My skinny leg humor got everyone all flustered at the time, but after marinating for fifty-plus years, is now funny.
Two classes of fourth graders had recess together immediately after lunch. I was in the first class, and Joanne and Denise were in the second. They became my best friends on the playground. They were a little on the tough side, but for some unknown reason took a liking to me.
A small patch of leftover blacktop was dumped and flattened in the grassy portion of our school yard. We turned the five by six foot rectangle into our clubhouse. We surrounded the blacktop with stones, sticks, and pine cones, and left an opening for a door. Purple clover flowers brightened our décor. No one else was allowed inside without our permission. Skinny me wasn’t intimidating, but I had good backup; the makings of a scrawny mob boss.
One afternoon, we sat in our clubhouse, watching the janitor clean the outside of our classroom windows.
“I dare one of you to run up and say hi to him,” said Denise.
“Hmpf, I’m not doing it, do it yourself,” replied Joanne.
They both looked at me. “C’mon Mary, just run up real quick and say hi. You can run faster than either one of us.”
Well, that left me little choice. I had to prove my fleet-footedness. I ran to the janitor, yelled hi, and ran back. It wasn’t as much fun as we thought it would be since he ignored me.
We sat in our clubhouse itching for something to do.
Until that moment, neither had I.
“Boy, your legs are super skinny. They’re like toothpicks,” added Joanne.
“You can use my toothpicks to pick leftover lunch from your teeth,” I offered.
They laughed, and I demonstrated how my knee bones wiggled around.
“I dare you to lift your dress up to the top of your leg, stick your leg out, and ask the janitor if he wants a toothpick,” said Denise.
So I did.
His face turned red. Impulsively, I added a phrase Dad and Uncle Edward said during a Sunday dinner at Grandma’s; “the closer the bone, the sweeter the meat.”
The janitor’s eyes bulged and he raised his squeegee. He wasn’t laughing.
“What is wrong with you? Stay away from me!” he yelled.
Joanne and Denise rolled on our clubhouse floor laughing. I forced some laughter out, but knew from the janitor’s reaction I might be in trouble. Luckily, he didn’t tell my teacher.
During supper I told the story to Mom and Dad. Their reactions were similar to the janitor’s, but without a raised squeegee.
“Good gravy!” gasped Mom.
“Why would you do such a thing?” asked Dad.
I explained, “My skinny legs look like toothpicks. And recess is after lunch, so it seemed like a funny thing to ask in case he had food stuck in his teeth. And the little bit of meat on my legs is real close to my bones.”
By the time I found out what the big fuss was all about, my little faux pas was deep in my past and hardly mattered.
Lesson learned: Don’t annoy people, especially squeegee-toting janitors, while they’re busy working.
Related posts: Exposed/Kindergarten Nightmare
Now it’s your turn: What inappropriate comment did you make as a kid?
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