Thursday, October 09, 2008

All in all, it's just another checker at the wall

As I get older, I realize that when you are a kid, you're half-crazy. Things that wouldn't make sense to someone with two brain cells to rub together are everyday occurances for kids.

Eighth grade:

Very early on in English that day, one of my friends earned 15 minutes of detention; I don't remember what for. Now, my other friend was getting a ride home with him, so he figured he may as well do something to earn detention, too.

Talking was almost always good to get your name on the board as a warning, but he needed a check by his name to earn full-fledged 15 minutes of infamy.

I know, I know. You're asking, "Why didn't he just stay without doing anything to earn detention?" But as I said, that's what sane adults wonder. Kids figure, "Hey, I have to stay anyway, I may as well do something fun."

I have a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; my first day of school when I moved to Livermore, I got brought into class with a few other kids for making noise in the bathroom. I was innocent, of course, but dumb enough to hang around. This will come into play shortly.

Now my pal needed a check. In a moment of inspiration, he spied a checker on the table of games on the wall nearest our desks. His plan was to throw the checker at the chalkboard.

Yeah. That made perfect sense.

Now by the wizened age of 13, I knew better than to be in the general vicinity of anyone even thinking of doing something detention-worthy. To that end, I made my way to the back of the classroom to get a drink of water from the fountain at the sink.

Unfortunately, my friend had already launched his projectile. The checker hit me square in the chest, bounced off the wall, off a table, hit a desk, and finally came to rest on the floor, but not after making more noise than a dinosaur passing a kidney stone.

My teacher looked to see the source of the ruckus, noticed my friend looking guilty and noticed me at the sink. She added a check by my friend's name on the board. He had achieved his goal.

But then she wrote my name on the board. I wasn't worried; I knew that sometimes you had to take one for the team.

She added a check by my name.

Yes, through no fault of my own--aside from being naturally stupid--I managed to get detention for something I didn't even do. I charley-horsed my friend in the arm--the same one that got stabbed with a pencil in another classroom incident--and expressed my dissatisfaction.

You can probably just fill in your favorite swear word here.

It look a lot of convincing on my friend's part after school when we all remained for our punishment, but my teacher relented and gave me a full pardon. I thanked her, gathered my stuff and hit the road.

As I cleared the school ground, I checked my watch and did a little math. Factoring in my explanation plus my friend's, and then some cross-examination, I was still only--

16 minutes late.