Setting: Pennsyltuckey. Elementary School. Gym Class.
Rated: G (for Gross).
Gym class was a major contributor in childhood trauma. No matter what it was you were told you were to do for that period of the day, there was always someone who could do whatever it was better than you. And the humbling experience of failure wasn’t enough, said champ often rubbed it in as well. Kickball. Flag Football. Frisbee. Dodgeball. Baseball. Gymnastics(?!). Track and Field. There was always some (one day screaming, beer-drinking, belly-barin) bully who would just tear shit up and make the weak cry.
But not on Parachute Day. That’s right. Parachute Day: The Communistic approach to Physical Education. The day where everyone is really just the same, (unless someone in your class had the unfortunate experience of not having hands). I loved Parachute Day. Every day in any way. Parachute Day was up there with snow days, summer break, substitute teacher day, pizza day, and Halloween parade day. I loved it.
Except for once.
I hadn’t felt so well before leaving the house. But unlike these later life days, I was a school junkie. I loved it. I never missed a day. (Once I even received an award for my perfect attendance). So as sick as I may have felt, I went to school. And it’s a good thing too,
IT WAS PARACHUTE DAY!
I took my spot in front of that huge piece of mammoth material and all it’s godlike glory, next to other girls and boys. I was so happy, I nearly forgot about my tummy ache. We watched it rise, let it fall. We got under it, we got on top of it. We kicked our feet. We spun.
And then the throw-up came. It moved from my belly into my throat in slow motion. Eventually, I had it in my mouth. My cheeks filled up. It was in slooooooowwww motion! I swear. I turned (slightly) to the girl next to me and I pointed to my cheek with one hand. It had to be one hand because I didn’t want to actually let go of the parachute. But a one-handed, SOS didn’t do too much for me. She just stared at me. (I’m not sure what she could have done anyway).
By that time, I knew it was too late. It came out, full force upon another emptying thrust-up from my tummy, there was no more room for what my lips were trying to deny. Vomit flew all over the parachute, to the floor, below my shoes and the kids kept swooooooshing the damn thing up and then down again, my throw-up going along with gravity, what else was it to do? Up and ebb, drop and roll.
Parachute Day didn’t seem so sweet anymore.
I was sent home. And I never went to school sick again.