I’m currently in the middle of Rising Tide, a pretty large bio lent to me by my father-in-law about the 1927 Mississippi River floods that devastated much of the south along the river. It’s a pretty stunning read and I’m not even 1/3 of the way through yet. It’s so odd how such a momentous, far-reaching tragedy has largely been forgotten. Makes we wonder what else I don’t know about.

I was thinking the other day how fun it might be to be a history teacher. Then I remembered that the only person who truly cares about history is the one actually teaching it and I quickly realized that maybe it wouldn’t be so much fun. Ever since college, my interest in history has skyrocketed, but in high school, history was just another thing I had to study for. History class itself was one of my favorites because our teacher loved to shut off the lights and teach via this device that I cannot even believe I’ve forgotten the name of the overhead projector. You slip a clear piece of plastic onto it and then use a sharpie-type marker and it projects on the wall.

This meant one thing: lights off was a chance to:

  • Make all kinds of shadows on the wall with your hands. Some of questionable taste. All ridiculous.
  • Pass notes to others
  • Write notes to girlfriends
  • Sleep
  • Do homework for the next class (yeah, the one you didn’t do the night before)

Unfortunately for me, sleeping was never an option, because I cannot sleep sitting. But plenty of people slept. Which reminds me of a classic high school moment. It was freshman year in high school, early in the year. I was sitting in Western Civilization, quite possibly the worst class of ALL-TIME. I mean, I love history, but Western Civ was like being poked in the eye with a stick, over and over and over. Anyway, I’m sitting there and we’re seated alphebetically. Four seats in front of me is Mark Blanding and I notice that he is completely asleep. That doesn’t bode well, because the teacher is Mr. Schofield, a large man who bears a striking resemblance to Jabba The Hut. I kid you not. That said, he was a good person with a solid sense of humor and a good teacher, many of us didn’t like him because you actually had to work in his class, but I think we all respected him. Or feared him.

Anyway, Blanding is sitting there, head down, and Schofield notices after a few minutes. He stops his lecture (thank god) and quietly walks over to Blanding’s desk and KICKS it so damn hard. I tell you what, Blanding jumped nearly a mile. And since we’re all 13 and 14 years old, it’s the funniest damn thing we’ve seen at school yet. Even Schofield was laughing, very very proud of himself. NOBODY ever fell asleep in that Western Civ again.

I had no intention of this turning into a high school memory, but that’s the beauty of blogging, you write about one thing and it spurs memories of others. Now I’ll have to think of some good high school stories to share.

Bonus points to anyone who can ID the quote in today’s subject header.