Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Seven


Day Seven: Grade Six
Ah, grade six. The worst grade of my entire education. I'm confident that the reason grade six got off to such a bad start was because of puberty. I was a bit of a late bloomer, so while all my friends were getting deeper voices, hairs down there, and strong interest in the fairer sex, I was still into superheroes and toys.

Shit...maybe I STILL haven't hit puberty. 

Anyway, today you get not one but two stories since I was unable to recall anything significant from grade five in yesterday's post.

Grade six saw me start to become isolated from friends and peers. I wasn't hated or teased or picked on though. I had it much worse. I simply disappeared. Ever seen that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the girl who was ignored so much at school that she became invisible? While I never achieved literal invisibility, I did so figuratively. Sure, I had a friend or two in every clique, making me something of a liaison friend. But for the most part it was like I didn't exist.
It was hard enough to feel as though I didn't exist, but what made matters worse was a bully. His name was Ryan Melrose, and he was your textbook bully. He was fat, mean, held back a grade, and took pleasure in picking on those who were smaller than him. I'm completely confident that he had a rough go at home (perhaps his dad raised a hand to him which created this cycle...who knows). At any rate, I had the misfortune of having a locker right next to his. Whenever he and I happened to be at our lockers at the same time, he took advantage of his blubbery girth. He's push me into the lockers or punch me or do that annoying knuckle drag down my spine (if you're unfamiliar with it, I'll show you some hurts). He was a pathetic prick.
One day about half way through the year, I was walking home after school. Walking down an alley, I noticed something resting atop a drift of snow. It was a pencil with a snowglobe topper. In the snowglobe was a little plastic Slimer (yes, from Ghostbusters). I really liked The Real Ghostbusters so I picked it up. Finders keepers, right? The next day, I brought the pencil with me to school and started showing people. Then came the trouble. Ryan stormed over to me and demanded to know where I got the pencil from. I told him where I found it and he proceeded to call me a liar. Out of nowhere, he accused me of breaking into his locker and stealing a bag of his Micro Machines, which also happened to have a Slimer pencil in it. Ryan then went and told our teacher, Mr. Lee, that I stole his crap. To the principal's office I went. I explained to Mr. Weed (lawl) that I just found it in the snow on my way home and he seemed to believe me. Maybe he didn't, but there was absolutely no evidence that the pencil was even the same one that belonged to Ryan, let alone that I stole it. I was sent back to class and hoped it was over.
A few periods later, in gym class, our gym teacher (again, Mr. Lee) made the class run some laps before beginning the day's activities. While running, Alan Davies came along next to me and began to talk to me. After a brief bit of small talk, Alan asked me what really happened regarding the Slimer pencil. I told Alan exactly what had happened, as it was the truth. Alan seemed to believe me and that should have been that. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Mr. Lee called me over to the corner. Mr. Lee explained that Alan had come to him and told him that I confessed to stealing the bag of Micro Machines. WTF????? That fucking little cock outright lied to Mr. Lee and for what? Just to get me in trouble?
Off to the principal I went again. I explained what happened, and Weed repeatedly told me that I should just confess to stealing the toys and return them. He told me there would be no penalty. But I had no toys to return. All I did was find a pencil in the snow. I was grounded when Weed told my parents what happened, despite my continued testimony of innocence. No one believed me anymore. The student body all thought I was a thief, as did the faculty. Fuck you, Alan. Seriously. Fuck you.
I have no idea who actually stole the items, but I bet they saw me catching heat for it. I'd even be willing to bet that Alan was the thief, and this was his super-clever way to ensure my framing was a success. I don't see any other motivation to his behaviour other than pure anti-social pleasure.

