Thursday, February 09, 2006

Suppressed Memory

This morning I had one of those moments where you're walking blankly and leaving your mind open to get side-swiped by a memory long ago suppressed, not neccessarily for bad reasons, but suppressed just the same. The suppressed memory of this day was:

When I was eight or nine years old, my elementary school decided to show us this movie about school bus safety even though there were no injuries or deaths related to buses in our area. I guess they wanted to scare us the hell into keeping it that way. And scare us the hell they did. It was like one of those warning videos you watch in driver's ed where it's just a montage of pancaked cars and pancaked people in all their blood and guts. The film didn't go so far with the blood and guts and it wasn't actual footage, but it was enough to make you wonder if it was appropriate for elementary-aged children.

The video was a typical warning film in that the acting was over dramatic and the film was fifteen years too old. The entire film was woven together by a soundtrack. Sung by that guy who clears out every open-mic night by milking drama so skim that it hurts (the generic Harry Nilson-type), this series of sad ballads pertained to who was going to get hit by a bus next
and what life would have been like if they hadn't been hit by the bus (sidenote: life would always have been better if they weren't hit by a bus).

Song after song and scene after seen about kids and teenagers chasing balls, ignoring traffic signals and crossing guards, and general horse-playing that all lead to death by bus.

The one etched in my sub-conscious was the story of Mary. A red head with bell-bottoms of tan and a new scarf. Everyone at school loved Mary and Mary's parents loved Mary. Mary loved Mary. She had a winning smile and a winning attitude and loved life. She also followed all the rules. Yes, even bus rules-well, usually. Until that one day when Mary's scarf fell off by the bus' front tire when she was unboarding on her way home. She bent under the tire to find it. The bus driver couldn't see her and, well I guess the song says it all. From what I can remember it went something like this:

Mary, Mary,
Heart of gold and hair of red,
Bent too far for your scarf
And a bus squuished your head.

Mary, Mary,
We'll miss you so,
Cry as we walk to school,
And pass your mark on the road.


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