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“Today,” I wrote.
“Today,” I repeated, at a loss for words.
That was three times. I gave up and slammed the pale blue cover shut. The stupid pages wouldn’t fill with any words other than “Today.” I jumped up off my lumpy box-spring mattress and shoved the stubborn book in my crammed bookcase, next to the other diary I’ve attempted to fill. I sat up on my unmade bed, staring at the chewed up pencil on my turquoise-carpeted floor.
Finally, I bounced myself off the bed and tore the empty, blue, thirty-page journal out, accidentally bringing with it the ripped, pink one from third grade, that also only held dates on the corners of empty pages.
I opened my blue book up to a new page and scrawled, “Today I started a diary.” Real original. But, hey, five words in a row in under an hour? I was on a roll in comparison to “Today.”
“Today I started a diary,” I read out loud.
“It sucks,” I wrote. Honesty is the best policy.
“It’s for my English class.” True. “I am pretty good at English.” False. “Mr. Bates is my English teacher.” True. “He eats chalk after school, which results in our short supply. Yes sir, Mr. Bates eats chalk.” True…I think. Who knows?
“I am going to fail if I don’t keep this diary for thirty days.” False. Well, maybe true with my grade-point average, but I will only get a D+. Okay, a D. Minus. “I am going to fail,” I repeated. Okay. True. “Here is a picture of Mr. Bates:” I drew a nasty stick figure with chalk in his mouth. I then ripped out that page, only because Mr. Chalk-eating-Bates would be collecting the diaries at the beginning of each day. I tore off a piece of Scotch Tape off of my dispenser and stuck the page into my old, tattered pink diary, only because I was at a loss of things to do. I opened the blue book, again, and wrote simply, “Today, after I walked home from the bus stop, I ate an apple.” False. It was a pear, but apples are more interesting. Kind of. “It tasted like-” a pear, but I couldn’t write that, because now it was an apple. “It tasted like a really good apple.” That sounded cool. In case you haven’t noticed, I stink at writing more than I hate it.
“Then I went upstairs, and I did my homework.” I’m going to put Mr. Bates to sleep today-which might help with his obsessive chalk eating problem, I thought.
“Hey!” I giggled, “That’s pretty funny-I could use that in my act!” I want to be a comedian when I grow up, and make a million people laugh.
I’ll have my name up in lights. “Today Only! Ginny Kaki, Comedian!” I’ll have ads from newspapers tacked up on office billboards-all saying, “Today Only! Ginny Kaki, a the Muffin Theater! Don’t miss!”
I love the ads that say “Today Only,” because it’s like you only have one chance. I use the word today a lot in my “writing.”
I flipped the page and wrote, “I’m going to put Mr. Bates to sleep today-which might help with his obsessive chalk eating problem.” I laughed, but stopped short, because all of a sudden, my mind was full of all of the insults I made up about Mr. Bates while I pretended to listen to his boring lectures about Shakespeare and commas and bricks and earlobes and who knows what else.
I wrote down one funny insult after another, the page soon filling, and spilling out onto three more, full, double-sided pages, all of which I ripped out and taped to separate pages in the shabby pink book.
“If his hair was any shorter, or, rather, if his scalp was any balder, he’d look like Howie Mandel. He should teach Home Economics, so we would have sewing needles to pop his air-filled head with. He gave us so much paperwork today, he gets sliced with paper cuts by just thinking about grading it-which is the most exciting Saturday night he can imagine. He called on me so much today; his voice should just get replaced with a recording that just repeats, “Ginny? … … WRONG. … … Ginny? … …WRONG.”
Wow. I was amazed by how easy it was to write about stuff I like, my comedy, instead of babbling my (boring) daily agenda. “Today,” I wrote on my fresh boring page, “Mr. Bates took attendance.” I added, my mind striking a killer joke and making it spark with a shot of flint as I repeated the sentence on a funny page.
“He said, ‘Amanda Bells?’ ‘Here.’ ‘All Right. Jonathan Ferrari?’ ‘Here.’ ‘All Right. Samuel Jenkino?’ ‘Here-and it’s JENKINS!’ ‘All Right. Ginny Kaki?’ ‘Here.’ ‘WRONG. Monty Lobola?’”
