Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The Benjamin Army
When I was a kid, we took a houseboat trip on Lake Powell with another family. I was probably about ten or eleven. For a girl that's a pretty awkward age, and I kinda took it to another level. I believe I was wearing "half-sizes" at this point and would get the dreaded waist-band tug and accompanying disappointed head shake from my mom every time I tried on a new pair of pants. Needless to say, spending a week on a boat in a swimsuit was not my idea of a great time at this juncture. It didn't help that my brother and the two kids from the other family were pretty skinny and lacked any degree of pre-teen angst. As with most groups of kids, somebody is gonna get left out. Any guesses? It would have been bad enough but my brother had this fucking stuffed monkey named "Benjamin". Benjamin had this ridiculous pair of red plaid "coveralls" ("overalls" doesn't begin to describe their stupidity) on and a smug look on his face that I would have loved to smack right off. And my brother took him EVERYWHERE. See, you'd think that the kid with the monkey would have been the one to get ostracized, but noooooooo........it was the fat kid. They decided that the best way to torment me was to form something they called "The Benjamin Army" (brilliant) and make sure that I was not allowed to join their ranks. The Benjamin Army had all of the trappings of your everyday imaginary torture army: titles (some of which made no sense......I believe Brigadier Brett was one officer), a special handshake and to really make it official, a dance. 'Cause you know how the army has a dance? They often challenge opposing forces to dance-offs in lieu of hand-to-hand combat, I'm pretty sure. The Benjamin Army hung as a pack, their smug-monkey leader always at the ready. I tried to just hang out with the adults until they got sick of me and forced the Army to allow me to join their ranks. They relented under duress and made me a "swab". I started crying and went running to the adults who by this point had pretty much had about enough of the whole charade. Benjamin? Thrown overboard by my mother. And that was the end of the Benjamin Army. Of course, I was blamed for it but I took some small satisfaction in the fact that that fucking monkey was at the bottom of the lake. Still do.