Midget Disillusion

Early in our marriage, Kendra taught third grade at a 99% minority school. It was important to her for me to come and visit her class at least a few times each school year. The picture below shows several of her kids from 1994 or so. (On the day this picture was taken, her other eight kids were in Lab.) Now, I’m gonna be honest: I had been reluctant to visit this particular school, mainly because it was so different from anything in my own experience. I was nervous how her students might receive me. But of course our relationship was really important to me—or at least I had convinced myself of something like that—so I promised I would come. Kendra started building anticipation, brainwashing them about how great I was.

Kids from Kendra’s Class

She kept hounding me: “When? Can you get some time off work? When are you coming? They’re crazy excited to meet you.”

I really just didn’t get it. It wasn’t like I was an astronaut or anything. I was just a completely ordinary guy with a completely ordinary job. (Extremely foxy, of course, but entirely ordinary otherwise.) And her kids knew pretty much exactly what to expect. She had already told them all about me. She even had a picture of us from when we were dating (below) prominently displayed on her desk. But she assured me that they were absolutely normal third graders. They just loved their teacher—everything about her—so they just couldn’t wait to meet me too.

Kendra and Brannon Dating PortraitSo finally I went. I had been to Kendra’s school before, during the days before classes started, helping her carry boxes of teacher stuff into her classroom. So I knew where I was going. Although her school was like every school—smelling of an unholy blend of industrial cleaning products, that fresh, woody smell of sharpened pencils, and various kid odors—I walked awkwardly down the green mile from the office to her room, feeling somewhat like a unicorn in Manhattan. I was totally out of my element.

When I was about twelve or so doors away from her room, a young gentleman of about eight years passed me in the hallway, sizing me up with a long, slow, menacing glare. I smiled back brightly. But my pleasantness apparently only disgusted him all the more. He went on, disappearing around the corner ahead of me.

As I turned down that last hallway and forced myself the few remaining steps to her room, I drew in a deep breath. I cranked my charm up to eleven and strolled nonchalantly through her door. All eyes turned immediately to me. I heard an audible gasp—and then the room fell deathly silent. Only Kendra smiled, proudly introducing me and then telling me animatedly a little about each child. I could tell she was enjoying this rare opportunity to tease and embarrass them. Once Kendra was satisfied that I’d served my time, she announced that I had to leave. Their frowns clearly communicated that nobody cared. I thanked them for having me, lied that it was great to meet everybody, and left. If anything, the entire ordeal had been anticlimactic.

Even so, when Kendra arrived home that night, she seemed much more excited than usual to tell me about her day. She hugged me and thanked me again for coming to see them. She looked like she’d been smiling ever since I had closed her classroom door behind me. Then she related the portion of my visit that had unfolded behind the scenes:

Just moments before I had walked in, Eugene, one of her boys, burst into the room, returning from a visit to the bathroom, exclaiming:

“Miss GOH-den! Miss GOH-den! There’s a WHITE man in the hallway!”

(Eugene was the charming lad from the hallway who had stared me down.) All of Kendra’s other kids began chiding him, telling him he was crazy. Of course there was NO reason for a white man to be in their building…and then I walked in.

After I had left, all of her children were uncharacteristically quiet, only occasionally whispering to each other. Although Kendra at first enjoyed this pleasant change, eventually she was compelled to ask what was going on. Clearly, I had gravely disappointed them.

Aurelius finally admitted matter-of-factly:

“Miss GOH-den, we thought your husband was a MIDGET!”

Have you ever disappointed someone because you weren’t a little person? Have you ever been disappointed because you THOUGHT you were going to get to meet a little person—but then DIDN’T? Have you ever noticed that in every posed group photograph taken since 1982, at least one person feels compelled to throw up a made-up gang sign (usually a boy), and at least one other person poses like a Laker girl (usually a girl)?

19 Responses to “Midget Disillusion”

  1. Kat Soup October 4, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Geez, why couldn’t you be a midget? Such a let down.

    My daughter went to the fair with her boyfriend this year. All I heard about when she got home was the midget she encountered. She told me how at first she thought she was a little girl but after closer inspection, because they apparently followed her and her friends around for some time, came to realize she was a midget. She told me about how cute and little she was but with a grown-up outfit and make-up on.

    I’m sure this little person would appreciate the entertainment she provided my daughter, if she only knew. She was, without a doubt, the highlight of Kelsey’s fair experience.

