Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Some Times Do Not Merit Nostalgia

with 2 comments

I was an unholy terror as a child. My parents must rank as saints, because despite the aggravation and frustration I put them through, especially as I approached my teens, they still love and support me unconditionally.

I did some horrible, horrible things. One particularly shameful episode comes to mind.

My older brother and I were once helping to clean out a classroom at the end of a school year, and we came upon a whole roll of raffle tickets. Jackpot! we both thought – once a year the fifth graders put on a carnival, the proceeds from which went to charity. Each activity or treat could be had for a ticket, which those students would sell in the week or so leading up to the event. Naturally, having a limited budget and frugal parents, seldom did I or my siblings manage to get our hands on more than half a dozen tickets, while our better-off classmates, of whom there were many, piled up prize tickets and gorged on Entenmann’s chocolate donuts.

The tickets remained in my brother’s closet at home for several years, and I seldom thought about them. But in eighth grade, I realized that year’s carnival presented me with the last opportunity to get a more substantial taste of the action. So on the morning of the carnival I stuffed the roll of tickets, however many thousands there were, into my backpack and anticipated the unlimited delights that awaited me. Gushing with excitement, I even distributed dozens of them to classmates.

Unfortunately for me (or fortunately, depending on how moralistic you want to get), I neglected to consider the color issue. That year the fifth graders sold blue tickets (or perhaps red, or maybe even green), whereas I brought yellow. No one noticed initially, including me, but about fifteen minutes into the fun, as a particularly perplexed fifth grader was attempting to explain to someone three years her senior that she could not accept what she thought were last year’s tickets, the principal strode in and, with the angriest expression on his face I have ever seen, marched across the gym to me and dragged me back to his office, where the erstwhile beneficiaries of my newfound generosity had already been forcibly assembled. Once they fingered the ringleader, the principal let them go.

It hadn’t even occurred to me that my actions constituted theft or fraud. I made good on the estimated loss I’d caused, sat through some stern lectures and actually felt guilt.

But, truth be told, my escapades paled in comparison to some of my junior high classmates’ capers. As a group, we probably caused more aggravation, damage and career changes than anyone before or after us. At some point during sixth grade, the administration vowed not to take us on any trips anywhere for the next two years. They kept that vow until the traditional eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.

In seventh grade, one perennial troublemaker decided it would be funny to chuck a compass out the classroom window. No, not the magnetic implement to indicate direction; the sharp implement to make circles. The compass point sent a poor kindergarten girl to the hospital with stitches in her nose. Said troublemaker was promptly expelled.

In sixth grade, a fellow wannabe thought it might impress the cooler students if he put Alka-Seltzer tablets in the hot water urn that the teachers used. At the time, at least, Alka-Seltzer warned pregnant women against ingesting it. Our math teacher was pregnant. I do believe the pregnancy and birth turned out fine, but we had a scare; she was quite a popular teacher (and for some reason she didn’t return the next year…).

Other less dramatic events colored those several years, including the teacher who told my parents she was at a complete loss, because I wouldn’t shut up, I talked back and fomented open revolt, but scored highest on all the exams and breezed through the homework. Interestingly, hers was the only homework I ever did consistently. Ever. Consequences be damned – if I didn’t feel like doing assignments, I didn’t do them.

I need to remember that with my own kids now. Wish me luck.


Written by Thag

April 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Hmm, didn’t remember that one, but it sounds like something you’d do.

    I think I was too caught up in Barbies at the time to pay any attention to things you did.


    April 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    • I was caught up in your Barbies, too. They were especially useful for getting your goat.


      April 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

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