Yesterday, for whatever reason, a childhood story popped into my head. I was in seventh grade. Just about every day, all the neighborhood kids would come home from school, get on our bikes and cruise around the neighborhood. We didn’t really cause much trouble, but we would explore the woods, crawl into drainage pipes to find out where they went and how long they were, play some kind of sport, just……whatever. One day three or four of us were just walking around in the woods and we decided to grab a bunch of rocks, put them in a circle and light a fire. Oh, you think you know where this is going, but no, we did not burn the woods down. That came about a year later and we didn’t burn them down, per say, but it did require a visit from the fire department. But I digress.
Anyway, near the rocks was what looked like a pile of old books and I went over there and picked them up and began leafing through them. They were school textbooks and they looked old and ragged. I thought “hmmmm…..these are clearly crappy old books, we should burn ’em.” But I used my, ahem, “better judgement” and didn’t. Instead, I ripped them up. All of them. A more messy solution, but certainly the safer option. After about 15 minutes, the fire was out and we all went home.
It wasn’t more than twenty minutes after I got home that there was a loud and vociferous commotion outside the house. I looked outside and saw one of the older local kids with his friend from Clinton High School. Oops. Apparently those books (which, in my defense, looked like they had been sitting in the woods for years) were current books being used in the Clinton school system. Oops. I had ripped up some poor kids textbooks. And he wasn’t happy. At all.
I did what any 7th grader would do in this situation, when looking down the barrel of an extremely agitated high schooler – I pretended I wasn’t home. Just sat in my room and listened to the commotion, knowing eventually it would end. And it did.
I don’t recall if I ever saw the kid again. So, Dennis Ashe, I apologize. But Clinton needed to update their books.