Noodle Art

August 21, 2011
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As a toddler, I often participated in arts and craft activities on rainy days with my babysitter. However, one day I had a run-in with an essential art supply: a bottle of Elmer’s Craft Glue. I somehow confused the white liquidy substance for a glass of milk in a funny container. Despite the call to the Poison Control Center and my first trip to the hospital, I secretly enjoyed the taste of the glue that afternoon. But it was banned from my household for good. I was stuck using glue sticks, which I despised, but my mom and dad insisted that I was too irresponsible to have “real glue.” I also got my babysitter fired.

On my first day of pre-school, everything went swimmingly; I made some friends, took some naps, and wet my pants once. Or twice. But I had a great time nonetheless. My favorite part was that each day we would have time for arts and crafts. I was happy to finally be enrolled in this thing called school, where all we did was nap and fingerpaint.

On the second day of pre-school, I was introduced to a new type of art project. “Noodle art,” my teacher called it, consisted of gluing macaroni noodles to sheets of paper to create pretty shapes and patterns. As she took out the supplies, I saw no glue sticks. All I saw were bottles upon bottles of Elmer’s Craft Glue.

I volunteered to get the supplies for the Purple Triangle table, with the intention of grabbing a few extra bottles of glue. Jeff and Amy, the others sitting at the table with me, probably wondered why I came back with five bottles, when there were only three of us, but neither of them said anything. They just knew me as the kid who wet his pants twice in one day and probably didn’t want to associate with me. I don’t blame them.

I took my piece of paper, folded it hamburger style and began my masterpiece. I laid out all the noodles in the shape of my name: “C-O-L-N.” I was irritated that I couldn’t make the letter “I” with the curvy noodles, so I chose to skip it entirely. As I was getting ready to attach the pieces of macaroni to the paper, I was tempted to rekindle my past flirtation with the glue that I once loved so dearly. There was an intense debate going on in my 4-year-old head: continue down the path that would lead people to think I was a freak or try to act normal.

I decided that I wasn’t going to eat the glue. I would simply stick my macaroni noodles down and draw some squiggly glitter lines.

But then the unexpected happened. Jeff not only wet his pants, he also doo-dooed. I think everyone but me forgot that I wet my pants twice in one day after Jeff’s incident. For me, the commotion caused by Jeff’s accidental bowel mishap was the perfect excuse to sneak some glue.

In the end, I got what I wanted: I was able to eat some toxic adhesive substance that should’ve been used only to glue noodles to the paper. I also became friends with Jeff as we bonded over our embarrassing issues. The two of us were able to stick together for the next few years.





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