Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Did you bring enough gum for everyone?

This story goes back to junior high school and I suppose in part it made me what I am today.

One of the few teachers that earned my respect was a teacher I had for home room.

The incident that made me respect him was the good old gum game. He caught me chewing gum and asked me if I had brought enough for everybody.

I knew if I said I hadn't and spit the gum out I'd be good to go. But I realized I had no real after school plans so I went for it.

"How come I have to bring enough for everybody? Sounds kind of communist to me." I shot back.

Of course, I was told to stay after school.

When I reported to him, he simply told me to sit down.

"When you said that making someone bring in gum for everyone sounded communistic it made me think," he said. "It does sound like something socialistic! You were right."

"Still," he continued. "I had to give you a detention because you lipped off about it. You're free to go after your bus leaves."

I thought about this for a second and kept my grin inside. Once in a while if I felt like tking a chance and getting home early I'd intentionally miss the bus and hitchhike. The bus made several stops and had a long route.

If I got lucky I'd catch a ride right off the bat and about one time in three get dropped off at the house. Generally I'd get dropped off at the bus stop, and usually well ahead of everyone else. 

Then he grinned. "It's hard being an individual, isn't it?"

I thought a second. "Yeah, but I think it's worth it."

"Well, at least you're not just another lemming in the herd," he replied. "You're not always right, you know. But at least you try and think for yourself. That's a lot more than I can say for an awful lot of your classmates." 

As soon as bus three left I shuffled out and as soon as my feet hit the stairs I took off like a shot, crossed the highway and stuck my thumb out.

The second car stopped and picked me up. It was Officer Sangetti. He was a tough, hard boiled cop known for being hard. He was also the department juvenile officer.

While I wasn't afraid of him, I knew to treat him with respect. 

"OK, Kid. What did they keep you after school for? he asked.

"They caught me chewing gum," I replied. "And when he asked me if I had brought enough for everybody I told him he sounded like a communist."

He stopped a second and digested it and I was treated to a very, very rare suppresed smirk. "It does sound a little communist," he agreed. Then he went on to tell me that schools have to keep order.

"I just wish they'd let us think once in a while," I replied. That drew a curious look. 

He mentioned to me that a couple towns over they had found a dead guy that looked like a victim of the mob. I figured there was a point he was going to make.

"The best way to avoid problems with the mob is to simply stay away from them and not let them rope you into anything. The best way to keep the police and the mob from chasing you is to not do anything dumb in the first place." I replied. 

"Smart kid," he replied. "Headed home?"

He knew where I lived. He lived nearby and I wasn't too far out of the way.

I said I was and he dropped me off at my door. I had beaten the bus by quite some time and when he drove off I hid out for a while so Mom wouldn't ask me why I was home so early. 

I have to give my teacher credit. He was still a gum chewer catching guy but he never asked a single student ever again if they had brought enough gum for everybody.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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