart kids out of a class and let them go on field trips and stuff, because we managed to pass some sort of arbitrary IQ test.
Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome. I was grateful for the attention, and if it got me out of class for a day to go and look at dinosaurs at the Natural History museum, I would take fifty tests. I just had some strange residual guilt from the fact that a lot of kids were sitting in class learning useless crap like how to read while I was sliding down the neck of a Bronto-pardon me-Apatosaurus wearing only my tighty whiteys because I was eight and had something against pants.
There’s probably still security footage of that, somewhere. I like to think it’s part of the training video for new employees at the Natural History museum. Or at least part of the blooper reel after the credits.
Okay, that didn’t actually happen. I mean… I went to the natural history museum, but the largest shenanigan I got up to was somehow managing to snag a second desert when lunch rolled around. I would have liked to climb the Bronto-dangit-Apatosaurus’ skeleton, though.
Anyway, the aforementioned residual guilt, coupled with an unusually early surge of hormones in the late fourth grade, caused me to do something phenomenally stupid for somebody who was supposed to be “gifted and talented.”
There was a girl in my fourth grade class named Elizabeth or Emily or something of the sort. Tall, dark, also beginning an early development, and totally, completely obnoxious. She was my arch nemesis, and she knew it. Between the two of us, no fewer than three teachers committed seppuku. Or made us sit in the hall. I don’t remember which. I’m leaning toward seppuku, though.
She, too, was in GATE. One of the events that year was a trip to an Egyptian museum. It sounded like it was going to be pretty incredible, and I had it in my mind that I was going to avoid her like she were a plague of locusts and I was a field of wheat in order to get the most out of the trip.
My best friend had other plans. He was not a member of the GATE program, but he pulled me aside the day before we were to leave, looked me in the eye, and said “You must ruin her. You must drive her mind past the breaking point and crush the pieces under your bare feet, laughing as they break the skin and reveal the colour (I remember him being slightly British, but that’s probably inaccurate) of your bone to her shattered persona. You must make her family grieve her as though she were dead as she rocks back and forth in a corner clutching her knees in solitary confinement in a mental institution. Pledge this to me.”
At least he would have said that, if he were nearly as articulate as I remember him being. It was probably along the lines of “Hey, do me a favor and scare her tomorrow, will ya? She spat on my sandwich at lunch today.” I looked him in the eye and solemnly gave him my word that I would.
I never found out why she had spat in his sandwich. I suspect it was because of a particularly vocal and lengthy argument she and I had engaged in that morning, the duration of which the teacher spun in his rolly chair at the front of the room, giggling like a schoolgirl. We had a substitute the next few weeks while Mr. Bouland was “recuperating.”
Regardless of the reason, I came up with a plan of revenge that, to this day, I shudder at. Elementary school children are perhaps the cruelest people I have ever met, with their severely underdeveloped superegos and devious minds capable of such twists that make me believe that the process of growing up, as distasteful as it is, is the only thing keeping the human race from total obliteration.
The next day we left directly from school. I hadn’t even needed to pack materials.
I enjoyed the museum until lunchtime, at which point I filled my pockets with ketchup packets from the museum cafe and asked to be excused to the bathroom.
Ten minutes and two rolls of toilet paper later, I was a bloody mummy.
I was just agile enough to dodge past the chaperone who had accompanied me to the bathroom, and just fast enough to make it to the designated lunch room where Elizabemily was eating, where I let out a single unearthly moan before a flying tackle by the aforementioned chaperone took me out. I wriggled free once, shedding toilet paper like I had a bad case of diarrhea and the ensuing scene is one I shall never forget.
Half of the children in the lunch room were screaming and the other half were laughing. I regret to admit that Emibeth was one of the laughing ones, but that barely diminishes the image of a short kid, half covered in ketchup stained toilet paper and trailing the other half behind him, sprinting down the hallway of a solemn, serious and established museum of archeology, getting chased by docents, curators, teachers, and parent chaperones, letting out shrieks he honestly assumed a mummy would sound like, and having the time of his life.
Which brings us to the title of this post:
How I Got Thrown Out Of The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum In San Jose.

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