When I was in kindergarten we kept a daily journal. I remember like it was yesterday--we would sit down at the miniature tables, scribble some crapola into a manila notebook, and narrate the story of our picture to the sweet teacher's aide. She would lovingly record each and every word, offer me a warm smile, lightly pat me on the shoulder and deliver the drawing straight to the hands of my teacher.
It never failed--Mrs. Hagan would take one look at my day's entry, let out a dramatic sigh, and do one of three things: a) lead me into the coatroom for a private talk about appropriateness, b) call my mother, or c) call the school psychologist.
Looking back, I now understand that her plan of action depended largely upon her mood that day. If Scotty (the red-headed class clown) was behaving, I got off with a simple lecture. But if Scotty launched a puppet into the fish tank, or licked some one's mittens, or ate a jar or paste I knew I was in for it. The woman just couldn't handle his antics and my nudie pics on the same day.
Yes. That is correct. I used my journal to draw naked people. Lots and lots (and lots) of naked people.
I'm still not sure what inspired me in that direction, other than the fact that my friend Judy sat me down one afternoon and gave me a drawing lesson which covered dogs and cats, potted flowers, and nude humans. I gravitated toward the third.
I had no idea what a naked person actually looked like, so I would draw a simple body-like outline and let the narrations bring the illustration to life. Usually the story would say something like:
This is my friend Shawna. She is walking in front of the Statue of Liberty. Naked.
This is Bo. He is walking his dog to school. Naked.
This is my mailman at the the beach. He is holding a balloon and he is naked.
My mother still loves to tell the story of my first parent-teacher conference. Before she even delved into my pencil-holding style and friendship skills, Mrs. Hagan plainly asked, "Do you and your husband like to walk around the house nude?" My mom was all, "What? Excuse me? No!"
And just to clear the air, my mother was telling the honest truth. Other than occasional lap around the house in his tighty-whities, my father and mother always wore some type of socially appropriate clothing. I was just artsy I suppose.
I haven't thought about my kindergarten journal entries in years, but suddenly they're in the forefront of my mind. You see, I've received a giant Karmic thwap in the pants, and James is now obsessed with his mother's nudity.
Yesterday at the bank...
BANK TELLER: Oh, you're cute! Would you like a lollipop?
JAMES: Uh, yes. An my mom yikes ta wok aroun mekkid! (translation: Uh, yes. And my mom likes to walk around naked.)
Yesterday in the front yard...
MAIL CARRIER: Hi James!
JAMES: Hi. My mom es mekkid aw da time.
This morning at day care...
ME: Have a fun morning, James!
JAMES: I say to da teacha that Mommy es mekkid in da house.
ME: No James, you won't say that to your teacher.
JAMES: Uhhhhh....???? I gonna say dat.
Yes, I completely deserve this. Yes, my mother still has the kindergarten-naked-journals. And yes, I'll ask her to dig them out so I can scan and post some of my finest work.
In the mean time, I desperately need to get back to work. Naked.