The Sweating Orator
Juju stood there at the podium and looked out at the faces of about 450 disinterested teenagers. She could feel her thighs sweating, the crotch of her mother’s panty hose hanging down just a little north of her knees! The smart, maroon print, polyester jacket and short skirt would look fantastic on maybe .001% of the earth’s population, needless to say Juju was not in that minority. Scabs on both knees were visible through the tan stockings, badges of honor really, the result of a dive into the dugout for an errant foul ball the previous Saturday morning. She cleared her throat and tapped the microphone to make sure it was working. From the back of the gymnasium she heard, “You Suck!”
Juju gave her speech for student council secretary, periodically looking down at the bullet points she had jotted down on index cards. As she spoke she wondered what on earth had made her want to do this??!! The entire election was just a foregone conclusion, five popular ninth graders had lined up to take the council officer positions. The assembly for the speeches was kinda like the Dating Game she thought. Even though the guy couldn’t see the girls, you knew the blonde sitting in the middle with the large….uh…with the cute answers was going to get picked. Juju enthralled a couple of teachers and her best friends with her plans for the infra-structure of the school and her hopes to create a student charity account for the community. She heard about six people slap their hands together as she swished (panty-hose) back to her seat and sat down.
Juju’s competitor for the office of student council secretary was the head cheerleader of the school. Her name was Kim and this was her entire speech. “Hey, you guys all vote for me. Student council will be so much fun!! Far out!! Kim sat down to thunderous applause and whistles. It wasn’t so much an ovation as it was a victory celebration, case closed. Kim was the expectant. giggling date sitting in the middle.
Kim sat down next to Juju, in her nicely pressed cheerleader uniform, tanned legs, and bright white Keds. Juju wondered if she could walk home at lunch and change into her jeans, no use in being miserable for the rest of the day. She was embarrassed to tell anyone that she hadn’t owned a dress and had bought it special. Juju’s mother had taken her shopping the previous night to help her get ready for the big speech. Juju knew she didn’t stand a chance, and she believed her mother was of the same opinion. “You just march right up there and show them what you are made of Juju! Sometimes in life you just have to do things that might not allow you to grab the brass ring, but perhaps will yield the unexpected” That is what Juju heard that evening at her house in another speech…her mother’s.
The election day came and the five ninth graders, the hip kids, all won in a landslide. Juju got about twelve votes, eleven if you didn’t count her own. She was trying hard to find the big yield like her mother had told her about.
A couple of months later Juju was working her school job as student aid in the principal’s office, it was the period right before lunch. Secretary Kim came bopping into the office on an errand to retrieve the cheerleader coach’s mail. Juju got the mail and handed it to Kim saying, “hope you are doing well on the council, I don’t have any hard feelings toward you.” Kim got a quizzical look on her face and wondered why Juju had said that? The cheerleader didn’t even remember Juju was the one she had slaughtered in the election. “Whatever” was her response and she turned and cheerleadered herself down the hall.
The yield….there it was. The election was decided because Kim was a hot cheerleader and Juju was a sweating, 7th grade nerd/girl jock. The school got what they deserved Juju thought. In life if you choose for reasons that are not on point, you get someone who can’t stay on that same point. Kim had been more focused on that starched cheerleader outfit than her own opponent…and it had worked for her.
Juju managed to fulfill one of her campaign promises to be more active in her charitable efforts. Not long after, she unceremoniously dropped the maroon polyester skirt set at the local Goodwill Store. As her mother drove off Juju wondered if the next owner of the outfit would be in the .001 percentile or if they would have the guts to go for the brass ring? She was hoping for the latter…and possibly a Slurpee on the way home.
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