Rule-Follower

April 27, 2018

I had never imagined how quickly a bottle of Coca-Cola could change my day.  Or how quickly it could make me rethink everything.


It was another typical day in 3rd grade, and I had brought my water bottle full of soda to school, as I had been doing for the past two weeks.  On this day, I had brought just basic Coca-Cola.  Still my parents were not aware of this.  The only person who knew about this was my best friend, Liv, who had been doing the same thing.  Of course we knew the rule that elementary kids were not allowed to bring anything but water, but we just pretended the rule didn’t apply to us.


Today I was extra excited because I had gotten a new water bottle the night before.  It was a “cool” one that all of my friends had.  It was metal and had a straw the popped up with the press of a button, and most importantly, it was pink!  I threw it to the bottom of my backpack like I usually did, avoiding it being found by my parents.  I couldn’t wait to show my friends my new water bottle, but I had no idea what destruction it would cause. 
After a long morning of lecturing, it was finally time for indoor recess.  It was an important day.  It was the last day of the UNO tournament, and we were down to three teams.  Each team was of two, and of course I was partnered with Liv.  I went out to the locker room and grabbed my snack and drink in preparation.


Everyone in the class gathered around the little table we were atAs the game continued and the tension was rising, I grabbed my Coca-Cola to refresh myself.  Not paying much attention, I pressed the water bottle’s button and…


BOOM!
Coca-Cola shot out of the straw and went straight into my face.  The soda came out so fast that it actually hurt when it reached me.  The Coca-Cola didn’t stop.  In fact, the whole entire bottle emptied.  I assumed people were laughing but I couldn’t hear anything over the loud sound of Coca-Cola shooting into my face.


But when the sound finally stopped, and I took a moment to clear my a head, and looked up.  Nobody was laughing.  It was dead silent.  Everyone’s mouths were dropped down to the floor.  I looked around the room, and not one person made a single move.  Nobody knew what to think.  I didn’t even know what to think.  Everyone had thought of me as a “rule-follower”.  Even I thought of myself that way.  This came as a shock to us all.


My teacher finally walked up to me, and with a half smile she said, “Courtney, did you bring something other than water to school?”  accidently letting out a small laugh.


My mind started racing.  Everyone’s eyes were on me.  I had to say something.  But what if I got in trouble?  What would my mom say?  What would all my classmates think?  Quickly, I decided I would try to avoid all of that.


With a soft voice, I responded, “Ummmm, no.”  I shriveled up in my seat.  She scrunched her eyes while she looked at me.  It felt like she could see right through me.


So my teacher, having some common sense, brought me up to her desk.  Allowing herself to let out a small laugh, she asked, “Do you know anyone else who is bringing in soda to school?”
So there I was,
Covered in Coca-Cola
With my hair - and even my eyelashes - sticky,
A now troublesome child,
A person who forfeited the UNO championship,
But, I was still no snitch.
“No,” I said in a sweet voice, acting as innocently as possible.


Luckily, she believed me, or at least pretended to.  I believe she thought that me having to go through the day all sticky with Coca-Cola hair was punishment enough.


From that day on, for the next three or four years, I was an obsessive rule follower.  I never even considered breaking a rule, or coming close to it.  I never wanted to repeat history again.  That may have been the one good thing about the Coca-Cola incident.  I learned that you shouldn’t bring Coca-Cola in a water bottle and leave it in the bottom of your backpack, especially when told not to.  The true lesson behind that stuck with me even up to this day, because I never want to have another day like that one.






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