The Last Black Unicorn - Tiffany Haddish Page 0,1

getting me paper towels and stuff. It made them care about me. Hurting myself made them stop hurting me and care about me.

Teacher: “Tiffany, why’d you do that?”

Tiffany: “Because they keep talking bad about my horn. I want to cut it off, so they can’t talk about it no more.”

The teachers never had no response to that.

Then I’d be walking around for three or four days with a hole in my forehead, ’cause I done cut it off. Then it would just grow right back. Like, in five days, it would be right back.

Finally, one day I was crying about this to my grandma. She grabbed me and started looking at my head:

Grandma: “Child, that ain’t no damn mole. That a wart.”

Tiffany: “What’s a wart?”

Grandma: “It’s nasty is what it is. You got HPV. What’chu been touching on, child?”

Tiffany: “What’s HPV?”

Grandma: “It’s a nasty wart that nasty people get after they do nasty things.”

That was messed up by my grandma. Now that I’m older, I learned that skin warts is nothing like genital warts. They’re totally different. But in my grandma’s eyes, I was nasty. I was doing something nasty.

The good news is that she got it burnt off. She took me to the doctor to confirm it was a wart and then burnt that shit right off.

That’s how the Dirty Ass Unicorn died and the Last Black Unicorn was born.

• • •

High school was way better for me.

I went to a school called El Camino Real. It was 3 percent black. It was mostly white and Hispanic and Asian—and pretty much all of them were rich.

I got bused from South Central LA. I woke up every morning about 5 a.m. to catch the bus at 6:15. I had to walk to the bus stop in the cold every morning. I mean, this is LA, so it’s not like there was snow. But for me, sixty degrees is freezing.

What was funny about high school was that all the things that got made fun of in elementary school, they were valued in high school. I was a great talker and had a unique style—“poor as fuck chic”—these were good qualities in a rich suburban school, where everyone else was the same. I stood out.

But the truth is, the main reason I ended up being successful in high school was because of everything I did while trying to get with this one dude, Audie.

I was stalking him. I would send him candygrams. Remember candygrams? I sent him A LOT of candygrams. I gave him a Snickers every week, till we was in twelfth grade. That dude probably has a mouth full of cavities because of me. I would try to write him notes, but I was illiterate, so everything was wrong. It was the worst:

“Audie, yo how bout we date er som fing?”

I was in ninth grade, and straight up I could not read or write.

I could only read three-letter words or things you see on TV. It was like first- or second-grade reading level.

You wanna hear some real crazy shit? I was in AP classes (where you can get college credit in high school), while not being able to read!

I could not spell or read, but I knew how to talk. I would game people. I would game everybody. It’s easy to game school, once you realize that the rules are bullshit and you can get around them.

For example, whenever I had to read something, I would get someone else to read it to me. There was this one dude who was really smart, and he had a deep voice. I would be like, “Oh my God, Curtis, could you read this to me, I love hearing your voice.” I had the greatest memory, so if he read to me I would memorize it instantly, and then if we had to read out loud in class, I would just say what he had said.

The problem would be when I would “read” the wrong paragraph. The teacher would say:

Teacher: “What are you talking about, Tiffany? You read the last paragraph. I want you to read the first one.”

Tiffany: “I got to pee, I’m sorry.”

I’d get up and run out the classroom. I had a lot of those types of emergencies my ninth-grade year.

Multiple choice tests were easy to fake. I would make people laugh, make ’em want to be my friend, and then, they would let me copy off of them. Essay tests were harder to fake, but I found a way.