White Lines – The First Line
Posted by courtrundell
The Slippery Slope Theory postulates that an unassuming action or event inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating into some significant impact, particularly one of the shitty kind. It’s a lot like this Laurel & Hardy movie I saw where this little pebble got loose at the top of a mountain and turned into a monster rock avalanche almost destroying everything in its path on its way to the bottom.
This is the story of how I tripped and fell right into a huge pile of white powder.
“Debbie is… big,” Mom replied after I enthusiastically asked her what she thought of my new friend.
That’s not exactly what I meant by thought when I asked. I was hoping for “smart,” or “sweet,” or perhaps “nifty,” but most definitely not “big.” “Big” is how one describes a sofa or perhaps a T-Rex, but not a human. At least, that is, if you’re me.
I liked Debbie. We met in Mr. Loman’s sixth grade class. She had pimples and boobs and was approximately six-feet-tall. Yes, she probably could’ve been a linebacker, but I saw in her less football player and more puppy who hadn’t grown into her feet yet. She was like a Chihuahua trapped in a St. Bernard’s body. Puberty was not kind to poor Debbie.
So, of course, I liked her immediately.
I added her to my awkward friend collection the second her huge frame appeared in the sixth grade doorframe, shadowing most of the classroom like Godzilla. Mr. Loman lifted the needle off the class record player, (which is how we hit pause in the 80’s), as we’d been listening to his favorite Beatles song, “Revolution 9.”
“This must be Debbie, our new student who just moved here from Michigan. The painted turtle is Michigan’s state reptile,” and with that, he went right back into “Revolution 9,” as he believed it to have all of the answers to all of the questions of all of the worlds. Every time the number nine came up in conversation, he would repeat, “number nine, number nine, number nine,” about 25 times. Some would consider this annoying; I, on the other hand, believed him to be possibly the coolest human ever. Let’s just say I had an affinity for eclectic types.
Mr. Loman also wouldn’t put up with bullying the classroom. Yeah, he was one of those teachers. The ones who actually make a difference. My sixth grade year was a welcome respite between fourth and fifth grade and the horrors of middle school. The only problem was recess, but at least we got a chance to breathe.
Debbie arranged herself into the empty desk kitty-corner from me. She unpacked the contents of her tattered gray backpack into her new desk. She seemed nervous. It was right in the middle of the school year, so I assumed her parents were probably given the same parenting handbook mine were. I think these handbooks were most likely given out wherever alcoholic beverages were being served.
Marie and I shared a secret eyeball moment to confirm Debbie’s acceptance for membership to our underground network of transplants. Our underground was so underground that we didn’t even know we had an underground.
Here’s the new kid chronology since the fourth grade:
- Eve = new kid. Weirdo. All alone. Boo.
- Marie + Eve = two. Better. Two is better than one.
- Courtney + Marie + Eve = three. The triumvirate of cool, so cool there must be laser beams and stuff.
- Debbie + Courtney + Marie + Eve = fab four bully smashing machine of total radness.
It was entirely apropos that The Beatles were playing as she entered, because this, my friends, was destiny.
Note: There was no hierarchy in our movement. Actually, the new kid was the most important because the new kid brought power. Power in numbers. The more of us, the less we’d get bullied. At least in theory. I would later name this the “Bullshit Theory” or “Courtney’s a Delusional Freak Theory,” although the latter is much more fact than theory, but please don’t pull me aside and tell me so because I will vehemently oppose said fact as merely speculation and words may be exchanged. Consider yourself warned.
Nothing spells awkward more than getting stuck in a group of humans who’ve shared history that was B.C. (before Courtney). How many times can one retort, “oh yeah, I’m sure that was really funny, especially if I was actually there?” This later led to my obsession with never missing any event ever, lest something totally awesome happened that I missed that would be recalled at a later time.
My fellow members of the network had also experienced the Waldo-Von-Duschenheimer feeling of getting stuck in a circle jerk of kids sharing memories from when Billy farted in first grade or the memorable second grade field trip to the planetarium. We knew what it was to be uprooted. To have no history. To these kids, we were nothing more than evaporated vapor from Billy’s long lost fart before we appeared on their rearview.
And Debbie and I had sugar.