While enrolled in kindergarten at Hollywood Beach School in Oxnard, California, I rode a bus that would pick me up on the corner of Island View and Glendale Avenue at 8:05 a.m. sharp. I woke up one morning with the sun shining a little brighter and hotter than it usually did at wake-up time, and realized I was late for school.
In a panic, I ran to my mother's bedroom door, which happened to be locked. Though I knocked several times, there was no answer. I picked up a pair of khaki pants off the floor that seemed extremely large, but identified as pants nonetheless, put on a green and blue striped polo shirt from the day before, shouted a hurried good-bye to Steve Martin (my trusty invisible friend), then ran down the street barely making the bus and tripping over the pants I had to hold up with both hands.
I spent the morning in Mrs. Brooks’ class wondering if my mother was alive, feeling extremely embarrassed about the pants and the multiple, yet unavoidable, accidental exposures of my red and white Mighty Mouse underpants. Mrs. Brooks took me in to the principal’s office who made a call to Sleeping Beauty who, minutes later, whisked me away in her speedy 1970 cherry-red Toyota Celica sport coupe. "Here I come to save the day!" If only underwear could talk.
I happily spent the rest of the day with her in silence. After exchanging the pants (which turned out to be my five-foot-five mother’s) for yellow terry cloth shorts, I played with Matchbox cars and a Tonka dump truck that matched my shorts in our sandy backyard, both knees conspicuously covered in cat shit. She sunbathed in her favorite black bikini, filling the backyard with her sweet coconut scented Hawaiian Tropics suntan lotion, and when it was time to go inside, she wincingly washed my knees off with the hose, as per what had become old family tradition. I giggled as usual, because poop was, and still is, very funny.
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I learned that day how to carefully determine which clothes were mine and which were hers by holding them up to my body and looking into the mirror prior to putting them on my body. I learned to brush my hair before I went to school and, more importantly, to never tell a teacher, nor a principal, my mom had a thing she called a "hangover".
Side note: That night I dreamt the devil, a short and stubby cartoonish-looking red fellow with a beer belly, red cape, and matching red pitchfork, had jumped the fence with full intention on harming my mom. As she sunbathed in her black bikini, unaware of the imminent danger, I hit the devil in the head with my Tonka Dump truck, and he vanished in thin air. I killed the devil and, thankfully, my mom knew nothing of it.