My blog has no theme.
A theme would have been ideal – like Adorable Shit My Kid Says (don’t have kid, been done)
or All Things Smurf (I only owned around 12, so not qualified)
or Celebrities And TV Characters On Injectable Or Snortable Drugs (hmmm, not bad, actually).
I’m sure somewhere out there is the perfect organizing principle for this blog. So if you want to know why I put it up with zero theme, ask me how I feel about air conditioning. And ants.
Until 6th grade, the sound of the air conditioner in our apartment always gave me the happy “school’s out, no homework” feeling. But since 6th grade, and to this day when I visit my parents and they have the AC humming, it gives me the “school’s out for everyone but me and I’m an asshole and I hate ants” chill.
6th grade was the Year of the Ant Report. Our science teacher, George (liberal school – first names), assigned us a project: write a factual essay or creative piece using what we’d learned about ants.
“Creative” was the fatal word.
Once he gave us that option, the pressure was on. I needed to whip up a story full of complex characters and riveting twists and turns, against a backdrop of communal behavior and exoskeletons.
We had two weeks to write it. So for two weeks, I thought about ants. I thought about them over pop tarts, during math class, in gym while I got pelted with pink rubber dodge balls, all through Bat Man at 4:30, and until I went to bed. I couldn’t come up with a good story idea, so I couldn’t start the project.
The day it was due, I faked sick.
When I “recovered” and went back to school, George didn’t say anything about my unwritten ant report. Even when he handed back the graded ant reports to everyone but me. I rejoiced, with caution. Was it possible my teacher didn’t notice my missing assignment? Had I pulled off the greatest crime of all?
When my report card came in the mail just before summer, I got nervous. But under Science, in George’s stubby handwriting, it said: “Laura’s report on ants remains outstanding.”
Outstanding? Suh-weet. Not only did he think I’d written it; he thought I’d done a superb job!
Then my mother explained to me what “outstanding” meant, and why it was paired with a grade of Incomplete.
“Incomplete” equalled “Laura no move on to 7th grade.”
My parents, George the teacher, Gene the principal, and I met to sit in a circle on metal chairs and talk about my nonexistent, or “outstanding”, work. While I cried and snotted all over my terrycloth jumpsuit, we agreed that I would come in to school every day during summer vacation until I had finished a science project.
Instead of an ant report, they let me make a 3-D model of the inner ear. What a relief: no creative genius required – just accuracy and a steady hand. But that didn’t make it less humiliating that my friends, who had surely written clichéd and unimaginative ant reports, got to strap on their roller skates while I sat in an empty classroom, pressing a wad of pink modeling clay into the shape of a cochlea.
I’ve finally figured out that a whole lotta nothing comes to me when I sit around thinking. Well, sometimes I get good ideas in the shower. But as a rule, I don’t figure out how I’m going to do anything until I f*cking do it.
I’ve had my thumb up my doodle-do since the infancy of blogs, saying “I should have a blog, I should have a blog.” I know people who talk about launching their own fashion line, or building a school in the Congo one day. But what’s more pathetic than talking about starting a blog? I repeat, a blog?? In the scheme of things, it’s an ant report.
Even my cousin’s kid has had one since she was five.
So here it is, theme or no theme. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s not “outstanding.”