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A big lover of all types of media, from Movies to Video Games, Books to Music, Television to Stage.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dorset Park Years - Part The Second

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a major event that occurred during my year in grade three that needed major explaining in order to set the scene.  Before that, however, I want to touch on some other little stuff I left out of the previous post.  So, if you're ready, here we go.

I remember a Valentine's Day that had me receiving a lot of cards in the little envelope attached to my desk.  Knowing I never really spent any time with the children in my class other than actually being in class, I figured it was just a matter of every kid getting a card from every kid.  At least, that's what I was pushed to do.  And by every kid, I mean every kid.  My mother had me giving cards to the boys in my class as well.  Where she came up with that plan, and why she thought that was a bright thing to do, I have no idea.  I never caught any flack from that incident, but looking back it is another reason to despise the woman that was my mother.  Trust me, quite a lot more will come to light the more I post here, so stay tuned.

The other thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that during my school years I had a major operation.  I have had others before school.  When I was too young to remember, I had a double hernia operation.  Still don't know what that was about, and I guess I never will, but I do know from my mother that she got word from my doctor that after one side went the other would too, so she waited until they both went and then had me get the operation.  Additionally, I apparently had something wrong down below, allowing a cavity to exist where it shouldn't.  This cavity allowed one of my testicles to go up into a part of my body cavity unlike the spot where most males can accidentally lose of their 'boys' when sitting the wrong way, etc..  In my case, apparently, this other cavity had an opening that was gradually getting smaller, and if something wasn't done I would possibly lose a testicle to that cavity and it wouldn't come out again.  This, I was told, would allow the testicle to become useless, thereby halving the chances of my fathering a child.  As a result, i had an operation to close that hole before anything got stuck in there, and all was well.

However, during my first school years, probably grade two, I went into the hospital to have my tonsils removed.  This was due to my having major tonsillitis bouts as I was young, including one that almost ruined a trip my family took to Lake Placid.  That trip requires a whole post of it's own, so someone please e-mail me or comment below to remind me to write that one up in the near future.  It really is amazing what one remembers as they force themselves to travel down memory lane.  Anyway, I was out of school for near a month with this tonsil thing, and just like on Valentine's Day I remember getting a package delivered to my house by hand with tons of letters and get well wishes inside.  Yeah, right.  I appreciated it then, but maturity and wisdom tell me that the teacher made it a class project, yay me.  The best thing that came out of this operation is that there was this really big needle.  I mean a REALLY big needle.  Back then, for whatever reason, they had to inject this enormous freaking needle in my leg before the operation.  I have no recollection whatsoever as to what the needle was meant to do, only that upon a later visit to a hospital I asked about it and was told that it was no longer done.  Whatever, as I was getting prepped for this removal of my tonsils, they had to give me this gigantic flipping needle.  Am I making this clear?  The needle, without any deliberate exaggeration on my part, was approximately the length of the average width of a typical business card, with a syringe the size of a roll of quarters plus one half longer.  This was not a small needle.  They had to hold me down to give it to me, I kid you not.  My mother, two nurses.  And a third nurse to do the actual injection.  And then, just before the needle went in, the nurse giving the injection said the best thing she could ever have said: "Honey, you just scream as loud as you want to, okay?  I'm sorry, but this is going to hurt."  Why was that the best thing she could have said?  Well, as I stated, I was being held down by two nurses and my mother.  One nurse held my leg; one nurse held my arms.  And my mother, well she was holding down my chest, with one ear about an inch from my mouth.

According to my mother, she never heard properly out of that ear ever after that.  So, as you can see, other than having my tonsils out, another good thing came out of that operation.

And having my tonsils out changed my life in ways I never realized until long after I had returned home.  I had never eaten Kraft Dinner when I was young, hated the stuff, tasteless crap.  When I rushed home from school to watch The Flintstones on CTV during my lunch hour, I never could stand the sight of the stuff.  After the operation, I loved Kraft Dinner.  It became my favourite food.  Other things I hated the taste of I now loved, and I developed quite a palette over the years.  Those around me now appreciate the wonderful thing that operation did for me.  And this was all before I made it to double digits age-wise.  As for that other event that I promised yesterday, I'll start into that now.

During my grade three year at Dorset Park, I started getting weird tests.  My folks took me to some shrink or doctor or something, and I went through a battery of questions which turned out to be an IQ test.  It was then that I was told that my IQ was a ridiculously high number, well above the 150 that is considered genius at the time (possibly still is the marker defining that term, who knows or cares), and from that point on my mother changed the way things happened around me.  I have heard from a reliable source (that would be my cousin Jennifer) that my mother always strutted me around as though I was God's gift to the planet, but I'm positive that things got even worse when this news was brought to light.  At school, I began to be pulled out of classes, taken down to the nurse's office, and had to do tests down there quite often.  As to what the tests involved, I don't remember much, except that I was being asked to describe words for the tester, who reacted really ridiculously when I apparently gave him the right answer to words I shouldn't have really known at that age.  Keep in mind, I was a year ahead of everyone else at my grade level, so at grade three I was only seven years old.

