Ahhhh. Elementary school choir. A time for fun songs like “The Purple People Eater” and “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Oh, and “The Leader of the Pack,” which was (of course) a favorite because it contained the words “Vroom, vroom!” A time for adorable concerts where you put on your bestest dress and wore a pair of paper antlers as you sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Yeah. Elementary school choir was pretty much the bomb.
Except, that is, when that bomb exploded terrifyingly into your face.
It was just a regular day in the elementary school choir at the since defunct (insert sad face here) little school known as Elbridge Elementary. I was a youthful rosy-cheeked cherub, a picture of innocence, ready to engage in one of my favoritest activities: Singing! I was wearing a sweatshirt with a handy- dandy front pocket, perfect for warming little hands and holding small, useful objects.
My class was organized into two orderly lines, standing with the perfect posture to sing at the top of our lungs. Being elementary schoolers of the early short attention span variety, we were also engaging in other sundry activities like picking boogers, seeing how close we could get our pointer fingers to the person next to us in line before they noticed, and, in my case, investigating my handy-dandy sweatshirt pocket.
This handy-dandy sweatshirt pocket had, I discovered, a fairly large collection of little balls of fluff inside of it.
“Huh.” I thought to myself. “I wonder how those got in there.”
I started to pull them out of my sweatshirt pocket – firstly, just to investigate these little balls of fluff more thoroughly, and secondly – to rid my handy-dandy pocket of unnecessary clutter. Once pulled from my pocket, I let them drop to the choir room carpet.
I was quite the happy little beaver, contentedly cleaning out my pocket whilst singing fun tunes.
The dam broke and I was a happy beaver no more.
The teacher, Mrs. W., suddenly stopped what she was doing. She looked over in my direction. She did not look happy.
She plowed through the front line of rosy-cheeked little nose-pickers and pointed her finger accusingly at the carpet directly beneath my feet.
“LINT!” She exclaimed with furrowed brow. “Who got this lint all over the carpet?! The janitors have to clean this!”
I stood, petrified. Hands dropped out of handy-dandy pocket. Eyes wide open in terror. Guilty mouth unable to move and admit my deed.
I had had no idea. Picking lint from your pocket…wrong? I hadn’t known! Surely, surely, God would pop out of the sky and strike me down on the spot. That was only, of course, if Mrs. W. didn’t strike me down first.
“Who did this?! Who got this lint all over the carpet?!” The question did not get any cheerier with its second telling. Mrs. W. looked like she was ready to throttle someone.
That someone, deservingly being, of course, me.
I knew that I should admit my deed, but I couldn’t. My mouth was stuck fast with the sticky peanut butter of horror. Of course she had to know it was me! The lint was laying right at my feet! I could just see myself being dragged shame-facedly down to the principal’s office, partially lint-infected handy-dandy pocket incriminating me as no piece of clothing had ever incriminated me before. Perhaps my mother would be called. Perhaps I would never be able to sing about the purple people eater again. Perhaps…
But suddenly, Mrs. W. stopped her questioning and went back up to the front of the class. She was not going to make any further attempts to pry open my guilty silence.
I walked out of that choir room with trembling limbs and a haunted expression. Despite the fact that I had not been convicted as the culprit, the punishment was already complete. I was terrified. Never again – NEVER AGAIN would I pick the lint out of my handy-dandy front pocket and drop it on the floor.
Lint: It’s pretty much evil.