Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secret 29: I'm stubborn in the extreme sometimes

Okay, so stubborn is a little obvious and there's more to it than that. How have I never mentioned this story? I was sure that I had and yet here we are and no scouring of my blog has turned up a mention of it... Strange.

Here's another high school memory. I was in the 10th grade, making me about 16 at the time. It was early in the morning, before school had started up, and I was sitting in a hallway with friends. I had taken my shoes off (because I seriously hate to wear shoes if I can avoid it) and one of the guys, Woody, wanted to be funny and took my shoes. He made me chase him to get them back and I was furious. I had to run through wet grass in my socks and I wouldn't have time to change them so I was going to have wet feet all day. AND he wouldn't apologize.

So I took his glasses.

Yes, perhaps a childish thing to do (I was only 16) but I did it nonetheless. I told him that I would give him back his glasses when I received an apology. And then the bell rang and I went to class.

Shockingly, I was called out of class to the principals office. He asked if I had the glasses with me to which I pointed out that the glasses would be returned, as I had already promised, when I received an apology. Rather than reply to that he asked if they were in my backpack to which I pointed out that he did not have the legal right to touch my backpack without a police officer present and hands off. He threatened to call my mother and I told him to go ahead. So he did. My mother arrived and he told her that I had stolen some kid's glasses. I told her the rest of the story that he left out. So she asked, in clarification, if the basic story was that he took my shoes and got my socks all wet and refused to apologize so I took the glasses and said I would give them back when I got an apology? I agreed that this was the case. She looked at the principal and asked if Woody had apologized yet? The principal sputtered a little and disagreed that it was necessary. Mom said that she saw a very simple solution here where Woody would apologize and I would give him his glasses. Needless to say, I got the apology and he got his glasses. And I went back to class.

Sitting in second period, Biology, I was distracted. This whole thing had kind of pissed me off and I felt it was rather unfair. I hadn't really been asking for much. While I was sitting there and feeling somewhat sorry for myself I was playing around with a paper clip, twisting it into various shapes. Eventually it ended up being wrapped around the metal piece at the top of my pencil that holds the eraser, with the two ends sticking forward. I looked at this, and then at the plug that sits on top of the desks in the science rooms and thought "I wonder what would happen? Does electricity move through wood?". And without really thinking much more about it I stuck the thing into the socket. I had half expected the light show but what I hadn't anticipated was the loud bang. The teacher was a bit upset but, well, she overreacted I thought... I went and sat in the principals office again.

And then I went to my third period class, P.E. (Physical Education). Man, I hated that class. So we were sent outside to run a mile (4 laps around the track) like we did everyday. Now having had a REALLY bad morning so far I just wasn't into it and was already a little tired. So I walked the mile. Well, I started to, until one of the teachers came over to yell at me during the third lap. By this point I'd had enough yelling for the day and didn't listen to her. She followed me and kept screaming. So I decided "screw this" and walked inside and picked up a badminton racket to start the next activity. She came in too and now started yelling at me that the TA (teacher's assistant, a senior) had told her how I was mouthing off and said I was going to "kick her ass". Um, what!?! I had never, and I mean NEVER, said anything even remotely like that about any teacher, much less to a TA. But she wouldn't listen. So I decided to ask the TA why he would say something like that? What on earth had I done to piss him off? At this point the other teacher, a very large man, who I think was also the football coach, got involved. For no reason that I could discern he refused to let me question the TA and also started to yell at me. At which point I threw the badminton racket on the floor and told him, in no uncertain terms, exactly what he could do with it. Then I turned around and walked to the principals office (cause why not? I'd already been there twice today and I think we were starting to become friends...).

After I explained what had happened the principal said that I had no right to say or do what I had. That I should respect the teacher for no other reason than he was my teacher. Period. I told him that my mother had taught me that "respect is not a right given, it's a privilege earned" and I was under no obligation whatsoever to show respect to someone who was incapable of respecting me. My mother was called again. Around then the teacher came in and I had calmed down a little. I said, very calmly, that I was ready to discuss this as an adult. His response? He said that there was nothing to discuss, he was right, and that's it, no discussion. And he walked out of the principals office and slammed the door. I just looked at the principal like, see what I mean? My mother then arrived and told the principal that, while she didn't necessarily agree with what I had said, she would defend to the ground my right to say it. I loved her for that. She was the only person who had been on my side all day, really. It goes without saying that I was suspended at that point for a few days. When I came back I was put into the "other" P.E. class which was actually the same one only the female teacher was officially my teacher instead of the guy (the classes were combined so it didn't really change anything). The old teacher flunked me and the new one gave me a C so I got a D in the class, the only D I ever received.

Now I've grown up and had the chance for a little perspective, I suppose. I'm still not sorry I took the glasses. I'm a *little* sorry about the fireworks, though it was actually (mostly) an accident. I'm not even that tiny bit sorry about what I said to the teacher, though. He was an ass and if it had been a job I would have quit. If I saw him today, I think I might say it again just for spite. Okay, so maybe some things never change.


  1. One more secret to go.....

    I can totally see you standing your ground...and I always hated it when adults wouldn't listen when I was a kid.....


  2. oh my god that is the worst day I have ever read about! Good for you for sticking up to your teacher. I think as parents we can all learn a little bit from your mom. Good for her for being on your side. I've never had the balls to stick up for myself like that. You are awesome!

  3. Isn't it wonderful to look back and know that you were right?


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