I have never taken a photo of anything ever remotely related to a sport. So instead, enjoy a picture of this weird dog.
The gym teacher sat across from me, looking stern and unimpressed. I had been fat the entire semester, which didn’t really jam with the subject he was teaching. And here I was, sitting fatly despite all of his best efforts. He asked me what grade I felt I should get. He pre-emptively gritted his teeth, already hating my reply.
I launched into what I thought was a fairly compelling speech detailing all of the reasons I should get exactly 75%. I showed up every class in gym attire and put in my best, awfulest effort into whatever fresh horrors he had devised for us. Despite obvious discomfort and a truly thrilling lack of ability, I showed up and did all of the things. The lifting, the running, the kicking, the hitting. Terribly and thoroughly greasy, but I did them.
Gym class was going to slash my average, but I felt I had earned a modicum of understanding for giving it all a go. I laid out my feelings for the gym teacher, who sighed and agreed. Gym class being mandatory only until grade nine, he knew this would be the last he’d ever see of me and the last time he’d ever have to hear me talking so fatly, so pathetically, about sports.
And today in stretched correlations: look! A photograph with names in it.
Two high schoolers hovered outside of the staff room, angling around the door. They understood the sacredness of the threshold before them, the taboo they would shatter if they breached the barrier. Sirens, alarm, the ire of several dozen teachers who would certainly unleash the tentacles and claws housed within their carapaces and shred these kids limb from limb. Entering the teachers’ lounge without prior blessing was like summoning an Elder God. Still, worry showed across their sprightly features. I asked if they needed help with something.
“We need to talk to Mrs. Santos,” they murmured. One bit at his nails. “We think she’s in there, but we don’t want to disturb her.” They clearly wanted to disturb her, but were terrified of what might befall them if they tried. They seemed to think I might be sizing them up for ritualistic blood sacrifice for even getting this close to the door. (It had crossed my mind.)
“Okay,” I muttered, scrolling through my internal rolodex. There were hundreds of teachers at the school, dozens of which I had never seen before, as they worked in the far reaches, the terrifying hellscape that formed the high school. They may as well have worked in Mongolia. I came up blank. “Do you know her first name?”
The first name didn’t ring any bells either. Still I wandered into the staffroom prepared to be helpful, but utterly unable to help in any way.
Photographering. Like a big boy.
I fancy myself an adult when I can. It’s an alluring notion. That I am grown up, and capable, and that, as such an upstanding and able young man, I do grown-up things. What are grown-up things? I’ve developed theories over time. It’s taken me decades to even formulate the concept of an adult beyond that which I developed when I was 5: people who are taller, louder, bossier, and occasionally provide me with sustenance. But now I see them (no, no: us?) as people who take charge, who read and drink wine and exchange witticisms and eat succulent dinners, often prepared by themselves or people in tall, white hats. They have expensive, enigmatic, aloof hobbies which they share with other mustachioed or beret-sporting adults. They do adult-things. I want nothing more than to permanently break into this racket.