Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Twelve Days of Festivus: Day Ten


Day Ten: Grade Nine
Grade nine was a pretty cool year for me. I'd entered the "big boy" school now and the whole educational experience was so much more mature. Oh, and I lived literally two blocks away from the school, which allowed for some wonderful sleeping in and a nice haven during my spares. High school was intimidating, but it was a lot of fun. 
As with any school, there were a few teachers who were weird, annoying, mean, or otherwise unpleasant. 
There was Mr. Fraser, a man who was easily 5'4" or shorter. What was interesting about Mr. Fraser was that he had an enormous head. Seriously, he was a bobble head. He had a moustache and a parted-at-the-side neatly combed haircut. But the problem was Fraser was that he was ever so boring. He taught social studies and it was a daily struggle for me to just stay awake in his class. And the homework he gave...eff you, Mr. Fraser! EVERY class ended with homework, so every night I had social studies to do at home. Ugh...shouldn't homework be work that isn't completed in class instead of extra crap tacked on after the class is over? But I digress.
Then there was Mrs. Sarienko. She was a rather morose person, at least in appearance. I don't recall ever seeing her smile and she had absolutely no sense of humour. She was droopy and boring and she had some mighty big hair. Remember the episode of Seinfeld called The Kiss Hello in which Elaine's physical therapist had huge outdated hair? She always reminds me of Mrs. Sarienko (or as we cleverly called her behind her back: Mrs. Sarajevo).
There was Mr. Rieb. A tall, lanky, and balding science and English teacher (he taught me science) with horrendous teeth, Mr. Rieb was the epitome of loser. He always wore the same dress shirts and pants (perhaps literally THE SAME, but more likely just a closet filled with white shirts and black or brown pants). He had long, slender, witch's fingers and strange scarring on the top of his bald head (which we called chicken scratches for some unknown reason).  The top of his head was also flat...I guess his parents didn't turn him in his crib when he was young. I dunno. He was a putz and looked like Ryan Stiles as a disheveled hairless pirate with glasses.
And there was Ms. Murray. Holy shit. I'm not sure in what circumstance this woman was conceived, but she surely is the love child of The Joker and The Cheshire Cat. She had the biggest, craziest smile I've ever seen on a real human being living creature. She had a constant smile; even when she was angry and when she was talking to her was creepy. If you got past the smile, you'd notice she had short shower cap hair, a pair of large-framed glasses with those little nubs to attach a string so not to lose the specs, and a serious case of pigeon toe. Seriously, her toes always pointed inward, so whenever she stood, her feet were in an arrow formation.

Now that I've discussed a few of these teachers and their distinct characteristics, you certainly can understand why I felt compelled to create caricatures of them. It was a perfect storm. I loved to draw, I loved to be funny, and these teachers were all so absolutely perfect specimens to caricature. Each of these teachers taught a core subject, and none of them made learning fun at all. I had no choice.
It wasn't long until my caricaturing career came under heavy fire. In Ms. Murray's math class, I was drawing a cute picture of Ms. Murray, with a huge head, pointing at a blackboard. In the speech bubble, she was saying "blah blah blah nobody cares about math but I'm too deluded to realise blah blah blah" or something very similar. It was a masterpiece and Brad was laughing as he repeatedly looked on my desk at the picture I was creating. Unfortunately, while being so involved in my drawing, I failed to notice Ms. Murray walking around the classroom to see how we were progressing with our math questions.
"What's that?" she asked from behind me. I turned and was greeted with a huge grin over her face...she didn't realise what it was yet. I tried to conceal my work, but she reached down and took the paper. Everyone who knew what I was up to looked up in suspense as Ms. Murray gazed at the page. For the first time in my recollection, Ms. Murray, the smiliest smile in the school, stopped smiling.
"Office," she hissed as she grabbed the pile of loose papers, all which had caricatures of the various teachers above. Yep, I was screwed. Ms. Murray escorted me in silence to the office and she then went into the principal's office to tell him what happened. She then stormed out to return to the classroom. It was only moments before Alf Gould, or as his students lovingly called him, Hitler, asked me to come into his office and have a seat. We sat in silence while he flipped through the many pictures I had drawn, occasionally shaking his head in disapproval. Once he looked through the pictures, he looked up and asked me how I thought I'd feel if people drew caricatures of me. To be honest, I would love it. I drew caricatures of myself a lot as well. But for the sake of the point I already knew he was trying to make, I said I wouldn't like it. Then came the spiel about how it's rude, disrespectful, and hurtful. I said I was sorry and hoped that was the end of it. But that's never the end of it, is it?
I had to go to each of the above teachers and apologize for what I did. WTF? Fraser, Rieb, and Sarajevo Sarienko had never seen the images before, so what was the point in apologizing? What they didn't know didn't hurt them. But Hitler's mind was made up. Fine. I returned to class and actually DID my math work until the bell rang. After class, I approached Ms. Murray, whose smile had returned, and I told her I was sorry for drawing the caricatures. She seemed to accept my apology and said she hoped that I would start paying more attention in class. One down, three to go.
Well, one down, zero to go in my mind. It was a gamble, but I decided not to bother saying anything to the other teachers and hope that Hitler wouldn't touch base with them about what happened. I thought I was getting away with it...until the Friday that week. It was the last class of the day on Friday when the office contacted my classroom and asked me to come to the office. I packed up my crap and began my stroll down to see Hitler. I knew it was about the caricatures. I lost the bet and he checked up on me. Dammit.
In Hitler's office, he asked me to sit down. I braced for the berating and punishment. But to my surprise, he only asked if I had apologized to the teachers.
Quick decision; do I lie or tell the truth? Of course, I lied. I said I apologized and that it was all good. Gambling again, Dave. Not wise! However, Hitler seemed to be content with my answer. He said that he didn't want to see me in his office again (about the caricatures or in general I'm unsure). I said okay and got the fuck out of there. Instead of returning to class, I went home. There was only ten minutes left so it wasn't a big deal, right? Monday morning I got called down to the office AGAIN. This time for skipping class. FFS, Hitler!
You'd think this experience would have soured me on drawing caricatures of my teachers, but it only strengthened my resolve. What, then, did I learn from it?
To hide my work more carefully in the future!

I wish I had a scanner to put some of the caricatures that weren't confiscated up for you all to see. Someone lend me a scanner already!!!

See you tomorrow for Day Eleven!

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