Written By Galen White
I’m sure some of you believe I’m the devil incarnated due to the tales of my school days at Athens High. I’ve told of how I disruptive in class and how my school teachers danced with joy upon my graduation. I’ve told 12 years of stories, from bein’ sent to the principal in the first grade to skippin’ class as a senior.
Well, I’ve decided to come clean and tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth. I lied. I am innocent, and that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! Hey! Just look a this face; do I look like someone who would do the things I’ve done?
Just don’t believe me, do ya? I really didn’t think you would, but it was worth a try. Ain’t it amazin; how folks will believe the absolute worst about someone, but when it’s something good, well, we just find it hard to believe. I guess the “good” just ain’t as entertainin’ as the “bad”. Anyway, I said I would tell you the truth and I meant it. So here goes.
Yes, I was disruptive with my talkin’ too much and crackin’ jokes. I really was sent to the principal in the first grade and I cut classes as a senior. The tales in between those escapades were true, too. However, I wasn’t all bad; and that’s a true statement. Gee, I can see you are still havin’ a hard time believin’ me.
Okay, you can ask anyone who went to school with me and I promise they will testify the following as being true. First, though, I gotta point out that I wasn’t the only one prone to cuttin’ up in class, and as long as the guilty ones keep quiet I won’t publicize their names. For the really bad ones, keep sendin’ me the check each month and I won’t tell you who they are, either.
As I said, you can ask anyone who went to school with me and they will verify the following. No exaggeration; no embellishment. There was a class that I, literally, excelled at during school. That class was ….Recess! I coulda been the best…, ‘scue me? Recess ain’t a class? Well it’s obvious your definition and mine are two different things, and since this my story, go bite a lemon.
Yes, sir, I was as good, or better’n anyone else I knew, at undergoin’ the rigors of recess. Didn’t matter if rain nor sleet nor snow, I really enjoyed recess. Now, I was always told this time was designed to give us kids a break. I never did buy into that too much; I always thought it was to give the teachers a break…, especially after puttin’ up with my antics.
The understandin’ of how recess worked came easily and early for me. The very first day of first grade and ol’ Galen knew this particular time of day was made for him. I made up my mind right then and there that I was gonna excel during this time and not hassle the teachers. I figured they’d appreciate it and I believed they did. Of course, I never did know why they smoked so much and drank so much coffee during that short period of time. Musta been some nerve disorder ’cause, like I said, I didn’t bother ’em a’tall durin’ recess.
Our school yard consisted of a row of swings, a merry-go-round, and monkey bars. Now, everyone knows about swings and merry-go-rounds, but I think I figured it out. You know, I’ll bet they don’t call ’em that today. Probably call ’em somthin’ like “exercise bars” or “stationary trapeze bars”. Nope. Monkey bars is just too obvious.
Durin’ recess we often played a game called dodge ball, which I understand has been outlawed today. You may remember it; about three of four kids outside a circle who would throw a ball at one of ten or twenty kids inside the circle. If you were hit, you were out.
One schoolmate I remember was quite good at throwin’ the ball and knockin’ somebody off their feet. To me, he seemed to take a little too much pleasure in seein’ if I could dodge his throw. Have you ever kissed a ball and tasted rubber? Well, I have…., several times. And I would almost swear that the ball had a permanent imprint of my face on it.
The thing about this game was that it was fun! No one thought it was demeaning or that it taught aggression and hatred. In fact, we laughed so much our stomachs would be sore afterwards. It’s too bad kids today can’t have fun for fear some parent might see an opportunity to sue ’cause their little Johnny got hit with a ball. It’s a GAME, folks. It’s supposed to be fun!
Regardless, I am bein’ honest when I say I was quite good at recess. Now, if you’ll just forget those tales that occurred outside recess times, then it should be easy for you to believe I wasn’t all bad. And that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth…., well, for the most part.
Galen White has written articles for several papers in North Louisiana and is now retired.