(pictured- me, on my first day of kindergarten, 1998)
Ok, here we go.
This is probably the story I like to tell as often as possible to anyone who will suffer it. Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the less than creative title but I literally sat there for six minutes before decidedly typing “Poop Bell”.
I’ll set the scene. It was our kindergarten classroom. It smelled remarkably like animal crackers and feet and Rose Art crayons. (remember those disasters?) Mrs. Divert called us all over to the reading circle. It was a time where I got to sit down and be quiet and zone out, what I did best. Also a time for all the terrible, rowdy kids to act out and get put in the time out corner. Everyone sat on our nice reading carpet in the corner of the room. Everyone, that is, except for Bobby F.
Now, where was Bobby F? We all knew he had to be in the bathroom, based on the bell rule. You see, our classroom had it’s own bathroom. And I suppose over the years stupid five year olds would leave the doors unlocked while they did their business, and just as stupid five year olds would open the door on them mid pee. So to rectify this, there was a bell necklace on the doorknob. It was basically a reindeer-type bell on a lanyard. If the necklace was on the doorknob, the bathroom was free. If it was nowhere to be seen, it was occupied.
Looking back, a necklace was such a stupid idea. I mean, it was our instinct to wear the necklace. What else are kids supposed to do with that. And it wasn’t necessarily a short necklace, either. So we’d wear it, and it would just… dangle. Low. Which teacher designed this and thought “Hey, this isn’t gross at all!” ???
Anyway, so the bell was off the door. Bobby F. had to be in the bathroom. Mrs. Divert is reading us a story about a puppy trying to find his mommy, or a pumpkin that wants to learn to sing, or some crap. It was unusually peaceful and quiet. Until…
“Um, Mrs. Divert?” came a throaty voice from behind us.
Bobby F. peeked through the crack of the bathroom. All the kids turned in their cozy reading spots to look at him. He was in the spotlight.
“Yes, Bobby?” Mrs. Divert replied, ready for whatever horror she was about to endure.
“Um, well…” he started, unsure whether or not to say in front of the whole class. He went for it anyway. “I was pooping in the toilet… and… well, I flushed the toilet but I was still sitting down…”
Already I was invested.
“… And… I accidentally flushed the bell down the toilet…”
I suddenly wondered if he was wearing the bell, or holding the bell… what was the exact situation there?
“… And.. I tried to get it out but it was already gone. And now…”
Bobby F. held out brown hands. “I have poop all over my fingers.”
The number one question I get asked: Did everyone laugh? The answer is no. Nobody laughed. This was a serious situation. One of our comrades has fallen in battle, defeated by the reindeer bell and his own crap. We did not laugh. We sat in silence. Meanwhile, my gut was about to bust from holding it in.
Mrs. Divert got up from her reading chair, and followed Bobby F. into the bathroom.
Teachers aren’t paid enough.