Friday, October 13, 2006

Why? I Don't Know

My eyes began to ache but I refused to give up.

I was in an eighth grade history class that was taught by a white haired spinster whose greatest joy in life was catching a student committing some offense. She maintained a long list of offenses, a harsh spirit, a mean glare and a quick tongue. On this day students were being asked to read aloud. After a period of time Miss X would call on another student to begin reading at the point where the previous student had finished.

I sat near the back of the room in the row of desks next to the windows. For some reason that I don’t remember, can’t fathom or never knew, I decided to beat her at her game and torment her in some small way.

I positioned my book so that I could see it and turned my head toward the windows as if daydreaming. I rested the side of my head on my right palm so she couldn’t see my eyes. I twisted my eyes far to the right and downward and continued following the text being read by another student.

I waited as the pain in my eyes intensified. I knew she couldn’t resist. The student reading was suddenly interrupted by her harsh command “Paul! Start reading!”. I suppressed a smile and began reading immediately.

Why did I do that? Was it boredom? Was it resentment brought on by her mean spirit? Was it a childish attempt to balance the scales for some perceived wrong? I don’t know.

Often I wonder about my attitudes and actions. Why did I do some of the things I did? Why do I continue to do some of the things I do today? Check the punctuation in this article. Technically, some of it is not correct. I know the rules but I don’t agree with the rules so I do it my way. Why? I don’t know.

Writing incorrect punctuation and harassing an eight grade teacher are small, insignificant acts but there was one incident in the fifth grade that was more serious. If committed today, it would get me expelled from school permanently and placed on Fatherland Security’s list of citizens to be watched. I’ll write about that experience in another post.

Why did that incident happen? I don't know. Over the years I have answered some of the questions but some will never be answered.

One of the wonderful things about life is that we have the opportunity to make mistakes, to learn from the consequences of our actions, to grow, to become new persons and have a good life. I like that about life.


Blogger Buffalo said...

It happened, by Zeus, because you refuse to be pounded into a hole where you are not meant to be. That, my friend, is a very good thing. Remind me to tell you about my Biology teacher some time.

10/13/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The best authors choose to play fast and loose with the strict rules a grammer. Me too. ;)

10/13/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kathy Trejo said...

i like that about life too!

Have a great weekend! :)

10/13/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger roger said...

hi. got here from jim's blog, earth home garden. i gotta tell ya, my internal editor never sleeps and you slipped few things by him. effective writing covers up punctuation hiccups.

i don't think you harrassed the teacher. i think that you offered a very subtle lesson, and equally subtle rebuke, from an eighth grade kid's notion of fairness. well done.

information theory posits that more information is gained from failure than from success. i must be getting info by now.

nice writing. nice life.

10/13/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

Most of us do a few stupid, hurtful things. If we're lucky, none of them do serious lasting harm. We'll likely know if we hurt someone in a physical way, but what of the emotional scars we never know about?

10/14/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Malcolm said...

If my teachers thought they'd caught me daydreaming they were invariably right. Just my presence seemed to taunt them - should I hold myself culpable?

10/15/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

When one is "educated" by a stern taskmaster, the joy of learning flees and the thirst for knowledge dries up. When a teacher makes it seem as though they are letting you in on a fantastic secret, you can't help but pay attention. Paul, as a kid I would have held that creative act of rebellion in very high esteem, as I do even now. Maybe you BOTH learned something that day.

10/15/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Whitesnake said...

"Woah Betide, the boy who doesn't do his homework!"

I never actually got to meet Woah Betide, and I didn't ever find out how he got away with not doing his homework!

10/15/2006 03:29:00 PM  

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