03/06/2005: "Igitur pagani, hoistoria"
The following story is guaranteed to be at least 83% true.
About a month into my junior year of High School my homeroom teacher quit.
The administration, in a desperate scramble to fill the other vacancies
left by her abrupt departure, neglected to assign another teacher to cover
my homeroom. Although I never discovered exactly what could cause a woman
with almost a decades' worth of teaching experience to suddenly resign; I
did learn what definitely did not cause her to get up from her desk and
quietly walk out of the building: the pressures of commanding a homeroom.
I know this because, on the day after her disappearance, I started running
OK, technically it wasn't me who started running the homeroom; it
was my friend, Jim "The Maniac" Labiac. Upon entering homeroom, taking his
seat, composing several dirty limericks, and discovering that, despite it
being 8:15 in the morning, no authority figure was present, Jim (who
settled on "The Maniac" as a nickname only after exhausting every possible
nickname which consisted of five of the six letters in his last name)
strolled to the front of the class and announced (with the sort of calm
authority normally presented by the Captain of a ship who's just said
"There's a slight problem but there are plenty of lifeboats." ), "Good
morning, everyone. My name is Mr. Labiac - but you can call me "The Maniac"
- and I'll be running things from now on."
Looking back, I'm proud to say that not only was James "The Maniac" Labiac,
Esq. one of the best friends that I ever had, but he was also the best of
homeroom teachers. Each morning, "The Maniac" would take attendance and
then he would turn on TV. Our school had its own television production
facilities and each morning we were supposed to watch the student-run
school news. Now, as homeroom Tsar, "The Maniac" could've chosen to leave
the TV off, but he knew that I had a crush on the girl who anchored the
news (Yes; there was a small amount of stalking involved, but those charges
were later dropped) and that I used to compliment her on each day's
broadcast, so he indulged me. Had he not, this story might've ended up
being typed by a forty-one-year-old virgin. What homeroom teacher ever did
that for you? When the bell rang, "The Maniac" would ask for a volunteer
to drop the attendance sheet off at the front office. "The Maniac" avoided
the front office as if it were a leper colony. "If they ever put my face
together with my name," he once told me, "I'm toast." I wasn't sure of the
logic behind this statement, but I'd long ago learned not to doubt "The
Naturally, a student who shuns the front office for fear of being
recognized isn't going to go long between suspensions. Less than two
weeks into the glorious homeroom experiment, "The Maniac" was caught
smoking in a restroom - a girls' restroom. He drew a ten day
suspension and I took over the homeroom; placing a small, red "s" next
to "The Maniac"'s name on the attendance sheet.
The only difference between the administration of "The Maniac" and mine was
the way we dealt with "the moment of silence". Despite have been declared
unconstitutional a decade before, our school observed a "moment of silence"
each morning. Those of you who have met me and found me to be annoyingly
verbose might be hard-pressed to believe this, but "the moment of silence"
was the best part of day. Each morning, the woman whose mere proximity to
me would cause my palms to sweat, would look out from the television and
say, "And now a moment of silence." Then, for thirty glorious seconds, the
camera would linger on her. Bliss. Although, years later I would come to
realize that this was the only time in her life that she stopped talking.
"The Maniac"'s approach to "the moment of silence" had been to use the time
to see how many pencils he could stick, dart-like, in the drop ceiling in
under half a minute. While I appreciated this (who wouldn't?), I had just
learned to read only two years before and I was anxious for an audience to
practice my oratory skills on. So, each morning as "the moment of silence"
was announce I would read aloud a sentence or two from Justine by
the Marquis De Sade.
When "The Maniac" returned from his school-mandated vacation, he was so
pleased with how I'd kept a room of twenty-five students from devolving
into a den of sodomy and cannibalism that he suggested we switch off
running the homeroom. "The Maniac" would handle the duties on Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday; and I would be in charge on Tuesday and Thursday
until "The Maniac"'s next suspension: which we estimated would take place
shortly before Christmas.
It being Tuesday, I was at the helm when "The Rot-see guy" was assigned to
our homeroom. "Rot-see" is High School speak for ROTC (which at that time,
I believe, stood for "the socially-Retarded Organized against Them
Commies". These young lads and lasses were America's last defense against
the millions of Soviet troops who were, at that time, amassing on the
Canadian border - or, at least, that's how they explained it. Today ROTC
stands for "Religious zealots Opposed to Turbaned Camel-jockeys.").
