Friday Angst: public school biology

September 15, 1995 Thursday

[Age 14]

About my biology teacher, Mr. N:

On the first day of school, bees were coming into the biology room, and Mr. N took his yardstick and swiped at them. He whacked and mashed each one and then wiped his yardstick on Steve’s Biology book.

At the end of class, he asked, “How many bees did I get today?”

On the second day of school, Steve wore a Boston Red Sox hat. Mr. N asked him why he wore the hat and Steve replied, “They win”

“And what’s the point of the game?” Mr. N asked.

“To win,” said Steve.

“Really?” said Mr. N. “Well, I hate baseball.” He started pacing up and down the aisles of the classroom.

“Baseball used to be my life. I would go to twelve games a season, four a month…I used to coach  the games, and now I won’t even go to my team’s games. Because I HATE the game. Once I had a friend who asked me to go to the World Series with him. I was about to say no when he said, ‘I know you hate these things, but please come, as a friend.’ Now, this good friend was having problems with his wife, so I said, ‘Okay, just this once.’ And I went with him as a friend. That was the night that TL flipped off the audience. I was there. All the way through the game, the audience was cheering and yelling. I was sitting like this…”

Mr. N crossed his arms and scowled.

“Halfway through the game, TL skips away from the plate. I knew he was going to do something. I was right. He stepped away, raised his middle finger, and did this!”

Mr. N raised his middle finger and swings his hand over his head.

“He flipped off everyone in the audience, including ME! He meant me, too. So I turned to my friend and said, ‘Take me home right now. I don’t want to watch any more of this CRAP!’ And so my friend took me home. He wasn’t too happy about leaving halfway through the game, but I didn’t care. I left and NEVER went back.”

Mr. N looked out across the row of students, all sitting back in our seats, open-mouthed, wondering why the hell he was telling us all this. He turned to Steve and said,

“You’re stupid, Steve. You’re an idiot for liking them. Mark my words: on September 15th, 1995, that within a year, that team will break your heart. And do you know what? You shouldn’t care! Because I don’t care. I HATE baseball. Now, take a look at number three on the classroom expectations sheet…”

On my way out of class, as I passed the baseball posters hanging in the front of the room, Mr. N winked at me.


2 thoughts on “Friday Angst: public school biology

  1. Lara Ehrlich says:

    I don’t know what that wink was supposed to mean! Maybe that it was all a performance? I don’t think any bio was taught that day, actually. (And I just made up the name TL because I left a blank space in my journal instead of writing the player’s name. Back then, I knew baseball even less than I do now!)

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