Print Story On Enemies, Part VIII
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By CheeseburgerBrown (Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 04:18:27 AM EST) rolloffle (all tags)
This is the eighth in a multi-part series on the subject of the various great and memorable enemies I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years, from the earnest gibbering of schoolyard bullies to the courtly dance of the merely ritualistic antagonist.

This week we encounter a veteran of pushing people around whose expression of homicidal surprise upon being roundly trounced by a teenage cheeseburger is a treat sweeter than any candy.

Please see also Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI and Part VII.


Mr. Bisset

I would like to begin by saying that I think mathematics is amazing, and is probably the closest we will ever come to knowing the language of God. Myself I can't do math to save my life. I am also not a religious man.

My lack of numeric ninjitsu was recognized when I was in high school, and by my third year I was shunted down from Advanced Enriched to Advanced to just plain Basic. I had never taken a Basic course before and I found myself utterly unprepared for what it would entail. I just thought it would be a less taxing way to achieve the absolute minimum mathematical requirement for university consideration.

The reality was that Basic was like school for chimpanzees.

I sat next to a long-haired boy named Garth. "I once knew someone else named Garth," I told him.

"Oh yeah? Was he an asshole?"

"He was, actually."

"Dude," grinned Basic Garth, "me too."

Garth's ambition for the year was to cultivate marijuana in the math department's various potted plants. He explained that it was like a science experiment, since he would learn with which kinds of species marijuana would profitably cohabitate. That's when the teacher came in.

Her name was Miss Esses and she explained in a clipped and precise speech the rules of her classroom. She noted how speaking, drawing, jackets, headphones, calculators, food, drink, gum, profanity, cigarettes and hats were all banned with no exceptions. She outlined the breakdown of our marks, for which attendance counted toward twenty-five percent. She indicated that any failure to complete assignments or homework on time would result in a suspension of washroom privileges.

I put up my hand. "I'm sorry? Did you just say that if we don't do our homework we can't go pee?"

"That is correct, Mr. Cheeseburger Brown."

"Doesn't that strike you as a bit...Draconian?"

"You are wasting everyone's time."

"I'm what?"

"You will see me after class, Mr. Cheeseburger Brown."

I looked around the room. No one else seemed concerned. The giant squeezed into a desk behind me didn't even wake up. The chick with her breasts hanging out of her shirt continued to examine her fingernails nonchalantly. A girl I knew named Leah who was scheduled to be in the class with me hadn't shown up. Resignedly I nodded to Miss Esses and bade her to proceed with her proclamations.

In subsequent classes I was introduced to the Ludovico technique of mathematics: the sickeningly painful repetition of basic operations until Miss Esses' mousey voice was etched into our brains. She asked questions that no one answered. No one raised their hand. Most of my fellow pupils would not elect to speak even if called upon.

I only ever heard the sleeping giant talk on a single occasion. Miss Esses was dividing polynomials and fishing in the silent room for the answer to a simple process sum. All eyes shifted to behind me. I turned around to see the giant's meaty paw in the air, braced against the desk by his other arm.

He cleared his throat and said, "Two-four."

"Yes, twenty-four, very good," replied Miss Esses.

"No, two-four. Get it?" The giant guffawed. "Like a two-four of beer, eh?"

Everyone in the room cracked up until Miss Esses was forced to slap her desk with a ruler and flash the lights on and off. "Twenty-four," she repeated severely. "Let us continue."

Because it had broken the monotony so nicely I had to lean over and pat the giant on the shoulder. "Good one," I said.

"Dude!" agreed Basic Garth.

"Silence!"

But where lurked The Enemy? In the wings, in the wings. This story does not begin in earnest until the day the boobie chick forgot her homework in her boyfriend's car. Miss Esses cited her zero tolerance policy for rules non-compliance and explained that she had no choice therefore but to suspend the boobie chick's washroom privileges for the remainder of the period (approximately seventy minutes).

My friend Leah arrived. She tried to breeze through an art school themed excuse for her absences to date (she was a theatre major), taking an empty desk as she talked and unpacking a bagel with cream cheese wrapped in tin foil. "Sorry I'm late today, too," she mumbled through her first bite.

I leaned forward and whispered, "Doubleplus ungood, Citizen. You will be punished."

"Mr. Cheeseburger Brown!"

"Hai!"

"Stop jibbering or your washroom privileges will be suspended."

Leah giggled and almost choked on her bagel. "His what?"

"Shhh!" I warned. "Facecrime!"

