by Brad MacDonald
Way back in grade three, I was writing in my journal about going to beaches in Prince Edward Island with my family during summer vacation. As per usual, I accentuated my words with an artistic rendering of my endeavors, a drawing showcasing myself within this beautiful waterworld. My tools were thusforth: 1) Crayons 2) An unbridled will to succeed 3) Pizazz. After completing my drawing and handing it in to Mrs. I forget her name, I went on with my day, taking part in my usual recess routine of yelling “cooties” at girls that I believed to be carriers of the virus and casting black magic no take backs on Jamie, the boy who kept pulling his penis out at other students. By the way, Jamie’s penis shouldn’t be held accountable in that situation – it was all Jamie’s fault. The penis would come out all shrivelled and flaccid and guilty looking as if it was trying to shrug out some means of apology which, to my mind, was never necessary. It was never you Jamie’s penis, it was always Jamie.
After recess, I returned to class and for the next few days, all seemed normal. Unbeknownst to me, however, the winds of change were winding easterwardly through the chasms of timeliness. Soon enough, the day came when Mrs. I think it started with an “S” gave us back our journals. Upon looking at my most recent item, I was overcome by shock – sweat swatted on my brow, my heart beat like what I once saw Jamie doing behind the school dumpster, and I could feel my body entering the early stages of a hairy canary. What I had seen was the following: though I depicted myself reaching the water of the beach, in mid-flight, diving into the blue, blue waves, I had miraculously forgotten to draw my swimming trunks. There was simply nothing there. Where there should have been something, there was a crayola peach colored void cast in the “general” shape of my body. No trunks, no physical representation of a young man’s healthy organs. Nothing. I was like a young Ken doll in the worst way.
In response, I, firstly, was completely embarrassed that I hadn’t put any clothing on my nethers (to make matters worse, I had some sweet florescent green trunks that year) and B-ly that, after making this mistake, I hadn’t at least given myself some degree of manhood. Strangely enough, I suddenly became fiercely jealous of Jamie – he would never have forgotten to draw his own penis for the very reason that he always had it out as a reminder: a fleshly, flaccid, forget-me-not.
While I gazed at the picture in transfixed awe, I had failed to notice Mrs. slight mustache’s feedback on my entry. There were various checks next to many of my sentences (the marks of a truly gifted child) and the following exclamation beside my picture: “Looks like fun!” Of course, with such a seemingly innocent comment, there was the possibility that she hadn’t even noticed my erroreous error of error-filled proportions. However, if she had taken in every detail, every crayon stroke, every chasm, every genital void, she may have simply decided to disregard my lack. She, perhaps, had chosen to turn a blind eye to a penis that was never there in the first place (That’s some complex shit right there). In this case, I felt compelled to walk up to her and politely inform her that I was a healthy boy with all of my knibbles and bits – of course the paralysis that comes with what had at this point become a fourth degree hairy canary, made this act impossible.
In trying to determine her reaction to my work, there was a third scenario that soon entered my mind. Mrs. honestly I can’t fucking remember and I feel guilty about the mustache remark, could have decided to comment directly upon my act of public nudity. In which case, her proclamation that it “Looks like fun!,” may have revealed her own repressed urge to cast off the shackles of oppression and roam free and naked through a perpetual summer of love. Behind her grey pants suits complete with large, imposing shoulder pads, there may have been an aged yet energetic physique waiting to bust out. However, it seemed to me, that, if I had truly been “handicapped” in the way I had represented myself to be, there would be nothing fun about showing my lack of genitalia to the world at large – as such Mrs. Teacher’s analysis was insensitive at best and utterly inappropriate at not as best as the better one.
Unless, and this is a crucial though entirely unlikely possibility, she had been born without love tumblers herself, that she in fact was the Barbie to my Ken, and that she professed an emotional solidarity with me in what she believed to be a duel desire to re-appropriate our bitless bodies through public exhibitionism.
For the rest of the year, it made me sad to think that she perhaps felt an unspoken bond with me based on her own misjudgment. Of course, my theory was just a theory – one which, in retrospect and, for the most part, even at the time, seemed really fucking dumb – but that didn’t stop me from spending the rest of the year gazing quizzically and curiously at her crotch, or her lack thereof. Some secrets are better left unrevealed and sometimes the greatest legends are left untold. In any case, after taking my journal home, I grabbed my box of crayolas, took out a florescent green and gave myself the sweetest motherfucking pair of trunks I’ve ever seen.
PS – Thanks to Trevor McGuigan for bringing the term “hairy canary” into my life.