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Three things I thought would win me respect as a child
It's February smackdown, the month you try to write a post a day, each with a prescribed subject. Today's topic? 3 things (one involving nudity)

Three things I used to think would win me friends and respect if I could only master them (circa 1983)

1) Whistling through my teeth in a really loud and fierce in a way that makes taxis screech to a halt, birds stop their chatter, and people turn in attention and admiration. Who's that girl with the commanding whistle? Surely she knows what's what.

2) Knowing the names of trees (both their official name and their given names). I have always been an urban girl, but I romanticized outdoorsy types who had ease with nature, who could name every plant, genus and species in their path. One day, walking home from school, the late afternoon light hit the topmost branches on a row of majestic trees near my house. A bunch of birds had clustered in their bushy canopies, singing their hearts out. And for an ecstatic moment I was trasported up there with them, hopping on branches in the green-yellow light I can't explain it better, except I thought my heart would explode with joy. And then I was back on the sidewalk. It's never happened since. Maybe it was an Oak tree? I wish I knew its name.

3) Backflips. As a young girl, I desperately wanted to be one of those effortless gymnast girls with high ponytails who could do backflips at recess. They were universally popular. I mean, who’d possibly mock someone that could do spring somersaults and back-tucks in the middle of the soccer field? No one, that’s who. But I was very bad at gymnastics. In fact, I was the worst in my community centre class. Ok, make that the second worst. The worst was a girl named S. who was taller and thicker than me, and therefore had farther to go to hit the ground, where she'd land with a chunky thud. One day, I went into the girl’s bathroom and found her nude, washing something in the sink. She had pooped in her hot-pink leotard. She tried to wash it out, but you could see the stain every time she did her half-assed cartwheels. At certain ages, nothing is more mortifying than your own body.

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