The Truth About White Girls With Afros and Chapped Lips

Is it always better to tell the truth,even when it hurts? Well, that all depends. Will the telling of this truth result in physical violence? Will the telling of this truth banish you from the Land of Flavor, forever condemned to dwell in the Land of Bland? So it’s obvious, this truth-telling business is a fine line to walk. Kind of like walking a straight line after drinking a bottle of Jaeger, chased with banana red Mad Dog 20/20.

Here’s the tricky part of truth-telling. Timing. If you speak the truth too early, you risk being a know-it-all and a tattletale. If you wait too long, expect to be accused of being a fickle pantywaist. This timing knowledge would’ve come in handy when I was in the 7th grade. I was telling the truth all over the place back then. I believe there was a word for my moral activities. Narking. Nark. The dreaded Narker. That was me. If I saw you eating your lunch out of your desk prior to the designated lunching hour, I’d flag down a teacher like I was hailing a New York cab whilst frantically pointing at you with my other hand so there was no mistaking the guilty party.

Midway through the year, people generally began avoiding me. Not because I wasn’t cool…because I was…but because they valued their privacy and didn’t want to take the risk of having their dirty little habits reported to the authorities.

One of the highlights of 7th grade was the Annual Speech Contest. Great thought had been given to the topic I wished to expound upon. After a couple of months of indecision, I nailed down my choice and turned it in to my teacher for approval. She unfolded my college ruled piece of notebook paper (NOT ripped out of a spiral notebook), read my submission and removed her eye-glasses. She began rubbing her temples as if to say:

“Really? THIS is what you want to competitively talk about?”

Instead, her response came out like an exasperated sigh.

“Okaaaaaay.”

I took that as a thumb up and meandered back to my seat, scanning the class for any potential ne’er do wells. Roughly a week later, the speech team began to practice. Out loud. The response to my selection was invigorating. Intoxicating even. I don’t care who you are…”There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” is funny. Especially if done in a deadpan monotone at approximately 45 mph.

People laughed. They guffawed. I was no longer the Nark. I was now That Funny Girl…who occasionally told on people. What with all my practicing, my tattling had drastically decreased. It was made abundantly clear to me that I was a shoe-in to win the poetry portion of the Annual Speech Contest. I began walking into school with a pimp swagger. (In all actuality, my left leg is slightly shorter than my right, resulting in a penguin-esqu shuffle.)

About a week before the competition, Mrs. Harlow got in the front of the class and “enthusiastically” announced the arrival of a new student.

“Class, since Laura is a transfer student from a sister school, she will be competing in this year’s Speech Contest along with our speech team.”

Whaaaat the WHAT? I glared at Laura across the room. She was white…with an afro. She was a mouth breather with severely chapped lips and pasty white skin and a perpetual never-going-away head cold. I’m not being a hater. I’m just describing what I saw.

In the end, Laura beat me in the poetry division with a ravishing rendition of Sylvia Plath’s “Insolent Storm Strikes at the Skull”. Afterwards, I heard a couple of people talking about wanting to go slash their wrists wide open with a butter knife.

Retribution came one week before the end of school. Laura and I wound up in the bathroom at the same time…something I’d been trying to avoid since her arrival earlier that year. After washing her scaly hands, she nodded the ‘fro in my general direction and turned to walk out of the bathroom. It was at this very moment that I came face to face with the moral dilemma of truth-telling.

I knew I should have stopped Laura from walking out of that bathroom. I knew that I was losing some serious Karma coins in not speaking the truth. Instead, I let Laura and her white skirt leave the bathroom…never bothering to let her know that Aunt Flow had visited her backside. I figured someone at Assembly would tell her for me.

So…is it always good to tell the truth? Usually. Unless a white girl with chapped lips and an afro steals your thunder. Then all bets are off.

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