Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Three Childhood Stories

It's a slow day for me, so I figured I'd take this opportunity to catch up on some blogging. What follows are three stories from my childhood. In chronological order.

Swimming Lessons
When I was a second or third grader, my dad decided that I needed to learn how to swim. He took me to the high school where swimming lessons were being given to kids about my age.

At this time, I was deathly afraid of the water. I did NOT in any way want to go to swimming lessons. My dad insisted and he was the boss of me. He would pile me into the car and I would throw a fit the entire time. I would cry and scream and kick. I got so upset that I would actually make myself puke. I didn't stick my finger down my throat, I just got so freaked out that he would have to stop the car at least twice on the way to the lessons.

Once I got to the lessons, I would spend all my time in the shallow end making sure that I did not do too well in any of the swimming exercises. If I was picked out as a strong swimmer, then I would be sent to the deep end and thrown in to drown.

Eventually, the teachers got wise to my scheme and forced me to go down to the deep end. I forced up some vomit. They forced me into the water. I sank.

Later, when I was in high school, we did a section on swimming for gym class. I found that I could swim just fine. In fact, I was one of the better swimmers. I don't remember learning how to swim, but I did.

I once got sent to the Principal's office for cheating by my 8th grade English teacher. She was a little crazy. On days when we had quizzes, she made us come into the room and put all of our books below the desk so that nothing was on our desk except for our pencils. Then she would make us sit in silence for 10 minutes. She believed this 10 minute period of silence would decrease the success of a cram session just before class. She thought that if we could still answer correctly after 10 minutes of silence then she had succeeded at teaching us something.

During the 10 minute silence, she would sit at her desk and read. She didn't look up at the class so long as it was quiet. The students then proceeded to write the info they remembered on their desks, study it for 9 minutes and wipe it off the desk just before she handed out the quiz. Unfortunately, I was placed in the front row one day when she finished her book before the 10 minute period was up. She looked up and saw me studying the writing on my desk. She immediately assumed that I was going to leave it on my desk for the quiz and use it to cheat (strangely enough, I had written the material on my desk from memory so it technically wouldn't be cheating at all). I was not going to do that. I was going to erase it like everyone did because we weren't stupid enough to think that she wouldn't notice a bunch of shit written on our desks. She sent me to the Principal's office.

The Principal was surprised to see me because I never got in trouble. I explained the situation and he believed me. However, he was still going to let my teacher give me an F on the quiz (it was only worth ten points and I still got an A in the class, in case you were worried) because failure is an important lesson to learn. He then went on to explain that he never hires a teacher that hasn't failed or gotten a D in a class at some point because he thinks that they will be able to better identify with the struggling students. I bit my lip to keep from mentioning that that may be the reason why the teachers at my junior high sucked.

Oh Captain, My Captain
My freshman year in high school, everyone had to take Social Studies. This class was taught by a Captain Kangaroo look-alike. He thought he was hilarious and he would tell really bad jokes about how mountains don't get cold because they wear their snow caps. You know, really lame rim-shot stuff. He would always assign us to color and label maps of various different parts of the world. It was usually the easiest 50 points in the history of school. All you had to do was find a map and basically copy it - even the colors.

In the class, my friend Ted would get bored so we would constantly crack jokes. The rest of the class thought we were much funnier than the teacher and he hated that. He hated me especially because I was a smartass and I would also always ace all of his tests. That way he couldn't even make snide comments to me when he handed back our tests. He always did this to Ted (a C student) and even though Ted played it off, I think it always made him feel bad and stupid. Therefore, I hated Captain Kangroo.

ANYWAY, the Captain assigned us to color a map and we all did so. When he handed them back, he had taken five points off of mine because I had slightly (very, very slightly) colored over one of the borders of the countries. I went to his desk in front of the class and asked him why he took off so many points. He responded by saying, "You started a war. You annexed part of that country."
I said, "How did I start a war if no one knows about it outside this classroom?"
He quickly replied, "Well, stupidity should be advertised." Then looked at me smugly as if to say, "Take that."
Before I knew what I was saying I snapped, "If stupidity was advertised, you'd be famous."
His jaw dropped and the whole class gasped. Then silence. I stood there for a second waiting for him to send me to the Principal's office, but he never did. I walked back to my desk and class continued as if it never happened.


  1. Curious Question......

    Do you know the Barbara Parks book sereies Junie B. Jones??

    Considering it's books for young children, I'm guessing no....It's just that some of your wording is similar to hers...I have read these books countless times to my students over the years and have noticed that sometimes I too take on the Junie B. persona....So, I was just wonering...

    Great stories by the way

  2. I don't know that series of books. I'll have to look them up and see where I'm stealing my semantical style.

  3. May I recommend "Sneaky Peaky Spying" and "Pet Day"....