What does it take to be one of the popular crowd in school? I have no idea. My glory days were in elementary school where my individualism was celebrated. My radical ideas helped elect me to student council president in the sixth grade. I can’t remember my campaign slogan but I am sure it had to do with individual rights. Being president seemed like a big deal but all I remember is the hard work and losing my ‘boyfriend’ to my very cute best friend who didn’t have a thought in her head.
My popularity went downhill from there since I did not conform to the norm in junior high and high school. Why didn’t I conform? It was boring. Boys and girls sitting around talking about nothing and doing not much more. What did I want to do in sixth grade? Well, I had attended a 4-H talent show and saw a girl riding a unicycle in the contest. I begged my parents for a unicycle. That Christmas I searched under the tree and did not see any package resembling a unicycle. When I opened my last present there was a note telling me to go to my parent’s closet. Could it be? I ran upstairs and there in my mom’s closet was a unicycle. I screamed and then thought, “Now what do I do?” It was winter and there was snow on the ground. How was I going to learn to ride a unicycle?
Mom said I could use the laundry room to learn. All winter long I struggled to learn my balance as I scraped the washer to get to the dryer. Finally spring came and I was able to go outside. I clutched the side of the garage and made my first pedals into the driveway as I fell every which way you can. Being stubborn I didn’t give up. After many thousands of attempts I finally learned how to balance and rode the length of the driveway. From there it was like riding a bike.
My phy ed teachers in junior high found out I could ride a unicycle. I ended up teaching a unicycle mini-versity class at our junior high during the lunch hour. The teachers and kids that learned to ride went on the road providing lyceums to area elementary schools. In those school gyms we played unicycle basketball and performed a variety of unicycle tricks. If that wasn’t enough, I even rode my unicycle to school instead of my bike. Why wasn’t I popular? Take a guess.
Two years after getting my unicycle I asked my parents for a guitar. I found a really cute high school boy to teach me to play the guitar for free. That Christmas there was a small box under the tree. It was too small to be a guitar but the box was shaped like a guitar. I was so excited that I ripped off the wrapping hoping to find a note leading me on a scavenger hunt to my guitar. Instead when I opened the box I found a ukulele. What were they thinking?