Ryan, K-12 (1st grade)
1. Even at a young age I had my priorities straight. For some strange reason, Mr. Burke, my first grade teacher, let the class divide itself up into teams of four for what was to become an ongoing competition of trying to get the most addition flash cards correctly done within a certain period of time. (1) Naturally, being the math wiz that I was, my services were in high demand. Three other math whizzes (though less so than myself, of course) asked me to join their team to form what would have been an absolutely unstoppable mathematical force. However, when the most beautiful girl in the class and the love of my year, Dejaun (pronounced with a soft ‘J’), and her friend, Kendra, who just so happened to be the second most beautiful girl in the class, asked me to join their team, I simply could not refuse. Unfortunately, all other competent classmates had already joined teams. We were made to accept as a teammate one of the said dumb kids named Rachel.
2. I can’t forget Rachel, because she was the reason that we didn’t finish 1st in the final competition of our class’s teams versus the other first grade class’s teams (we still finished fourth). It was made to be some special event one evening with prizes, and everyone’s families came and such. Walking out to the parking lot afterwards, I saw Rachel crying because we didn’t win. I remember thinking that she doesn’t have the right to be crying. “Me, Dejaun, and Kendra should be the ones crying,” I said to myself, “because we would have won without you.” (2)
3. Mr. Burke, I’m not sure why I spent half the year confused as to whether your name was Mr. Burke or Mr. Bird. I think it’s because half the class called you Mr. Bird.
2. ‘Damn’ means “going to hell”. We don’t say ‘damn’. (3)
3. Thank you, Ezekiel. You were the first black person I ever personally knew. I’m glad you weren’t a bully or something, because I would hate to have grown up a racist.
4. And I’m sorry, Ezekiel, but I maintain that my eyelashes are longer than yours.
5. If you really, really don’t like doing handwriting exercises you might conclude that the best solution is to take the assignment, fold it up, and put it in your back pocket for final disposal at home that evening. Apparently this isn’t the best idea. Out of sight may mean out of mind, but it does not, however, mean “out of computation of the final grade.”
6. Just about every day I asked my mom for two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This wasn’t because I wanted two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This was because I wanted one “jelly and even more jelly sandwich”. The peanut butter sides were discarded.
7. Mr. Burke, why did you have to tell the class near the end of the year that Dejaun and I were neck ‘n neck in the race for “Student of the Year” (4)? You put me in a terrible quandary. Should I continue my high achieving ways and deprive my precious beauty of the honor, or should I tank the race and let my love win the award?
8. These words are being composed by Mr. Burke’s 1986-87 “Student of the Year”. Infatuation is a powerful thing, but competition is more so.
9. Thank you, dad, for telling me that you were really proud of me for also winning “Most Outstanding Christian Character”, and that that award was more important to you than winning “Student of the Year”. But where were your damn priorities?
10. I also won the “Psalm 119” award for best scripture memorization. This confused me greatly because we never memorized Psalm 119. (I get it now, though it still doesn’t make perfect sense. The award was named in reference to the fact that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible). (5) Anyway, the point is this: I could memorize scripture like a sonuvabitch.
11. One afternoon I was hanging around the hall after class with a couple of my classmates, and we were reciting this timeless work of poetry:
Trick or treat,
Smell my feat,
Give me something good to eat.
If you don’t,
I don’t care,
I’ll pull down your underwear.
I know that sounds like a party, and it was, but the librarian who overheard us was not a connoisseur of such highbrow prose. She gave us a choice: take a note home telling our parents what we did, or come up with a nice rhyme for the next day. Naturally my parents could not be allowed to find out about my grave transgression, so I chose the latter. One of my fellow offenders did the same. The next day he (Chris) asked me what I came up with. So I told him, “You are sweet and neat.” That afternoon I was to go see the librarian to tell her my rhyme, so I did just that. And she told me mine was the same rhyme that Chris told her.
The lesson is clear: while there may be honor among thieves, there is no honor among reciters of slightly-off-color rhymes. If the time ever comes, you best remember that. If you don’t, I don’t care, I will, once again, pull down your underwear.
1.I’m sure the dumb kids didn’t mind being actively shunned. Maybe he figured they were too dumb to even notice.
2.Rachel, if you’re reading this, here is an addition problem for you. What is 3 + 1? When the 1 is you, then 3 + 1= AN EFFING LOSING EFFING TEAM!
3.Ideally, we also don’t actually go to hell.
4.You see, Dejaun had beauty and brains. I remain a sucker for this powerful combination. Strangely, either one by itself does little for me. This may explain why I am still single. Dejaun, where art thou?
5. Psalm 117 is the shortest book of the Bible. Students of the year know this kind of stuff.