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and while i'm on this VD kick

And while I'm blogging-indisposed due to having the day off from work yet being cruelly put to work thanks to my idiotic idea to let me daughter have 21 of her closest friends over for her 15th birthday tomorrow night, which means a day spent at Costco or in the house preparing for this horde of teenagers or just tearing my hair out in advance of the onslaught and eventual broken things including, but not limited to, hearts and vases, I'm just going to offer you my Valentine post from last year, not the one about the vaginas, but the one about revenge, sweet revenge.

[note: image added for Paul]

Fourth grade, circa 1972. I fit all the criteria of being one of those kids. I had no real friends to speak of. My nose was always buried in a book. My mother dressed me funny. So it was no surprise that every February, I would be unofficially crowned Least Likely to Get A Valentine. You get used to these things after a while, so it didn't phase me as much as my tormenters hoped it would.

Remember, this is back in the day when self-esteem issues had yet to seep their way into the school curriculum. We still played dodge ball and called the Russian kid a commie (Turns out he wasn't really Russian, he was Polish). So, when Valentine's Day rolled around, there were no guidelines sent home by the school administrators imploring parents to have their children hand out a card to everyone in the class or no one. It was every outcast for himself.

I had a plan, though. I was going to take a stand for myself that year. I wasn't going to give out cards.

See, I learned my lesson in third grade. That year, it became painfully obvious that no one wanted a card from me. I found at least five of my carefully decorated valentines in the garbage on the way out of the classroom that day. Two of them weren't even opened. As is my standard operating procedure, I was more pissed off than upset.

Fourth grade would not be the same, I vowed to myself. I remembered the third grade incident clearly, so I took the pre-packaged cards my mother had made me fill out for my classmates and threw them in a garbage can on my way to school. I'll show them. They may be able to make fun of me for getting no cards, but I'll be dammed if I'm going to let them ridicule me for asking my sworn enemies to be my Valentine!

I spent the morning feel smug and superior to the rest of the kids. I had finally figured out a way to show them I didn't care about them. Certainly not enough to hand out some crappy Hallmark heart with a goofy sentiment and sparkles that got all over your dress.

I waited patiently for the moment of truth. We made mailboxes out of construction paper and cardboard and put them on our desks. We were supposed to decorate them for the holiday. Susan and Patricia drew hearts and flowers on theirs. I took a black crayon and drew a stick figure on fire. Well, that's what it was supposed to be. The teacher thought it was some kind of morse code.

Finally, the time arrived. Mrs. M. instructed everyone to take out their valentines, walk around the class, and deposit the cards in the proper mailboxes. Everyone scurried about. I sat at my desk. Mrs. M. kept looking at me, surely wondering why I wasn't getting up. I couldn't wait for her to come over and ask me. I'd finally get my say. Me, the girl known as "Mousy" because she very rarely spoke, would let go with a torrent of anger and pain that had been building up since Kindergarten. I am not giving out any Valentine cards because no one ever gives them to me and I think that's pretty rotten. So the hell with you all! I am not going to give you the chance to humiliate me by throwing my cards in the garbage pail! Mwahahahahah! Well, that's what I had planned on saying.

And then it happened. I learned the meaning of irony. For, one by one, the kids in the class came over to my crude mailbox and deposited Valentine cards. Susan. Cynthia. Ray. All the cool kids and the not so cool kids. Every single one of them. I had been tricked by fate!

Was I pleased at this turn of events? Did I feel shame for what I had done? Embarassed? Not at all. I was pissed. Obviously, Mrs. M. had instructed them to give me cards. Not only did Mrs. M's efforts ruin my planned soliloquy, but it further alienated me from my classmates and gave them new fodder for their rule against me. They gave me those cards relunctantly, and they let it be known later in the day that it wasn't their choice to bestow me with Valentines.

They say what does not kill you makes you stronger. Tis true. Not only stronger, but wiser and a hell of a lot more evil.

Two months later, I had to bring in an Italian dessert for our Heritage Pride day. My grandmother helped me bake cookies that looked something like this. After taking them from my grandmother's house, I made a quick stop at my neighbor's gate. I took the plastic wrap off the tray of cookies and held the platter out for Thumper the German Shepherd. He licked those cookies good. I put the cover back on the tray and brought the cookies to school the next day, gladly sharing with my classmates.

Hey, it's not the ultimate revenge, but it was pretty clever - and satisfying - for a fourth grader.

[And there's always spitball valentines if you want more VD stories]

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Comments

C'mon , Michelle. I'm waiting for it...

Whan are you going to post Ralph's, "I choo-choo choose you" card?

I KNOW you have it.

Twenty-two fifteen-year olds for a birthday party? Woman, you are both crazy and a saint!

Whoo-hoo!

You're the best.

I took a black crayon and drew a stick figure on fire. Well, that's what it was supposed to be. The teacher thought it was some kind of morse code.

Are you sure the teacher didn't think that it was some kind of morose code? ;)

Funny, I too just wrote a post about revenge. Seems like I should consult YOU for ideas next time I want to plot some revenge. ;-)

I commend you on your bravely & I am glad you shower your daughter w/ all the love you can. =)

Having fun?

http://profiles.myspace.com/users/13970195

I guffawed out loud when I read about the stick figure on fire. Still laughing ... Oh man!!

VD is one of those events that seems to bring out the worst in human nature. At my grade school we had to give a card to everyone, but of course we non-popular kids got perfunctory "being forced to give this to you" cards.

That cookie idea was diabolically clever...

Thanks for this post, from a guy who, during his entire time in elementary school, got two valentines. Total.

I never did quite figure out why Valentine's Day was pushed on grade-school kids. It does just seem like another opportunity for the mean-spiritedness to come out.

All I saw on my RSS reader was that you were on a VD kick. Suffice it to say I didn't think we were talking about Valentine's Day. I was thinking, wtf is michelle obsessing over VD for?

:)

that which doesn't kill me only makes me stranger - Trevor, aeon flux

Thanks for the story, you just made me think of the silly thing I did on Valentines Day in the Fourth Grade.

I had a crush on a girl named Kathy Weiss, and I had bought her a box of chocolates and a full-priced Hallmark card. For my classmates, the little box-o'-valentines that were the staple for elementary school students.

Valentine's Day arrived and I realized that Kathy Weiss was out sick.

The teacher had created a mini-post office on a table, consisting of paper lunch bags with every student's name on it, in order to make the valentine distribution a bit more orderly.

At the end of the day, Kathy's bag sat alone on the table, and I took it home with me, for "safe keeping" until she returned.

That night, I promptly went through the bag, inspecting each valentine for any excessive expressions of love toward the girl who I had unilaterally deemed "mine."

I just remember one card in particular, that was signed "Love, J.R." in pencil. And I erased "Love".

It wasn't until the next day, after her extraordinarily chilly reaction to my card and chocolates that I realized that
"J.R." stood for "Jodi Rash" - a girl.

Later that year, me and the guy who has been my best friend for the last 25 years got into a full-scale war over the same girl, that culminated in a playground fight that resulted in me being suspended from school for pulling a Trim mini nail-file on one of the agitating spectators.

I think I was the only Fourth Grader in the history of that school to be suspended.

If I produced a written record of every dumb thing I did in the Fourth Grade, it would end up being longer than the Talmud.

Hope you had a Happy V-Day anyway :)