After Leah was straightened out on the rules Miss Esses began reviewing the homework, which meant walking up and down the rows to check off whether or not we had a sheet of mathematical looking scribbles under yesterday's date. I tended to jot mine down when I first sat down to my desk, writing things like a) 7y and b) 12x or d) 2 - 4 until the sheet was reasonably covered. Basic Garth had assured me early on that this would earn me my checkmark.

Leah nudged me and pointed to the boobie girl. She was crossing her legs and looking nervously at the clock. After a moment she put up her hand. "Miss Esses, I really need to go the washroom now. I really do."

"Zero tolerance," said Miss Esses in a sing-song way. "The time for breaks is between classes."

The boobie girl hugged herself in a sad but cleavagalicious way. She bit her lip. Miss Esses proceeded down the aisle to confer with Garth, who was poking around in a potted fern.

"This is cruel," I whispered to Leah.

"What if she's getting her period or something?" she pointed out. She narrowed her eyes appraisingly at the poor perspiring girl. "Or maybe she took the Morning After pill."

"Yeah," I agreed. "Fuck."

Leah put up her hand. "Miss Esses, I really think she has to go the washroom."

She was ignored. Leah leaned across the aisle to the boobie girl. "Just go. Fuck it," she advised, her blue eyes flashing as she repeated Christian Slater's cattle-call to misbehavior from the movie Pump Up the Volume. "Fuck it," she urged again.

"I can't get more marks off," said the boobie girl. "I'll totally fail."

The boobie girl's makeup started to slide down her face with tears. I stood up from my desk and started walking toward the door. Miss Esses called sharply, "Mr. Cheeseburger Brown, why are you out of your seat?"

"I have to poo," I lied. "Urgently."

"Then you may take you seat and raise you arm to gain permission."

"I'm afraid it's much more urgent than that. I had Mexican for lunch. My apologies for breaking protocol but I really gotta go."

Before Miss Esses could reply Leah had stood up, too. "I have to change my tampon," she announced, gathering her bag.

Garth started to nod. "I could use a leak myself, you know?" He and the giant stood up in concert and started shuffling toward the door. I stepped out of their way as they left followed by Leah. Ten seconds later the entire classroom was empty, and the boobie girl was doing the high-heel equivalent of sprinting as she made a beeline for the closest washroom.

Miss Esses just stared. I closed the door behind me.

Now enter The Enemy: the next day I was summoned to the office of the head of the department for a special debriefing. I was chatting with Mr. Clifford, a math teacher I had enjoyed having the previous year, when Mr. Bisset clapped a heavy hand down on my shoulder in a fairly unfriendly way. Mr. Clifford, bless his heart, was trying to figure out a way for me to take physics without all the prerequisites. He stopped mid-sentence and looked faintly alarmed.

"Come with me," grunted Mr. Bisset and turned away.

"Well...we'll talk later," I told Mr. Clifford and followed.

Inside Mr. Bisset's closet-like office was a small metal desk and a single chair. I was invited to sit in the chair, and Mr. Bisset chose to stand over me. He opened up our discussions by asking bluntly, "Who do you think you are?" which is a question that is only ever asked by assholes.

Indeed it heralded the opening of a long speech peppered with rhetorical questions. It was quite severe and dramatic. I noted that Mr. Bisset had a very wide frame, and I considered that his equally wide, mustard-yellow sweater was not really working for him. He had a white crew cut, and his mouth looked like it was never used for smiling.

"I know your kind," he informed me, which is another thing that's pretty much only said seriously by assholes. It was not hard to decode his gruff demeanor as some kind of an attempt at intimidation. He seemed an unlikely math teacher -- he looked like he would be more comfortable coaching something.

When I was too slow to respond to a seemingly rhetorical question he would repeat his question in a sharp, startling bark. If it startled me the lines around his eyes tightened -- my fear was a victory. I wondered: since when is frightening students a constructive method of problem solving?

Meanwhile he rattled on and on. When he was done he asked me what I thought of the classroom's policies. I cautiously suggested that the zero tolerance suspension of washroom privileges was basically inhumane, and in response his eyes bugged out wide.

He wanted to know whether or not I had been listening to a word he had said, and I told him I had been. He then expressed a theatrical level of bewilderment about how a bright fellow such as myself could be so sorely confused about such a basic policy.

"I'm not confused. I do not agree."

"Well you'll keep that disagreement to yourself from now on."

"It's a deal. Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."

"Are you being smart with me?"

"Not on purpose."

