I Too Was A Mermaid

I recently came across the following excerpt from the book by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten: GIANTS, WIZARDS, and DWARFS was the game to play. Being left in charge of about eighty children seven to ten years old, while their parents were off doing parenty things, I mustered my troops in the church social hall and explained the game. It’s a large-scale version of Rock, Paper, and Scissors, and involves some intellectual decision-making. But the real purpose of the game is to make a lot of noise and run around chasing people until nobody knows which side you are on or who won. Organizing a roomful of wired-up grade-schoolers into two teams, explaining the rudiments of the game, achieving consensus on group identity — all this is no mean accomplishment, but we did it with a right good will and were ready to go. The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass. I yelled out: “You have to decide now which you are — a GIANT, a WIZARD, or a DWARF!” While the groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came at my pants leg. A small child stands there looking up, and asks in a small, concerned voice, “Where do the Mermaids stand? A long pause. A very long pause. “Where do the Mermaids stand?” says I. “Yes. You see, I am a Mermaid.” “There are no such things as Mermaids.” “Oh, yes, I am one!” She did not relate to being a Giant, a Wizard, or a Dwarf. She knew her category. Mermaid. And was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where a loser would stand. She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things. Without giving up dignity or identity. She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and that I would know just where. Well, where DO the Mermaids stand? All the “Mermaids” — all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes? Answer that question and you can build a school, a nation, or a world on it. What was my answer at the moment? Every once in a while I say the right thing. “The Mermaid stands right here by the King of the Sea!” says I. (Yes, right here by the King’s Fool, I thought to myself.) So we stood there hand in hand, reviewing the troops of Wizards and Giants and Dwarfs as they roiled by in wild disarray. It is not true, by the way, that mermaids do not exist. I know at least one personally. I have held her hand.”

As a gay man, I was also a “Mermaid.”

Advertisements

About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Too Was A Mermaid

  1. Toni Stroud Brownlee says:

    God loves Mermaids too.

  2. arcadian48 says:

    I like this one a LOT!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s