123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stuffed Up

Once a month, the school nurse would come in the classroom, smelling like band aids, and make us fork over a pencil to trace our soft, little craniums in search of head lice.

One day, in the first grade, she found them. A sad waif of a girl, whose last name was fittingly Ratcliff, had infested the whole class. I sat behind her and could actually see the little buggers crawling around, but before the school nurse gasped, that fact didn't strike me as odd.

"Ho hum, she's got bugs crawling around in her hair. Doo doo doo doo ..." Besides, watching them was far more entertaining than practicing my cursive Q.

School let out early that day and a panicked mimeograph informing our parents of the "situation" was tucked in our back packs, along with orders not to return to school until we were all nit free.

Most of us just had them in the egg stage, so with a little Nix, we were fine. But our parents were instructed to launder everything in our houses and toss ALL STUFFED ANIMALS.

Bye bye Tom. Bye bye Jelly. Bye bye Weep. I fought with my Dad about Purple so vehemently that he finally relented and sprayed the poor thing with industrial strength pesticide. My Dad promptly gave Purple back to me, and I buried my face in the stitching on his furry, little tummy that proclaimed, "Happiness is You!" This may or may not account for the growth of my third arm bud.

In any case, there was one stuffed object that I confiscated and hid away until it was safe, for I would not part with it for all of the Fun Dip Lik-M-Aids in the world. A neighborhood boy by the name of Rudy Comer had given me a stuffed heart the week before.

After we finished watching The Goonies at his house, he walked me home, carrying a brown paper bag. He led me behind a dumpster, pulled the stuffed red heart out of the bag and kissed me. Just an innocent, little first grade kiss, but the stuffed heart remained long after Rudy ran off and yelled, "If you tell anyone, I'll kick you."

Needless to say, I didn't want to jeopardize our relationship, so I didn't tell anyone, and lice be damned, I was NOT going to give that red heart up. Shortly there after, my Dad met my first Step Mom, so we moved to the town where I would eventually meet Megan Jane and Scotty. Rudy Comer was gone, but not forgotten.

I came across that red heart the other day, and it struck me just how much it resembles my own heart: a little scruffy and beat up, hidden away for a long, long time. Just waiting to be found and appreciated.

Bwah. While I'm waxing poetic about my sad heart, in the Comments section, tell me if ya'll happen to know Rudy Comer. His last name alone is enough to make the thought of finding him fill me with delicious hope and delirium.



  • At 2:54 PM , Blogger mist1 said...

    My best friend in fourth grade infested the class with lice. Her mother found one on Jenny's head in church. I remember the image I had in my mind of that moment. Jenny in a pretty dress and shiny shoes and her lovely family, singing their little Lutheran hearts out. Then, the louse would take off in flight through the colored streaks from the stained glass windows. I don't even know if lice can fly.

    My head itches.

  • At 3:07 PM , Blogger Matt said...

    Val, if you tell anyone I'll kick you. ;)

  • At 3:25 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

    When I was in the bahamas at the ripe old age of 12, I got my hair braided. I came home with one hot 'do, and a head full of lice. We put all of my worldly belongings in plastic bags in order to kill off the little biggers (literally) including my sheets, clothes, and teddy bear, CoCoa.

    A day into the 3 day "kill em off" cycle we left for vacation, leaving our neighbor friend Kristin to take care of the house and my bunny. One thing she had to do was take out the trash that was in the garage. Thorough as she was, she threw out all the trash in the house including all of my belongings and my teddy bear. I cried for that teddy bear. I miss you CoCoa.

  • At 3:50 PM , Blogger hyacinths and biscuits said...

    You must have gone to an advanced school. I didn't learn cursive until the second grade.

  • At 4:15 PM , Blogger you'dneverguess said...

    Awww, what you said about your heart made me a little sad. Though I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone past the age of 25 who's heart didn't have a little wear and tear. If your heart isn't a little bruised by then, you've led too sheltered a life.
    I'm glad I've never had lice though.

  • At 4:27 PM , Blogger Hey Pretty said...

    I do not know him. But if it makes you feel any better, my heart is feeling a little beaten today as well. My own damned fault, as usual.

  • At 5:36 PM , Blogger Matt said...

    I will give you such a kick when I see you.

  • At 6:59 PM , Blogger Hey Pretty said...

    Oh, but I just remembered something: I went to college with a boy named Andy Comer. Dark hair, pale skin, fronted an obscure indie rock band, fancied himself an expert in Marxist literary deconstruction. Any relation, I wonder? If so, that would marvelous. Deliciously so.

  • At 7:55 PM , Blogger brinki dink said...

