Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the shot heard 'round the gymnasium

I told you if I thought about it long enough, I would think of a Totally Awkward Tuesday story! You just had to be patient...

Go over and see Tova to see more awkward stories. She was recently named a Blog of Note (insert jealousy here) so she has lots of new followers that have probably posted their awkwardness, too.

Onto my story for the day...

Do you remember elementary school fitness tests? These ridiculous assessments generally occurred twice a school year, and consisted of a series of physical evaluations that supposedly determined your overall health.

(I could have saved them a lot of time. At the age of 9, all childrens' health is in the toilet. All we do is eat candy, drink soda and watch Saved by the Bell. Or Hannah Montana, depending on your generation.)

Some parts of the test were tolerable because you got to do them in pairs. (And fix them to make yourself look better.) For instance, Erin and I would often team up for the "Sit Up!" test.

Erin would hold my feet as I did as many sit ups as I could in one minute. The teacher would come by twirling that effing whistle around his neck and ask your partner how many sit ups you accomplished.

Teacher: (holding pencil to clipboard) Okay Erin, how many sit ups did Miss Kimberly manage today?

Erin: (inner monologue: Hmmm, she laughed the whole time because I could see her underwear, and I think got 6.) Kim did 36 sit ups, Mr. Gym Teacher!

Teacher: VERY good, Kim. You're in the lead so far!


The worst part of the assessment were the tests you couldn't fake. Because you had to do perform all by yourself.

In front of the class.

The mother of all horrible assessments was the Frozen Chin Up.

(I have no idea if that's what it was really called, but it sounds good.)

The Frozen Chin Up was hell on earth. The teacher would lift you up to a metal bar six feet off the floor. He would start you out with your head above the bar, hanging on with your hands only. It was your duty to hang there as long as possible with your chin frozen above the bar. The minute your chin dropped below the bar, you were done. Fun, right? It looked something like this.

original photo here

Each member of the class took their turn being lifted up to that metal bastard. And each one of us usually fell within 10 seconds, our faces red with embarrassment more than physical strain.

Except for those few freaks who reveled in staying there for minutes on end and make the rest of us look bad.)

One day during the Frozen Chin Up assessment, a shy and uncoordinated boy in my class was determined to stay above that bar as long as the boy jocks in the class.

He was doomed from the start.

The teacher did give us a little bit of help by allowing us to face the wall as we did this test, so classmates couldn't distract us with funny faces.

Paul was lifted up to the bar, his butt facing the class.

The teacher let go, and Paul's time began. A few seconds passed and Paul's arms began to violently shake. Clearly his body was not cut out for this type of activity.

Paul persevered and held on tightly. His body however, decided to punish him.

By pushing out a long, high-pitched fart.

It was not quiet.

The class erupted with laughter, but Paul held steady. Two seconds later a short, fat fart filled with hefty base erupted from Paul's shorts.

And still he held on.

A series of a few other toots popped out before Paul finally let go and fell to the ground. He straightened up and turned to awkwardly face us, as we all just sat there bewildered.

Had it been me up there, I would have let go after the first offense and run to the office screaming, "I WANNA GO HOME!! CALL MY MOMMMMYYYYYY!!!!

But not Paul. He managed to stay up there and subsequently landed in the top ranks of the performers that day. He had earned his right to be with the jocks.

Unfortunately, they overlooked his physical accomplishment and focused on his sketchy bowels the rest of the year.

As I wrote this, I began wondering what happened to Paul. So I did what any mature and responsible adult person would do.

I looked him up on Facebook.

He's there, and he looks quite normal. Good for him. He didn't let the farting get him down. In fact, maybe it was the gas that helped keep him up on the bar that day in gym. I guess I'll never know.


Gabby said...

LOL!! I remember those days! I haaaated it so much. And poor Paul!

Darci said...

i could only do that for about 2 seconds. it was horrible. i hate the flexed arm hang to this day.
great story.

LiLu said...

The only test I really remember is the "Flexibility" one, and all the guys would make stupid jokes about which girls were "flexible"...

Yeah. SUPER mature.

drollgirl said...

horrors!!! this would be grounds to make the parents move to a new city!

and i can't do a pull up or chin up or any of this crap to save my life!

Allison said...

Poor kid! I remember how hard all of that was back then. The sit ups were awful!!

Kim said...

Poor Paul. Though now, knowing what I know, I'd applaud him for his effort. I mean to stay up there through that...

alissa said...

lol my favorite part of your story was the end about facebook. ah blessed facebook.
i hated that fing gym class stuff. our gym teacher was also stoned out of his mind (legally, for medicinal eye problems). but you couldve say 36,000 situps and he wouldve been like 'wow...awesome!'

Erin said...

oh. my. god. I totally knew exactly what you were talking about within your first couple of sentences. "Paul", yup good ole "Paul". man, I can still remember that like yesterday.

And I'm sure I was being totally honest when I reported how many sit ups you did. Or I was probably more thinking about our NKOTB club event at recess....

Wendy said...

Poor kiddo!

P.S. Saved by the Bell! Were you a Zack or a Slater girl? And were you (like me) so disappointed when that WASN'T at all what high school ended up being like. Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

This is so freakin funny! I can remember the same situations. Except once we hit jr. high, it was the girls who had to do the "flexed arm hang" and the boys did the pull ups.
~Jess B

Lady Jane said...

I would have died laughing...that mature I know!

Dutch donut girl said...

Poor boy. His few seconds of fame.