Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Long Ago?

Well, I was in high school when it happened. I have never forgotten it. I wish that I could get to the high school reunion so that I could relate the information to the person I did it for, but I have no idea...well, let's just start at the beginning.

It was 9th grade French class, taught by a teacher who was feared by everyone (even me, but to a lesser degree), and respected but only out of fear, not because he was a "good guy". He wasn't a good guy. He was verbally abusive and probably beat his wife as well, but we won't go into that, because I can't make those types of statements.

The setting is a sports assembly/pep rally, and everyone was in the gym preparing to cheer on the football team. When the French teacher/coach came to the microphone to say a few words, there were "boos" coming from the 9th grade section of the gymnasium. This is not something you did to this coach, and he was ticked off about it.

When we returned to French class, people were still milling about in the hallway, and the teacher came into the class and asked us who was booing him. One student said he thought he saw some guys in ties--and that was all it took.

The teacher stepped into the hallway and snagged the first student that was on the 9th grade football team, and asked him about the booing--to which he flatly denied--I mean, what the heck is he going to do? Tell the truth with the prospect of being tossed from the team???? Yeah, right.

So when this teacher returned to the classroom, he sat in his chair and started in on this 15 year old boy. This lasted for the entire rest of the class hour. By the end of class the young man was entirely humiliated in front of the entire class and crying. It was a horrible scene, and I determined that this teacher was not a person I could either trust or respect. I also determined that he would never have the chance to berate me or treat me that way.

The day came, however, when all of us were diligently cramming for the expected pop-quiz. He went around the room, one by one, and asked each of us if it was important to study.

Now, I will admit, I'm probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I was pulling an A in this class without even trying, and I hoped that he would pass over my head, but he did finally come to my station, and ask me the same question. I didn't know at the time that he was REALLY saying "It's not necessary to study today because I'm not going to give a pop-quiz, I just want to jabber about how great I am." Instead he's asking for my opinion, and so I gave it to him.

"Yes, if you want to get good grades, get into college, get a good job and have a family, you have to study and do well in school." I kept on studying. He repeated the question to me, and I was starting to feel singled out, and as I said, the incident with the other boy in class fresh in my mind, I was NOT giving this person an inch of my attention!

"Of course, it's important to study!"

Then he made a mistake.

"Where did you get your mouth?"

And I answered "I got it from my FATHER, and you need to leave me alone!"

And he answered "Well, maybe you'd like to go to the library and count carpet squares?"

"If that's what it takes."

So I went to the library. I was thankful that I didn't have much more than what I got. But after this, the teacher told the school superintendent, who called my mother, and then I was called into the office.

My mother, bless her soul, knew about the teacher, how I felt about him, what he'd done to the other kid, and told the teacher and the superintendent "She just doesn't like you." Why she didn't tell the superintendent what had been done in the classroom weeks before, I will never know.

So I was called into the superintendent's office, and asked why I behaved that way in the classroom. There was no way that I could speak. I'd NEVER been in the superintendent's office for ANY sort of infraction--save perhaps for grade school when I was telling secrets to my friends on the wrong side of school, but that's not what this story is about. I was simply NOT the type of kid to make waves.

The teacher asked me why I didn't respect him. So I looked at him, incredulity in my eyes, and I said

"Because with me, you have to earn respect, and you don't have my respect, and you never will."

And then I left the office, crying, emotional, and finished.

But all these years later, I still feel that what I did from that point on, and what I said at that point, was my only way to stand up for that guy in school (who, by the way, I had a huge crush on). But it has always been my way--to stick up for the people who are picked on (since I was one of those for YEARS), and not to let people like that teacher have a chance to humiliate me in front of class.

Later in life, I found out that he was now superintendent. I cried when that happened. I thought that the asshat's of the world got ahead in life, and that people like me would forever be relegated to the lower rungs of the ladder forever.

Well, I have news for you, Mr. French teacher. One day, you will pay for what you did to my friend, and you will do well to heed my warning. I will be the FIRST to come to Jesus and tell him what sort of "man" you were, and then you will pay.

Just like the person who killed Caylee will pay.

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