Elizabeth P. Glixman

For my eighth birthday, my family bought me a hula hoop. I twirled it on my pudgy hips until I felt like throwing up. My parents watched, their fat butts planted on the new backyard lawn furniture my father bought last summer, when our neighbors the Sorkels bought lawn furniture for their yard. Whatever the Sorkels did, my father had to one up them.

When I stopped twirling my hips, my mother and father looked at me like their ulcers were acting up. “If you stop practicing, you aren’t going to win the hula hoop contest at your school.”

I wanted to gum up  both their mouths. This contest was the latest way of making me a winner. Last year I had to write the best essay on why Barbie Dolls Should Not Date.

“Lulu, pick up that hoop,” said my mother. “Higher, lower. Wiggle more.”

On the contest day my parents sat in the school auditorium near the Sorkels. Our principal Mr. Wachinsky said, "Hula." He noted the time each contestant stopped rotating their hips. Skinny Kelly Sorkel spun her hoop for ten minutes, the longest of any kid.

I touched the poodle on my felt skirt and prayed. “Lord help me spin longer than Kelly Sorkel.”

“Ready, Lulu?” said  Mr.Wachinsky.

“Yes,” I said.

I spun that hoop for eleven minutes. I was the winner. My father smiled at Mr. Sorkel who left the auditorium with a crying Kelly. I went to the ladies room and puked.

First published: May, 2003
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