Thursday, February 21, 2008

Scratching a little itch

I've been reading some of the modern paperbound reprints of the Little Lulu comic books of the 1950s. I enjoyed this comic in the '50s, although I'm not sure why buying a comic book about a little girl seemed to be OK, since us boys were mostly into Superman and Batman.

The Lulu stories are more like what kids are really like. Lulu seems more mature and the boys she knows are all immature. Well, they are boys, after all, and boys take a while to catch up. In the Lulu comics the boys hated girls. But I liked girls. If the other boys liked girls they'd never admit it, and truth to tell, I probably didn't either. But there was always at least one girl in any class that I was totally bonkers over, head over heels in love. They were usually petite and blonde, and without exception they thought I was icky.

When I was in 4th grade I was in love, as usual, this time with a petite blonde named Kathy. Kathy sat two rows over and at the front of the class. That placement meant she was a good reader and all around good student. I usually sat in my seat and glanced at her when I got the chance. At recess I managed to hang around the tricky bars, especially when she'd hang upside by her knees. Ah, the sight of those panties…wait, I didn't really notice those when I was 9 years old, did I? I did. I didn't know why I liked the sight of her panties or bare legs, I just did. It took me a couple more years to figure out what the appeal was, but when I did, I was down with it!

OK, OK…so I'm slowly getting to the point. Being a boy I was clumsy in a social sense. Having to talk to Kathy would have been impossible. Like what would I say? Read any good books lately? Watch Playhouse 90 on TV last night? I was a blurter, so if I said anything to her it was probably stupid and wrong. One day we had to write a story. I wrote about my dog. The teacher read the stories at home and then the next day she had a few picked out to read to the class. Not mine, though; probably the first major rejection to my writing. But the teacher said, "Kathy has written the funniest story! It's about a little girl and a witch!" My ears perked up. When the teacher read the story I recognized it immediately as being straight out of a Little Lulu comic book. It was from that month's issue, a story about Lulu and the witch, Little Itch.

Nowadays plagiarism seems like such a nasty word. Hillary Clinton used the p-word with Barack Obama, when he lifted a phrase from a friend of his and used it in a speech without attribution. I didn't know that word, but I knew when someone was claiming something that wasn't theirs. I spoke up, "That story is out of a Little Lulu comic book!" Kathy shrank down in her seat. The teacher stopped reading and looked at her. "Is that true, Kathy?" Kathy muttered something, and the teacher put the story away and started into our arithmetic lesson. Kathy turned to me and gave me the first of many looks I've grown familiar with, the female laser-eye. The laser, emitted from her eyes in a blast of heat and light, immediately took my head from my shoulders, sent it clunking to the floor, where it rolled. And as it rolled, the thoughts turning in my brain like clothes in a dryer were, "Well, I guess that does it for that relationship!"

Actually, I don't remember exactly what I thought, but I probably realized then if I wanted to score points with chicks a good idea was to not accuse them of something in front of a teacher, even if I knew it was true. Sure, I had the moral high ground, but I didn't have the babe. When it comes to women, sometimes the omission of truth isn't as bad as a lie, but a lie is sometimes necessary, even if it is to ourselves.

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