Now I knew "The Rot-see guy" from an Economics class that I had taken the
year before; during which I was forced, at least a dozen times, to ask him
to please shut the Hell up while I sang the virtues of Socialism (and here,
gentle reader, you must agree that History has been on my side. Look at the
Socialist countries of Europe and then look at America, which has drifted
further-and-further into laissez-faire capitalism. Who has the higher
standard of living? Europe. Whose population has the longer life
expectancy? Europe. Look at Denmark: Women there walk around topless during
their two weeks of Summer.), so, when he walked into my homeroom and found
me, a student, sitting behind the teacher's desk, I expected him to ask me
exactly what it was that I thought I was doing. But years of ROTC training
had taught him to accept authority and never to question it. I was behind
the desk; therefore I was in charge, and that was good enough for him. He
handed me a note and waited patiently while I read it.
The note was from the front office (had "The Maniac" been on duty that day,
such was his dread of the front office that I seriously doubt he would've
gotten much past the letterhead before he fled the room only to been seen
again, years later, living under an assumed name in Mexico) and it
explained that "The Rot-see guy" had been repeatedly threatened by several
people in his homeroom and had requested to be transferred to some another
place where he might be able to watch the school news uninterrupted by
"Indian burns" and "Dutch rubs" (a routine which we referred to as a
"World Cultures seminar"). This seemed like an entirely plausible scenario
to me; after all, I personally knew an entire after-school activities club
which had threatened to kick "The Rot-see guy"'s ass, so unpopular was he.
As to why the administration chose to place "The Rot-see guy" in our
particular homeroom, I can only speculate. Most likely they had, at first,
considered moving "The Rot-see guy", whose last name began with the letter
"D", into the next homeroom in the order of alphabetical progression: Fe
through Gi. However, the teacher who was in charge of this homeroom was the
sort of crotchety, old veteran of the Education Wars who, when presented
with a new homeroom student whose name didn't fall between Fellerman and
Giovanni, would've stomped down to the main office and launched into a
tirade about how he wasn't getting paid enough to be a "goddamn
babysitter." I should also point out that this was the same teacher who
had taught the Economics course which I had taken the previous year;
during which he had told "The Rot-see guy" to shut the Hell up on a daily
basis. Looking down the list of homerooms and finding no one assigned to
oversee ours; the administration must've assumed that a substitute teacher
had been placed in charge. Such a person would be unlikely to question the
decision to relocate a student for his own safety.
I read the letter and told "The Rot-see guy" to take a seat. What could I
do? Sure I, like the entire population of Southeastern PA didn't like the
guy - he was pushy, inconsiderate of others, and, on numerous occasions,
had invited himself to parties), but who, in authority, could I complain
to? "The Maniac" and I talked it over and we agreed to pass the word around
the homeroom that "The Rot-see guy" was not (in any way, shape, or form) to
be fucked with. Our motives for protecting "The Rot-see guy" were, of
course, far from altruistic. One "apple-knogger" (a rapid punch
distinguished by the presence of a foreign object placed between the middle
and ring fingers) to the back of "The Rot-see guy"'s head could spell the
end of our precious experiment in homeroom autonomy. And so a quite bargain
was struck; no one would threaten to "carve up that 'That Rot-see guy' like
the pig he is" and, in return, "The Rot-see guy" wouldn't mention the fact
that his new homeroom was being ran by a pair of pinko stoners. This was
late October and I'm certain that our glorious homeroom revolution would've
succeeded had it not been for another revolution on the opposite side of
On the 4th of November, a group of Iranian students (which in Iran means
anyone possessing more than a fourth grade education and a erector set)
attacked the American Embassy; taking fifty-two hostages.
On the 5th of November our principal appeared on the student news and asked
the entire school to join him in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Normally, when the Pledge was read over the television (while the camera
panned to small flag), we used that time to observe "the moment of
silence". Now, I had not seen anyone (teachers included) actually stand and
recite the Pledge since seventh grade (I, myself, had never - for patriotic
reasons - recited the Pledge aloud) until the "The Rot-see guy" was exiled
to our homeroom. Each morning he, alone, would stand and recite the Pledge.
