Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Mr. Klinksick's Study Hall

Almost forty years ago, when I was a sophomore at Upper Arlington High School, I was in study hall with Mr. Klinksick. (OK, with a name like that, I imagine that he would be bitter at the world; besides I seriously doubt he gave up a great career as a rocket scientist to teach shop class.) Anyhow, I was sitting down front and some kids figured nothing could be more fun than throwing pennies at the back of my head. I complained about this to Mr. Klinksick and he told me, “Don't let it bother you.” All these years later, I still get angry whenever I think of that. All he had to do was
1. Put me in a seat at the back of the room OR
2. Remove his head from the lower terminus of his alimentary canal and pay attention to who was doing it OR
3. Go to the trouble of saying "Ok, next person who throws something gets detention."

If those punks were trying to enrage me, they did a really good job. Then I finally managed to catch a glimpse of one of the guys who was throwing the pennies—a punk named Ted Schultz. A few minutes later, the bell rang and I jumped him bigtime. I pulled his head down with my right hand and managed to get in at least six really good punches with my left- before the Assembled Multitude pulled me off of him. (Lucky for him—otherwise I would have still been beating on him at dawn the next morning.)

I got a trip to the principal's office and a two-day suspension. I'm happy to report that my father was 100% cool about that situation. He told me later that he wrote a check for Schultz's x-rays and wrote a note to the parents to the effect that he regretted that the incident had happened, but he did NOT apologize.

The next week, I saw Ted Schultz in the hall—Wow!! He did not just have a shiner; the whole left side of his face was black and blue. This of course caused me great remorse- remorse that I didn't break his nose, break his jaw, knock out a dozen of his teeth and maybe make him wear an eyepatch from the rest of his life. (Yes, I do have MAJOR anger issues- do I approve of what Harris and Klebold did at Columbine? Hell no! Do I have some understanding of how they felt? Hell, yes!)

Ted Schultz never threw another penny at the back of my head and neither did anyone else. I saw him at the Class of '73 25th reunion back in 1998. He is now a minister. No comment. I thought, but did not say, "Go ahead and throw a penny at my head! See what happens!" I could still totally kick his ass.

Earlier today I made a call to Upper Arlington High School, and got the correct spelling on Mr. Klinksick's name—and found his address. I am seriously tempted to write him a note and tell him that over 13 years in the UA system and nine years of college, he is the sorriest excuse for a teacher I ever saw. Or I might just go over to his business office, throw a penny in his face and say, "Don't let it bother you!"

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