When I was in the second grade, I got chicken pox. I was down and out for two weeks, but actually sick for only one. I was no longer contagious, but I was terrified to go back to school with any pox remnants on my face, because there was an especially nasty little boy in my class named Scott who was mean to me on a regular basis, and I sure as hell didn’t want to give him any easy ammo.
My mother, however, being a shrewd and astute woman, quickly saw through my “I’m still sick” ruse, probably because I spent most of the second week running around the backyard. She sat me down on the couch and gently asked me why I didn’t want to go back to school. After my teary explanation, her loving expression hardened into her fierce mother hen face and she lowered her voice and looked me in the eye and said, “If that kid gives you any trouble, you just say, I had chicken pox, what’s your excuse?”
The sheer brilliance of this retort made my mouth fall open and dried my tears immediately, and so I put on my shoes and asked her to take me back to school. I arrived at lunch time, and armed with my mother’s brilliant comeback, tried my damnedest to get close to Scott in line. I wasn’t really sure how it would go down; I didn’t really say anything, attempting merely to taunt him with my spots, but for some reason, he didn’t pay any attention to me. When we got back into the classroom after recess, Scott asked to go to the nurse, and was out for the next week and a half with (wait for it…) chicken pox.
(For those of you who enjoy an epilogue, I ran into Scott in a bar two years ago and he totally hit on me, depsite the tiny chicken pox scar on my upper lip.)