Ultimately, this lead to a decision that was completely made without me, but which would affect the next five years of my life.  My mother, and I guess my father was somehow involved in this, but I seriously doubt he had much say in the matter - she decided to send me to a special school for those with 'exceptional potential.'  At the end of grade three, I left Dorset Park, and attended the next year of schooling at Churchill Heights School For The Gifted.  I kid you not, that was the name.  It was attached to a normal school of the same name, Churchill Heights, but had this special program for what they termed 'gifted students.'  This was to start in my grade four year, so I think I had some knowledge that I was leaving all my classmates behind.  Not a huge loss, the best things that happened to me in Dorset Park involved sitting in a line with kids while being read a story and tickling the back of whoever was in front of my while my back was tickled by whoever was behind me, and talking to a girl named Tina about how her top was getting too small for her and how in a couple of months the boys would be begging for her to wear that top.  Yes, at that age we were already talking sex.  That's what makes this sotry so much worse than it probably was.

It was the last day of the school year, grade three.  The last time I would be inside Dorset Park School until I was voting along with other idiots who thought that putting Bob Rae in charge of Ontario would show just how desperate our political climate had become.  I rushed home for lunch and The Flintstones as usual, and my mother served me one of the Chef Boyardee 'foods.'  I put 'foods' in quotes because even back then, it was crappy pasta of some sort in the trademark red sauce.  Not tomato sauce, red sauce.  Who knows what they make that crap with?  Anyway, I digress.  After a solid bowl of the stuff, I was back at school, heading into the last afternoon with these kids.  We were to be read something by our teacher, so we all gathered on the floor in front of her.  We were older now, so we didn't tickle other people's backs anymore (but we did get other kids into trouble for fun - I was once asked if I wanted a piece of gum during recess, and saying yes I received a square of Thrills.  As recess was ending, I put it in my pocket.  We get to class, not ten minutes later the guy who gave me the gum was called out for chewing it in class, a big no-no, and he promptly told the teacher that I had gum too, which backfired on him as I pulled out my unchewed square from my pocket and stated that I didn't put it in my mouth because you can't chew gum in class.  Yup, made lots of friends, I did.).  We just sat in a large group together on the carpet.  I was sitting amongst them, not at the back, but kind of in the middle with a girl sitting squarely in front of me.

As the teacher read whatever she was reading to us, she would occasionally look around the room to see that we were paying attention.  teachers always said they were staying connected with their students when they looked around.  Uh-huh, yeah, right.  She looked at me, read a bit, looked at me again and said, "David, are you okay?  You seem to be turning green."  I felt fine up to that point, and the other kids looked at me and then back to the teacher as I said that I felt fine.  The teacher read approximately one more sentence, at which point I threw up all over the back of the girl in front of me.  Now, to make sure you understand exactly what happened here, I am a projectile vomiter.  By this, I mean that when I throw up, I don't so much go for volume as I go for distance.  However, on really rare occasions, the volume and the distance are fairly equal, and what comes out is the real-life equivalent of the pie-eating contest in "Stand By Me."  This, sadly, was really one of those times.  I didn't stay in the room long enough to get a real firm grasp of the effect of my violent upheaval, but I do know that at the very least the girl in front of me was completely covered from hair to butt with a thick plastering of vomit.

I ran downstairs to the boy's bathroom, throwing up again on the landing on the way, got into a stall, locked the door, and cried to myself with the embarrassment of it all.  Keeping in mind that this happened within a half an hour of getting back to school after lunch, it was quite early in the afternoon that I was to be found in this stall.  I never came out, until well after school ended, and my father came to the school bathroom to collect me and take me home.  I was mortified.  I couldn't face the other kids, I felt ashamed and horrified by what I had accidentally done.  In some ways, I think that single incident hung over me for years and had an impact on my interpersonal relationships up to high school, third year.  Specifically, I never wanted to do anything after that which made me the centre of attention.  How bad was it?  I'm skipping way ahead when I tell this part, but will get to it in more detail when I'm covering this section later:  Upon getting to my biology class almost 5 minutes late in high school, I chose to skip the class rather than go in and make a spectacle of myself in front of everyone.  That in fact was the first class I ever skipped, ever in my high school life.  And it had repercussion, but again I will get to that in due course.

With the last day of grade three ending in horrible fashion, my years at Dorset Park came to an end.  The following year, I would experience living far away (relatively, considering I lived around the block literally from my previous school) from where I was going to school, meet many new people I would grow to loathe, and have a lot more memories that I can still recall clearly.  Grade four will be the next post, hope you stick around to read it.

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