I had a babysitter growing up that was convinced she was Michelangelo in a past life. Not the ninja turtle mind you, but his namesake. She was old enough to be my grandmother. When one is nine-grandmothers are a source of all things factual, so naturally I believed her.
With some encouragement on her part and the use of a ouija board, I quickly decided that I too-had been someone famous (determined through the scientific method of me asking the board-and her pushing the plastic piece to yes). Of course, I didn’t really understand the process of determining ones prior famous self-so I figured it would be best to do some investigating before settling into an identity. I just knew I desperately wanted to have been someone as cool as Michelangelo.
I had limited resources on exploring historical figures, so I was left to research through my father’s considerable collection of history books. All lined neatly in our living room bookcase, I spent hours picking out the best one. I was convinced that my former identity would drop clues for me, so that I could figure out this great mystery.
So with great concentration, I closed my eyes, ran my finger along the spines of books, counted to thirty-three, and stopped as the last whisper of the number left my freckled face.
And that, ladies and gentlemen is how I convinced myself from ages nine to eleven that in my past life-I was Leonardo DaVinci.
Ok, so I definitely knew where that book was, and I definitely wanted to be a ninja turtle like my babysitter-but I also collected evidence to support the cause:
1. He invented things. Just earlier that year I had ‘invented’ a real-faucet in my fort by pouring a pitcher of water into one end of an old pipe, so that it came out the other (genius, I know).
2. He painted (obviously). I painted, and drew A LOT. All the time, and I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist-and I read in my dad’s books that the painters made CARTOONS before they painted. Bang-on.
3. He was Italian. Lasagna was my all-time favorite food (ok, maybe inspired by Garfield, but I still loved it!).
Three being my favorite number, I knew I didn’t need any more proof than the aforementioned points.
The dream was eventually crushed when I whispered this to a boy I had a crush on. We were sitting on the playground swings, I leaned over to tell him my secret, and he pushed me away, ran to his friends and told everyone I thought I was a ninja turtle.
Ultimately traumatic in the arena of playground etiquette.
Considering that boy impregnated a girl at 16, I’d say the reptilian repellant worked to my favor.