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 9:10 am #

      I have a few friends who would argue that I am, in fact.

      Regarding Kelsey: I’m gonna say that apple doesn’t seem to have fallen very far from the tree. ;-)

  2. Cari October 4, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    And I was not disappointed! Great story. and in answer to your questions…nope. nope. and nope.

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 9:11 am #

      Thanks. And about group pictures, like they used to say at the end of every GI Joe episode: “Now you know… And knowing is half the battle.”

  3. Natalie Witcher October 4, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    As funny as the story was, I am giggling more because of the picture. oh mercy. Kendi’s sweater is about 3x too big, and well, you’re pink plaid shirt is totally back in style. Do you still have it? And yes, you do look like a midget.

    I too have thrown up a gangsta sign in my past pictures. However, being from the furthest point north in OKC, I’m sure I was just bound to actually throw a real on that could have gotten me killed in other parts of the city.

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 9:52 am #

      I wish I still had that shirt. Even if I did, I’m not sure it would even fit me now. I weighed 130 dripping wet when I graduated from high school, and I struggled to put on weight for years. (Magically, marriage seems to have cured that prior difficulty.)

      For me, everything about Kendra has always centered around her face. I remember thinking the first time I saw her, “A girl like that would never be interested in a guy like me.” And truthfully, her face looks just the same to me today.

  4. Kendra Golden October 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    To all: You’re welcome for that perfect spiral perm. And Eugene and Aurelius were indeed charming.

    As to the questions: I am generally conflicted during snapshots whether to throw up a gang sign or do my Laker girl pose. (I usually just resort to closing my eyes halfway so I look high instead.)

    And Natalie: That sweet sweater is from Benetton and you know that’s just how we rolled back in the day. All of my t-shirts were XL so you could fit int he shoulder pads and tie them at the hip. You should be thankful I wasn’t rocking a one-piece floral jumpsuit.

  5. Mark Morris October 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    That is classic. They weren’t that far off, what are you six, maybe eight inches above the legal limit for midgetdom?

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      I’m not sure. Although they rejected my application for inclusion, no reason was cited on the form letter I received.

  6. KM October 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    My wife is a third grade teacher as well, just like your wife in the story! She is always wanting me to come hang out, have lunch, and read to her class.

    They probably expected a midget as well, though nobody has ever said as much. I would just inform them that I’m two midgets stacked on top of each other.

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      Dude, I had no idea! Honestly, I didn’t even know you were married. How did I not meet her at the family reunion? (Of course I mean other than the well-known facts that I am socially awkward and completely inept in large group settings. But in my own defense, that’s only because I have to focus so much of my mental energy on not soiling myself in situations where I feel uncomfortable.)

  7. Dona Dickens October 4, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    LOL!!! Literally … I laughed out loud!! Can’t believe I’ve never heard that story before. Oh my, too very cute.

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

      That’s because it’s completely fabricated. (Not really.) Yeah, I can’t believe you never heard this. Ken still brings it up every now and then.

  8. becky schofield October 4, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    So jealous of Kendra’s hair. BTW- still have my floral one piece jump suit… let my daughter wear it for 80’s day, so cool…

    • Brannon October 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

      I still have Kendra’s too. Sometimes I wear it for 80’s Cross-Dressing Day at my work. (Which, since I am self-employed and work mostly remotely from home, is every Thursday.)

  9. Debbie Golden Miller Sewell (whew!) October 4, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I never heard that story either, Bro. So great! Plus, as you state, Kendra does look exactly the same in the face (lucky chick!!). And YOU , my dear brother, have aged every bit as well as well as your dark haired twin… the AMAZING Ralph Macchio aka The Karate Kid! One day I am going to secretly follow you and discover your Fountain of Youth. SOMEBODY’S FABULOUUUUUSSSSS!!!

  10. Debbie Golden Miller Sewell (whew!) October 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    P.S. I’ve added an addendum to the last comment on Liquid Force. I know it’s been several days, but I don’t get to my computer that often. :-(

  11. Kat Soup October 6, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    I told Kelsey about this post and we had a good laugh. Then she proceeds to tell me that she wants a midget to work for her as her assistant. She also wants her assistant to dress like her, write down everything people say and not talk, for that would take away the magic.

    • Brannon October 6, 2010 at 10:32 am #

      A caring mom would try to make arrangements to hook her daughter up with a Mini-Me if that’s what she asked for.

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