fifty-cent suckers.


i forgot to mention that a few weeks ago, i asked my cousin sabrina, an eighth grader at st. ignatius, whether or not the eighth grade class still sold valentine's suckers to raise funds for their end-of-the-year class trip. she said, "no." when i pushed the subject further, it sounded like she had no idea what the hell i was talking about. come to think of it, the eighth grade sucker tradition ended even before i got there, so i don't even know why i brought it up in the first place. maybe i thought they revived it. it was a pretty awful fundraiser, if you think about it.

here's what would go down: just a few weeks before valentine's day, representatives from the eighth grade class - usually two very perky girls - would visit each classroom and tell us that, for fifty cents, we could purchase a sucker for our "friends, crushes, and sweethearts," and this sucker would come along with a personalized message. i'd usually get two, maybe three suckers a year. one from my cousin claire, and once i got one from my cousin byron. some of the girls in my class, the real skinny ones with sparkly white teeth, would often get a dozen or more. i never joined in the "oohs" and "ahhs" when the girls would tally their sucker counts on the board; instead, i chose to dwell upon the unspoken pity surrounding the sucker-less suckers. these were normally the bigger boys. the ones who didn't look so good. the ones nobody wished to sit next to on the bench. the few whose addresses on the school roster normally preceded that dreaded abbreviation: "apt.," followed by the even more unholy # symbol.

but you couldn't really throw down two quarters to make the fat kid's day, could you? no, of course not. if you did, you'd be a faggot. if you did, your worst fear would come true; he would want to befriend you. he would prey on your pity; your act of charity would serve as an open invitation to become best buds. i wonder how many fat, sucker-less kids crying in the corner it took for mrs. clark to realize that maybe this whole valentine's day sale wasn't such a good idea. we'll have a bake sale instead this year. we'll wash cars. bring your buckets, children.

i never sent any family members any suckers. i sent my friend joseph one once. it was just so i could write this ditty i came up with one day that was so stupid and strange that it warranted a sucker. it went: "a happy v's, a happy v's, a here we go, a you're too slow." it made no sense, just as i don't make any sense. anyone who really knows me knows that i come up with these bizarre sayings as often as i can. so it cracked both of us up.

i thought about sending a sucker to one of the girls in the class ahead of me. it wouldn't be as awkward, you know, since we don't share the same classroom or anything. and anyway, she wouldn't even know what to think of it. but what if it did lead to something. imagine how cool it would be to go out with an older girl. older girls know a lot more than the girls in my class. that would definitely make me look cool, no doubt about it. but the boys in seventh grade are a lot cooler, much more athletic. why wouldn't she just hook up with one of them? maybe they're all gay. maybe they're annoyed by the girls in their class like i am annoyed by the girls in my class. so this will be perfect. yes, i'll take one sucker, please. wait! no, yes. no. maybe. can i still get one tomorrow?

oh, forget it.

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