When I was in Junior High, I had the same science teacher for two years. His name was Jack Smith (no names have been changed to protect the innocent – and come on, how many dozens of Jack Smiths teach 7th grade science?) and he had a baffling habit of jiggling the loose change in his pants pockets. Was he bragging that he had loose change and we didn’t? Was he making an obvious distinction between his pleated khakis from Sears and our too-tight eighties jeans?These many, many years later, I must say that the coin jingle is the single most memorable feature about Mr. Jack Smith. I vaguely recall that he was an average-looking, overweight dark haired white guy of lengthening forehead and slight sarcasm (not enough for me to really respect his skills) and that he had a tendency to laugh when he was upset (at the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, for example). He surely didn’t mean it.
Trixie the Bimbo
But Jack Smith had a wife. For the sake of openness and honesty, I’ll admit I never met her – or at least I don’t think I did. Her name was Trixie the Bimbo. At least her name was Trixie, and we (the generous seventh graders of the day) finished what her mother started. Because if you have a Trixie, we reasoned, a Bimbo will follow.
This logic has suited me for decades. I rarely even feel a twinge of guilt that there was some thirty-something woman in my backwoods town who may or may not have known that she was famous (or at least notorious) in the halls of our school.
Then along comes Mo Willens and turns my happy, peaceful logic upside down. With a Trixie that in no way deserves a Bimbo label.
Knuffle Bunny. And cute little Trixie with her lost green rabbit which looks astoundingly like our family’s first really great stuffed animal. Clinique-green, sweater-ribbed, long eared Knuffle Bunny.
Shoot. Now I see Mrs. Jack Smith in a different light – as someone’s little kid once, as someone’s bride, as someone’s mom, for all I know.
So, Trixie Smith, if you’re out there, I never really thought you were a bimbo. In my seventh grade state of perpetual rightness, I may have questioned your choice of husband, but now I understand a thing or two about public appearance vs. private reality. I also now recognize the fact that you did not name yourself, and that you shouldn’t have been held responsible for your parents’ fancy. If our little pet name ever reached your ears, I hope it only made you laugh at what idiots seventh graders can be. As we surely were.
Sorry, Mrs. Smith.