Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gee Willikers

A memory that just came flashing back to me:

When I was in the 7th grade I read a lot of Nancy Drew. I've never been much of a reader, but for some reason I was on a roll reading multiple books in the series that year. I got into them so much that I started to pick up on the grammar used in the text.  Word usage in the forties and fifties isn't always directly translatable to language of today. I didn't know that.

I distinctly remember sitting in math class one day. I was a really quiet kid. I hardly ever spoke out in class. Why this was the day to blurt out the first thing that popped into my head, I have no idea. Our teacher was explaining the answer to a homework question on the overhead projector. I guess the answer to the math problem wasn't what I expected because I practically shouted, "Hmm, that's queer!" The whole class room burst out in laughter.

That night I was saying goodnight to my mom and telling her about my day. I said, "Mom, everyone in math thought I was really funny today!" I was excited to feel like the class clown for once. I told her the story. "Oh Honey, that's because queer is another word for gay." Oh. I was mortified. Damn it, Nancy. I'll never forget that.

P.S. It's a little weird that I didn't know what queer meant until 7th grade, right? I also didn't know what a lesbian was until 6th grade. I thought a lesbian was someone from Lebanon.

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