I teach in a small country elementary school. It is a wonderful place to work. The only bad part is that we have a custodian who doesn’t work. Yeah, my chalkboard is washed and the garbage is emptied, but he doesn’t sweep. He doesn’t mop. He doesn’t wash the top of the desks. My kids get a Clorox wipe and wipe their desks each week. It is really disgusting.
So, imagine my surprise when I saw a pretty little silver ring lying on the floor. Since the custodian doesn’t sweep like he is supposed to, I knew that someone had just lost it. But, if I asked, I had several girls who would say it was theirs. So, I decided to quietly wear it. I knew that if it belonged to someone in my classroom, they would tell me they had one just like that one. I would then know it was theirs.
So, I wore it on my pinky every day for 2 weeks. No one said a word. I never took it off. I used my hands when I talked, and when I walked around the room, I made sure my little pinky was standing out from the other, less important fingers. Still, no one said it was theirs.
At the end of the second week, I decided to speak up. If no one claimed it, I was going to wear the darn thing. I got used to it being on my pinky, and it looked cute.
“Girls, I’ve been wearing this little silver pinky ring on my finger for 2 weeks now. I found it on the floor. No one has said it was theirs. Does this ring belong to anyone?” I had 9 girls in my classroom. They came running up, surrounding me and admiring the silver pinky ring.
One of the girls, Presley, who was really examining the ring, stepped back, and quietly covered her mouth. Ahhh! She must know who the ring belongs to. She then started laughing. Then she was pointing at me, and laughing. What could be so funny, I wondered?
When she calmed down, she looked at me, but then started laughing again. Whaaaaat??? Come on.
“Ms. Mendenhall…..(laughing…laughing)……You’ve been wearing that for 2 weeks?” I nodded. What the hell was going on?
“Ms. Mendenhall…..that’s a toe ring.”
I couldn’t get that ring off my finger fast enough. I swiftly walked over to the trash can and threw it away. Ewww. I was wearing feet. I mean, someone had that on their toe. Toes are sad looking features. And dirty. With toe jam, or whatever the hell that really is. Kids walk through dog poop and don’t give it a second thought. They don’t wash between their toes. Ew.
Oh, but they weren’t done laughing at me. Soon, the whole school knew that I was wearing a toe ring on my pinky.
The next day, when I walked into the classroom, there was a daily schedule written on my board.
9:00- Social Studies-How the Pioneers TOEd their wagons
11:00-Music- “Ring Around the TOEsies”
12:00- Lunch- TOEfu sandwich and TOEmato soup
1:00-Science- Frogs and TOEDs
There was a schedule for the whole day. Someone sat up all night thinking these up. I never knew who did it. It looked like a student’s writing, but I don’t know how they would have gotten to my room in the morning. I enjoyed their imagination.
But, they thought it was funny. Like Toe-tally.
They knew that if the shoe was on the other foot, (pun intended), I would have done the same thing.