Daddy Warbucks said, "You are special. Never stop believing that. " I have reddish hair, so I think I can make a leap over to believing I'm Little Orphan Annie and feel special.
Speaking of dads, it is Pop's Day. Do I have anything to say about my pop? I guess I do.
When I was going through Summer school in 9th grade I got into some serious trouble. I came to school and was promptly escorted from the flagpole out front into the principle's office by both the vice principle and the head principle. They had been waiting for me.
They were really rough with me and kept me in the dark for two hours, just yelling at me saying that I knew what I'd done and that I needed to come clean. Kids, this is why you don't let yourself get a rap and become a fuckup by fifth grade--it tends to follow you around.
I've always been amazed by how much trouble young kids get into. Some of the things I did, starting in just 3rd grade, really blow my mind. Where were the child psychologists? I was one screwed-up little man. I got my first D in 3rd grade and my first F in 5th grade. From there on I was pretty much flunking out. This comes from a kid who was getting straight A's in K-2 and really tearing it up on standardized tests. How can adults be so stupid as to just chalk this up to "Little Billy just needs to shape up and fly right"?
So, back to our story: I was in real deep shit. Before I had any idea what I was in there for--well I did, but we'll get to that in a second--they were telling me that I would be arrested as soon as I admitted to what I had done. This told me that they didn't really have anything on me--thus the reason for all the damn mystery. They were sweating me and despite grabbing my neck, pushing me into the chair, asking me to stand at random, and good cop bad cop shit, they had me bawling my ass off. But I was not going to talk, not to these evil SOB's.
Now, they let me go for a half hour. I went to my algebra class, and then within fifteen minutes, was called right back for another round of getting my ass thrown around my head. This is the thing: When you get into a lot of trouble, you tend to keep your mouth shut to your parents about anything that happens, abuse wise, because you're afraid of getting into more trouble. The vice principle had repeatedly shoved me into the wall and pulled my hair, so my head was stretched backward. He also would grab my wrist and crank on it until I submitted. This all occurred while Mr. H would be whispering into my ear, then full out shouting. I finally gave up, or at least what I thought that they wanted from me.
I was caught with a blade in my algebra class the day prior to this incident. I told them that I was sorry for having the weapon (this was long before zero tolerance). I had found it outside that morning and thought it was a cool find. I took it to my class and showed my friends. That's when my teacher caught me and confiscated it. But, he never told me anything or sent me to the principle's office, so I thought I was cool. I explained to him that I had just found it, too.
Well, this teacher did report this to the principle and they figured that I had the evidence--the knife that slashed the towels, carpet, and their car tires. Oh boy, when they told me that, I knew I was screwed. I explained my story and offered rock solid alibis. They didn't care. They had been waiting to pin something substantial on me for a long time. They claimed that it was my way of rebelling against having to go to Summer school.
I was told by them that my dad would be called and as soon as they could, they'd have me arrested and charged with possession of a weapon and vandalism. Calling my dad would turn out to be their biggest mistake.
When I got home, my dad was waiting and furious. He had been unemployed for three years up to that point and was battling poor health, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. He was really unpredictable. I had already felt like I was bringing shame and dishonor to my family--one that was already becoming the shame case of the suburbs. I didn't do bad things because I wanted to be bad, ever. I did them because I didn't care about myself. So, when I thought that my own dad would not believe me over my school principles, I wanted to kill myself. I really had my escape route all planned out--Vern's 32 caliber pistol to the back of the mouth--but decided to let my dad have one chance. Best thing I ever did for my life.
After he laid into me he asked me if I did it. This really blew my mind. He actually didn't leap to conclusions. I mean, he had reason to get mad at me for the blade, but stopped at the vandalism. I only had to tell him once, that I didn't do it. This man, who was struggling with the world and his own disgrace, promptly went down to the school and let the hammer fall on these two ingrates, bullies, supposed learned men. I don't know what he did to them, but the next day they were waiting again at the flag pole, only this time they greeted me with a smile, a handshake, and a vigorous apology. It was my turning point.
High school was hard for me. I had to change many of my friends and pull myself out of a huge tarpit. I really didn't have fun and have not had many fond memories of high school, but I made it out and stopped getting in trouble. My life has been real complicated because of my dad, but he is the reason that I'm still around to tell you all this--he believed me.
4 years ago