My Name is Ned (Chapter 9)
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
Meanest Boy In Third Grade
After my haircut I decided I would no longer wear girls’ clothes. My mom was dismayed, but she reluctantly purchased my school wardrobe. I chose button up collared shirts, corduroy pants, and an assortment of boys’ Garanimals outfits. I was especially fond of my blue striped shirt ordained with rocket ships on the sleeves.
With a scowl on my face and carrying my Happy Days lunch pail, I entered third grade ready to destroy all who confronted me. I started with the confused teacher during roll call. As a new student my name was last to be called. Obviously perplexed by the femininity of my name and masculinity of my appearance the teacher hesitantly called for me.
I stared at her angrily.
I held my ground with a mean glare, deepened my voice and blankly said, “My name Is Ned.”
Almost with a sigh of relief, the teacher announced, “Class, this is Ned. He is new this year.”
Ned was the meanest boy in school. I got an unhealthy thrill out of the many weaklings who were afraid of me. I walked around feeling very tough. I would call out fights with anyone in school. I remember hoards of kids forming a circle around a large dirt patch on the playground waiting for the big fight between Ned and the rotten fourth grade bully. I also remember looking back and smirking at the crying bully as I was led to the principal’s office once again.
My mom, who has been such a constant in my life, was simply too busy trying to keep us fed that year to know what was really happening. She received many phone calls from the office stating that I had gotten in to trouble again. She didn’t understand why I was being punished for going into the girls’ bathroom. I should have adapted to using the boys facilities but I really didn’t like the smell and I certainly didn’t want to see them using the urinal! The bathroom problem was eventually my downfall.
Somewhere around the fifth bathroom alert, my mom finally carved out a moment of time to come down to the office. There I sat, looking gloomy as usual.
“Mrs. Lucero,” the principal began, “your son will not abide by our school rules. He is disruptive, mean and continually goes in the girls’ bathroom.”
My mom was silent for a moment, trying to digest this odd information. She finally said, “I don’t have a son.”
The principal continued, “Your son, Ned, is causing quite a few problems here.”
Looking over at me in my button up jean shirt, brown corduroy pants and converse sneakers, my mom finally got it. As I watched the comprehension flood over her face I felt my world come crashing down.
“Ned! . . . Son! . . . this is my daughter, Annetta – and I would hope that she uses the girls bathroom! I will be happy to pull her pants down right here and prove it to you!”
With one swift tug, my career as the meanest boy in third grade came to an abrupt and embarrassing end.