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imagine, if you will

Picture, if you will, a second grade class who just got out of PE. They're sweaty, they're thirsty, and stay with me, here, because there are a lot of moving parts.

I dismissed them from the P.E. door to go their various ways--some of them needed to get a drink; some of them needed to use the restroom; some of them just went to sit along the wall where we wait.

Picture if you will, that somewhere in this drink line are two mismatched students. Students that don't really have much to do with each other. Students who don't say Boo to each other within the course of any particular day. Skew lines, I would call them if I was sitting in my high school geometry class, on no plane do they meet. A little girl, and a little boy, arguing about who's in front of whom.

I attempt, briefly, to help them sort this out...but what does it really matter? They're either 6th in line or 7th in line, and at that point nothing is really that big of an emergency. It's like when people try to decide if it's 10 degrees outside or 20. When it's that cold, who really cares? It's all the same.

Look to your left just a hair and you will see another drinking fountain. A taller one. And I say to this boy, "How about you move to this line?"
And he says no.
So I say to this girl, "Do you want to move to this line?"
And she says no.

This is a little moment that they are entirely prepared to dig their heels into except that their teacher knows well the power of distraction.

I extract myself from their conversation and their growing audience by creating one of my own.

"That's fine..." I shrug. "I'll just stand her and beat J---- at getting a drink."

Picture, if you will, another little boy listening to this entire exchange. One who is exactly fifth in line. He's glancing at them, he's smiling at me. A bashful sort. Quiet, and he's been watching this entire exchange from under his eyelashes.

He's a little surprised to find himself the sudden focus of my attention and this brand new competition that I have invented between us. He, who is now third in his line versus me--who is now next in mine.

I bend over, take a quick drink, and because I'm completely childish I turn to him and say, "BAM!!" then I dance a jazzy little backwards dance while squirting some little finger guns at him. They are water guns, obviously. He just giggles and giggles. And that moment earlier is effectively neutralized.

Now picture, if you will--and do continue to stay with me--I walk over to the waiting line of boys who are seeing all this, but too far away to hear any of it. They asked me, by turns, what just happened and I explained it vaguely.

"Well I just made up a game in the drink line, made up the rules, and then proceeded to win!"

There was some discussion about whether or not I was allowed to do that. I assured them that I was.

And finally...

Picture, if you will, a nosy little sort farrrrrrr down the line who couldn't hear my answer, wouldn't have listened to my answer, but who was suddenly interested in my answer when he saw we were enjoying ourselves way down yonder.

He leans forward from his spot under the fire extinguisher and says to the boys I was speaking with, "What did she say?!"

And then picture, if you will, this sunshiny school hallway. A bustling hive of afternoon activity--the nurse's office, the counselor's office, the front office.

Children and adults going about their day when a little boy leans forward, pitches his voice over the surrounding human activity and answers his friend:

"MRS. MUDD WAS JUST TEACHING US A DRINKING GAME."

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