My Big Fat Head

My Big Fat Head
Now, I think it was my fifth summer that I spent going to day camp.  The camp itself wasn’t too memorable, except for the fact that it was the site where my big head – you know, the one that was so problematic at the time of my birth – came back to haunt me.  As official campsters, we were supposed to order special ‘Happy Face’ T-shirts to wear to camp everyday.  A white T-shirt with a big, yellow happy face plastered on the front. For some reason, I thought they were the coolest thing and could not wait for them to arrive.

When the T-shirts finally arrived, I rushed to go put mine on.  Much to my dismay, however, I couldn’t actually get it on.  Although it was the appropriate size for my body, I could not seem to get it over my head.  My big, fat head.  But I kept on trying, using force close to the point of ripping it, but no luck. I brought it home with me that night for an ‘extended’ fitting session, thinking maybe with a bit of stretching and pulling I could ‘make’ it fit.  But my second attempt was also futile and the T-shirt had to go back.

I went back to camp the next day, hoping to hear stories from other kids who also struggled in vain to get this defective lot of T-shirts over their heads.  But no such stories surfaced.  All that surfaced were a bunch of happy-faced kids wearing their ‘Happy Face’ T-shirts.  It was hard to be inconspicuous, being the only one without one.  Not only did I not want to stand out, to be the different one, I also didn’t really want to explain why I didn’t have one.  I was one unhappy camper.  But, in the end, I guess I was never meant to wear a happy face. No sir, the symbolism wasn’t lost on me.

Published excerpt from: “The Life of a Loser (a work-in-progress, so to speak).” Portfolio milieu 2004. Vancouver, BC: milieu press; 2004.