I guess I’ve always been a cynic. Skeptical. A realist. I just never bought into tall tales. Horses don’t talk, pigs don’t fly, and vampires don’t exist.
In first grade, for a class project, we all got to help bake a gingerbread man. All the students were assigned specific duties. My job was to stir the batter.
Of course, the teacher had set the stage the day before by showing us the film of the gingerbread man, so we all knew the story of how it came to life and ran away. But me, I didn’t buy it.
After placing our gingerbread man in the oven, we returned to class. An hour or so later, we went back to the kitchen to eat our freshly baked gingerbread man – or so we were told. When we got there, it was missing. The teacher had us all search the kitchen with no sign of it. Then, she suggested that it must have come to life and run away – just like in the film.
Yeah, right, I thought. How gullible does she think we are? I didn’t say anything – yet. But after traipsing from the kitchen, through the cafeteria and gym, searching the Administrative offices and teacher’s lounge, I started voicing my opinion. She didn’t pay any attention at first, so I may, or may not, have gotten a little louder. My intolerance for the wild goose chase was more than skepticism of the tall tale - I like gingerbread, I’d helped make this gingerbread man, and I wanted to eat it.
As the class moved outside, to search the playground, the teacher pulled me aside. She said she knew gingerbread men do not really come to life, but that I needed to play along for the sake of the other children. I think I must have rolled my eyes or something at this point, because she added that it was just a fun game and entertaining film – like Pinocchio.
The mention of Pinocchio was rather ironic, I thought, since the point of that story was to teach kids the perils of lying. Apparently at the time, I was still young enough to not be too mouthy, because I didn’t say what I was thinking.
After continuing our pointless search through the basement, the janitor’s area, and several classrooms, we finally wound up in the library. I knew we’d find our gingerbread man there because I could smell it. Besides, there were no more places to search. Naturally, we had to wait a little longer, looking through all the shelves of books, the card catalog, tables and the librarian’s desk, before the teacher “found” our little man on top of a bookshelf. Then, with all the students following, she carried it back to the classroom, where finally, we got to eat our gingerbread man.
A few days later, I forgot to turn in my spelling assignment before going home. The next morning the teacher asked me about it. With a straight face, I told her, “I did turn it in.”
Shaking her head, the teacher said, “It’s not here.”
Looking her in the eye, I continued the game. “I think I know what happened. My paper came alive last night and ran away. Maybe we should look for it. We could have the whole class help search.”
You know, turns out I’m not the only one who doesn’t believe in tall tales.
Bruce A. Borders, author and songwriter has over 500 songs and 9 books. Over My Dead Body, and The Journey, his latest books, are available on Apple I-Pad®, Amazon Kindle®, Barnes & Noble Nook® and Sony Reader®, Kobo, Diesel Books, and Smashwords. For more information, visit http://www.bruceaborders.com/. See Bruce’s Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/author/bruceaborders or view his Smashwords Profile at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BruceABorders