It’s not good to believe that certain objects have special or unique powers. Not to put down your rabbit’s foot or voodoo doll, those are OBVIOUSLY working for you. If we believe that there is a Higher Power at work than these earthly material things are just that. Things, with no power at all. I felt the same way until… the Skirt of Doom.
I was fairly excited to wear the new cream colored velvet skirt that my mother bought for me. I was of course a freshman, going away to a shabbaton in Lakewood, N.J. , I think. I was excited on all kinds levels. I was going to hang out with my friends (at least in this realm I was still sorta’ popular with my crew). I am fairly certain my hair grew out enough to not look like an absolute moron.
We were all sleeping in the main shul, bottom floor of the building in sleeping bags. I was always a slowpoke at putting things away, getting dressed, finding my stuff…you get it so I was hanging around still when a girl I knew asked me for help. She suffered from scoliosis and needed help putting her back brace on. She asked me to tighten here and there and then we went upstairs to the main room for the big circle. This is where I mentioned that sometimes I’d get in the middle there and freak out in front of my friends because I offered to say a few words…but this time it was someone else center circle, PHEW! So we found seats together. It was fairly quiet and my friend I imagine was feeling ill because she promptly leaned over and threw up ALL OVER MY NEW SKIRT.
I tried to clean it as best I could but well, I still smelled pretty rotten wherever I went. I finally had a chance to run down and change but then all my stuff smelled pretty bad. My mom had the skirt cleaned and it was almost as good as new. So, I decided it wasn’t fit to be a shabbos skirt anymore and that it would transition into an everyday skirt.
One morning not too long after that episode I chose to wear it to school. Being from a small community we took a minivan to school and wouldn’t you know it. As I was climbing the stairs I hear a loud and very understandable riiiiiiip. Yeah. That was me. The girl with her panties showing through possibly the biggest tear of all time. The fabric was shredded. The driver refused to wait for me to run in and change the skirt. I had to wait until I got to school, a 20 minute drive, force everyone off the bus first, and then with one hand grab the pieces together and with crimson face walk to the main office in the hopes that there was an abundance of safety pins that I could manage to somehow salvage my dignity. As if.
I swear that this skirt was carrying some negative energy. I loved it at first. Of course because it was new, and so very soft, there was this appeal, this pull, this need to have it and wear it. Even after the dry cleaning though with its funky chemically smell and slight coarseness, I was still excited to wear this “new” item. One can only be pushed so far. That noise and realization of the severity mid-step up to the minivan was enough to release me from the magic of it’s powers over me. My mother could not/or would not bring me a new one. I had to walk around that day feeling like a fool.
I sat at the edge of my seat so as not to bend the material too much and thereby expose my thighs – oh yeah, I spinned the skirt around so I could have some control over what people may or may not have seen at any given time.
I spent a lot of time in the bathroom that day. Oh, and with my head in my locker until the bell rang between periods. The hardest part of this day was surprisingly not the brilliant meneuvering. It was at the end of the day when I had to climb back up the stairs to the minivan. I literally had to rise against adversity. However that day it did not help. You got, pop, POP. riiiip. Ugh.