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December 10th, 2009

Overdue Apologies (Part VII)

Dear Wayne,

I’m sorry I pulled your pants down in front of everyone during that game of tag. It was the desperate action of little girl with an undeveloped sense of sportsmanship.

You probably don’t even remember me. You worked at my old preschool when I was in elementary school, and I would only see you when I went there for after school daycare. I picture you as a much older person, but in reality, you were probably about 20. We all loved you, the cool older guy who would chase us around and organize games of hide-and-seek and freeze tag. So I don’t know why I would ever do something to humiliate you, but it was definitely a decision that I hadn’t given much thought to. Let me explain:

I have never been an athlete. I’m kind of slow, and I don’t have much of a head for strategy. But I also have a little perfectionism streak, and so if I’m not great at something right off the bat, I get mighty frustrated (recall how I dealt with soccer). This particular afternoon, I had been “it” about 89 times in the course of ten minutes.  And it was mostly because of you. You were a tagging machine! And I couldn’t outrun you- you were twice my height, and much more clever. And, because I had a baby brother, I knew that, as the older kid, you were watering down your skills. I couldn’t even out-tag Wayne at half power! I was beyond frustrated. The only thing I could think of to do, besides cry, was to attack you before you could attack me. As you were being swarmed by a pod of screaming children, I made my move. I swooped in from behind, grabbed your belt loops and let my knees go limp.

There I hung from your Wranglers, knees tucked up to my chin, cackling like a psycho at each inch of white underwear I exposed. Once you figured out what was happening (and I must say, it took you a little while), you whirled around, throwing me off, and quickly pulled up your jeans.

I think there was some yelling, and perhaps the suggestion of a time out, but by then my embarrassment and guilt had set in, and I was already on my way to the other side of the yard. Now I was not only a terrible tagger, but I was a “bad kid.” It was not one of my prouder days.

Wayne, I know by now you’re probably a doctor or lawyer or ticket taker at the ArcLight, and you’re not thinking about the time a towheaded youth attached herself to your pants with intent to humiliate. But, in the event it ever does cross your mind, I hope you unclench those fists and accept my most sincere apology. Thank you.

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