Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

11 December 2018

When in Doubt, Sing Loud.



When I opened my mouth to sing,... I knew it had to be loud and off-key.

I had been given my third 'bad-behavior mark" (this time for talking during the lecture) in my 2nd period high school sophomore Biology class. That meant I now had to draw out a punishment (detailed on a slip of paper) from of the "Bad Box". My friend Zack had to pick a slip of paper out of the box last week. His sentence was to clean out the dissection refuse tank in the lab. "The stench was insane" he told me later. Another classmate, Chrissy, was 'lucky' enough to have been assigned the punishment of having to do an Elvis impersonation in front of class. I wish I would have seen it. I was absent that day.

I left my seat to approach the front of the class room as our teacher, Mr. Potts, held the dark gray index box open for my random pick of the unfathomably folded and mixed wad of 'assignment slips' within. The box outside of the box itself had been festooned with picture of a frog skeleton on the side with the words, "BAAAAD BOX!" hand-lettered above it.

I opened the slip of paper from the box.  "Little Bunny Foo Foo", I read it and showed it to Mr. Kirby. The class howled. Mr. Kirby laughed, "Congratulations, Doug. You're the first one to have to sing that song this year!"

But I was actually hyped by the energy of the class and their attention. I decided I would enjoy the moment. Fortunately, I had worn my hand-drawn, bright yellow Howard the Duck sweat-shirt that day and felt all the more empowered. Renee Christiansen, a shy girl in my class whom I think is so cute, looks at me as if I have been given a death sentence. She is mortified. I love the fact that she cares ... or at least that she has empathy for me. She would hate to have to do this thing that the class is now clamoring for me to perform.

I belt it out, obnoxiously strident and as if I'm tone deaf, "Little Bunny Foo Foo, hopin through the forest, Picking up the field mice and boppin' them on the head...." I do all the motions. And I REALLY ham it up to hoots and howls when I get to the part of the fairy.

Renee hides her face in her hands as she can’t bear to watch. I’m both exhilarated by the moment of performance and touched at what I interpret as compassion for me on the part of my secret crush.

© O. Douglas Jennings

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