When I was in high school in scenic Topeka, Kansas, I participated in debate and forensics, much to the dismay of my piano teacher, who wanted me to spend more time practicing.
During the autumn and early winter, we debated. During the late winter and spring, we forensicked. Okay. Yeah. I just made up a word, but I'm The Queen of Grammar, and I can make up words if I feel like it.
Debate entailed working with a partner, called one's colleague, to argue a topic chosen for that year. In one round we'd have to be in favor of the topic, such as prison reform, and in the next round we'd argue against whatever the other team proposed.
It was fun, and I still have a gavel that my colleague and I won for coming in second at a debate tournament during my junior year, and her senior year. We weren't supposed to take debate trophies home with us because two people shared the trophy. I stole the gavel when I graduated. So sue me.
I loved debate, but forensics was fun, too. I have a little box my mom decoupaged for me. It has a boatload of medals I won for forensics. Forensics offered a variety of speaking opportunities. Some people gave extemporaneous speeches on a topic. Some people performed a dramatic interpretation of a scene from a play or book. My greatest success came from reading poetry and giving an informative speech on what might happen to us when we die. I still remember quoting T. S. Eliot: I am Lazarus, come back from the dead, come back to tell you all. I shall tell you all.
Oh, I said that line so dramatically. During college when I studied Eliot, however, I learned that I didn't like his poetry. I'm an Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath person. I love women who have mental breakdowns. I don't know why. Maybe I relate to them.
But, ah. I digress.
Forensics tournaments took place on Saturdays and were usually held in a fascinating Kansas town such as Osage City. I had to get up early on Saturday and get to school, where our team gathered to take a bus to the tournament. Before I was old enough to drive, my dad took me to school on those early Saturday mornings, for which I'm extremely grateful. My parents never heard me debate or read poetry, but they supported my wish to participate.
But one Saturday when I was supposed to be at school around 6 a.m., I woke up and it was a little past 6. My dad had promised to set his alarm and awaken me. I don't know if he failed to set the alarm, or if he turned it off and went back to sleep. I flew into my parents' bedroom in a panic. I'M GOING TO MISS THE TOURNAMENT! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!
My dad told me to get dressed and he would take me to school just in case the bus was still there. THE BUS ISN'T THERE! I'M GOING TO MISS THE TOURNAMENT! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!
Talk about teen angst. But my dad was totally calm. I'll just take you to the tournament, he said. So he drove me to the high school in Emporia, Kansas. I think it took an hour or so to get there. I arrived not long after the team did and didn't miss a minute of the tournament. The coach had withdrawn me, but he was able to reinstate me. He said they had wanted to call me to find out where I was, but no one knew how to spell my last name. I looked at a girl on the team. I had known her since we were in third grade. You don't know how to spell my name? I asked.
I couldn't remember, she said sheepishly.
Later I was talking to one of the older guys on the team
My dad never said tough shit. My dad always took me where I needed to go.
I am so grateful.
And now for today's little grammar tip. Adorable Andi, a.k.a. LittleMyoo,
Infinities of love,