Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: EMBARRASS(ED) (11/03/16)
TITLE: Are you kidding me?
By Judy Sauer
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A second highly-ranked intimidation was Physical Education (PE) class, for she was anything but athletic. Scrawny with little muscle tone, Elise dreaded the thought of changing with all the other girls―how awkward. She slipped into her PE uniform and headed out to the gym.
Everyone was sitting on the gym floor to do sit-ups, but the moment she started, it felt like the floor had become a bed of hot nails. She found some relief by twisting her hips slightly to the left and rolling sideways. She was keeping up with the rest of the class, but her teacher, Ms. Smith, quickly came over.
"Miss Jones, your form is not correct. Imagine a string pulling you up from the belly button, and you’ll roll up like the rest of the class.
"But it hurts!"
“My butt hurts. The sit-ups feel like I'm sitting on sharp glass, but it doesn’t hurt as much if I lean to the left.”
"Tell your mom that you need to see a doctor."
It was doctor appointment day, and Elise was unaware of what a proctology examination meant.
A nurse came in and instructed her to undress from the waist down, put on a cotton gown with the opening in the back. After the nurse left, Elise looked at her mom—mom seemed as clueless as she was.
The doctor entered, introduced himself, and told Elise to kneel on the edge of the examination table. Whoosh! The table flipped her upside down, and blood rushed to her head, filling her mind with all kinds of thoughts. She could hear her mom and the doctor mumbling in the corner, but nobody was telling her anything.
The doctor’s hands were like ice as he lubricated her hiney. Then he slipped an instrument inside her backdoor plumbing.
Oh, this is not comfortable at all! Elise screamed to herself. What was he looking at anyway? How much longer will all this take? Then, at last, he removed the instrument, and finally Elise could relax.
The doctor explained he found a hairball cyst on the end of Elise’s tailbone, and there will be no more PE until it disappears.
"So how do we fix this?" Elise asked.
"You’ll need to sit on a foam cushion for at least six to nine months."
"But doctor, I just started high school. Talk about mortifying. Am I expected to carry around this foam toilet seat with me at school? No way. Sit on it during every class, at lunch, while on the bus, at home, watching TV, and have this foam toilet seat "ball and chained" to me for my entire first year of high school? That's just too disgusting to even think about it. Really now…how humiliating and embarrassing."
The doctor replied, “That’s the remedy. I’m sorry you don’t like the news, however, it’s what it will take to make this cyst disappear. If it doesn’t go away on its own, then you will need surgery.”
During the car ride home, her mom giggled. "You would have been mortified by what I saw. The awkward look on your face was hysterical."
"Not funny, mom—that was humiliating."
Elise was ashamed of her foam side-kick. She felt so low inside that she held her head down to avoid eye contact with other kids as she walked the halls at school. If her foam toilet seat had one saving grace, it was its cloth cover. Students giggled and pointed fingers at her as she passed from class to class making her feel more embarrassed with each passing day. Kids can be so cruel.
Just when she thought the worst of her classmates, one came to offer encouragement. Micki approached Elise. "I've seen you carry that white thing around. I just want you to know that no one has ever died from embarrassment. Even though it hurts in the moment, I'm sure you'll forget all about this once you no longer need it."
“Thanks! That means a lot.”
As she walked into her next class, on the chalkboard was a quote to which she could so relate:
"The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate." –Douglas Englebart
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