In middle school, I was the kid who never grew out of her anime phase. I was painfully into thick books, fast food, drama club and “Life is Good” t-shirts, which would have made me a social pariah if it weren’t for my insistence upon being ostentatiously “different.” I attracted attention, for better or worse.
In my advanced math class, it was definitely for worse.
I was the lone sixth grader in a class filled with tall, sweaty seventh graders. Their extra year of middle school experience gave them an extreme sense of superiority over me, causing them to either sneer at me on the rare occasion that I spoke in class or, more commonly, ignore me completely. My baggy-jeaned, bowl-cutted self knew no stranger’s kindness.
On the day I drank milk for breakfast, my horrible demon of a math teacher assigned us group projects. I was understandably anxious; no eyes met mine immediately following her mention of the word “partners.” Defeated, I began writing angsty notes on my graphing calculator, unsure of what to do. A foreign hand tapped my shoulder. I spun around, meeting a popular girl’s eyes.
“Hey,” she said. “Wanna be in our group?”
Though the girl who’d tapped me wore a smile, the friend standing beside her looked as though she’d just smelled rotten fruit. She quickly scanned me up and down, rolling her eyes. Already embarrassed, I sucked in my protruding belly and nodded, following the duo out into the hall.
We were doing some kind of stats project involving jumping rope. Each person was supposed to jump as much as they could for 30 seconds to gather raw data, which we’d inevitably morph into some sort of useless bar graph. My gracious new friend allowed me to go first, handing me the rope and her less-than-enthused friend, the timer. I took the jump rope handles and began hopping.
For an out-of-shape blob, my first 10 seconds or so went surprisingly well. Sweat was barely pooling around my forehead acne, my boob movement was under control — everything was fine. Until, on one fatal hop, I heard a tiny noise behind me:
An audible fart.
My milk-breakfast had been shaken into tummy bubbles that were now escaping uncontrollably out of my flabby sixth-grade butt. I tried to stop them, but my exertion propelled them outward with unstoppable force. Each time I landed on the hallway tiles, another pooted out. And another. And another.
The popular girl, my savior, put on a brave, encouraging face, trying to mask her inner disgust. The friend’s expression only grew more contorted, spinning into a revolted, Munch-esque mask of horror. When the grueling 30-second trial was over, it took all of my willpower not to run away and barricade myself in the bathroom. Truth was, I couldn’t escape even if I’d wanted to. I still had two more trials to go.
Each was worse than the last.
Kids: Never drink milk for breakfast.