When the BMG was wee, she was…
Not much has changed.
I was picked last for every sport–didn’t matter which one it was (but when it came time to pick for spelling bees, OH NOW YOU WANT ME). And as miserable as my teammates were to have me, the BMG was EASILY ten times as miserable. Sports? Exercise? FORCED exercise?!?! I came from a family that couldn’t remember for the life of them when “the game” was on but never missed a showing of “Hamlet” on PBS.
Now invariably, some of you are being all reassuring and oh-you-couldn’t-have-been-that-bad, but you need to STOP IT. I WAS that bad. Thick glasses. Braces. Baby fat. Asthma. An astonishingly large vocabulary. Compassion. The odds for my survival in gradeschool–they were stacked against me, misfits.
One time our gym teacher had us doing relay races to prep for “the mile” (OH GOD THE MILE THE DREADED MILE). After the inevitable groans from my teammates when they were forced to take me on (GUYS THIS IS GONNA HURT ME MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU), I took my place along the track and waited for the cold, punishing metal of the baton to be passed to me. When it was, I took off. As much as a pudgy, asthmatic, nearsighted X-Men fan can “take off.” Things were going no worse than usual until I heard a telltale clacking sound.
My inhaler. I HAD DROPPED MY INHALER.
I wasn’t used to carrying TWO things while running! Well, I was in a proverbial bear trap. So naturally I did the only thing I could do.
I ran back to get it.
Yes, much to the jaw-dropped consternation and disapproval of my teammates, Wee BMG was all, fuck it, I needses my inhaler! I did not take one for the team. I did not put the group’s welfare before my own. I did not consider the escalated teasing that was to follow. I just swallowed my pride, hoofed it back to the spot where my crayola-yellow inhaler had become airborne, and did my best to make up the time on my second go. Which was obviously not good enough for the aggravated oxen that snorted and pawed angrily at the ground until I handed off that dreaded baton, the bearer of my fate.
I rolled my eyes and shot a sarcastic, “YOU KNEW WE WERE GOING TO LOSE ANYWAY!” after them. “IT’S NOT LIKE THIS CHANGED ANYTHING!”
Bad Mama Genny knew the score.
When I hit high school, the stakes were raised. I was informed that my gym grade was going to be factored into my GPA. This. Could not be good. THIS COULD NOT BE GOOD.
At the time, I still had a childless Indian pediatrician who was convinced that I was going to be the wonder child who would grow up and take over his practice. Never mind the fact that I had about as much interest in becoming a doctor as I did in training for the 2012 Olympics. Never mind the fact that I couldn’t even watch blood being drawn. DOCTORS NEVER HAVE TO DO THAT STUFF they just collect copays, RIGHT?!
Well, in an inspired move that still lives in infamy, The Mother headed over to his office, sat down and said, very seriously:
“You need to get Genny out of gym. They’re factoring gym into her GPA. She’ll never get into med school. GENNY WILL NEVER BECOME A DOCTOR.”
Panic seized Mohammed’s heart, and he fumbled frantically for a pen. Never had the words flowed so easily! Never had his writing felt so inspired! Yes, Wee BMG had to be excused from gym, certainly! For how long? FOREVER. Until the end of time! Her lungs–they were too fragile for the exertion! Yes, that’s what he would write!
Less than two minutes later, The Mother walked out of the office with the ticket to my freedom in hand, the very thing I had dreamed of for years and never thought could really happen! When she arrived home, I was busy making an early variation of this minestrone recipe. She broke the news. I felt the elation. I burned the minestrone. I restarted from scratch to celebrate.
Every single week, I had to write a health paper while the rest of my classmates were running laps. I would have gladly written five health papers every single week while the rest of my classmates were running laps. I would have gladly become the next attorney general while the rest of my classmates were running laps.
Eventually, time and puberty worked their magic on Wee Bad Mama Genny. Though the X-Men knowledge has stayed burned into my brain and I still run with the nerds (WE ARE THE COOLEST), other things changed. The baby fat fell off (NO THANKS TO THE MOTHER), the vision was corrected, the teeth were straightened. I’m not a doctor, but I do have boobs now. So there’s that.
But if you need me to catch a ball
while running while standing perfectly still under any circumstances…
You’re just fucking out of luck.
*Want more pain and humiliation? Read about how I got trashed to go to the gynecologist and almost date raped myself!*
Slow Cooker “Get-Outta-Gym” Minestrone Soup
Makes, like, a whole lot
2 lbs. beef bones
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium zucchini (or 1 large), diced
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 potatoes, diced
1 pint diced tomatoes and their juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 cup red wine
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon dried basil
10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1 1/2 cups red kidney beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups white kidney beans, cooked
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
Place the beef bones in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Layer in the onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, garlic, parsley, zucchini, basil, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Pour on the water and red wine and cover.
Cook on high heat for 6 to 8 hours, until vegetables are tender and any residual beef has fallen off the bones. Pull out the beef bones. Stir in the chopped spinach and beans and continue to cook until beans are heated through and spinach has wilted. Stir in red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust salt and pepper levels if desired.
Serve alongside Pecorino Romano cheese.
© 2011, Genevieve P. Charet. All rights reserved.