I was once at a school where racial segregation seemed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Because the black girls had total control over our entire environment, and all of the boys were in their own section of the playground. The black girls were somehow buried deep within the spread out zone map of an egalitarian war. They introduced me to the playground by being in the very first section of it.
I was the journalist. I wandered around, interviewing every segregated group. There were the black girls who jumped rope like it was going out of style, and the white girls who had to bow to that Goddess of Jumping, the master of the black girls.
I didn’t cause any of the “events” that happened there, I just entered each section of the segregated girls playground, interviewing girls like I was Alex Hailey or something, the ghost writer who helped Malcolm X write his book. All about how his life was a death sentence. Why not ghost write?
I even got my African glasses knocked off when I tried to go to the boy’s basketball playground, which we didn’t have, and interview them. They had a non-racist playground going. We girls had a racist, tallest, shortest, Jewess, Christian, fat girl, sexist segregated playground, and somehow, if it meant something to us that we were evil incarnate, that worked for everyone else . . . but me.
I wanted to be friendly, playful, and good. So I got to interview people instead. Why feel guilt ridden? I had to go to each segregated section of the weirdo playground, interviewing every evil loser queen on it, because the black girls were winning on our Negativity Playground.
As I went through life, I became the Lost Girl Journalist. Yeah, there is now Jeanne Emerson – is there not? She lives in the Pacific NW and is going to become the oldest female talking head ever. I was never able to become a tall white male journalist. I didn’t make it through the system enough to become a million dollar piece of property.
My story? My life was determined by our Negativity Playground.
First I saw the black girl section, two black girls there, saw them skippin’ rope like sixty double dutch, and said to myself, “I can’t do that, what’s up with that? I know what. There’s a section of the playground I can play in.” I did a limp wrist at them and said aloud, “Ah, tha’s jus’ them,” and moved on to the white girls who were skipping rope. It wasn’t even double dutch, and I still couldn’t handle it. I jumped a teeny bit, and moved on. For I was the fat girl, and there was no such fat girl section on the playground.
But as I moved on, I headed towards the boy’s section, and as I walked toward it, thinking they wouldn’t mind, a white boy with black hair saw me and threw the ball as hard as he possibly could. It was a basketball, and it zoomed straight into my face and knocked off my glasses. I cried, stopped, contained myself, and picked up my glasses. There was no “glasses” girls section on the playground, either. I put them back on and continued, as my part Indian self and part black self woke up, and knew it wasn’t Jesus Christ the Lord. Surely I wouldn’t get anywhere in life. I sighed. I would tell these people something, somehow, but I didn’t know what.
I moved on. Eventually there was the tall girl section. As I had previously exhibited courage, they let me in. Probably the older Catholic girls. They let me in conditionally, to what, I did not know. When I admitted I favored Indians, especially Indian chiefs, they kicked me out. I moved on to the segregated Judeo-Christian – or mostly Jewish – or whatever section it was, cottoned to it really being the Jewish section, but you know those Christians, they read both booksÃ¢Â?Â¦I hung out with them and heard this:
Miss Lucy had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Lucy went to heaven
The steamboat went to hello
Operator, give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I’ll kick you in the behind
There was a piece of glass
Miss Lucy sat upon it
And broke her little ask me
No more questions
I’ll tell you no more lies . . .
It sounded like art, fiction writing, song lyrics and humor all rolled up into one. And it was being done by evil, leering, lecherous little girls. Who thought that since racial segregation meant something, so did they?
So I added the last lines, already. Which were:
The boys are in the bathroom,
Making chocolate pies.
No one was truly impressed by this. It was the best I could do, I gracefully apologized. Because they were all ready to go to Viet Nam too soon.
Then I had to wander, being the only fat girl, to the little kids section of the playground. It was a tree in a well. The roots were lovely, mysterious and intertwining, and it made it hard to walk around in down in the tree pit. The little kids were all having an easy time walking around in there. I sighed, decided to leave, and found out how hard it is for a fat girl to climb out of a pit. The Pit of Hell of the Babies. Ygdrasil, from the old Nordic legends.
And finally another fat girl, an all white one, found me and made fun of me. I was not all white. I was picking up the chestnuts with a bag and she said they had always been doing that before, it was passÃ?Â©, and I had not invented anything new. I kept picking up the chestnuts.
Just as I finished doing now. The school bell rang, and I had to go back in there. And be told I could become the President of the United States, or maybe go to Viet Nam, enter combat, and kill people. Or be killed.