This is when I began to suspect that Mr. Bisset was The Enemy. He was not seeking my mere compliance -- he wanted supplication. I wondered whether he would subject all of the students to this kind of tirade...the energy he must expend!

"Do you think I don't know what's going on here?" I said nothing so he continued: "You're playing some kind of popularity game by getting the Basic kids all worked up. You want to lead a class revolt, have some fun?"

"That was never my intention. I just thought the poor girl should be allowed to pee. I'll take the fall for her getting to go if I have to. I can afford to lose yesterday's checkmark."

"That's a very arrogant attitude and I don't appreciate it."

"I'm sorry about that."

"But you're not sorry for exploiting a bunch of Basic kids, is that it?"

"Exploiting?" I stammered, caught off balance by this strange accusation and the rise in his hostility. Mr. Bisset's eyes gleamed and I realized that he was excited by my show of weakness, like all true bullies.

"Do you think any one of them would make a stand like this without somebody like you, from Advanced, leading them by the nose? Most of these kids will end up criminals, do you understand? And the rest of them will end up on welfare only because they're too stupid to think up a crime. And you're there putting ideas in their heads and getting them all excited over nothing, and it's not fair. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to my department."

He wanted to know whether or not this non-negotiable interpretation of events was comprehended by me. I nodded slowly. "Understood."

When he asked me again what I thought about the zero tolerance policy I said, "It is clearly a very good system," in a tone which would have earned me a rebuke from any other teacher for insolence, but Mr. Bisset accepted with a tight, cold smile.

Then he told me I was "dismissed" as if I were in the army.

"What a nasty man!" I reported to Leah outside in the hall. I summarized his colourful characterization of the kids in Basic and their assured destinies as human pieces of excrement.

Leah shrugged. "Well, that's kinda true..."

I watched Garth and the giant try to give each other a high-five as they passed one another, but Garth missed the giant's massive paw and stumbled into a garbage can. "Dude!" he commented, laughing hysterically.

I turned back to Leah. "Okay, I admit that it's hard to deny. Still, Bisset can't be saying shit like that. It's anti-Degrassi to the max."

"So? Just get him to say it again, in front of someone."

Indeed -- someone, or...something. I asked my step-father if I could borrow his dictaphone for a couple of weeks and bought blank micro-cassettes. My plan was simple: I had to get in enough trouble in math class to land me another one-on-one with Mr. Bisset, at which point I would bait him with insouciance until he said something stupid again.

This proved a difficult plan to execute, for Miss Esses had decided I was The Enemy and therefore to be placated at all costs. While the zero tolerance policy was still ostensibly in effect, it didn't apply to me anymore -- I could come and go to micturate as I pleased.

I spoke out of turn but received no rebuke. Try as I might I simply could not rock the boat.

Miss Esses called my mother one night and told her that I was giving her "the evil eye" in class and that she was concerned I might be harbouring a hostile attitude toward her. My mother found the phrase "the evil eye" particularly funny, but admonished me for scaring my poor teacher. "She's obviously a frail little thing," she told me. "The evil eye -- goodness!"

In my next Basic math class I fixed Miss Esses with my full attention and did not let it wander until the bell rang. By the time the period was up she was visibly unnerved. This "evil eye" thing really worked wonders on the weak of mind!

Miss Esses was indeed a frail little thing, and I realized that if she was afraid of me she must be terrified of Mr. Bisset. That was why she had bypassed him about the evil eye, and that was why she hesitated to call me out on my campaign of minor infractions. To deal with me would mean dealing with Bisset.

In time I gave up my plan. I ceased to care about Mr. Bisset. I was sixteen years old and my attention flitted.

And then one day in math class we had a quiz, and in the space at the bottom of the sheet where we could volunteer to answer a bonus question I wrote:
Honestly, I don't have the answer, but you could always just give me the bonus points anyway. You know, for good karma. Otherwise monsters might eat the tires off your car or something.
It wasn't something I thought hard about. I had run out of time, and was just scrawling nonsense as the tests were collected. I didn't think about it after the fact, either, until the school called that evening to say that I was suspended for one academic day for making threats against a member of the faculty.

"Making threats?" echoed my mother incredulously, cradling the receiver with her shoulder as she stared at me. "What exactly did he write? Can you read it to me? Uh-huh. Uh-huh..."

When she hung up she sighed and said, "You idiot."

"What?" I asked, still perplexed. I was wracking my brain for something I could've said or done to anyone that could have been interpreted as a threat. The correct answer was the last thing that would've occurred to me, and when my mother told me what the vice-principal had said I was baffled. "The thing about tire-eating monsters?" I cried.

