Kurt Onstad (speedball) wrote,
Kurt Onstad

Lawful (Gender) Neutral

Recently, I've been listening to the new Cracked Podcast, and a couple of the episodes have talked about how unreliable our memory is, especially for important events. This got me thinking about events I recall from my own life, and wondering if they really did happen how I remember them happening. Now that I'm back in touch with some people who were around at the same time, but haven't heard me tell this story (so, not biasing their own recollection), hopefully one of my former Eader classmates will read this, and let me know if this is something that I've exaggerated in my head, or if it happened as I recall.

It was sometime in Elementary school, probably third grade (and that's how I'll be referring to it for the rest of the story), and there were problems. Boys were bothering the girls during recess, and the girls were fighting back. Both genders were organizing into groups that the teachers were referring to as "gangs," and action had to be taken. In retrospect, I doubt things were actually as big of an issue as it was being made out to be. But, this was the same school that had a decent portion of our school time devoted to self-esteem and feelings, so both of the third grade classes were brought together to discuss the matter.

I don't remember all the details of the discussion, but basically the issue was brought to our attention, and we were asked for suggestions as to how to resolve it. (The fact that they were asking third graders how to solve this is one of the reasons I think this couldn't have been all that serious.) Various ideas were given, and all of them were shot down for one reason or another. Then someone suggested that we have a student "recess cop" of sorts, who would wander around and be someone that kids could report problems to, and make sure no "gangs" were making trouble. One of the two teachers there said, "Okay, but who is someone that wouldn't take sides that both the boys and the girls could trust?" And, as one, a large portion of the kids there intoned my name. It's one of the few times in my life I can think of where I blushed. Of course, the teacher shot down that idea as well, saying that it wouldn't be fair to ask me to give up my recess.

I don't recall how (or really if) a resolution to this was ever agreed upon, but the moment of being singled out as a potential neutral moderator of gender issues is one that always stuck with me. Although my best friends in elementary school were guys (Jimmy, Mike, Ryan and I were like the Four Musketeers), I was also able to be "one of the girls" when I wanted, and it was always important to me that both genders be treated the same. Now almost all of my Facebook friends from that time period are women, and hopefully one (or more) of them also remember this and can help clarify the details, or tell me if I'm spot on.

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