I will always remember the day in school when we got to blow up a balloon and rub it against our hair. Miss Caldwell, our seventh grade Science teacher, didn’t dare do it against her short manicured coif, so she asked for a volunteer with long hair. I can’t remember who she rubbed the balloon on, but I thought it was the neatest thing next to pumpkin pie. That girl’s hair stood straight up, wherever she rubbed it. I couldn’t believe it. How the hell did that happen?
I guess I had been living under a rock to not have seen that before seventh grade. Miss Caldwell let everyone try it. I wanted my own balloon because there was no way I was rubbing a used balloon on my head. Even in seventh grade…in the 60′s, I knew this was not a good idea. People should not share balloons. It’s just wrong. As I looked around the room and made a mental note of who should have washed their hair that day, I really didn’t feel it any longer. I passed. Besides, my mom warned me about using other people’s combs or wearing their hats. She didn’t warn me about rubbing other people’s balloons on my head, but I got the drift..lice avoidance. I surely didn’t want my head shaved like she told me would happen if I got bugs in my hair.
We did learn a lot about static electricity that day. And I couldn’t wait to show my family what I had learned. As soon as I got home, I went hunting for a balloon. I was going to perform a scientific magic act for everyone. I would start with the “Balloon hair” trick, followed by the amazing, “Balloon on the wall”, and finally, the “Let’s shock the shit out of Mom” trick. I would need the help of my assistant and younger sister on the last one.
All kids like to shock each other. It was fun to deliberately shuffle your feet against the carpet and then zap unsuspecting victims. First, we would try it out on the dog. She would just run away after the first time, and I just didn’t feel right doing it to her. She was just a poor sweet dog who just wanted love. No, we needed to move on to our mom.
This was great. Mom had just yelled at us for shocking each other. My sister always went for my ear, while I marked a target on the back of her neck. We would stand about four feet apart and someone would yell, “Go.” We would then shuffle around on the carpet and then when we felt we were charged to the max, would go in for the kill. It was fun, but Kill joy Mom made us quit because we were making too much noise. We were gone all day. Didn’t she miss us? I’m thinking that sitting all day, drinking coffee in her housecoat and smoking Salem cigarettes was just too much for her.
But, after we were ordered to stop and we went on to other things, we noticed that she had fallen asleep on the couch. She was in a half sitting, half lying position, holding on to her National Enquirer magazine. This was perfect for our “Operation: Shock Mom” event. We whispered and decided where we would attack and made sure we would do it at the same time.
We looked at each other, started shuffling along the carpet, and whispered softly, “ONE……….TWO…..(silent giggle)…..THREE……..”
We decided to go for the eyelids. Such uncanny precision. It was if we practiced this for weeks. A direct hit on both of her eyelids.
Uh Oh….not good. Not good at all. Oh Shit…
Her eyes flew open and she was standing up before I knew it. Someone released the Kraken.
It’s never a good idea to mess with someone when they are sleeping. When they wake up, they will lash out at whoever is the closest. This time it was me. My sister was just a little faster. It was “Circle Time.” No, we weren’t going to read. “Circle Time” in my household meant my mom holding us by the arm with one hand, and beating the crap out of us with the other. And we would walk in a circle, trying to get away from her.
I was then sent to my room, like always. My sister was sitting in the closet. The dog was in her lap.
All in all I learned a good lesson in Science class that day. Static electricity is fun. And don’t ever shock your mother on the eyelids when she is sleeping.
Fast forward many years. I had children of my own who were shuffling on the carpet, shocking each other..and me. I was still pretty quick. I had to go and tell them the story about Grandma Georgie though. Not a minute later, I was getting eyelid shocks.
I thought it was fun. I don’t know what the hell was wrong with my mother.
So, of course I told my fourth grade class all about shocking my mom on the eyelids while I was rubbing a balloon on my head in class today.
I have a feeling I am going to get some notes in the morning from some “shocked” mothers.