Fold-Down Ink-Well Desks. And Sweater Fuzz
This was the first Story Challenge I put up on my high school’s 50th reunion page. It got no love. So I put it up here–again–for a few blog passersby. Turns out I had told this tale on the blog in 2009. I repost it with the near certainty that nobody who reads it this time will remember.Â
Tell your best WHS teacher tale. It should be mostly true. Relate a time you got away with something, didn’t get away with something or were profoundly educated or severely instructed in the moment by something Â a teacher said or did.Â
This wrought iron and maple classroom desk pictured above was pretty much standard issue at my high school, but for some reason from all the classes where I parked it behind such a desk, what this picture makes me remember in particular is Ms. Looney’s AP English class.
My desk was the first one in front and hard against the teacher’s desk. Ms. Looney (who to our amazement went on later to become a Mrs.) was fond of holding up a newspaper to read while we worked on classroom assignments.
One day for reasons I will never know, in a moment of ennui (a word we learned in her class) I took the notion to pick fuzz from a thick green mohair sweater and launch it from my cupped hands with a mighty puff. The fuzzy tuft would lift above the top of the newspaper and settle somewhere beyond the page in the vicinity of the teacher’s nose.
I repeated this several times that day, incited by a growing audience behind me. Ms Looney never noticed. But when she finally lowered her newspaper, her teacher’s bun was festooned with a kind of Spanish Moss. This visage was the source of snickers for some and a combined dread and pride for the perp.
How is it that we survive, any of us, with such stupid notions of the hilarious that put us at such risk for retribution. Thankfully we don’t often get what’s coming to us. And besides, these things make for such indelible memories, don’t they?
And I have to think that somewhere—in an antique store in Idaho maybe—there’s a fold down desk of hard maple and ornate black iron that bears my initials, tiny and etched in pencil– not pocketknife. I was mildly mischievous but these two confessions pretty much sum up my WHS walk on the wild side. You?
NOTE: There will be a lump or two of my Juicy Fruit under the left side of the fold-up seat.