I have done many school talks and there comes a moment in every one when I get the strange feeling that there is something wrong, that my fly is unzipped or that there is a long strand of toilet paper trailing from my shoe.
On Friday I had the chance to speak to the three groups of students at Bayside Middle School (including the very entertaining Aaron, who is the author of a selection of quite entertaining jokes, and Ali, who got special permission to come to the talk). Anyway, during my second talk, that horrible feeling came creeping over me. I surreptitiously checked my pants. They were closed. I looked at my boots. They were TP free. I forced myself to brush the feeling away, even though I was sure people were staring at me a bit harder than my little anecdotes warranted.
When it was over I went to the washroom and discovered that I’d managed to get lipstick all over my front teeth. I looked like a cross between Marilyn Manson and someone who’d spent a life time treating her teeth like they were her worst enemy (i.e. banging them against solid objects and chipping at them with small sticks).
I’d like to send out an apology to all the people in the audience. If you fail a test sometime in the next week, please feel free to explain to your teacher that my dental hygiene has thrown you off your normally high standards. And if you are one of the teachers who was in the audience, you have my permission to take a sick day.
I know I’m going to. Not because I’m particularly upset, but because it’s kind of a relief when something you’ve always dreaded finally happens and it’s really not that bad. I think I may actually apply lipstick directly to my teeth in future. Just for something a little different. That way, if people don’t like my stories, they can just stare at my gory teeth.
I’m giving a talk at UBC tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll take control of my own fate immediately by tucking my skirt into my nylons or something.