It’s time for TEDx San Antonio again.
This time last year, Holly Hirshberg and I were working on our speech, polishing the last little bits. Although we’d never collaborated before to that extent, we managed to turn out a fine product. Or at least a couple thousand people have watched it on YouTube.com.
Unless you were there at Trinity University during the speech or watched it via live-stream, then you might not realize that we have the distinction of being the first two TEDx talkers at TEDx San Antonio EVER.
What almost no one in that room knew, however, is that my own kid suffered a flesh wound for the first-ever TEDx SA talk.
Yep, yep, yep.
Here’s what happened: As part of the prep work last year, the master of ceremonies Victor Landa met with each of the speakers to coach us through the process. With a then-preschooler at home, I got to introduce my new friend Victor to the wonderful world of Chick-Fil-A meetings. That’s where many of us writer/WAHM/homeschooling types meet up on occasion to discuss work stuff while the kids play.
Three syllables: Glam-o-rous.
Anyway, on one of these pre-speech meetings, Victor and I were stationed near the entrance to the
germ-infested glass cage playroom so that I could keep an eye on Tater. Things were going great when Tater came flying out of the room, screaming “That KID… he BIT me!!!” He held out his forearm and, sure enough, there was a red-and-swollen bite mark.
Biting being the Last Great Playground Taboo, there was a collective gasp in the restaurant as everyone turned toward my crying boy.
Well, everyone except one mother.
She bolted from her chair (note: she was facing away from the play area) and made a bee-line for the playroom, muttering something along the lines of “I think I know who did it…”
With the help of the exceptionally well-prepared Chick-Fil-A team (clearly they’d planned for this kind of scenario), Victor and I worked to help Tater calm down and get bandaged up. In fact, we were still soothing him when Mrs. McGuilty Mother shows up to apologize… with a big ol’ stink in’ “but.”
As in, “I’m sorry he bit your son, but he says your son pushed him first.”
Okay, as plausible as that scenario was (both kids were boys under 5 years of age and therefore capable of all kinds of crazy stuff), I couldn’t help but glare at the woman as my son sobbed. I was already attempting to dredge up the pediatrician’s number from memory to inquire about infection, for pete’s sake. And now she wanted to lay this on the injured party? Through all of this drama, I managed to hear another diner say that I longed to say, “Oh my goodness, a bite is way worse than a shove. A bite is freakin’ nasty.”
Especially a bite in a freakin’ restaurant playground. Geez.
Embarrassingly, I couldn’t muster the manners to say “It’s okay. He’s forgiven.” I’m not even sure that I got out the word, “Thanks.” Half of me was worried about helping my kid, the other wanted to shout “If you know your kid’s a serial biter, then why on earth did you send him into an enclosed playground alone?”
Maybe she picked up on the vibe in the restaurant. Maybe she figured it best to get “Fang” out of there before the manager showed up to ask too many questions. Whatever the motivation, the woman promptly split, dragging the pint-sized perp behind her. My last memory of her involves a roomful of eyes following Bite Boy and Mom as they made their departure. To my surprise, and just for a split second, I felt sorry for her.
And then it was all over.
Fortunately, within a couple of weeks, Tater’s arm had healed and the very first-ever TEDx San Antonio speech was delivered. Yet for all of the fun we had that Saturday at Trinity last autumn, whenever I see Victor’s name in my Facebook feed I think, “Stay safe out there, my friend. Stay safe.” Also, to this day my son and I are recognized and greeted like old friends by the Chick-Fil-A crew members who were working that day.
It’s a curious, hard-earned sort of fame, I’d say.
Moving forward, here’s hoping that Victor and all the TEDx San Antonio 2011 gang have a great, bite-free time this weekend.