Unrelated second story:

Later in my grade six year, there was a big field trip. It was a week-long trip to some cabins out west. I'm really unsure what the point of the trip was other than to break up the monotony of classroom learning. I really really didn't want to go. I would have much rather stayed at the school and did petty filler projects that be forced to go camping with my entire grade. Remember, I was ousted. There was no value in my being there.
Sadly, my mum forced me to go. I am not sure what she was thinking, but it was likely that she just wanted a break from me for a week. So off I went to this weird camp. At the camp, there were two large dorms, one for the boys and one for the girls. There was also a large cottage for all students to share (for meals and free time activities). It was a pretty beautiful location, but I didn't really appreciate it since I was busy fuming for being carted off against my will. We had a few teachers from the school come along as chaperons, including Mr. Greyson from Grade five. There were also several people from the high school who came as camp counselors. Fun.
Our days were mainly filled with field education courses, such as looking at tadpoles and frogs and discussing the evolutionary principles of the amphibian, or going on a long tedious hike and talking about erosion. Yay. But it wasn't all boring shit like that. On the Wednesday, Mr. Greyson and some counselors took a group of the grade six students to a forested area to play a game. The Game of Life (aka The Animal Game). If you're unfamiliar, the premise was that each person chose an animal, from mouse to tiger, and one of the teachers played "disease." Each person was given a number of "lives" in the form of cards on a ring. The players who were animals low on the food chain got more lives than those higher up, as the higher up animals had fewer predators.
I chose mouse. I was fast, and it gave me lots of opportunity to hide and run. At first, the game wasn't very much fun. We were all in very close proximity, and you had to give your card to a predator on sight, not on touch. But after a short while, the herd thinned and I began to really play the game. In fact, I think I took it too seriously. I ran and ran and ran deeper into the forested area so that I stood a better chance of "survival."
Unfortunately, I ran a bit too far. In fact, WAY too far. After about fifteen minutes, I was very very lost. With no compass and a thick canopy of trees, I had no idea what way was north. I tried going back the way I came, but since I didn't go in an exact straight line, backtracking didn't go so well.
Minutes became hours. I wandered around, surprisingly not frightened or even concerned but rather having a fun adventure. It sure beat the afternoon "school" activities that were planned. As I continued to walk, the sun began to set. It was then I realized that I could be in a bit of a mess. However, as I walked, I stumbled upon a rope. The rope had signs attached to it that said something along the lines of "do not pass" and I knew that I'd reached the boundaries of the area reserved for visitors to the camp. Following the rope, I eventually was able to work my way out of the forested area. Everyone was gone, so I trekked back to the camp.
I was so proud. I'd lost only one life, whereas most students lost all their lives. I survived with flying colours, even if I was lost for about four hours. I returned to the camp triumphant. But that feeling melted when I entered the common area.
No one even knew I was gone. Greyson never counted heads when they left the forest. I went to Mr. Greyson to return the life cards, and he asked me why I didn't turn them in when he asked earlier. I told him I was lost in the trees until now and he seemed sincerely shocked. But instead of apologizing for forgetting one of his students, he berated me for not staying close and not yelling for help (it was a big area...WTF). He then told me I was not permitted to go on the next fun activity the next day (I don't remember what it was but I did want to participate). He told me he had a mind to make me run laps up and down the steep staircase that led up from the cottage to the dorms (this staircase was used as punishment when the boys attempted to enter the girl's dorm one night and it was apparently quite a painful experience for them), but he felt I'd learned my lesson.
Thanks. I get lost and he forgets me. But for some reason I get punished for it. I used to adore Mr. Greyson, despite his rather rough personality, until this point. But now, he was just another asshole.
The rest of the trip was pretty dull, with the exception of camping out at an old shack on the final night. There was no electricity and we had to sleep in sleeping bags on the floor, but myself and a friend told ghost stories which freaked out some of the girls. That was fun.
When I returned to Airdrie, I didn't bother telling anyone about Greyson's behaviour. It didn't seem to have much value. After the Slimer pencil, I learned that no one believed anything I said.

Grade six was a bad year. It was the worst year of my educational career and the worst year of my life. Fortunately, when you hit bottom, you can only go up from there.

See you tomorrow for Day Eight!

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