Last kid on the playground

So since the boss here has tagged all of us collectively, plus a few other sites have tagged us, I think I’m officially out of people to tag, assuming I use people I actually know…

That said, I can at least participate in the spirit of the thing, right?

1. My grandfather once helped me craft a 2′ long paddle for my 5th grade teacher. A story a recently related to my kids that got me odd looks and then laughter. We had a story where the word “bushwacker” was used. My teacher (Mrs. Stawiki, whom everyone hated but loved me) said what she needed was a “tushwacker”. A week later I presented her with one my grandfather had helped me make in his wood shop, with “Tush Wacker” engraved on it. Years later I know it still sat on the edge of her chalkboard, ready for use.

2. My 8th grade teacher once sang a mocking song about me. At a new school, I decided that being tough was a good call. I found out after 10 minutes of attitude that my new teacher was actually a semi-famous local folk singer. He stopped the class, got his guitar out of a locker, and mocked me in front of the whole class. I was stunned into appreciation. Later that year I recieved a bootleg of his album and played the cassette for 10 years until it broke beyond the repair of scotch tape. Early last year I finally got the nerve to ask him for a new copy, but he had died of a sudden heart attack a few months prior. RIP Mr. Dagenhart. It’s fairly obvious that both of these school events were a long time ago, before “I’m gonna sue!” was a rallying cry…

3. I held a running record at high school for 5 years. Despite being in no after-school athletics at all, and not particularily liking gym, I ran like the wind. Half of this was due to the fact I was bone skinny until my mid-20’s, the other half revolved around growing up on the south side of Chicago. Running home from school was a survival technique. I remember the gym teacher, who was also the football and track coach, staring in disbelief as I calmly passed all his stars. At one point he refused to have my name put up since I wasn’t in any sports.

4. I learned Spanish simply to date a girl. Absolutely true, and I ended up marrying the girl, so I guess i all worked out, huh? I actually learned German for the same reason years before, but I only remember a handful of words of it.

5. In grade school I wasn’t allowed to attend normal classes for more than half of the day. Back in the Old Days ™ the public school would take the kids who were a bit too smart out of the class and we recieved special lessons designed to keep us interested in school. So when my schoolmates were reading Green Eggs and Ham, I was reading Robert Frost. Explained a lot my early social issues, I guess. Because of this, however, I was one of only 12 kids in my school who saw the space shuttle Challenger explode live on TV. A few years ago I gave a speech about that still-vivid event to finish my second college degree. I got an A, if you’re curious.

Well, I’m out of people to tag, so should our frequent commenters feel they’d like to join in, I hereby tag you. Join in the fun!

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Oz

Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who’s been around long enough. Still, he’s always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

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