    Don't know Rudy, kinda wish I did. I lurve the names of your childhood stuft animals. I don't even remember the names of mine, except this one homemade bear I called Honey, he was stuft with lentils.

  • At 10:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Don't know Mr. Comer but if I run across him I'm going to hold him down until you get here, all the while giving him kisses and hugs.

  • At 10:31 PM , Blogger Attention Whore said...

    You had me dying with the growth of your third arm bud and then a little nostalgic for those first grade kiss/punch combos and then very self-reflective and sniveling like a moron over the beat up hidden away for a long time heart...123 Val - you are the queen of the emotional roller coaster and apparently my twin...but your boobs are nicer...

  • At 10:51 PM , Anonymous senor_caiman said...


    I have a nasty head twitch, my mom use to sprinkle chlordane around my bed so that the ants wouldn't get me.

    I'm eating an apple so I can't sign in.

  • At 11:12 PM , Anonymous 123V said...

    Mist, honey, I think only Lutheran lice fly. The rest take the bus.

    Mattress, your secrets are safe with me, but I'd prefer a hug when we meet again, okay?

    Oh, Lisa Lisa, you can't hear it, but I'm playing Taps for CoCoa.

    Yeah, Hy Biscuits, I guess I was smart for my age. Fortunately, I also go sex ed early on, or else there would have been some problems.

    Guess, oddly enough, I've never really had a broken heart from romantic lurve. I would actually welcome that, I think. But, the lice get a big thumbs down.

    Hey Pretty, wouldn't that be weird if they were? We could double date the Comer kids. The name alone implies multiple orgasms, so that's cool.

    B Dink, did Megan Jane ever try to play Corn Hole with Honey?

    You're a nice lady, FC&F, getting him all warmed up for me. Don't think I'd let you get away after all of that--you'd stay and join, of course.

    AW, that's impossible. I've never met a pair of boobs I didn't like.

    Senor, those fire ants are some mean sons of bitches. You had a good Mommy. You know what they say about apples, don't you? Oh. Me either.

  • At 4:39 AM , Blogger EsLocura said...

    I don't know Rudy, but I have been kissed, and had head lice. and speaking of hearts, mine is feeling a little squished at the moment, I wonder if I can buy some over the counter remedy. squished-be-gone or something.

  • At 11:10 AM , Blogger Lee said...

    Those cursive Qs are a total bitch!

    Now my head itches too.

  • At 12:51 PM , Blogger Winter said...

    I always had trouble with the backwards cursive "f" thing.. I mean what the hell is that all about.

  • At 3:06 PM , Blogger Johnny said...

    If lice are okay what about crabs?



    I have a rule, if you give me cooties, it better have been damn EARTH SHATTERING good.


  • At 5:54 PM , Blogger Lee said...

    johnny - my rule: if you give me cooties, you better fuckin run.

  • At 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Now that everyone is scratching their heads and looking in mirrors....

    I never had lice, never came anywhere near anyone that did have them. I have a teddy bear that I've had since I was born. I'm pathetic. I'm 32 and my beloved Ted. E. Bear is still with me.

  • At 3:54 AM , Blogger Spellbound said...

    Love hurts. I got my first kiss from the preacher's son in the coat closet in Mrs. Young's first grade classroom. I have no idea what his name was but I caught the little two timer kissing another girl in that same spot two weeks later. I resisted kicking him, but I went immediately and told Mrs. Young. I never had head lice though, but I feel itchy just reading this.

  • At 8:18 AM , Blogger Starboard Tack said...

    Rudy Comer was my name before I had it legally changed to George Bush.

  • At 10:13 PM , Anonymous 123V said...

    Es L, oh no! YOU have a squishy heart, too! Cyber hugs!

    Lee Baby, I never did catch on to them. It's like another language.

    Winter, honey, sometimes I like the backwards F, know what I'm saying? No? Oh, well, I was trying to be risque. Didn't work.

    Johnny Robot, that seems fair. I also implement that rule for static cling.

    Pookie Pants, real women loved stuffed animals. Well, real women love vibrators AND stuffed animals.

    Spellbound, itchy is a good adjective to describe me right now too,

    ST, I thought you looked familiar ...

  • At 3:39 PM , Blogger feathered lawn said...

    i did a myspace search... and found this

    i thought it sounded kinda like your story with a headline of "lil skater with a big heart"

    ... and your story was beautiful by the way.

  • At 12:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    So i googled my name is this story came up. I looks like im going to have to kick someone for breach of contract. rudyroo@att.blackberry.net

    hope to hear from you.

  • At 4:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I had the same purple bear! It was my first toy. I still have him locked away.


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