I spent most of my childhood as a majorette in a privately owned competitive drill team. There were parades, local and out of state competitions, special appearances, and most importantly...the yearly banquet.
It was a time to get together and enjoy the accomplishments of the past year. Actually, no it wasnt. It was a chance for all the secret pagent moms to burst out of the closet, foaming at the mouth and claws sharpened to push their daughters to the pinnacle of success in the drill team, obtaining the title "Queen".
Year after year, I was nominated for Queen and year after year, I lost. Usually to the girl whose parents *cough* raised *cough* the most money. It got to the point that instead of 5 princess positions to compete for, people treated it like there were only 4, I automatically filled the 5th position.
Now the first few times I was nominated, my mother was over the moon. This was a reflection of her, after all. A testament, if you will, of her parenting skills. June Cleaver was a crack whore compared to Kathleen, whose daughter was so well liked.
Unfortunately for her, I soon turned into the running joke. It was assumed that I would nab a spot on the court but it was also a given that I would lose. This, of course, was a reflection on me. I pushed people away, I wasn't friendly enough, I didn't try. I was ruining my mothers good reputation!
When I was 14, my sister was nominated with me. AH HA! A second chance for my mother! Shannon wouldn't let her down! Soon, it came time for us to pick our escorts to the banquet.
For the past year, I had it in my mind that I was going to ask Travis M. Let me take a second to describe dear Travis. He was 14, thin and muscular, deeply tanned skin with a mop of loose brown curls that were bleached gold in spots from the sun. The greenest eyes surrounded by thick, dark lashes and a full beautiful mouth which was pouty when serious but when he smiled was just glorious. White straight teeth and dimples you could swim in.
This boy was THE SEX. Every girl he smiled at immediately plummeted head first into puberty. Some girls as young as 5. He had that power.
Luckily, we were already friends. Besides being the most beautiful boy in the world, he was a really cool kid. He had sisters so he wasn't above playing jacks or jumping rope. Only he did those things with his shirt off. sigh.
This was my year, I thought.
Until my mother informed me that Travis was taking my sister and I would be escorted by none other than J. Ring.
WHATTTTTTTT. Ring? Ring-a-ding-ding?
Travis was the epitome of 14 yr old beauty and Ring was the anti christ. A really ugly weird anti christ.
He was my height, sickly thin, glasses the size of montana, dandruff, buck teeth and he thought he was a robot.
I'm not kidding. He.spoke.like.this. He walked with his elbows bent, arms forward, like an L and he refused to bend his knees. Weeks would go by and no one heard him say anything else but I'll.Shoot.You.With.My.Laser.Gun. then make this really gay machine gun sound. He wasnt even a GOOD dork. A good dork would have known that laser guns do NOT sound like machine guns.
I fought this like a wild cat. I hissed and scratched and bit. But I couldn't change things. I had to go with Ring a ding ding. Wonder robot.
The 2 months until the banquet was filled with taunts. My sister became the envy of the world and I became a bigger joke. Some girls even refused to talk to me because I was going with him.
My mother gleefully reminded me that it was good of me to go with him. People will think "What a nice girl" "Look how kind". It was noble of me. Like it was all my idea!
People said nothing of the kind, but they did point and laugh a whole lot.
I held my head up the entire time. To my credit, and yeah, I'm patting myself on the back for this one, I was never mean to Ringy the robot, even though he totally deserved it. He farted ON me at the walk through and he told me that he thought I was sort of ugly, he was hoping to get asked by Jamie B.
The banquet came and we all walked out. As we sat in our chairs, escorts standing behind us, Ringy picked his nose and wiped it on my dress. The called out the winner and...it was my sister.
Shannon wins at life. She stepped forward to recieve her crown and her kiss on the cheek from the magnificent Travis, my mother came running onto stage like she'd just been crowned herself, and I sat there in the background with a booger on my shoulder, Ringy whispering in my ear, "See, I told you you were ugly".
Life after the banquet took some fun turns. My mothers enormous contribution check bounced and we were almost kicked out of drill team. My sister suddenly developed a horrid case of acne that lasted for the next 5 years. Ring a dings parents decided to divorce and he not long after moved to colorado, never to be heard from again.
And me? Well I never did win that crown but my skin was flawless, Travis asked me to be his date to the school picnic where we made out in the old mill and I learned that sometimes even when you lose, you win.
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