September 26, 2005

The Long-Lasting Memory of Injustice

Someone asked me recently to name the most embarrassing moment of my life and I must confess that I'm having a hard time coming up with one thing. I've done lots of things and had lots of things happen that are somewhat embarrassing, but nothing really mortifying.

While raking through my memories, though, I recalled an incident from 6th grade in Mrs. Ford's science class. Prior to the incident, I loved the class. I got along well with the teacher for the most part and my grades were good.

Talking was a problem in her class and she had been trying for a couple of weeks to crack down on it. I will admit that I was often one of the perpetrators. Mrs. Ford tried moving us around and seating us next to people with whom she thought we weren't friends, but that didn't really work. I was friends with most of the class and most of the class was friends with one another. Most of the kids in my classes had been together in classes since kindergarten; it wasn't until sixth grade that Georgia started making attempts to dissolve the "step" system that grouped children according to their test scores.

Anyway, talking was a problem.

I think it was springtime because the weather was nice outside, but on this particular day, Mrs. Ford had a lot of things to do. She gave us an assignment and told us not to say another word.

Some whispered and I think I was one of them.

That was the last straw. Mrs. Ford got very angry and said that each person who got talking without permission would be taken to the principal's office and written up.

I took her seriously and worked hard on the assignment and, as usual, finished long before everyone else. I was sitting quietly in my desk looking around the room. (I had finished reading all of the novels in my bookbag and had nothing else to do.)

Suddenly, Mrs. Ford called me out, "Trey, I said no talking!"

I told her that I wasn't talking. I was just sitting there. She didn't believe me and she wrote my name down. I was boiling and tried to hang on to the hope that she would be sensible and not take me to the office and call my mom. I had never been to the office before and it was an outrage that I would go over something so silly as talking in class especially when I wasn't talking in class.

At the end of class, she lined everyone up that she had "caught" and marched us across the quad to the office. I was getting more and more angry.

She started dialing parents.

I got to the front of the line and she asked for my parents' phone number. I told her that I wasn't talking and that I would not give her my parents' number because there was no need to call.

She got the phone book.

I continued to protest.

She got my mom on the phone and said, "Mrs. Givens, I'm Mrs. Ford, Trey's science teacher and I'm calling because Trey was talking in class today."

I think that's what she said because before she was able to finish I was screaming at the top of my lungs to my mother. I was telling her not to listen to Mrs. Ford because she was lying and that I wasn't talking and that it wasn't fair.

I remember that Mrs. Ford's eyes suddenly got wide with fear. She actually thought I was going to hit her even though I had no intention of doing so. I intended to make myself heard. She told my mom to come get me.

I sat outside the principal's office crying until my mom got there.

There was a meeting with the principal in which he told me that I could be suspended from school for screaming and threatening the teacher. He decided not to do that because I had never been in trouble before, but he said that I should go home that day and that if I did ever get into trouble again, I would be suspended.

In the parking lot, my mom said that I had to go and apologize to Mrs. Ford. I refused. She had wrongly accused me and attempted to get me into trouble and she was unrepentant. My screaming at her was at least fair given what happened.

But my mom forced me to go. I remember that I went to Mrs. Ford's classroom as I was told, but I don't remember what I said. I imagine that I apologized like I was told, too, but that was wrong. I avoided her for the rest of the year. I remember that in a few other meetings with my parents and Mrs. Ford she made reference to the incident, still as if I was the one at fault. I remember that it was all I could do not to start screaming at her again.

I don't remember much of anything else about Mrs. Ford except that she incited the only disciplinary action that was ever taken against me in school and that she was wrong to do so.

My grades were top-notch for the rest of the year, but I still loathe what that woman did even to this day. If I ever meet her, I will probably let her know that the only significant memory I have of her is that she lied. If she has any honor, she will apologize, but given that she wouldn't listen to a child who never lied, I remain skeptical.

Children aren't bad. They aren't all liars. They can learn very quickly and very early the importance of telling the truth. I did and I have no memories of lying to adults as a child. I think it's important to treat children like adults -- rationally, consistently, honestly -- as individuals. And it does no good to greet them as if they are lying.

If you make a mistake with a chlid, apologize. Let them know that you didn't mean to treat them unjustly and that you earnestly regret your error. Otherwise, you will teach the child that honesty does not matter. You will teach them that authority is the only thing that matters. If they are an honorable child, they will rightfully hate you for that lesson.

It wasn't embarrassing for me to scream at Mrs. Ford, although the subsequent rumors that involved me throwing the phone book and flipping a desk over were so overblown to be embarrassing.

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September 20, 2005

Dinner Party at Nathan's Under the Full Harvest Moon

I went to a dinner party on Saturday. Here are some pictures.

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September 13, 2005

I Can Be a Geek, Too!

I just set up my new Linksys* wireless router and it rocks my socks!

Now I can share files between Lappy** and Computris and do my homework from the patio or whereever I want!

And if you came over to my house with your laptop, I might let you on my network and we could play video games. You'd have to tell me how to do that, but I think it would work!


* I originally purchased a D Link router because I found a great deal, but after 3.5 hours of working to get it set-up, I couldn't get it to work. I even called tech support for my ISP and D Link and it never worked. I had to return it. My new router is the size of a slice of bread and the setup took ten minutes.

** The name of my laptop is stolen used in honor of Jim's laptop.

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Help My Friends Be Winners

One of my coworkers is engaged and she and her fiance are in a radio contest to win their wedding catering.

Please go here:

And vote for Summer Smith & James Folsom!

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September 06, 2005

In Which I Freak Out About My Car Trying to Set Me on Fire on My Way to Work This Morning


I had the seat warmer on this morning because it was kind of cool because I was driving with the windows down. Next thing I know, my left buttock is painfully hot, so I shift in my seat a little. Then, I smell smoke and I'm like, "WTF?" And then I SEE smoke. So, I immediately turn off the seat warmer and try to lift my butt up off of the seat.

It cools down and lo, there is a tiny scortched hole in my leather seat, not to mention the black mark on the ass of my jeans!

I called VW and they told me my warranty ran out 17K miles ago and that it could cost me as much as $600 to replace the seat.

MY CAR TRIED TO SET ME ON FIRE!!! I really think I should get a discount or something.

Sitting in my office now I can still smell the scent of burning leather on my pants.

Update: Apparently, I'm not the only one!

Update: I decided that paying to have my car set me on fire does not fall within what I consider to be acceptable parameters for my car's performance, so I called up Volkswagon. They were super nice. They not only told me that they would fix my car for free, but they even offered to replace my scortched jeans. I declined their offer to replace my jeans because it's really not that bad and it would be more trouble than it's worth. But I am totally taking them up on repairing my car for me.

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September 04, 2005

Pictures from My Birthday Dinner

Ok! Here are a couple of pictures of the spread from my birthday dinner.

Not shown are the porkchops and zucchini I grilled. It was delicious!

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September 03, 2005

Happy Birthminute to Me!

I was born 28 years ago at 10:11 AM, Saturday, September 3, 1977.


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