Hollowtop Smoke Signals
Just Not Right
Just Not Right
Calling to light an indelicate, yet real, school issue
During the course of their school days, everyone suffers indignities while learning the finer points of social interaction. However, a few unfortunate souls endure behaviors that are indelicate to say the least. Though not premeditated, the unfathomably objectionable acts fall into a category of events that can only be described as--“just not right!”
For example, a friend recently related to me a totally undeserved degradation that befell him while he was in the 7th grade. It seems that, one day while riding the bus to school, he espied a pretty girl sitting several rows in front of him. The amorous lad had, in fact, been smitten with the dazzling damsel for some time. So, on that day, he finally mustered up the courage to go and sit next to her.
After sitting down, the young man tried to initiate a conversation. To his consternation, the object of his ardor seemed to purposefully ignore him. According to my buddy, it was as though her mind was totally involved elsewhere. In fact, the girl was distant and unresponsive to the point of rudeness. So, after an extremely awkward minute or so, the ego-crushed schoolboy decided to return to his seat.
However, before he could do so, the object of my pal’s affections suddenly seized his lunch bag and—barfed in it! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the flustered girl then discretely repositioned the now bulging bag back on the seat next to the disenchanted young man. Abandoning his utterly unappetizing lunch, my friend retreated to his previous seat; from where he shouted—“A simple--‘Go away’-- would have sufficed, you know!”
Despite the fact that she grew up to be a rare beauty, my buddy admitted that he never could bring himself to ask the young lady out. Puzzled by his seemingly over reaction, I ask why he couldn’t forgive and forget. With barely contained outrage, the old boy replied--“it’s just not right to barf on a man’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich!”
Similarly, another friend told me of an equally traumatizing indignity that occurred during his elementary school years. As luck would have it, a flu-like illness was making the rounds of his school at the time. Consequently, during a sixth-period class, the girl seated directly behind him suddenly became ill, and—retched all over the back of my pal’s head. Not to be outdone, the grossed-out boy then ralphed on the kid sitting in front of him. Luckily, the students sitting in front of the throw-up-threesome heard the ruckus behind them. Because they didn’t sit around waiting their turn, that turned out to be the last of the stomach-contents-sharing.
In short order, the sick scholars were sent home. Although he survived the immeasurable dishonor, my friend still harbors resentment toward the girl who was seated behind him that day. Consequently, when I asked if it wasn’t past time to let bygones be bygones, he replied--“it’s just not right to hurl your milk and cookies on a man’s head!”
Goodness knows I’m loath to broach indelicate issues concerning schools without good cause. Still, there’s no denying the above-described, gut wrenching events did occur. What’s more, the long-term psychological scarring, still evident in the hapless victims’ bitter recollections, compels me to speak out. It’s high time that procedures be put in place to protect today’s students from similar traumatic degradation. After all, to not do so would be--“just not right!”
© Art Kehler
Art lives in Harrison, Montana. His essays, stories, and poetry have been published in newspapers, journals, literary magazines, and on-line magazines.