Balloon: (n) a brightly colored rubber sac inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a children’s toy or a decoration.Dictionary B

Merrilee was one of our high school cheerleaders.

If you’ve forgotten, holding that position is similar to being a goddess. So an invitation from Merrilee to come to her home and participate in any activity whatsoever was a shortcut to social Nirvana.

Merrilee was having a birthday party for her friend, Judy. She contacted me to come over and help her blow up balloons. It crossed my mind to tell Merrilee that I had never blown up a balloon before, but fortunately I caught myself before committing high school cultural suicide.

So I went out, bought a small package of balloons from the local five-and-dime, sat in my room and practiced. I actually reached a point where I was able to get to the first stage of balloon-blowing-up–what one might call “the initial plumping.” Reaching that plateau, it gets a little easier.

But you see, here’s the problem: I practiced too much.

It was a hot day and by the time I got to Merrilee’s house, I was already light-headed from balloon inflation.

She smiled at me and said, “I know you’re going to be the best at blowing these up.”

My chest puffed out so much that I was sure she saw it, so I grabbed balloons and started blowing.

I wasn’t even ten minutes into the process when I became so dizzy that I thought I was going to pass out. I broke out in a cold sweat. I knew this for a fact–whatever happened, I needed to make sure that I remained conscious.

Apparently, I was beginning to turn “shades of ill” because Merrilee asked me, “Are you alright?”

I wasn’t, but reassured her that all was well. I started gulping big, deep breaths, which seemed to help my lightheadedness.

I thought I was about to escape the moment, when suddenly, uncontrollably, I threw up.

It was an unplanned vomiting, which I certainly would have stifled if I could. Fortunately we were outside and I ended up merely decorating the grass.

A pall fell over the gathering. At length, Merrilee said, “O-o-o-0-h.”

That was it.

Everyone jumped away, and it was agreed by a consensus of the conclave that I needed to go home.

I did.

It took a solid month for people to stop kidding me about the balloon escapade, and truthfully, to this day … I don’t know if it totally has been scoured from their minds.


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