It was third grade at Providence Elementary school in the quiet town of Winchester, KY.
Providence was seriously one of those teensy, tiny red-neck schools smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Pigs were frequently herded down the road beside the school and the elementary library was inside a trailer. None of this of course has any relevance to the story I'm about to tell, but I wanted you to know that I come from humble beginnings.
Ms. Slone was the most feared teacher in the school (there were only 6 and just a shade under 100 students,) but she was the real deal. She was loud, possessed zoo animal girth and I believe she was the first to truly wear bling (if you count gaudy pieces of costume jewelry dangling from golden necklaces the size of construction paper, Christmas countdown chains as bling.) I was scared of her, no need lying about it, because she was frightening. Actually, there were two women in Providence's employ that struck fear in every single student, Ms. Slone and the crazy lunchroom monitor lady that loved to bang the salt shakers whenever we spoke above a whisper during lunch, Ole What's Her Face.
Anyways... I digress. It was a typical school day, probably a Wednesday and we had just taken a classroom break to go to the restrooms. I was preoccupied with talking with my friends and so opted not to relieve myself. Big mistake. The moment we sat back down, ready to start another couple hours of grueling nonsense, my trusty bladder informed me that the levee was about to burst. I saw nothing wrong with asking Ms. Slone if I could go back to the restroom so I made my way up to her desk. I still remember her voice, it had the same effect that the little hook that scrapes the tartar off your teeth does to your ears.
"Now Frank, did you go to the restroom when we were on break?"
I was honest. "Nope." (Ma and Pa would be proud.)
"Then maybe you should sit back down and think about whether or not you need to go to the restroom," she said, with her lipstick smeared mashers.
Ok. I sat back down and I thought about it, and it didn't take much more than 2 seconds contemplation to reaffirm what I already knew. I had a whiz to throw and the bullet train was arriving right on time, if you know what I'm saying. Back up I went to Ms. Slone's desk.
"Yeah look, I really need to go pee." Ok, I probably didn't say it like that. Only in recent years have I developed this attitude, but I'm sure that whatever I said, it didn't merit Ms. Slone's response.
"Well you decide. Do you want to go to the restroom and then straight to the "Red Bench" or go sit back down." The "Red Bench" was the seat directly outside of the Principal's office. It was bad because at any moment, the principal could walk out of his office and if you were sitting there, you were in for some trouble. Back then they paddled young bladder-stricken boys. Well I surely didn't want an unnecessary trip to the "Red Bench" so I decided I would take my chances and see how long I could ride this wave out (could that be a hint of foreshadowing?) As I sat there, trying to will my bladder closed a really stupid thought came into my head. Now I was in third grade which would make me 8 or 9 so be kind when you judge me, but I thought that I could probably just pee a little to, you know, appease the Gods of Urine, and maybe I'd make it to the next break. No need telling you that that didn't work.
I peed for a good solid minute. I must've drank a Big Gulp or something, because shoo-wee did I pee! Oh, I probably forgot to tell you that we sat in those old style desks where they had a little cubbie beneath your seat for all your books. So, yep, I peed on all of my books.
After I was finished, I just sat there wondering how in the world I was going to get out of this. No one noticed for awhile, but to my luck, I sat next to Chris McGuire, the hyperactive problem child that had his butt prints permanently etched on the Red Bench. He also had a big mouth.
"What's all over your chair?" Chris asked. Hey, I guess I just pinpointed the exact moment when I realized that I hated Chris McGuire.
"Um... uh... I think water is leaking from the ceiling." I kid you not. Those were my exact words. I even remember looking directly up at the ceiling for affect.
"That doesn't smell like water." Chris said. Oh, what I wouldn't have done for a sledge hammer right then!
At that moment, Chris' voice had drawn the attention of the entire class. Everyone was looking at me and wondering why my desk was flooded. I panicked. I didn't know what to do. I had flat ran out of brilliant ideas, so with as much dignity that I could muster, I stood up, held out my hands in almost a triumphant manner and said.
"All right! All right! I peed my pants!" Then I ran. Out of the classroom, down the hallway and onto the "Red Bench" which now possesses a gentle lemon hue.
I had to endure some taunting and teasing for quite a while. Most of the time, Chris McGuire was the ringleader of the taunting, up until about the time he crapped his pants in Seventh Grade when he fell off his skateboard. Boy, wasn't that a great day.