True Story

When I was in middle school, we had a planetarium. I’m not saying it was a great planetarium…but then again, maybe it was. I don’t know. I couldn’t really see it.

In my mind, the mere existence of a planetarium in a middle school is somehow wondrous and wealthy and fancy pants, but at the time it was yet another burden on my young soul.

Feast your eyes on the one and only constellation I recognize: Orion the Hunter. Ooh baby.

Feast your eyes on the one and only constellation I recognize: Orion the Hunter. Ooh baby.

You see, I couldn’t see.

And I had glasses.

But it being the 80s, they were the horrible round glasses that are again coming into fashion (so help me God). And perhaps they weren’t these, but then again they were perhaps these pink transparent framed numbers with a gradient pink lens. Very Dolly Parton. Or Tammy Faye. Or plain old awful.

But I digress.

I don’t necessarily know what they looked like, but I know I wasn’t wearing them. The point here is that the school had a planetarium and at least once a week in science class we were shepherded into said planetarium and talked at in a droning Ben Stein manner for an unspeakably long time, and I couldn’t see jack sh*t.
And I listened sort of.

And saw nothing.

I saw nothing because my pre-pubescent but still remarkable sense of style informed me that the hideous round, over-sized pink glasses were doing nothing for my Eastern European one-day-striking-but-at-the-time-extremely-gangly-and-awkward looks.

So I ditched them.

And thus – as previously mentioned – I saw nothing. (Much as I do each and every morning of my life, as I grope for my night stand in search of my current-day glasses the way a Helen Keller sought out a water spigot…)

What I’m trying to say here is that the combined effect of blindness and boredom was that I learned nothing.

Which didn’t seem to matter until one day the teacher announced that there would be a test based on everything taught to us during the planetarium classes.





A test!?

I was supposed to be paying attention!?

Do you  not understand that I was trying to look fashionable and non-chalant!?!?!?!?!?!?!


No. They did not understand this, nor did they care, and thus I drug into the next class with my ugly glasses and a hell-bent determination to memorize whatever it was this joker had to share.

And for the most part, I failed.

But, at the same time, I somehow managed to retain the exact arrangement of lights that make up Orion the Hunter. And I can always pick out the Beetleguise – the star that denotes his armpit, as well as a movie starring Michael Keaton that I once loved and used to torture the guy who drove me to high school with by insisting that we listen to the strange soundtrack every day (“Shake, shake, shake senora. Shake your body line…”)

But that, I’m afraid, is another story for another day.

Anyway, the point here is that I was sitting outside tonight and saw Orion’s belt and remembered how I came to recognize Orion’s belt and, of course, Beetleguise and thought of you…and there you have it.

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