That one sent me crying laughing, and I instantly tore it out and stuck it tautly to my pink diary-my new joke dictionary. I flipped back to the boring page and neatly printed, “Today, after my homework was completed, I called Amanda Bells to say hello.”
I turned another page and wrote messily, “She did say hi, and then told me an extremely thorough description of her make-out ‘sesh’ with Johnny Ferrari today. She said his lips were like tulips, his face like a rose, and his hair smelled like sunflowers. But his breath and his ‘kiss ability’ were the bees that pollinated the dang flowers.” False. She did kiss Johnny Ferrari, but she never made it sound so funny! I stuck that to the next page in my old, rose diary.
Back on the boring page, I neatly wrote, “Then I wrote in my journal.” On the next page I scribbled, much less neatly, “Today, I attempted to write in my journal, and failed, but instead jotted down a great comedy skit about my classmates, friends, and least favorite teacher. Saying funny things is so much easier than writing boring things.” True. “BUT writing things help me remember the witty insults I think up that make even the insult-ee double over in extreme laughter, except for Sam Jenkins, who can’t take a joke if he said it.” True-Sam has no life. I reluctantly flipped back to the bore page-after pasting that page to my pink journal.
“Then I saw a lady walk across the street.” False. On the next page, with messier writing, “Today, I thought I saw a lady walk across the street, and I was almost sure it was my neighbor, so I called out the window, “Hi Ruby!” The woman turned around to face me-and it was an old dude!” True-amazingly.
I tore that page out with a smile, and glued it to another page in the pink book. I kept adding words to the blue page, and kept adding pages to the growing pink book; until I spied the clock-it was midnight. I flicked off the light and fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up at six o’clock. I wrote that in my bore diary. I flipped the page to write on the next, “Getting up is for losers-like Jenkins,” but my eyes met the back cover! I swore in a high octave under my breath, because there were exactly-ONLY-thirty pages-one for each day of the month. Mr. Bates is going to kill me-I-I ripped out twenty-nine pages! I frantically stuffed in the pink book inside the blue book to give it depth, hoping that Mr. Bates wouldn’t collect them.
Hoping for the first time in my life-for an oral report. Hoping for a miracle. With my luck, hoping for the impossible. When I got to English class, and after roll call, Mr. Bates actually fulfilled my wishes! Amazingly, that’s true!
“Now, Amanda Bells, please read aloud everything you have written in your blue book.”
Amanda looked sad, but said, “Yes, sir, I’d be glad to.” False. She slowly walked up to the front of the class and opened her book, her face beet red.
She spoke quietly, quickly, and monotonously, “Today-I-went-home-and-I-did-my-home-work-today-and-I-called-Ginny-today-and-I-ate-dinner-today-and-went-to-soft-ball-practice-today-and-I-went-to-bed.”
Even more silence.
Ever notice how awkward silence is so awkward? And silent? I thought. I smiled and secretly scribbled it on a margin-corner in my comedy pages.
“That’s it?” asked Mr. Bates rhetorically. Amanda grimaced sadly. “All right,” sighed Mr. Bates, sitting in his desk-chair. “Give her here.” Amanda handed him her book, and scurried, ashamed, to her seat.
“Ginny!” My head snapped up to attention-I was halfway through writing the awkward silence joke. “Why don’t you go next, since you seem to like writing in yours so much?” It was more of a demand than of a question, but I went up anyway. I read aloud my boring page.
“Today, after I walked home from the bus stop, I ate an apple. It tasted like a really good apple.” I already felt like a dork. “Then I went upstairs and did my homework. Today, Mr. Bates took attendance. Today, after my homework was completed, I called Amanda Bells to say hello. Then I wrote in my journal. Then I saw a lady walk across the street.”
I really felt stupid.
I walked over to give the filled booklet to Mr. Bates. “No, read the other pages that you wrote.”
