In the first-grade play, I was to be a pint-sized pirate like the rest of my
class. We had newspapers folded on the tops of our heads like Napoleon
hats. I was to wear black pants, a loose white shirt, and some kind of
red scarf around my skinny waist, which was where my sword would be stuffed.
My father made the sword out of wood and painted the blade silver just
for the play. When the day finally came, I was so terrified as we walked
out onto the stage. When we reached the center of the stage, the prerecorded
music to a play called H.M.S. Pinafore began to play. We were to turn and
face the audience and hold onto our waists with our left hands while rocking
our bodies back and forth, shifting from one foot to the other while mouthing
the words to the music and clenching our right fists as we swung them back and
forth to the beat. Well I did no such thing; instead I searched and
searched the auditorium looking for my parents. All the other kids were rocking
back and forth while I stood there like a rock in a windy field of tall grass,
and when I spotted my parents, I brought the auditorium into a bout of roaring
laughter as I raised both my hands and yelled, "Hi, Mom!"