Friday, January 28, 2005

The Birth of a Liar

I'm doing this family-tree-ish project for one of my classes in hopes of showing how my past, my family's past, and the dynamics of these interrelationships affect me and how they might affect my future. All in all, it's a great assignment and when I found out that my great-uncle was the one of the 12 kids who had "troubling with being honest," I immediately thought of my own kindergarten afternoon experience. Maybe now I can blame someone other than myself?

Hannah Engross sat beside me and seeing how we were both "staff kids" at Southside Christian School, we knew each other before I entered Mrs. Feuisse's K-5 class. She was one of the custodian's kids, and I was one of the assistant pastors kids and don't you know I used that against her. I know I know. It's terrible, but what can I say: sometimes 5-years-olds are the cutest people in the world and other times they're absolute monsters who tend to resemble Hitler in their ability to manipulate people and things. But anyway, so I have this "disdain" towards Hannah right? And likewise, I have this other obsession with wanting my teacher to like me and be a favorite student (hence, I would do just about everything and anything to be liked by my teacher....something i think still goes on more today than I think).

So there we are--Hannah and I--sitting side by side, laying our heads down on our desk for our daily 15 minute nap/rest time. And for no reason at all, coming totally out of the blue, all I could think about was how I could get my teacher to dislike Hannah (as I did) and like me more (as I wanted to like myself). So my head lay resting on my elbow and i began biting as hard as I could, my other arm. Right on the forearm, I knaw to make teethmarks...that may not really hurt but they at least look bad and evil and oh-so-very malicious. I do this quietly for a few minutes, as all other heads are resting on their desks (including Hannah--who doesn't see me do this) and then, I get up, walk up to Mrs. Feuisse's desk and show her my arm and began to wimper.

"Oh my goodness Neville! What happened?" She asked.

"Hannah bit me (sniff-sniff)," I responded.

"She BIT you?" She was shocked. "Hannah Engross, please come to my desk immediately."

Hannah walked up, four-eyes and all, brown, stringy, greasy hair with a big ponytail complimenting her overall-skirt-jean-jumper. She looked confused.

"Did you bite Neville's arm?" She asked. I stand there, holding it, looking at her, starting to cry, and wonder whether she'll say yes or have the guts to say no."

"WHAT? No!!!" Hannah seemed shocked she was even accused and glared at me through her 2-inch-thick specs.

"Neville, are you lying about all this?" Mrs. Feuisse asked.

And then, as if it was a game--or a hilarious comedy routine from a burlesque show--I stopped fake crying, smiled, chuckled and fessed up saying, "...yeah" with an Opy from Andy Griffith "Aww-shucks Pa" tone.

She told us to both take our seats, looking at me and shaking her head smiling. Once we sat down, all I remember is Hannah staring at me and looking at me with disgust. As I looked at her back, I only smiled back--confident that even through my lying heart I had made my teacher like me more. And I never gave it a second thought. No guilty conscience. No asking for forgiveness. Just me, my little lying heart, and about 5 more minutes left of Monday nap time.

Oh the wonders of Christian elementary education! And to think, that was only in my first year!

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