66: The Thing about Static Cling

66: The Thing about Static Cling

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

The Thing about Static Cling

Never say, “oops.” Always say, “Ah, interesting.”

~Author Unknown

Some days are like an umbrella inverted by the wind — they just don’t go the way they’re supposed to. For me, one such day started with me sleeping through my alarm clock.

I had just a few minutes before I would have to leave if I was going to catch the school bus. I ran to our dryer and quickly grabbed some shorts and a shirt that I had washed the day before. I quickly pulled my clothes on and then grabbed my backpack as I raced out the door.

It was the last day of classes. I was relishing the fact that I would be giving my final science report in front of my class that day. The presentation would be my last assignment for the school year. Afterwards, I could finally relax and start my summer vacation.

My best friend, Charity, met me as I stepped off the bus. We instantly picked back up on the conversation we were having the previous day, which had only ended because we had to go home.

As we walked down the halls, I swore I saw some other kids look at me and then start whispering. Charity didn’t seem to notice. A few steps later, a boy pointed right at me and he and his friends began laughing.

Once we were past them, I nervously asked, “What was that about?”

“Who knows,” said Charity. “Boys are dumb.”

Maybe it was nothing, just boys being dumb, but I still felt a little apprehensive.

There wasn’t time to dwell on it though; the bell rang and it was time for my presentation.

“Good luck on your report,” said Charity. “I’ll find you after class.” She continued down the hallway to her own class, as I walked into the science room.

When it was my turn to present, I grabbed my science binder and walked to the front of the room. I was just about to start reading what I had learned about DNA when I felt a small tickle on the back of my knee. I looked back to see what it was. And suddenly, I knew why the boys in the hallway were laughing.

To my horror, I discovered my little sister’s underwear clinging to the back of my shorts by static. And it wasn’t just any underwear either. No, this was special purple and pink princess character underwear.

I froze. Had my classmates seen it? I scanned their faces, but I couldn’t tell. If they hadn’t, they surely would when I walked back to my seat.

I made a rash decision. I reached back and grabbed the underwear as fast as I could. I flung the underwear into my science binder and slammed it shut. I could feel the burn of a blush spreading across my face as I heard the teacher. “Amanda, please share your report.” Had they noticed? I checked their faces again. Some were smiling, but I wasn’t sure if it was because of me. Perhaps no one had noticed. Perhaps I had moved so quickly, they didn’t know. I sighed quietly and relaxed. The only thing I had to do was give my report and then I could sit down and let the nightmare be over.

But as I looked down to start reading my report, I realized my report was in my binder. The same binder holding my embarrassing secret. “Please, we’re waiting,” the teacher called.

Begrudgingly I opened the binder, holding it close to my body so no one could see what was inside. With their smiles morphing into wicked smirks, the princesses seemed to stare at me like a cat staring at a mouse. I couldn’t see all of my report without moving the undergarment, so I read what I could and then clumsily recited the rest from memory. I wanted to disappear. Even if they hadn’t seen the underwear, my unintelligible report was embarrassing enough.

When I finished, I sprinted back to my seat. Had they noticed? I’ll never know. As soon as I sat down, I put my head on my desk and covered it with my arms.

The rest of the presentations dragged on. The bell finally rang and the rest of the class filed out. I waited until everyone had left and then shoved the binder holding my miserable surprise deep into my backpack. I staggered out of the room to find Charity waiting for me at the door.

“What happened?” she asked. “Did something go wrong with your report?”

“I can’t say,” I told her. “It’s too embarrassing.”

Charity finally coaxed me into telling her and when I did, she laughed. That made me even more embarrassed. It was a good thing it was the last day of school that year, because I wouldn’t have gone back the next day.

I asked my parents what they thought about home schooling me. After all, I knew for certain the kids in the hallway saw the smiling princesses and I thought at least a few in my class probably did too. It would only be a matter of time before the entire school knew. And if my best friend would laugh at me, they would all laugh. They’d probably make up nicknames for me. I’d be known as Amanda Underpants for the rest of middle school. Maybe for all of high school too. My parents just smiled and said I would be fine.

The nice thing about summer vacation is it lasts a long time. Long enough to get bored. Long enough for kids to miss being in school. Long enough to realize everyone has embarrassing moments. That day it was my turn, tomorrow will be someone else’s. Because that’s the thing about static cling — it happens to us all. No one is immune from days like that; we all get a turn. The kids that laughed at me will spill chocolate pudding on their shirts or split their pants in P.E. or something like that. And when their day comes, I hope they don’t get too upset. I hope they are just glad to have a funny story, the way I am now about the day princesses in pink and purple sabotaged my science report.

~Amanda Yardley Luzzader

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