Parents were lined up way down the block to pick up their children from our small private school. As the line dwindled, a couple of ladies scooched their cars into parking places and sauntered over toward me. They did not seem to be in any particular hurry as they strolled around the school grounds, stopping at times to engage more actively in their conversation.
The line of cars finally stopped as departing parents picked up their children, each pausing long enough for me to brag on the student or to have the youngster suddenly share a quick story.
As the urgency of closing the school day was over, we all glowed for a moment in the beam of cordial goodbyes.
Then I reminded myself that the day was not yet over as two parents were politely waiting for their turn for an after school chat.
As they walked up, I realized we three had so much to talk about we might as well sit down. As the adults reached a shady picnic table, their children, one a boy and one a girl, headed to the swings to play while they relaxed at the end of a busy day.
We discussed several upcoming events and even made plans for a party. Meanwhile, several times we diverted into the how the special needs of each of their children were being met. It was rewarding to share then students’ successes with these caring and committed moms.
Time passed and someone looked up, noting the kids had tired of swinging and were moving about, happily talking as they walked.
The children seemed to be managing fine, so we kept our discussion going. After almost an hour, we had finished our business and looked around to locate the kids. They were gone!
I have a rule for myself about “stay in the cognitive” when problems arise, so I began to walk around the periphery of the property. As I rounded a corner, I spotted them facing each other and looking down.
It was about then that the two mothers caught up with me. We stood confounded for a bit, trying to figure out what the heck they were doing. They were leaning against the back of the building and concentrating intently on something between them a little below the waist.
Women are experts at imagining the worst. Just as we were priming ourselves for a series of lessons about sex education, they looked up and happily chirped, “We’re flicking our bics!”
It took a moment of mental processing and fast walking for us to catch on to their actual meaning. They each had a Bic pen and were doing just what the commercials had promoted, “flicking their Bics.”
They were having a ball pushing and clicking the pens over and over. I guess it made them feel so modern and in the swing of things since that commercial aired so often in the eighties.
One mom recovered and suggested they do it like on TV and sit down at a desk to do it. She thought that might get less misinterpreted less often, in her desire to prevent others from jumping to the same more off-color conclusion that we had.
For the rest of my teaching years, any time we put away our pencils to use ball point pens in class, I found this moment of humor returning to my memory. Guess it would have made a great commercial: I always smile when I flick my Bic:-)
Copyright 1982 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.