Well. One Stranger, who apparently has an inordinate amount of time on his hands, sent in the below image:
|From Mike B.|
And I can't decide if I'm happy or terrified that this image has been created. Because, you guys. Now I basically have to run for some kind of office. I mean, look at this thing? Even the angry moms who don't want me to slap their children at the grocery store are planning on writing me in to the next PTA elections after seeing this.
The majesty. The glory. The implied promises of exceptionalism. Obviously anyone who runs for office with this as their campaign poster knows what the hell they are doing.
But all of this is giving me uncomfortable flashbacks to a much earlier time.
The year was 1997. I was in 7th grade. I weighed somewhere around 45 pounds. I was a probably a ginger, although desperately trying not to be one.
I spent the majority of my time in the middle of a daydream. Most of the daydreams involved flying and saving the day AND PROVING EVERYONE WRONG.
Notes from teachers on my report cards frequently said things like "in his own world" and "tied himself to desk" and "wanders around recess alone talking to himself" and "admittedly fantastic hair."
It was in such a state that something possessed me to run for student government.
In hindsight, I think Bob and Cathie should have probably intervened somewhere in the middle of all of this. They probably had a moral, and maybe even legal, duty to step in and stop this from happening. They should have anticipated the humiliation. The years of attempted recovery. Not to mention the total and complete waste of time.
But Bob and Cathie practiced hands-off parenting when raising their children. They weren't the types, for example, to walk down the street to the neighbor's house to demand that the parents of whatever wretched child lived there stop their kid from bullying one of us. If we had walked into the house missing a limb because a gang of wild children ripped it off in an alley, Bob and Cathie would have been like, "well, we would step in and help, but then what will you learn? Also, move. You're blocking the tv."
Truthfully, Bob and Cathie were involved parents. The best I've ever seen. And they were always available for moral support. But when it came to personal conflict, they popped a bag of popcorn and eagerly sat on the sidelines, grateful for the entertainment.
So, no. They didn't stop me from running for student government. They actually helped me put together my video for the thing. The video that was shared with the entire school. The video that Bob and Cathie pulled out for many years to come whenever they could gather an audience of at least one in their home. The video they showed every passerby, despite my sincere begging that they destroy it.
My campaign slogan was: "I'm a fan of Eli McCann."
I swear to you I just became incredibly uncomfortable when I typed that out. I even looked over my shoulder. Tami curled a little.
In said video, the 12-year-old version of myself dressed up as various characters, giving ringing endorsements of the candidate.
I was a nun, telling the students in an excessively-vibrato singing voice that Eli was God's chosen one for this task.
I was my aunt Jackie, with comically painted-on swooping eyebrows, fawning over her prepubescent nephew and his abilities to lead.
I was a social outcast, a classic nerd, talking emotionally about how Eli befriended the nerd at a time and in a way that showed his all-consuming compassion.
I was the dog from the Taco Bell commercials.
Each character proclaimed themselves "a fan of Eli McCann." Each character asked for the support of the other 7th graders.
Spoiler alert: the video was a phenomenal flop. It was appreciated by no one.
When the video aired the following week, I was sitting in Mr. Golding's algebra class. My classmates stared at it in confusion. It was played third or fourth among the dozens of videos shown for various student government positions. When the video ended, Mr. Golding turned to the class and asked, with a real look of concern on his face, "does anyone know that kid?"
AND TO MY HORROR, nobody raised their hand.
You guys. THIS WAS MY CLASS. AT THE END OF THE YEAR. And either nobody knew who I was, or nobody wanted to claim to know who I was. And I'm really not sure which is worse. But neither of those options are good.
And I couldn't blame the class. I didn't raise my hand either. When the question was asked, I looked over my shoulder, just like everyone else, as though I, too, wondered who this Eli McCann person was.
When nobody claimed me, Mr. Golding muttered "very weird" and went back to grading homework.
The good thing about doing something embarrassing when you are exceptionally unpopular is that it mostly goes unnoticed.
Election results were announced at the end of the week. I waited on pins and needles.
I took dead last. How do I know I took dead last? Because only three of us ran for that particular position. They announced the winner and the runner-up.
If only I had the flying liger poster at the time.
~It Just Gets Stranger