In this post, I am delving deeper into my exploration of my lack of “the reading of the books made of paper”.
Previously in Chapter One: Age 10, I read “Doctor Zhivago” and Ricky the raccoon took his first flight on a 727.
By age 14, I have read most of the obvious Russian Classics such as, Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and “The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In between the classics, I read the orginal “Hardy Boys Series” and the rollicking British adventure series “The Famous Five” that I picked up for 55p a piece in the Port Erin Book Store during my summers on the Isle of Man.
Chapter Two: Age 14.
I am in grade 9 at Oak Bay High School in Victoria, BC. I am sitting in English class in my assigned desk: First row, 4th from the front, 2nd to back. This is the only high school class (in history, I’m assured) where the seating is assigned. I feel that the teacher has major “control-issues”.
Furthermore, I did not like the location desk for the following reasons:
- It was not in the power “T” (no explanation needed);
- Its proximity to large, old windows with little insulation was not ideal;
- Its proximity to the teacher’s desk was much too close for comfort;
- The kid who sat behind me smelled like bananas. Rotten ones that are melting in the sun.
Unfortunately for me, the seating plan does not change for the entire school year. The over zealous “watch-dogging” of my stern teacher, however, increases in direct proportion with the hyperactivity of the banana kid. I could draw you a graph. But you’re smart. I trust that you’re picking up what I’m putting down. No not the bananas. I don’t have any bananas. You’ve completely lost the point.
[Picture a very “balanced” and “graceful” segue here]
After 6 months, I begin to feel paranoid during “silent reading time”. It is during these quiet moments, when my teacher’s “watch-dogging” reaches a new shade of red alert. As a result of my ongoing paranoia, I am unable to read the assigned book “To Kill a Mockingbird”. And unable to actually read the required reading, I am forced to devise a method of pretending to read.
- Step 1: Slowly count to 60 (using the Mississippi method).
- Step 2: Turn the page.
- Step 3: Repeat Step 1-2.
- I have to do all my required reading at home, which I do not do, because I am stubborn and do not like doing anything that I am told to do and do not choose to do;
- My already skeptical opinion of the public education system sinks to an all-time low and I stop reading “school books” all together and begin to use elaborate methods of generating absolute balderdash on my English tests and essays;
- For my final book report, I read one book, because I am allowed to choose it. My choice is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. I choose it for its simplicity and direct symbolism. I write a really super essay and get an A+.
So all’s well that ends well? Well, we’ll just have to see won’t we? Tune in for Age 19. Sure to knock your socks off.
*It is interesting to note that the Jane Austen Essay turned out to be my high school English trump card, as I managed to get away with handing it in a total of four different times during my many years in schooling. All A+s*, just incase you’re wondering.
*The grade I got when I handed in my high school Austen Essay in first year university English class will remain undisclosed.