When I was in 7th Grade, our English class was learning proper letter writing technique. [Do you think kids still learn this? Is it proper emailing technique now? What IS proper email technique anyway?] Anyway, in order to make the assignment a little spicier, our teacher had us write fan letters to celebrities we admired. People were pretty excited about this assignment. I vaguely remember the playground conversations that day going something like this:
“OhMyGod! I can’t wait to tell JTT that I have the EXACT same plaid button up that he wore on last night’s episode of Home Improvment!”
“Elijah Wood has, like, THE BLUEST EYES! My letter is going to be like 3 pages long. Maybe I’ll get extra credit!”
I, however, kept noticeably silent. Silence on my end is generally a flag of sorts [not necessarily a red one]. I got a C- in Conduct in 3rd Grade because I talked too much in class. I’m not really a girl who keeps silent, unless I am hiding something.
I already knew who the recipient of my fan letter would be.
I had seen Funny Girl for the first time when I was 5, and it immediately became one of my favorites. I loved her voice. I loved her roller skating. It was a long time before I knew that musical theatre existed on a stage: I thought it was a solely cinematic art form because I was consumed by Funny Girl, Funny Lady, Hello, Dolly!, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. We owned What’s Up, Doc? We had Streisand Superman on vinyl. [I mean. How ridiculous is this album cover?]
Anyway. I went home and wrote my letter. The next day, when it was time to turn in our letters, I was sure to slip mine into the middle of the stack. I think I somehow strategically manipulated myself into being the person to pass the homework back out once the letters had been graded. I discretely slipped my letter into a folder in my cubby. I had escaped unscathed! I wrote my letter to someone I actually DID admire, but no one was aware of the “embarassing” recipient. Success!
Not so. Someone in my class had observed my suspicious behavior. Or, she was just being a nosy little bitch. [Probably the latter. She was a bully.]
She went into my cubby, read my letter, and wrote a note on the top of it. “Hahaha! I never knew!” it read. [Never knew? Never knew what?!?]
Well. My twelve year old self was mortified. She told the whole class about how I “admired” Barbra Streisand. I told the teacher [7th grade tattletale… but really… what was she doing in my cubby, anyway?]. She suffered no repercussions. We went to Church to go to our monthly required confession [thank you, Catholic education] and she sat in the pew behind me, incessantly taunting me “I can’t believe you wrote your letter to Barbra Streisand!”
It was too much for me.
When the teacher was looking the other way, I climbed OVER the pew [really?!?] and pulled her hair. Yanked it. Hard. [Ya’ll. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I would never make it in a fist fight.]
The class went wild at this display of ridiculousness. I think I probably got in trouble. But I didn’t care. That bitch had invaded my personal privacy.
Now, 17 years later, I really only have one thing to say about this entire situation: Thank GOD I wrote my letter to someone as brilliant, inspiring, eternal, and talented as Barbra Streisand and not some no-talent ass clown like Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Quite possibly my favorite video of all time: