in 4th grade the school told my mom i was gifted and had to go to a special program every monday in 5th grade. i hated it. one time i late on purpose so i missed the bus but they made me go anyway. there was another boy from my school who had to go too but he cried a lot and eventually dropped out. i didn’t hate everything about it. i liked calligraphy and painting with watercolors and magic eye puzzles.
at some point during my childhood i decided i didn’t like corn. i liked most other vegetables. i certainly liked butter. but something about corn really bothered me. a roommate made me try corn on the cob when i was 23 and i enjoyed it.
sometime during elementary school, i remember using a word i’d read, (and subsequently looked up in the dictionary,) in conversation with a teacher and she laughed and told me that wasn’t what that word meant. when i explained that i’d looked it up in the dictionary and how i’d used it was technically correct within that definition, she told me about “connotation.” that may have been when i started to think language can be fun.
*thelbert & pardee
as a toddler i had imaginary pet parakeets named thelbert and pardee that sat on my shoulders. i would talk to them and sing them songs. my mom got us a pet parakeet and we named it thelbert but one night when i was sleeping our cat scared it to death.