There was an awesome contest and I made it to the finals! My potty-mouth finally paid off ...
Here's the whole, ugly story ...
My mom had me when she was barely 18, and my brother when she was barely 19. We all kind of grew up together but it was mostly me leading the parade. The first block of child-rearing was pretty loose and easy. She kept us out of school until the truant officer paid a visit. We were a little too smart and way too sarcastic to be at one with our peers, but it was a fun social experiment.
By the time I was wrangled into formal education, I could do math at a grade 5 level and read at a post college level. Lots of discussion about 'what to do' with me. Mom said, "First grade, assholes. You're not going to just throw her into fifth grade, you stupid motherfuckers!"
My mother gave us one amazing gift - reading. My brother and I love it to this day. We learned early and well. Mom always was very lax on reading material rules. If it was in a book, it was fair game. I remember early library fights, my mother screaming at the librarian that she'd never heard of such "mother-fucking, cock-sucking, asinine rules governing READING MATERIAL!!!!". She has always loved profanity.
I clearly remember the first day I went to class, halfway through the year. The class was reading 'Sally, Dick, and Jane'. I thought it was a joke. It was the first time I was aware of a surreal experience. All eyes on me as I walked to the teacher's desk for my copy of the book. The formal order of reading aloud. The torturous sounding out process. The snickering at the kids who were slow. The look of disbelief when I read as clearly and quickly as the teacher... first time I recall feeling really different ...
Anyway, our desks were in a big arc. The teacher walked around - pacing really, like an over-medicated jungle animal in the zoo, eyes all vacant and subtly angry - singing her way through each day. I found the sing-song both annoying and wondrous. We were always spoken to as small adults. No babytalk. No 'lalala'.
We'd been given hand-outs to color. Find the 'dog' and color it 'blue'. Pretty easy stuff. Papers were passed along the arc; take one and pass the pile. So far I'm following these strange customs and blending in. Then the teacher walked the arc handing out bundles of crayons.
me: Pardon me, Ms. Smith. I would like sharp crayons, please.
ms. smith: Well, lalala, we use what we have, lalala!!
me: But I really prefer sharp crayons. I will take a sharpener, a butter knife, or new crayons.
ms. smith (staring to get 'the face'): Well, [consults my desk nameplate] Niiiiita, I think those crayons are fine.
me: Are you fucking kidding me? No, they're not 'fine'. [teacher gasps, mouth frozen in a tall 'O'] I turn to the kid next to me, point at her, and say All I asked for is sharp crayons, for fuck's sake. Who's running this banana stand?
On day one of first grade I learned the route to the principal's office. I would wear a tiny but defiant path in the linoleum over my years in that school.