Some of these awkward moments are predicated by either 1) erroneous theories my mother believed or 2) my own misunderstanding of what my mother said. I like to believe it was more of the former than the latter…
My fly was open too many times in middle school to remember. Many of those times were during Christmas concerts in front of the school.
I had a tendency to rip my pants frequently. Not on the knees. Or the sides. Right between the legs. This also happened too many times to remember.
My mother used to believe that deodorant caused cancer so I wasn’t allowed to wear any. This led to my middle school nickname of “E-Man-you-smell.”
I smelled so bad that one day my gym teacher gave me a stick of Old Spice and said, “Emmanuel, please use this.” I thought he was joking and said, “Haha. I will.” Then he grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “No. Promise me you’ll use this.”
I once left class to fart in the bathroom. Unfortunately it leaked out on my way out the door. Fortunately it was a silent but deadly one. Unfortunately for my friend it leaked out by his desk and the teacher thought it was him. When I walked back in the room she was in the middle of reprimanding him for farting in class. I never got the courage to tell him the truth until high school.
I tried out for the basketball team, but was the most athletically challenged kid in school. We did a thing called lay-up lines where we were supposed to dribble up to one hoop and make a lay-up then dribble to the other hoop and make a lay-up. The kid in front of me was incredibly fast and everyone was in shock at his speed. In an attempt to show that I was fast too, I dribbled as hard as I could across the court for the lay-up. But instead of “laying” it up, I ended up blasting the ball against the backboard and it bounced to the opposite end of the court. Then I proceeded to do this again for my second lay-up. I didn’t make the team.
One time at recess, I was upset that my best friend had left me to go talk to some eighth grade girls. So I walked up to him and the girls and said, “Hey, can I see your water bottle?” When he gave it to me, I threw it on the ground and jumped on it over and over again. Then I picked it up and gave it to him, hoping that he’d be upset and apologize. He just took it and said, “I didn’t need it anyway.”
One day I tried to give my friend a high five while his class was walking past. He bent down at the last second to tie his shoe and I ended up smacking his teacher’s butt instead. Instead of reprimanding me, she gave me a weird look and walked away with her class. From that moment on, I bumped into her so many times that she finally asked me, “Are you stalking me?”
The first time I went to a basketball camp I thought the first day would be spent learning about basketball. So I showed up in a polo and slacks. Needless to say it was a very uncomfortable day.
Instead of carrying all of our books in our backpacks all day, my best friend and I would leave them in our lockers and try to race from building to building in between each class. In order to pull this off, we would leave class slightly early to “go to the bathroom” and do so at relatively the same time. This led to a rumor that we were both gay.
When I was in third grade, I farted so much that I was nicknamed “skunk tail.” What’s worse is that instead of fighting it, I wore the name proudly. One day in seventh grade, while my best friend was talking to some girls, I walked up to him and said, “I had to leave where I was because I just waved the skunk tail.”
One day at a basketball camp, we were sharing funny stories. I shared how one time I told a friend, “I didn’t understand it, but every time I assisted to David, he scored!” No one laughed. Number one: an assist is when you pass to someone and they score so I simply used the wrong word. Number two, this story wasn’t funny at all and should have never been told.
A rumor once spread that I had a crush on a fifth grade girl. It didn’t help that her mother was a teacher and loved me. It also didn’t help that she’d asked me to help her perfect her jump shot before school every day. And it definitely didn’t help that my friend told people to leave me alone because “at least he’s going after a girl.”
Growing up we weren’t allowed to flush toilet paper in our house. My mother said it had to do with our pipes malfunctioning. So I would simply bury used toilet paper in the trash. One day before a basketball game, I used the bathroom and since there wasn’t a trash can in the stall, I carried the used toilet paper out of the stall and to the trash can near the sink. My teammate promptly asked me what was wrong with me. Shortly thereafter, I discovered there was never anything wrong with our pipes.
All of us had a crush on our English teacher, but she only seemed to give attention to the bad kids. One day she asked me to stay after class and I thought she was finally noticing my stellar writing skills. Instead she told me that I should pick up the slack because I’d dropped from an A to a B.
Whenever said English teacher would collect our homework, the guys would drop their pencils when she walked past. When she bent over to pick it up, they would secretly try to “accidentally” swipe some part of her body. One day this happened and the kid next to me successfully swiped her butt. She thought it was me.
By eighth grade, God had finally smiled down on me and allowed me to become athletic and I was averaging 20 points per game. At a school event I was volunteering at with my crush, a parent walked up to her and praised her for her athleticism. Then she turned to me and asked, “Do you play anything?”
I once almost kissed a girl I thought was my mother. When I tried to walk away, I slipped on a patch of ice.