Monday, October 22, 2007

Fuzzy Memories and Drug-Induced Flashbacks - Part IX

Note: For those of you who are writing my goddamn life story, this incident takes place just before Ms. McCollaugh flashed her nipple to the entire Fifth Grade Class, firmly setting me on the path to heterosexuality.

It was February 1978, and I was in the fifth grade. Carter was president, Star Wars was a hot property, and people were listening to the Bee Gees without a trace of irony. It had been six weeks since we'd all got back from Christmas vacation, which meant just one thing... REPORT CARD DAY!

This was back in the day when computers were roughly the size of Guam, so our report cards were decidely low tech. They were blue sheets of cardboard preprinted with a list of subjects. Our teachers would go through and lovingly hand-letter our grades with ballpoint pen every six weeks. Grades ranged from A+ to F and, as one of those insufferably smart kids that got beat up a lot, my report card was usually chock-full of As and Bs.

However, I knew it was going to be different this time. I'd totally bombed a quiz on the state capitals, "forgotten" to prepare for an oral presentation on the Iroquois, and neglected to turn in several assignments. I'd known for the past two weeks that this wasn't going to be one of my better report cards. When Mr. Price placed it on my desk in its manilla sleeve, my hands were trembling. I slipped it out, opened it up, and saw my worst fears confirmed. Social Studies: C.

Mr. Price reminded us that we needed to get a parent's signature on the report card and turn it back in next week. And as I stared at that cursed C, just blatantly sitting there amongst the respectable grades and mocking my childlike faith in God, my mind raced desperately to find some way out of this predicament. I considered losing my report card in the sewer, or forging my stepdad's signature on it, or faking a coma... In the end, I did what I think any self-respecting kid in my position would do. I panicked. I ran home, found a black felt tip pen, and valiantly attempted to change that C into a B.

My forgery was pretty pathetic, but that didn't matter because I was committed now. When my mom got home from work, I showed her the report card. The first thing she said was, "What's this one grade? It looks like a C that was changed into a B." Total panic, but I didn't let it show. Somehow I kept my composure and just flat out lied to her face. "Oh, yeah. That was a mistake. Mr. Price changed it." To my surprise, she just nodded and signed the report card. I couldn't believe I'd gotten away with it!

My elation lasted all of two minutes when I suddenly remembered that I still had to turn the report card back in to Mr. Price. He would open it up, see the changed grade, and I'd be busted. I felt another attack of panic as I saw my entire retarded plan coming unraveled. So once again, I did what any self-respecting kid in my position would do. I stalled. I took the report card and shoved it into my top dresser drawer.

Over the next few weeks, Mr. Price kept asking me where my report card was, and I kept telling him that I'd forgotten it. I had no idea how long I'd be able to keep up the pretense, but I had no other plan on deck. I just kept hoping *something* miraculous would happen, to get me out of this mess.

I was miserable, at school and at home. Wracked with guilt, nervous every time the phone rang, terrifed every time my mom or stepdad would call my name. There were times when I wanted to confess, just to end the entire ordeal. In fact, one Saturday evening, when my parents were back in their bedroom watching TV, I decided the time had come to own up and face the music. I walked back there, and listened for a few seconds to the TV blaring from the other side of the closed door. Finally, I steeled myself and knocked gently. They didn't hear me. I lost my nerve and didn't knock again.

After three miserable, gut-wrenching weeks, the horrible incident finally came to an end. I came home from school, and my mom was standing there, holding my report card. "What's this?" she asked me. "I thought you took this back to school weeks ago." By this point, I had given up the idea of confessing. Instead, I was going to ride this thing out to its defiant end. As nonchalantly as I could, I said, "Oh, yeah! Good! I've been looking for that! Where did you find it?"

I slept fitfully that night, knowing there was no way out of it now. The next morning, I went to school and, on trembling legs, made my way to Mr. Price's desk. Still defiant and determined to go down fighting, I handed him the report card and said, "Mr. Price? My mom was wondering about one of those grades. She said it looked like it had been changed."

Mr. Price slid the card out of its sleeve, opened it up, and studied it for a second. Then he said, "No, that's right. It was supposed to be a B."

To this day, I still don't believe that. There's no way that grade was *ever* supposed to be a B. I know this sounds crazy but, somehow, I used the goddamned Jedi mind trick on him!

6 comments:

Farrago said...

Ummm... when will you/did you post about Ms. McCollaugh flashing her nipple to the entire fifth grade class?

Just curious, is all....

Professor said...

Jedi Mind tricked? I think it was the '70's and Mr. Price had smoked too many doobies; either that or he was still enthralled with Ms. McM. boob 'boing-ing' that he couldn't focus... Us teachers never fall prey to Jedi mind tricks for we are all... YODAs! I totally took a class on it in college: EDU 207: YODA for High School Teachers. Swear.

(And I read the nipple post... guys always want the English teacher... 'nuff said!)

Irb said...

I think of all the education that I missed...

But then my homework was never quite like this...

Farrago said...

Okay... how embarrassing is this? Not only had I read your post about Mrs. McCollaugh, I even friggin' COMMENTED on the post.

Farrago said...

...and, just to lend credence to what professor said, my favorite teacher ever was my h.s. English teacher. She also had small ones and never wore a bra (as far as I could tell), and that was only one reason (two?) I had the hots for her.

Professor said...

Men... boobs, might as well be the same word - most of the time...