In kindergarten or first grade, I remember being asked to follow my teacher down the hall to a little office, not too far from the special education room. I didn't figure I was being moved into that classroom, but at 6 or 7 you haven't really got a great read on where you stand among your peers on the intellectual capacity chart. So, I'm sitting in the office for a few minutes and in walks Mr. L (name changed to protect him if he's still alive)- probably mid to late 30's, dark hair, persistent 5:00 shadow and in a boy scout troop leader shirt, unbuttoned to expose lots of chest hair. EEEEEK! (Today it sounds maybe sort of sexy minus the boy scout business, but that's not the point.) The room was a little dark and very quiet and Mr. L spoke in a very calm measured way that creeped me out more than a little bit and made me want to cover my private areas with my hands. He told me that my teacher and my parents thought it would be good if I saw him to talk about how I pronounce the letter S out the side of my mouth. (BOOM! Instant paranoia for the rest of my life.) Then he held a mirror up horizontally up to my lips and asked me to say some words and phrases that included the letter S. As I recited words, he moved the mirror around to the side of my mouth it started to steam up on my right somewhere between my eye tooth and my molars. Wa la! A lateral lisp, otherwise known by the common name of "slushy lisp." (This is more descriptive and will allow you to imitate the condition while saying fun phrases like "Suck it, sexy" or "Sexual intercourse is super." Have a tissue handy. It can get messhhy.) Anyway, when the session was done, Mr. L told me I could go back to class and to tell my friends that I was just getting some help with learning my letters. (BOOM! More paranoia.) For the next however many months, I saw Mr. L a couple of times a week until I steamed up the mirror in front of my front teeth. What did I learn?
- ...that I should lie to my friends about the real reasons I might seek therapy, even though it is still kind of fashionable to hit the couch
- ...that authority figures are secretly talking about me (more on that later)
- ...that Boy Scouts and their leaders are kinda psycho creepy and you would do well to keep a close eye on your genitals in their company
There you have it whether you wanted it or not. So ends the first chapter.