I've always been kind of a high energy guy. Back when I was a kid, Ridlin wasn't an option. Parents and teachers had to be a little more creative. What follows is the story of how Mrs. Nolan, my 2nd grade teacher, brought order back to her classroom. Well, she thought it worked.
There was this kid, Todd; he was my high school’s valedictorian in 1992, thanks to Mrs. Nolen's intervention back in 1982. Todd and I were best friends back then. We didn't hang out much away from school, because I lived way the hell outside of town and his family was nuts. His dad made him memorize the Periodic Table of Elements in the 3rd grade. He was always under a massive amount of pressure to achieve. I, well uh.....I wasn't.
I think he liked to hang with me because there were no consequences. If we got caught fucking off, I always took the heat. Of course he wasn't doing anything wrong....he was Todd. I didn't mind. Even at that age, I think I knew that me standing in the corner of the classroom holding a two foot tall stack of dictionaries wasn't going to cause a tsunami at home. Todd on the other hand would be in some real shit, for sure. So that's how it went. We raised hell, I took the blame when we got caught, and he did his homework.
Eventually, Mrs. Nolan started to realize that I was dragging Todd down. Something had to be done before he was pulled to the dark side, so she moved us to opposite sides of the room. It slowed me down; but I took it as a challenge. Soon I was just causing chaos all the way across the room by sending Todd notes and funny stick figure drawings. Now I had the whole class involved, because I had to psst, PSST! Until someone would reach for the note and pass it along. She tried to cut my wings by putting the fear of the paddle into every other kid in the room. Soon, no one would even acknowledge me when I tried to pass a note. I was forced to stand up and personally walk my notes and witty stick figure drawings across the room, and hand them to him saying:
"Here you go Todd, check out this funny cartoon of Mrs. Nolan wearing a Daisy Duke out fit." in a voice loud enough for her to hear, just so she would know that I could not be defeated.
Mrs. Nolan wasn't some fluffy first year teacher. She'd been teaching for like 126 years. Like a soldier that had been through many, many years of trench warfare, she was not going to be beaten by the games of a little boy. Back then, teachers had a lot more freedom to control the educational arena than they do today. Today's teachers are too busy with lawsuit happy parents, and mandatory testing to have any real impact in their student’s lives. Hell nowadays, teachers should be more scared of the students.
Mrs. Nolen's husband owned a local appliance store. I imagine them sitting in the living room of their little ranch style home at night, discussing my issues while on a commercial break from HEE HAW.
"Damn it just put the little bastard in a box and ignore him! I'm sick of hearing about it. Get me another Bud while your up, will ya."
One day, after a failed attempt to pass a note, she came into the room with a big refrigerator box. As I sat at my desk, she lifted up the box and placed it over my desk.
"Every time you disrupt my class, you will spend 1 hour in this box." she told me.
There was a square hole in the front of the box, just big enough for me to see her and the chalkboard. In my box, I knew immediately that I would spend a lot of time there. If my field of vision was limited, so was hers. By the end of the first day, I had little spy holes on all sides of the box. I could observe the entire classroom without her even knowing. I was always trying to think of ways to get put in the box.
By the end of the first week, I had the inside of my box decorated with all kinds of pictures and drawings. I could hit anyone with a spitball, and not be suspected. I could take little naps and not be disturbed. It was, without a doubt, the coolest place in the school.
I was sure not to mention my happy hole to my mother, who would have come to the school raising holy hell. She would have put a stop to the box very quickly. I think that semester was the happiest time of my elementary years.