Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Rusty Nail Butt" is an Acceptable Nickname for a Kid in Elementary School

(Told in seven scenes)

Once upon a time, I acquired a nickname that makes no sense. This story is about how a silly rumor can cause an innocent person (me) to be known (behind my back) as "Rusty Nail Butt," or "Rusty" for short.

In order to understand how I might acquire a nickname so odd, it is important to know that I was in Elementary school in a rural area. How rural, you might ask? Well, it was Farm Friggin' Country.

I’m not sure if playgrounds are still equipped with these, as I haven’t been in Elementary School in almost 20 years, but do you remember those big wooden benches that would be hanging around? This was also a time when mulch was used instead of rubber scraps. This was also out in the country, so maybe we were the only ones with wooden benches.

Anyways, here’s the story:

Scene 1 is where I sat on a wooden bench.

One blue-skied day, I was hanging out on the playground. I think I was playing soccer with the boys. Let’s just say that I was. It makes me sound tough. Okay, so I was playing soccer with the boys.

I got a little tired from running my chubby butt (What? I was chubby!) around the soccer field. The boys may have also kicked me out of the game, as I wasn’t that great. Either way, I walked off by myself (Insert Celine Dion’s All By Myself.) and sat down on a bench. I remember feeling hot, so maybe it was the beginning of the school year.

And then the bench bit my butt cheek.


Scene 2 is when the bench bit me.

When I slid down the bench, I felt a sharp pain in my right butt cheek. Since it was an unexpected feeling, it was quite shocking. Something you should know about me is that  when pain sneaks up on me like that, my mind has an extremely dramatic reaction. I thought I was dying.

Like, for real.

Don’t ask me how my brain translated “Pain in right butt cheek” to “OMG!!! You’re dying!” It just did.

Scene 3 is me going to get help from a teacher.

After I got over the shock of having my butt cheek suddenly bitten….hard, I went for help. I found a teacher. She wasn’t my teacher, so I felt a little awkward talking about my butt with her. But, she was an adult. When you are a little kid, adults are who you try to find when you are hurt.

Then came the issue of how to explain to her what was going on. I wasn’t the best communicator at that age, and there were any number of things that I could have said.

What did I choose?

"Something happened to my butt!"

What does that even mean?!? I mean, yeah, something did happen to my butt. But why the general cry for help? I blame panic and embarrassment.

Now, stop for a moment and imagine that you are that teacher. I have been a teacher in the past, so I definitely experienced many of those “What in the world possessed that child to say such a thing?” moments.

Let’s go over a few possibilities:

1. I pooped my pants. Given the age that I was (possibly second grade), this could have been a possibility. Heck, it could happen to anyone. No one is too old to poop their pants.

2. I fell on my butt. This one is kind of iffy, simply because if I fell, I probably would have said, “I fell!” and we would have gone from there.

3. Someone hit me/threw something at my butt. This was highly probably, given that boys/girls still had a large amount of infectious cooties. If I got too close, a boy very well could have inflicted pain to get me to skedaddle.

4. My butt fell off. This is completely unlikely. I don’t even know why I wrote it. Probably because it’s fun to draw a teacher mentally translating what a kid says to her.

My teacher was able to ask me enough questions to figure out that something stabbed my butt.

Then she peeked.

Then she rushed me to the principal’s office.

Scene 4 is my stay in the office.

By this time, I had figured out the relationship between sliding on the bench and the sharp, stabbing pain in my butt cheek (Do you like how I keep saying butt and butt cheek? I think they’re funny words and like to say them as much as possible. Fart is a funny word too, it just doesn’t have any context in this story.)

The secretary peeked at my injury and immediately called my mom. This is when I started to panic. Wasn’t the office supposed to be able to remove splinters? This is where my mind went back to “OMG! I’m going to die!”

Oh, and by the way, I couldn’t sit down. So, I laid down awkwardly on my stomach so that whatever was stabbing my butt wouldn’t be pushed in any farther.

Once my mom got there, she called my friend’s mom, who was a nurse.

Once my friend’s mom got there, it suddenly became a party revolving around my injured butt cheek. Not my idea of a good day.

Scene 5 is when my mom decided the “plan of attack” on the foreign object.

For what seemed like hours (but was really only a few moments), my mom and the nurse assessed the situation. From the sound of it, the thing was huge. I felt a natural need to know how big the foreign object was that was stabbing me.

My mom’s reply was, “It’s pretty big, sweetie, just lay still.”

Thanks for helping me not panic, mom.

“Pretty big” is a horse compared to a pony or the Grand Canyon compared to a swimming pool or even an early model Cadillac sedan compared to a compact Geo Metro.

“Pretty big” in my mind painted a picture of a knife sticking out of my butt cheek. That’s what it felt like, anyways.

What I found out later was that the splinter went into my cheekie at an angle and then went through the other side. Kind of like when you sew something. Except my butt didn’t need to be sewn.

Scene 6 is when I had the equivalent of minor surgery performed on me.

The plan of attack was the following:

1. Break the splinter in half.

2. Pull each side out.

3. Dig around to make sure no wood is left.

4. Get a tetanus shot. (haha! Tet-Anus! Get it? I love it when jokes write themselves.)

So, they prepared me, and went forth with their plan. I expected it to hurt, and it did. A little. Mostly, it just stung. Then, the splinter was out. I think I expected immediate relief. But, it still hurt. Quite a bit.

Disappointment set in momentarily, but I soon moved on to the “Let’s see this hunk of wood that was stuck in my butt” mindset.

It. Was. Huge.

In my child-mind, it was the size of my hand. So, based on how my mind dramatically remembers things, and a little bit of reality mixed in their, it was approximately two inches long. It was also fairly thick.

I don’t know if that is still a spinter… or just a hunk of wood? I’m not sure. But, it stabbed my butt.

Scene 7 is where I explain the whole “Rusty Nail Butt” nickname.

Okay, so fast forward around ten years. I was a senior. I think senior year in my school mean some people that weren’t that nice to some people felt guilty and wanted to make amends.

No matter the motivation, a girl named Cara came up to me and apologized for calling me “Rusty.” I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about (although “Rusty” isn’t that awful of a nickname.), so I asked her to clarify.

Cara: “Remember that time in second(ish) grade when you sat on a rusty nail?”
Me: “No.”
Cara: “You sat on a nail and had to go get a shot.”
Me: “I’ve never sat on a nail. I would remember.”
Cara: “You haven’t?”
Me: “No. I got a big splinter once from sliding across the bench. I had to get a shot for that. But, no nail.”
Cara: “OH! That’s what happened! We heard you had to get a nail removed from your butt and then had to get a shot. So, we started calling you ‘Rusty Nail Butt.’ And then later, we shortened it to ‘Rusty.’ You never heard us calling you that?”
Me: “No… I don’t know that I would have known you were talking about me, since I never sat on a rusty nail.”
::awkward silence::
Cara: “Oh. Well, I’m sorry.”
Me: “I forgive you?”


And that is how I found out that for 10 yrs, I had the nickname "Rusty" behind my back.
I guess it could have been worse.

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