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  1. Did you have a classmate who seemed out of place in elementary school?  Someone who should have been on a construction site or lifting crates at a dock, and not your Catholic school 8th   grade “reading buddy”?  My “reading buddy” megalith Edwina Preston*, wore a fringe of false hair tied around her near bald head.  Picture, if you will, a female Forest Whitaker as a brooding rogue monk.  

    I’ll admit that when I sat BESIDE my “reading buddy” I felt quietly smug about my excellent comprehension scores.  Dear Reader, know I was very quietly smug because the rest of the day, every day, I sat IN FRONT of Edwina Preston, who saw before her a ready target; its bull’s eye, literally at her fingertips.   

    We sat at wooden desks, their inkwells empty with the advent of the cartridge pen,
    soon to be eclipsed by the ball point. 
    I won’t say it was racism (could it have been alphabetical?) all the black students (three girls and three boys) in grade 8A were in the back two rows.  Last in my row Edwina Preston was just a dark blur in the peripheral vision of Sister John Capistrano**.  With an assist by her remote location, Edwina’s genius was the petty nature of her constant attacks.  A spit ball to the neck, a tug on my (Peter Pan collar) uniform blouse, or a quick kick to my shin once a week, could be an "accident" or overlooked.  But getting away with all three and more daily was just brilliant stealth harassment.  Of course Capistrano would only notice if I turned around to deliver my nemesis a retaliatory sneer or righteous scorn; my infrequent and laughingly ineffectual response to Edwina’s strikes against me.

    So as the wussy I was, I took Preston’s petty blows day after day, until this particular day Edwina discovered I offered an additional well hidden point of attack, my ass.  The open area between my seat and my seat back left just enough of my rear end exposed to present the perfect (hidden) target for the pointy end of Preston’s protractor.
      After protracted protractor jabs, I raised my hand and asked Capistrano if I could speak with her.  

    In the hallway outside our classroom I explained the difficulty I was having and asked if I could change my seat.  Sister Capistrano’s response was, “What do you think this is a restaurant?”  As I walked back to my seat I don’t know who annoyed me more, Capistrano, Preston or myself for my impotence.  I sat down and immediately felt the point of Preston’s protractor. With no recourse, I was left annoyed, frustrated and pricked.  

    No help would be forthcoming from Sister Capistrano, whose default response to any and all situations was to torture everyone.  Like the time, red faced and teary eyed, she castigated, fulminated and then sentenced the entire class to an hour with our hands clasped behind our heads.  During lesson she uttered the heretofore unheard term “Slavs”.  To the oblivious ear, it sounded like slobs.  The whole class, in a spontaneous collective and innocent display of ignorance, burst into laughter.  To Sister Capistrano our pre-teen hilarity resounded like a venomous and personal ethnic slur.  Who knew?

    Edwina Preston my persistent in-class antagonist just happened to live directly across the street from me.  Somehow Edwina and I never crossed paths on Putnam Avenue, but clearly no good would come from goading that Forest Whitaker doppelgänger into switching her campaign of annoyance to the block.  I’m talking Vaseline on the face and razor blades hidden in the hair, down and dirty fighting.  Did I mention my advanced state of wussiness?  I did not even watch street fights.  At the first hint of neighborhood fisticuffs, I ran home and hid under an area rug.

    This is now, that was then.  Yes Dear Reader, I went to school during the last century.  What is the 2013 response to an annoying primary school classmate?  Kill her…  "These boys were not just bringing a gun to school and waving it around. This was a plan. They were going to carry out the plan that day, either at morning recess or lunch," Rasmussen told MSN News. Prosecutor: Fifth-grade boys plotted to kill ‘annoying’ girl.  It’s a new day and a new time.  Yes it’s all in the timing boys and girls. 

    *Close, but not her real name
    ** Her real name, what the heck!


  2. 2 comments:

    1. wow. childhood can be such a prison. i'd not want to re-live such glorious days. life feels better now. less protractors.

    2. remember, now you are on stage causing laughter; the bitch is probably in prison drawing blood; and the nun, well hopefully God is cluing her in.

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