A Sorta Tale of Two Left Feet



I was a moony kid. At the tender age of six or seven, I’d be found under a tree, looking through the branches at the clouds in some deep daze it took 85 mom-shouted
DEBORAHS!” to shake me out of. I read books while I walked to school, inadvertently wandering off the curb and into oncoming traffic more times then is normal even for a moony kid. As other children played hide and seek outside, I scribbled in a journal to the melodius tunes of Barry Manilow or the Carpenters. I loved playing, I did, but it’s just that I liked daydreaming more. My imagination ruled me. I fretted and fussed over phantom diseases, made my neighbors criminals or super spies, and entertained as the feisty Barbara Badump, one-half of the infamous “Badump Sisters,” that traveled the world performing interpretative dance routines to Abba — all in my mind.


You should have seen me perform the Fame soundtrack on roller skates to a sold-out amphitheater positively packed to the gills with crabgrass and cottontails.


What wondrous times.


All this thinking and mooning and reading and clumsily performing (think two left feet) led to a certain…um, reputation. I was a dork. Class A. DORK. My pensive, booky image was not helped in the least when I had to get glasses in the fourth grade. That’s when the word, “nerd” really attached to me but good. “There’s Deb! Walking home from the library with 89 books crammed under her chin!” or “Here she comes! Let’s see if she trips into the highway on the way over!”




Don’t get me wrong. I had friends and stuff. I loved school (this isn’t helping my case, is it?) and never lacked for social interaction. It’s just that I was left of center when compared to other kids my age. Luckily, I managed to seek out other left of centers (and even found the second half of the Badump Sister duo). My childhood glowed with made-up adventures of the goony kind. Nerds rule.


So time went on. Eventually, I decided I wanted to try out for cheerleading. As a CLASS A DORK, I participated in everything, EVERYTHING in school and because the newspaper, yearbook, chorus, softball, babysitting club, forensics team, and Badump Sister Tour (always in progress) weren’t enough, I figured I should add something else to my queue of activities. The thing was…well…I wasn’t too good at most of the things I did. I just did them anyway. Such was the case with cheerleading. Except with cheerleading, you had to try out. And if people didn’t think you were good, well…you didn’t make the squad.


Here is where clumsy nerds DO NOT RULE.


I auditioned year after year after year…and never made it. No duh, I know, with the two left feet and the being a dork and the moonishness, but still I practiced. From fifth grade straight through to eighth, I recruited cheery friends to jump, split and cartwheel with me in my front yard. I tried to dance to music. I yearned to get the beat. I wanted to be a cheerleader, dammit. Really, really bad.


When it became clear that it just wasn’t gonna happen, I began to get an inkling that maybe I wasn’t going to be like the people I (at the time) really wanted to be like. My hands? Too full of books. My eyes? Too covered with glasses. My hair? Too thin for ponytails. My jump and jive? Not jump and jivey enough. My rhythm? Non-existent.


So no cheerleading for me.


And that’s the first time I remember time I remember feeling like a big ole square peg with rectangular corners and cube-like edges.


I still feel kind of square sometimes.


But now? I’m proud to be a peg.


And if you’re a peg, be proud too. And if you’re round, be proud. Same with octangular, trapezoidal, and cylindrical.


Even if you’ll never be a cheerleader.


Even if you are.


7 Responses to “A Sorta Tale of Two Left Feet”

  1. Da Goddess says:

    I was moony, too. I was Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys’ sister’s best friend and I solved all sorts of mysteries in my mind. I also wrote songs that had already been written. Go figure.

    I was the bookworm who carried 90 books home under her chin. Or packed a suitcase full of them to take on a sleepover to a friend’s house. Yeah, I really did that. More than once. Funny, Felicia’s a teacher now. Wonder if I had anything to do with that.

    Anyhow, I’m so glad we know each other! You’re the coolest peg. Round, square, or otherwise.

  2. I second that emotion and try to teach my kids to be their own person — the whole popularity thing is over rated anyway (well, not really).

    Be comfortable in our skin, I say!

    Too bad it takes a good 20 years +- to feel this way.

    Love you!

  3. blognut says:

    I happen to like moonish kids.

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  5. Am I the only person who thought at first you were admitting to being a Moonie?

    I’ve told my kids that some people are like wallpaper–they hang in the background, making the place look nice. Everyone likes the wallpaper because it is pretty and it blends in. And wallpaper has a place–definitely adds something room. Other people (them, me) are like furniture. They take up more space and sometimes have to move around a bit before they find a place that works. Furniture is out there–no hiding, just being.

    I agree with Suzette, too bad we don’t really appreciate our true selves (younger self included) until we are older.

  6. I think you were probably better off. I’ve known very few cheerleaders that I’ve genuinely liked. Just sayin’.

  7. Mama Mary says:

    I love this post. Moonish, what a wonderfully descriptive, perfect word. And btw, the FAME soundtrack is one of my all time faves! Totally rollerskated around wanting to be Coco, minus the topless scene.

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