When a Retarded Kid Used Me as a Washcloth, and Other Tales of the 5th GradeSubmitted by Gent at 2004-04-07 12:48:38 EDT
Rating: 1.96 on 32 ratings (32 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
This was intended to be written shortly after this was posted:
This isn't necessarily a sequel to that story, but rather the continuing saga of the difficulties I have had with retarded people. They seem to target me, intending to bring me ultimate humiliation, and exploit my attempts at kindness.
The year was 1989, I was 11 and enjoying my first day of 5th grade. My elementary school at that time was 1st grade through 5th... meaning that I had now entered that crucial year in which I would enjoy my role as the elder statesman... before moving on to middle school, where again I would be relegated to the role of peon, subjected to the threat of beatings by bullies from the 7th and 8th grades. But for now... for one full year, things would be different. I would rule the school with a benevolent, yet firm hand... maintain order without delivering beatings to younger denizens... unless they were completely necessary.
So on that first day of 5th grade, I walked into the bathroom smug and happy with the knowledge that I had the elementary school in the palm of my hand... and nothing could take it away from me. But then I saw him, standing at the urinal.
He was a retarded boy that always seemed to be wandering the hall, untethered... enjoying the benefits of school without the inconvenience of having to attend class. At least that's how it seemed. He patrolled the halls with an unpredictable rage. The smallish blond boy seemed docile at times, offering a smile and babbling conversation (he was deaf as well) one moment, and flying into a fit of rage without any notice the next. I believe he was in the 3rd grade, but since he never attended classes, it is a mute point. But he wandered the halls, keeping order, attacking other students, biting legs and smiling all the while.
But I entered the bathroom that day and saw him standing there, facing the urinal with his pants and underwear around his ankles. Our eyes locked and suddenly, the shadows in the bathroom seemed to grow long. Wind whistled through, pushing tumbleweed across the linoleum. In the distance I thought I heard the slow and deliberate song of a harmonica, as I approached the urinal next to him, never daring to break our eye contact. It was like the old west, only we were in our elementary school bathroom.
I pulled up next to him, relaxing a bit because he had greeted me with a grunt and a smile and returned his attention to completing his business at the urinal. I followed suit, using the urinal, and watching him out of the corner of my eyes. Finally he flushed the toilet, still with his pants around his ankles. He watched with fascination as the water flowed through the urinal, and continued to pull the flush lever with glee, jumping about and pointing at the rushing water. I obliged him by acknowledging it, and responded with, "Yeah... that's fun, isn't it?"
"Fun," he replied, in the only coherent word I'd ever heard him utter. Suddenly, without warning, he placed his hands under the flowing water of the urinal, which was now spewing out of control, since he'd pulled the flush lever roughly 900 times. "Don't do that," I warned him to no avail, as he continued to splash about in the filthy toilet water.
Before long he tired of the game and looked to examine his toilet soaked hands. Doing the next logical thing, he approached me and began drying his hands on my shirt. Since my own pants were down and my hands very much occupied, I was unable to escape this humiliation as he continued to rub his hands furiously up and down my school clothes. Around this time, a group of 3rd graders entered the bathroom, and witnessed the entire scene. Instantly, any credibility I had earned as a 5th grader was ruined. As I was being used as a human washcloth, the 3rd graders laughed and pointed at me yelling, "Get him, Marvin," at my younger, retarded bully.
Quickly, I yanked up my pants and ran from the bathroom, leaving my pride behind. Under normal circumstances, I probably would've punched anyone that attempted this... but Marvin was retarded, and it just didn't seem right to retaliate with violence.
But I got my chance later that afternoon at recess. It was a game of kickball between the 5th graders and an assembled group of various underclassmen. Of course Marvin was on the opposing team, which was an asset to them, since he ran like the wind. All game I had been denying Marvin the ability to get a hit... making diving catches... throwing him out from across the infield. It was perhaps the single greatest day of defense the game of kickball had ever seen... and it drew the attention of our recess attendant.
"Gent," he said, "You've made Marvin get an out every time he's come up. Do it again, and you're going to the principal." Here I was, being warned about hurting the retarded kid's feelings, after he had destroyed every last ounce of dignity I would ever have. But I refused to be deterred... when Marvin came up again, he booted the ball towards centerfield. Running back from shortstop, I dove at the last minute and caught it before it hit the ground, again sending Marvin back to the bench, where he proceeded to cry hysterically.
"That's it, Gent," the recess attendant said, "Go to the office tell Principal McChoakumchild what you did."
I suppose it was worth it, in the long run. The Principal scolded me, giving me a lecture about tolerance and the compassion we should express to those less fortunate than we. I listened, nodding my head, but I didn't tell him the story about the urinal water that covered my shirt, opting not to tell another the tale of my ultimate humiliation.
During the principal's scolding, I happened to look up and out the window of the office that lead into the corridors... there I saw Marvin, peering in the window, smiling at me. And it wasn't his normal, witless grin, but rather something completely different. On his face with an expression of pure joy, and to this day, I swear I saw him mouth the words, "Fuck you."
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