The Bald Elephant

When I was in the fourth grade I did something unbelievably stupid. One of those things that you sit there for hours looking back on and think to yourself, why in God’s name did I do that? It’s even worse, when you don’t remember how you did it.

I vaguely remember being downstairs in our powder room, but after that it’s all a blur of nothingness. But I know that I did it. I remember the aftermath. I remember my mother SCREAMING at me for what I had done…but when she asked me why I did what I did, I told her (quite truthfully) through sobbing tears that I didn’t know.

I had no idea that I had even done it, let alone why the hell my stupid ass did it. I mean really, what nine-year-old cuts a giant bald spot in the crown of her head? And doesn’t even realize it. I had really bad bangs back then (it was the early nineties, so cut me a little slack), and was likely making some valiant attempt at trimming what one of my college best friends lovingly dubbed “the radar dome.”

Proof of the “radar dome” bangs

All I know is that with scissors in hand, I ran upstairs to my mother and informed her of the unfortunate situation that was my lack of hair in a circular section on the top of my head. It was bad. Real bad.

Luckily, moms are known for their quick thinking and improvisation skills. Not to worry, I had plenty of thick banded headbands to hide this silly spot. No one would ever know. Well, until I told my grade school best friend, Kelly. My mistake, I know…but I was nine.

Now, I can’t confirm how this happened for sure, but since kids are mean, even to their friends, and girls love to gossip, even when they’re nine, I’m pretty sure it went something like this: She told one girl, and several boys overheard, and before the day was out the entire fourth grade knew about my stupid bald spot.

I don’t remember much else, other than an out of body experience watching the events unfold in the lunch room and the unfortunate small blond child by the name of Taylor Smitty (whose real name has haunted me for years whenever I think of the cruelty of children in my own coming-of-age, but I have created a pseudonym for-because I am nicer than he was).

Young Taylor, the clever little boy that he was, decided that because I was the chubby kid, and I made a huge judgment error as a result of my then too-trusting nature, this would be the perfect opportunity to bring me to the front line of teased and taunted children at Madison Elementary. So, that day at recess, in front of the entire class, he proclaimed me the bald elephant. (I told you he was clever–because obviously a bald eagle wouldn’t make additional commentary on my small weight problem.) I vaguely remember my headband being torn off my head to showcase my new ‘do.

This teasing went on for several weeks, and not once did I cry. In fact, for years after this torment, I neither cried, nor trusted a single soul with a secret. I was done with the miscreants of grade school.

Were you ever bullied? Did you ever do something ridiculously stupid without realizing the repercussions?

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