It’s a memory. It’s a meme. It’s a memory. It’s a meme. It’s two blog entries in one!
First of all, don’t confuse this with the self-help/inspirational title of many years back, EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN. (An aside: Really? What about long division? What about tampons? What about putting on pantyhose? I’m sorry, but all kindergarten gave me was phonics, which has left me with the inability to use about 30 percent of my vocabulary in conversation.) No, these are the things I KNEW, the facts of life as I had divined them from parents, Tarzan movies and cartoons.
1) God had a dark crewcut, a blue robe and a big smile.
2) If someone almost drowned, you pressed on his or her chest, chanting “Out goes the bad air, in goes the good air” until a spume of water issued from his or her lips.
3) One hundred was the most of anything, you couldn’t have more than 100. A journey could not be more than 100 miles. A family could not have more than $100. After much thought, I decided my family had $36.
4) Red M&M’s were the best.
5) You couldn’t go more than a few yards in a jungle without hitting quicksand. Don’t struggle!
6) Only bad people got cavities. My sister had no cavities. I did. And just in case I still didn’t get the point that I was very bad, there were all those issues of Highlights handy, with Goofus and Gallant to drive the dichotomy home. I was so clearly Goofus.
7) “Jane” (not her real name) was weird. (Still feel bad about that arbitrary judgment. I remember gossiping with my best friend when report cards came out, remarking that “Jane” probably got all her checks in the “needs work” boxes. She’s wearing striped socks, a la the Wicked Witch of the East, in our class picture. What was her mother thinking?)
8) “Zip,” inspired by the terrier in the Weekly Reader, was the best puppet of all the puppets at Trinity Day Kindergarten.
9) The most formidable villain in all of Greek mythology was Daedalus. Hey, the cartoon said so! And don’t forget the song, in which Hercules was said to have “softness in his eyes/iron in his thighs.” It’s such a bummer when it goes the other way.
10) If you sucked your thumb, you would be buck-toothed and have to wear braces. I sucked my thumb. My sister didn’t. Guess who got braces, and who ended up with an utterly manageable overbite? Sometimes, Goofus wins!
What did you know, absolutely know, when you were five years old?