Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!

it seems that groundhog day gets a bit more attention since bill murray got hilariously stuck in it in 1993. it was, however, always a big holiday where i grew up because i went to gravenstein school and we were not the ferocious panthers or the eagles that our teams faced off.

we were the groundhogs.

we were groundhogs in kindergarten and we were groundhogs when we graduated from eighth grade. (though sadly, i hear that a more recent class of junior high kids, reacting to that awful time of discomfort in your own pubescent skin, finally caved to the pressure of being the joke of the county school system and possibly to the harry potter craze, and voted to change the mascot to the gravenstein griffin. yeah, i also had to pause to even call to mind what exactly a griffin even is. turns out its a cross between an eagle and a lion. oy). but in the classic good ol' days before that blasted democracy interfered, groundhog day was huge! i mean, how many schools get their own holiday?! and guess what? groundhog day was as innocuous of a holiday that the jehovah's witnesses didn't even seem to have a problem with me celebrating it. brilliant! (though if you ask me, they may want to re-consider that stance. i mean, it sounds a little pagan or hocus-pocus to base a seasonal prediction on an underground animals behavior...) nevertheless, on groundhog day we dressed in our school colors--blue and gold. this tradition ingrained the idea in my little mind that groundhogs, the animals, somehow preferred those colors. but what else could you do to celebrate such a holiday? of course, you could have drawing contests.

so come with me back to second grade. i was decked out in blue nike swoosh sneakers, tall gym socks with a yellow-rimmed blue stripe, blue koo-lats (that's what we called 'capri pants' back then, except they were a little more skirt-like) and gold clickety-clacks in my hair. surely i was wearing a shirt too, but i can't remember which....what do you think i make this shit up?

a school-wide assembly was called to announce the winners of the groundhog drawing contest. i didn't think much about it. the week before, in a fit of shame at my lack of drafting skills, my big-time honesty good-two shoes self had lost out to my already fully developed self-consciousness and artistic inhibition. faced with the assignment to draw a groundhog, i'd finally followed my sister's advice and traced one out of the encylopedia. it looked a bit like this:

except, no offense to rmckay001, even better. cleaner. like an engraving. like the future boss would draw.

i turned it in to save myself from embarrassment, not to compete or win. but c'mon, principal lapinski, does a 2nd grader whose drawing style, even by 6th grade, only progressed to this:

(this, by the way, is a drawing sample from a hilarious family book that i'll share another time)

...suddenly start drawing encyclopedia worth block prints?

i should have been apprehended for cheating. at the very least i should have been glossed over for the prize. instead, and perhaps they were on to something that i never considered til just now, i suffered the even greater shame and humiliation of being awarded 2nd prize (keep in mind this contest spanned K-8), being praised in front of the whole school and photographed with the fake, for the yearbook.

i could barely lift my head.

somehow, this experience didn't instill in me a hatred for groundhog day. i continued to dress in blue and gold. i continued to listen excitedly for the seasonal prediction (though let's be real, by february 2nd, the magnolias have already bloomed in california, the green fields have already burst into gold mustard rhapsody...). but damnit, i'll never cheat again.

and by the way, in case the brooklyn groundhog has any confusion in its mind--it's not looking so good today.


Amy said...

I LOVE Groundhog Day and think the kids that changed it to the Griffins are lame! I thought it was Grizzlies though???

kitty joe said...

i think they changed it again! forgot about that. so fickle.

kim said...

Kitty! I am shocked! (At least the banana slugs remain true.)

Mieke said...

What a funny story! Hilarious!

FP said...

Very interesting, well-organized blog to which I want to return.
Best wishes

Greg said...

I never thought the Groundhogs name was at all embarrassing, and I'm disappointed to learn it's been changed.