Wednesday, August 17, 2011


When I was in elementary school I was a pretty good student. My middle school and high school years that followed were not so hot, but as a kid, I was pretty on the ball.

I was a “Brookside Superstar” for the love of God! From what I can remember, Brookside Superstars were kids who did well in school and were rewarded with an assembly, a certificate, and a mention in the local newspaper.
I felt pretty important.

"...Don't you know that you are a shooting star, and all the world will love you just as long,
as long as you are, a shooting star..."

My teacher loved me and would rave to my parents about how smart and well behaved I was, and go on about how well I was doing in class. Which makes why I engaged in the following scheme all the more confusing…

Whenever my mom would take me to the doctor, dentist, or anywhere with a waiting room, there was Highlights Magazine. In Highlights there were two sections I really looked forward to; reading the cartoon Goofus and Gallant (naturally) and the poetry in the back, written by kids who read the magazine. I loved to write stories, make little books, draw, act, and sing, but poetry…this was unexplored territory. I sat down and tried to write a great poem that I would be able to submit to Highlights, so I could see my name in print and check “poet” off of my kid-list of things to do. Maybe I would wear a beret while I wrote.

Guess what? I was not a good poet. My poems were no good, and I knew it. My roses didn’t smell sweet, they stunk. I knew this was something I wasn’t good at and that crushed me, mostly because there was a big poetry contest coming up at school, and the winners would get their poems published in some big, national poetry magazine! Eat it Highlights, I was going to be a published poet after all, even if I wasn’t any good at it.

I decided to copy some poems that I had read in Highlights and submit them to my teacher. Seriously, in my mind, I thought I could pass somebody else’s stuff off as my own, no problemo.
So…I handed over “my" poems to my teacher. She went on and on about how amazing they were. My poor teacher even called my poor mom and went on about how brilliant I was. My teacher thought my poems were so worthy of being seen that she posted them in the classroom for all to see.

You would think this would send me into a panic, since my lies were hanging on the stucco walls all around me, but instead I was secretly pleased, that “my work” was so creative and meaningful and on display.

Of course this world came crashing down…how could it not? I’m sure some kid in the class was like, “Bullshit! That poem is in my most recent issue of Highlights, Lori didn’t write that” and turned me in, rightfully so! If I had a beret, I would have been asked to turn it in to the poetry police.

I had to get up in front of the whole class and apologize. I also had to apologize of course to my teacher and my parents, for lying and forgery. I was devastated, it was all very dramatic in my nine year old mind and I didn’t know how or if I would ever recover. Thank God I wasn’t stripped of my “Superstar” status.

Maybe today that’s why I don’t care for poetry so much. I ruined poetry for myself by trying to be something that I wasn’t.

Today, I bet I could write a damn good poem about that.


  1. Like it. Good story.

  2. OMG this is HILARIOUS. I'm going to call Homeland Security about this and you making an F into a B and then blaming your boyfriend. I loved Highlights Magazine and loved/hated Goofus and Gallant. I think I'm going to name our fish after those two.