Sunday, December 30, 2012

129. Teachers

My goodness, but I could have sworn my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Morgan, was in my living room. It was C.W. but the 1960s attire really brought back memories. There she was, in a tailored suit of subdued gray plaid with a starched white blouse complete with ruffles down the front. A modest necklace completed the arrangement and black, patent-leather shoes quietly expressed sensibility.
What wasn’t in character was the belt of cartridges strung across her chest and the assault rifle angling menacingly from behind her shoulders. Then there were the two pistols strapped to her waist, the holster belts making a menacing “x” at her midsection like the attire of a movie gunslinger.

“I’m not going to ask,” I said, slumping into a chair.

“Jimmie, please sit up straight,” she said. “How many times must I tell you?”

“C.W.,” I said. Have you gone completely mad?”

“Am I going to have to introduce you to my little friend?” she said, reaching a hand behind her to pat the rifle.”

“Okay. I’ll bite. What’s up?”

“Straighten up and I will tell you.”

I sat up and waited.

“At long last,” she said. “I read where school administrators will begin to arm teachers. I intend to be ready.”

Not believing what I was seeing, I just stared.

“Remember when you wouldn’t keep up with the rest of the class when we studied The Heart of Darkness?”

“I had other priorities.”

“Exactly,” she said. Then she walked to me and stood menacingly. She placed a hand on one of her pistols, a big one like the kind Dirty Harry used. “Don’t you imagine that Smith and Wesson could have helped regain your focus?”

“It gives a new meaning to the term ‘compulsory education,’” I said.

“Please don’t get smart with me,” she said as she drew the pistol from its holster.

“Look,” I said. Between you and I …”

“Stoppit,” she screamed, and before I knew it she had thrust the pistol barrel into my mouth and had cocked the hammer with a sickening click. “You are misusing the objective case. Would you say … ‘between I?’ Heavens no. So why ‘between you and I’? It should be ‘between you and me’! Can’t you understand?” She pushed the pistol harder and I nodded my head enthusiastically.

She removed the pistol and smiled. “No wonder your friends call you ‘Big Dope,’” she said. She placed the pistol in its holster and I relaxed.

“Can’t you just see how this will revolutionize teaching?” she said. “No more ‘children please take out your grammar books.’” She lowered her head and gave a “Clockwork Orange” smile. In a fluid motion she retrieved the rifle from her back and pointed it at me. “Now,” she said. “It’s ‘conjugate this, dirtbag!’ Oh happy day!”

“Uh, C.W,” I said. “I don’t think they plan for teachers to use the weapons on their students.”

“What? Then on whom?”

“You know, intruders.”

“Like Principal Patterson?”

“No, like gun wielding lunatics that might come blasting away.”

She stopped as if she had been slapped. She seemed to wilt and backed toward a chair then slumped into it.

Now children, today we shall study transitive verbs.
This will require our attention. So please don't provoke me.
Oh happy day! - C.W.
“Do you mean to tell me that there are those in your species who believe the cure for the insanity of violence is more violence?”

“Afraid so.”

“The thought of that provokes me,” she said, using a word I have always found to be the exclusive property of teachers.

“Be that as it may …” I began.

She interrupted. “It certainly points out the results of inadequate funding for education.”

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