I took a deep, bittersweet breath and read, “If his (meaning Mr. Bates’) hair was any shorter, or if his scalp was any balder, he’d look like Howie Mandel.”
Amanda started laughing quietly, but stopped short in fear of getting a detention. It still gave me a speck of confidence. I spoke a little louder.
“He called on me so much today; his voice should just get replaced with a recording that just repeats, “Ginny? … … WRONG. … … Ginny? … …WRONG. He should teach Home Economics, so we would have sewing needles to pop his air-filled head with.”
A few people, including Amanda laughed loudly, and I thought I saw almost everyone suppress a smile.
“He gave us so much paperwork today, he gets sliced with paper cuts by just thinking about grading it-which is the most exciting Saturday night he can imagine.”
Everyone laughed so loud the glass windows nearly shuddered to the ground, and even old Mr. Bates surprisingly chuckled at himself!
“His glasses are so big you can drink out of them!” I shouted, reading off of the newly turned page, barely audiable over the laughter.
“If you asked for the time, he’d tell you, not only how to make a watch, but how to make it speak aloud to you every second, ‘WRONG-tick-WRONG-tick!’ He eats chalk, resulting in our short supply!”
The class was roaring with laughter, and even sour Mr. Bates almost fell out of his rolly-chair. I was even giggling lamely at my own jokes!
“So,” I started, pacing in the room that was trying to stop laughing for a moment to hear my next page, but failing horribly in the attempt. I felt like a real comedian.
“So I was talking to Amanda last night. She told me an extremely thorough description of her make-out ‘sesh’ with Johnny Ferrari yesterday. She said his lips were like tulips, his face like a rose, and his hair smelled like sunflowers. But his breath and his ‘kiss ability’ were the bees that pollinated the flowers! Ooh, look, a rare Kodak moment-Sam Jenkins is laughing-Oh, I’ll just tell a joke about him so he’ll stop laughing!”
Everyone burst again in laughter, except for, expectedly, Sam Jenkins.
I giggled and read, with (if I do say so myself) amazingly good sound effects, “Mr. Bates took attendance one morning, He said, ‘Amanda Bells?’ ‘Here.’ ‘All Right. Jonathan Ferrari?’ ‘Here.’ ‘All Right. Samuel Jenkino?’ ‘Here-and it’s JENKINS!’ ‘All Right. Ginny Kaki?’ ‘Here.’ ‘WRONG. Monty Lobola?’”
I read all twenty-nine pages, ending with the “Hey, Ruby!” joke.
After I was done and passed in my overflowing book, Amanda, her cheeks frozen in a smile, chanted, “Encore! Encore!”
Soon, the whole class was shouting “Encore,” loud enough to fret the principle (who was vacationing in Brazil!). I was a little doubtful of my improvisation skills, but I did stand up comedy until the bell rang, insulting everyone sparingly, even myself! Applause filled the air, and I bowed deep, my long brunette braids grazing the polished tiles. “Thank You!” I smiled, living the dream.
“Wonderful!” laughed Mr. Bates. “A++!”
“Why?” I asked, puzzled. Why in the world did I deserve a double A+? All I did was horribly insult my English teacher and fellow Classmates.
Mr. Bates replied, staggering to return to his rolly-chair, “Hoo-ha ha! You-hoo-hah you wrote down your true feelings. You wrote what wha-was re-hee-hee REALLY on you’re mind—not-ah-ha a boring calendar or agenda-ha book! A++! Ha HAA!!”
Everyone was laughing all day-mostly random outbursts during the middle of class, always triggering more and more domino-effect laughers. Everyday I brought in my newest material, and at the talent show, I won first place with my insane talent. Want to take a wild guess at my talent? Really? You didn’t figure it out by now? Stand-up comedy! Now I love the once-hated subject of English, because writing, like life, is easy when you do stuff you like.
And today, my name is up in lights! And above GINNY KAKI is, “TODAY ONLY”. Yep! A stupid English assignment helped me accomplish my dream-because I am a World Wide Comedian! Can you believe it? I can’t, either. I love it, living in the moment.
So, I’ll leave you at that-live in TODAY!!