On this morning, he leapt to his feat, placed his right hand over his
heart, turned to face the rest of the room, and - in one of the best Andy
Hardy impersonations that I've ever witnessed, said, "C'mon gang, let's do
it: Let's say the Pledge!"
Looking back through the prism of adulthood, I now realize that the proper
thing to do would've been to explain to "The Rot-see guy" that, despite
being a bunch of fanatical goat-fuckers, the Iranian students did, in fact,
have a legitimate gripe with America: Twenty years ago the CIA had been
instrumental in organizing the overthrow of their legitimately elected
government (who were in the process of nationalizing the country's oil
industry) and replacing it with the brutal, Totalitarian regime of the
Instead, a more directed plan of action was rapidly adopted - the entire
homeroom (including your friend and humble narrator) hurled their books at
"The Rot-see guy". The fallout being that the following morning we arrived
to discover an actual adult sitting behind "The Maniac"'s desk, while "The
Rot-see guy" had been transferred to the homeroom for people whose last
names ran the tiny gambit from Wa through Zz (Until, in February, when he
was moved again after being beaten to a pulp by Chucky Zzynick).
Fast-forward twenty-five years.
The other day I was surfing the blogsphere to see if anyone had picked up
on a story that I covered a little while ago about a New Jersey teacher
[insert oxymoron comment here] who went apeshit when one of his students
refused to stand for the National Anthem (at first I was shocked that the
school had not taken any disciplinarian actions against the teacher; until
I realized that such a move might leave the district with no one to head
their Neanderthal Studies program). Here's one of the comments that my
A high school teacher in New Jersey came unhinged when some of his
students would not stand during the national anthem (video and pictures
here). I know I'm not the only person who is shocked this happened, but
I'm only shocked because other students sat by while their classmates
disrespected our flag.
From the time I started Kindergarten until I graduated high school I
remember standing for and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. No one ever
thought of sitting down or not putting your hand over your heart during
this time. In fact, if someone were to show disrespect towards the flag or
the Pledge of Allegiance, no teacher would have been able to protect them
from getting their ass kicked.
Have times changed that much since I was in high school or is there an
even greater difference between Texas and New Jersey? We are all still
Americans thus we all should show respect to the flag many have died
OK Anonymous, take a deep breath. Breathe slowly…
Looking back through the prism of having released my anger at such a stupid
comment by causing a fist-sized hole to suddenly materialize in my office
wall, I now realize that the proper thing to do would've been to use the
"comments" link to first explain to this banjo-plucking halfwit that the kid
refused to stand for the National Anthem: What the Hell does that
have to do with the flag?
Then I should've made the point that many people (myself included) object
to the Star Spangled Banner because it glorifies war. We love America; we
just hate that fuckin' song.
Next I should've pointed out that even if the kid had remained seated
during the Pledge (which I think the post's author had confused with the
National Anthem), this was no reason to kick his ass, and that any soldier
who gave his life for the cause of mandatory patriotism died for the wrong
reason - kinda like those old farts who, during the era of racial
integration used to turn up on the TV saying stupid things like, "I didn't
fight in the war jus' so my younguns could be bussed to school with a bunch
of spooks." I guess that's a valid argument if you were in the SS.
Finally, I should've written that I read the author's profile and
discovered that we had something in common: We're both hockey fans. If we
could both agree on hockey then, maybe, we could find some common ground
on other issues.
Anyway, once again I found myself taking a more directed plan of action.
I posted this comment:
You tell 'em. Once me an the boys come across thissy here fella what
didn't believe in Jesus, so we whupped him real good. Ya'll should've heard
him screaming in that funny "goonie" language of his.
I can't believe that today's kids think that soldiers give their lives to
protect free speech; when we all know that the only speech worth fighting
for is the speech that we all agree is right.
That's right; I threw a textbook at his head.
I get older; why don't I get any wiser?
_ . _
She broke our hearts in movies like Tits Ahoy and Stop! My
Ass Is On Fire! 6
While she sang Don't Go Breakin' My Heart.
Happy birthday to ...
Zana who turns 28 today.
And Kiki Dee who turns 58.
frontisthj - deep thinker
If the above word looks like ippojshit to you,
then you need to go here
and download the SPIONIC font for either MAC or PC. Dude.
recitabis - ou will recite