"Apparently Miss Esses needed an escort to her car, she was so scared."

"Crap!"

"I'll say. You have a meeting with the head of the math department next Monday morning, a Mr. Bissell."

"Bisset."

"Oh, you idiot."

As my mother had learned from a previous incident, being "suspended" from high school in Ontario is not a very serious thing because we were obliged to take five years of secondary education, which meant we turned eighteen and therefore gained control of our permanent records before the applications went out to universities in the middle of the fifth year. Thus, indiscretions could be purged from the record at will and trifles like the odd suspension or even an expulsion could be swept under the rug forever. Ahem.

Tuesday came. I showed up at 8:30 as requested. Mr. Bisset made a long show of methodically preparing his coffee while I stood at the door of his closet-office. I couldn't help but sniff at this petty display.

"Do you think something about this situation is funny?" he asked his coffee.

"No sir, I have a cold."

"Bullshit," he replied tartly. "I think you think everything about this situation is funny, and that's why you're in this goddamn situation."

Well, there was no arguing with that logic. I waited at patient attention.

"Come in here and sit down. Take that chair. Bring it in here. Sit down. And we'll see how funny this is."

I brought in the plastic orange chair from Mr. Clifford's table and wedged it as gracefully as I could between Mr. Bisset's trash-can, the door, and his desk. On command I closed the door with difficulty, and then wormed my way into the orange chair.

I was wearing drab olive faux-army pants with big pockets on the legs. I crossed my right leg over my left, in order to bring the thigh pocket on that side as close to Mr. Bisset as possible.

He had a photocopy of my quiz, and he dropped his head over it for a long moment to re-read my sassmouth. He looked up at me and sipped his coffee. "You think this is just horsing around. You're going to tell me you didn't mean anything by it, and you never expected anyone to take it seriously. Is that right?"

"That is true."

"Well, if this happened in an Advanced class I'd probably give you the benefit of the doubt. But this happened in a Basic class. In Basic, we take these kinds of things very seriously." He pegged me with his eyes and took his pauses liberally, smirking. "Tire-slashings have happened before. You didn't stop to think about that, did you? You didn't think about the history. You don't have a clue. But I'm here to tell you today that I won't have members of my faculty threatened with that kind of bullshit."

"I didn't threaten to slash anyone's tires. I simply posited the existence of monsters that ate tires."

"Sometimes students in Basic don't express themselves very clearly," he said philosophically. "It's up to me to assess the attitude behind the threat, if it seems ambiguous. Some students make jackasses out of themselves with a stupid joke that backfires, others have a real malicious intent."

"I certainly did not have any malicious intent, and that's the truth."

He shrugged and meditated over his coffee again. "That's what I'd be likely to believe, from an Advanced student. But -- this...is Basic, isn't it?"

I licked my lips. "What difference does that make?"

"It means that threats and a malicious attitude go hand in hand in Basic. I've been dealing with Basic students for years, and half of them should've been in jail rather than school. Delinquents and punks, on a road to nowhere! And they very often have something to prove to anyone who gets in their way. Teachers have been harassed, teachers at this school. And sometimes very serious situations have come out of it."

"I see."

He snorted. "You think you do, but you don't. You're still sitting there with that idiot grin on your face. Don't try to hide it. You can't. And I think this is going to become a very serious situation for you. Perhaps serious enough to involve the authorities."

"Are you saying you're going to quote-unquote assess my attitude by just saying 'Basic kids are violent so this Advanced kid in a Basic class is probably violent'?"

"Ah-ha!" he cried, putting down his coffee. "That's just it, isn't it? You just called yourself an Advanced student in a Basic class."

"So?"

"You don't belong there. You have no right to be there."

"So why am I in Basic?"

"Because you're lazy. You're taking resources meant for a much lower level of person and using them for yourself because you're too damned lazy to do your math homework and advance properly."

"My Advanced teacher tried to force me into Basic in Grade Nine!" I objected, stung by this new line of attack.

"Bullshit," he said. "I've seen your marks in other classes. You're smart enough to do math. People like you fail in my department because you're too lazy to do your work. And that's fine if you want to flunk and be cool, but don't drag these Basic kids down with you, disrupting their class and messing around with Miss Esses! They're doomed anyway so let them have what they've got."

I sat back. "Let me make sure I understand you. People who don't do well in math are lazy, and people in Basic are doomed. Is that right?"

He did not answer.

