In the sixth grade, I was a mischievous handful for my parents and my teachers. My English teacher was Ms. Simpson. One day in the library, we boys decided to learn how to shoot paperclips with rubber bands. One of the boys hit a girl in the neck. All of us boys were in trouble for it and Ms. Simpson was determined to see we all would pay for the mistake – the next day. One of the boys stated that the Vice-Principal had a paddle board with holes in it to increase the paddling experience. This frightened me, so I decided to pad the paddling experience by coming to school on the day it was scheduled by wearing all the contents of my underwear drawer. Then I’d fake the pain of the paddling.
Well this is when I discovered the meaning of false friends. I told a friend of my plot and he proceeded to tell Ms. Simpson. Suddenly there was an announcement by Ms. Simpson and she told the entire classroom of my plot. She made me stand up and display the unnatural shape of my “below the belt” region. I think I had on 13 pairs that day (talk about an unlucky number!) Well, needless to say I was marched to the boy’s restroom to remove said padding and received my paddling, unpadded. But it didn’t end there. I went back to class and wrote on a piece of paper that Ms. Simpson was the “B” word. That’s when it became really interesting. The aforementioned non-friend then shows Ms. Simpson my private writing and here we go again.
I was pulled out of the classroom by the “B”, I mean Ms. Simpson, and asked why I would write such a hateful thing. Can any of the readers guess why? If you can’t I’ll just continue on. After explaining it in sixth grade logic, I was back at the VP’s office. Soon he was going to personally name his paddle the “Eduardo Enforcer.” But it does not end there.
We boys were given a rather large research project and we were to do it after class hours. My topic was Africa. Do you know how large Africa is? Well one day, I had a doctor’s appointment and Ms. Simpson was not going release me. That’s when my mother, my heroine, came to my defense. Let me say this, my mother was raised by an army captain in General George S. Patton’s – “Old Blood and Guts” army. If you wanted to go to war with my mom – that would be a very bad decision on your part. Well I got off that of day, but the remainder of the year was a struggle in English. Ms. Simpson and I declared a truce. I was glad I was moving on to Middle School.
Why do I tell you this story? I was a child once and whatever you may be experiencing now, someone else already has and escaped the troubles of youth for a great adult life. Read Calvin and Hobbes and you will see why I compare myself to this cartoon. Our life experiences can be used as humor and as teaching moments. I want you, the reader, to have a good laugh at my expense. It wasn’t funny then, but in retrospect, boy was I stupid! I could have severely injured a friend or an innocent bystander with those paperclips.
Today paddling is seen as unnecessary. I can only tell you that it caught my attention and that after 8th grade I never caused anymore problems at school. My underwear escapade days were over!