Sunday, September 27, 2009
I feel like it's time for me to disclose the origins of Pieface.
It was the fall of 1985. I was 6 years old and in grade one (aka I'm Canadian). I loved school, but my favorite part was to wander around the playground, stirring up action. You know the elementary school type action: pushing kids into the rope pit, pretending to know how to play street hockey and making the boys let me play, chasing anyone that would run in front of me, etc. Nothing malicious or destructive, just active and busy. And as I remember it, I was kind of a lone wolf. Not that I didn't have friends, but being only 6, I was completely ignorant that you were supposed to have a posse and didn't know that in being alone you were indeed lonely. I think that's a learned trait.
It was during one of those recess rants that my path crossed a certain boy, let's call him Ronald (in the name of protecting the not-so-innocent). Ronald was also stirring up the pot and to be honest, I can't remember what transpired, but I must have done something to really get his goat because the next thing that happened has etched itself into my memory ever since. He looked at me for awhile, and yelled at the top of his lungs "Your face looks like a pie!! You're a PIEFACE!!" and ran off like a scared little school girl (ironic). I suppose a posse would have been useful right here.
I just stood there in shock. I quickly looked around, expecting to see someone right behind me smeared with blueberries or maybe a fancy lattice dough pattern tattoo. But no. I was the only one there. I remember feeling my face get really hot. The bell rang and I went back into the class room, only thinking one thing: is looking like a pie a bad thing? Because if it is, Ronald better run fast because he doesn't know what he was dealing with. I knew how to be scrappy because I have 3 older brothers and they were big (ages 8,10,11). We went to different elementary schools at the time, but I figured this worked to my tactical advantage. Ronald wouldn't know what to do when I showed up to school with my very own cavalry. Plus I had a little sister who was 4 at the time, who could scream louder than anyone I ever knew, so if the boys couldn't finish the job, than surely she could do some damage. And when I say "finish the job" and "damage" I mean give him a rub-burn on his forearm or any other fiendish acts my siblings had in their arsenal.
By the time I got home and sat down for dinner my bravado was completely depleted. Who was I kidding? Someone out there thought my face looked like a pie, and even my 6-year old psyche knew that this was not a high rung on the ladder of social acceptability. In fact, it was like the gum on the bottom of the shoe of the kid that was trying to crawl up the ladder in his double leg casts. My dad noticed that something was wrong and asked me what happened at school. As I told everyone the story, tears started sliding down my cheeks and by the end of it I was sobbing the words "heeeee...... c-c-c-called me... PIEFACE!" completely devastated. The table was silent. I regained my composure, expecting the war-cry and call to arms that would inevitably ensue.
The pause lasted longer than I expected. Then there was a muffled snort. Then heavy breathing, the kind that someone labors through to keep themselves from bursting out in hysterics. Then came the hysterics. My dad, bless his itty-bitty character-building little heart, said "well....he.... might be onto something." And at this point the whole table erupted. I would like to think that maybe I saw the humor in this funny little scene as well, but I'm sure at this point I unleashed my elbow hits to my brothers' ribs instead. Hey, don't judge, I was 6.
So my family started calling me Pieface (and "Evil Elbow"). I hated it at first. But this story has become part of our family legend and as I have heard this story re-told over and over again, I learned the important lesson that to laugh at yourself is healing, even when things are hard to laugh at. This story also reminds me that deep down I still have a feisty, independent, taking-matters-into-her-own-hands little girl is ready to throw some elbows for her cause. And I like that. So I wear my Pieface proudly, for everyone to see. Because, in my experience, very few people can say no to pie.
As for Ronald, he never met Pieface on the playground ever again. He may have had some run-ins with Evil Elbow but my memory is a little fuzzy on those events (in the name of protecting the not-so-innocent).
* I have tried to scan a picture of the original 6 year old Pieface, to accompany this post, but have had very little luck. I promise to produce photographic evidence and we can take a poll on whether you too think that Ronald really was on to something.