I pressed ahead, "I've been thinking about writing an article about Basic classes for the school paper, and I just want to make sure I've got you right."

"You won't be putting anything in the paper."

"I don't believe you're the judge of that," I replied sharply, sweat tickling my ribs as it left my armpits.

His eyes bulged and the muscles in his neck quivered. "You will not be writing drivel to the disgrace of department, if you think that's funny you little prick. You want to try it? I'll shut you down. You just don't understand, do you? I have you. I'm going to be calling the fifty-one division this afternoon after I speak with the principal, and I will file a charge of threats of violence against you. That's how seriously we take these things in Basic."

"Mr. Bisset, I admire your sense of symmetry -- answering my prank-threat with a prank-threat of your own!"

"I'm not bluffing with you, mister."

"You would be bluffing the police, actually, in that situation."

He leaned in close and hissed, "If you were my son I'd have taken you out back for a beating."

His face was red. He was breathing heavily. His coffee was long forgotten.

"I'm sorry, what was that again?" I said, cupping my hand to my ear. "Did you just say threats are bad?"

"I'm not threatening you," he assured me icily. "I'm just telling you what your father should've done. A long time ago, by the looks of it. And you still seem to think this is funny. But I'm here to tell you that you won't think so for long."

I nodded. "Time will tell."

"Get out of my office, but stay in the building. This isn't over."

"Yes sir."

I left his office feeling dizzy and bemused, the weight of the dictaphone knocking against my knee gently. Would he really waste the time of the police by reporting that there was a malicious intent behind my threat? Would he try to force me to get my credit in summer school? I was giddy and nervous, sweaty and elated. Mr. Bisset was about to get a taste of the sting of a zero tolerance policy -- the school's zero tolerance policy for dreadfully impolitic speech, and for openly badmouthing the Epsilons in front of a student.

I checked the tape. The dialogue was muffled but perfectly intelligible. His wide ass was mine.

A runner came into my science class to give me a note: I was summoned to the principal's office at three o'clock. When I arrived I met my mother, who had been called in from work. "Did you do something worse?" she whispered. I shook my head.

The principal had a round table in her office and we each took our seats around it: Mr. Bisset, my mother, and principal and me. "I've been looking over Cheeseburger's record," said the principal, "and I have to say I'm mystified that a student like him is in a situation like this. Threats against faculty, Mr. Brown?"

"It isn't how it seems, Miss Little, really."

"Is there anything you have to say for yourself before we hear from Mr. Bisset?"

I nodded. "Yes, thank you." I put the dictaphone on the table and pressed play.

I studied my fingers. When it was over I looked up and the principal was rubbing her temples slowly. "Okay," she said after a moment. "Okay, I don't think we need you for anything else today, Mr. Brown. I'm sorry we've wasted your time, Mrs. Brown."

Mr. Bisset had turned an unhealthy colour with splotchy pink rash developing on the back of his neck. He stared at me as if I were a creature of supernatural horror. I relished the moment with a subtle smirk.

The principal stood up stiffly and escorted my mother and me out of the office, and then turned back to Mr. Bisset and closed the door firmly.

In the corridor my mother explained to me how embarrassed she was to hear me speaking so disrespectfully to Mr. Bisset on the tape, but added that it was obvious that Mr. Bisset was an ass. She took me out for chips with vinegar.

Mr. Bisset took an early retirement package. I got my math credit.


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On Enemies, Part VIII | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Wow... by Gully Foyle (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:16:19 AM EST
You really were a little bastard in high school.

That Can't Be Denied. by CheeseburgerBrown (3.00 / 1) #2 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:54:36 AM EST
Yes by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 3) #3 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:58:49 AM EST
I was a rotten little bastard in high school.

[ Parent ]
Dunno. I've never been devious enough. by Gully Foyle (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:44:15 AM EST
I was more of a dickhead than a bastard in school.

[ Parent ]
From reading your stories by wiredog (3.00 / 1) #4 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:58:59 AM EST
the public schools in Canada must be seriously screwed up. Either that, or you had bad luck in your schools. Maybe the parents there just don't give a damn.

Damn sure nothing like that (and the bullying, etc.) went on in the Fairfax County schools when I was growing up.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

US public schools by lm (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:07:53 AM EST
When I was junior high aged, at the local public high school, a kid got his head bashed in with a two by four in the front lobby by another student.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Ohio by debacle (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 08:03:59 PM EST
Is hardly 'the US.'

IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Actually, Ohio is the US by lm (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:09:23 AM EST
It just isn't ALL of the US. But I think my experiences are far more representative of the nation as a whole than wiredog's. Most of the statistics I've read bear this view out. Feel free to differ, but please read the data first.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I agree with you by debacle (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 05:22:36 AM EST
However this might be only because my experiences have been highly similar to yours. I wasn't disagreeing out of disbelief, but rather because I've heard that in some states it isn't quite so bad.

I mean fuck, I tought my 11th grade history class. I'm not talking somewhat, either. I actually stood at the front of the class and tought these kids American History because the teacher would put on a movie and then summarily pass out at her desk, strung out from being fucking insane.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Nor Is Fairfax. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:39:49 AM EST
Nor is Toronto Canada, nor Paris France, nor any anecdotal report a binding body of nationwide statistics.

But, you know -- still.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Actually by debacle (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 05:19:05 AM EST
I believe Paris France IS the US.

Then again I never was very good as geography.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Right On! by Bob Abooey (3.00 / 2) #6 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:08:43 AM EST
I don't remember any of that type of stuff happening in my high school either. Course I was drunk out of my mind most of the time, so it's quite possible it happened and I missed it.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
Golden Streets of Fairfax by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #7 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:23:05 AM EST
I was under the impression that the source of American academic elan vital was the abundance of private schools, not because of a particularly robust public system.

I think most countries would be hard pressed to show you a public high school in a megalopolis that wasn't at least slightly screwed up. The Parisian public high school I saw on an exchange was fairly screwed up.

Also, I know these sorts of things aren't necessarily representative (given the no doubt huge number of public schools for America's large population), but isn't it public schools for the most part that have been the scenes of Tarantino-level multiple homicides in the US?

This isn't the first time you've made this observation in the course of this series, wiredog. It's nice that you went to school in Narnia, but is there some other point you're trying to make?

(Your suggestion that Canadian parents are more apathetic sounds trolly, so maybe there's no point at all. Just curious.)


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
sounds trolly by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 08:41:11 AM EST
Actually I think it's the "in a megalopolis" that's the difference. Fairfax County in Va, like Montgomery in Md, is very rich. Was middle class when I was growing up, but the parents had the same attitude towards education. Which is, they grew up during the Depression and WW2 and saw the difference that a good education made. They all studied hard, went to college, and lived nice middle class to rich lives. The friends and relatives who didn't ended up poor and living in shacks, or at best worked on asdsembly lines. If the kids complained about anything that interfered with getting edumacated the parents took note. The parents went to the PTA meetings, and voted in school board elections. And pity the kid whose parents got a call from the school because little Johnny was being an idiot.

The Fairfax County Public Schools are now (and were then ) rated more highly, academically, than most private schools in the country.

OTOH, our football team sucked.

Also, they were (and are) more militant about expelling troublemakers (at least of the disruptive sort) in high school than many other school systems.

When I was in college I plagiarized myself in second semester English by recycling a paper I'd written in high school. I got a better grade on it in college.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
On a completely unrelated note... by atreides (2.00 / 1) #9 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 07:03:18 AM EST
Since all you Canuckistanis know each other, how is Liz?

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.


Never mind that, which character is Egil by georgeha (3.00 / 1) #10 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 07:08:10 AM EST
Skallingromson?


[ Parent ]
He Wasn't In My Class. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 07:12:23 AM EST
Has he appeared in any of your other stories? by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 07:13:12 AM EST
He's not the wacky guy who never took off his hat, is he?


[ Parent ]
I'm Not Sure. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:26:43 AM EST
He may have appeared peripherally somewhere, but I don't think so. I would've called him by whatever his K5 nick was at the time.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
funny you should ask . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:18:06 PM EST
. . . as I just managed to track her down myself a month ago, through friends (obviously I am in Asia right now). She has a new boyfriend apparently, and has stopped all communication with myself and our mutual friends. Took a while to find out what happened to her (I was genuinely concerned, to tell you the truth).

Well, she's probably in love or some such thing, who knows . . .


[ Parent ]
ATTN WIREDOG: Open . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:26:08 PM EST
. . . your eyes!

I guarantee your school had tons of shit going on, just like almost every other school. In fact, I will go so far as to say the richer private school you attended would be even more apt to sweep up an incident like CBB reported under the rug VERY QUIETLY.

I went to 12 schools as a child - yeah, 12. All of them, as diverse as they were, had "crazy kid stuff" happen. But maybe I was just a good observer . . .


On Enemies, Part VIII | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback