September 13, 2002

Friday Five

It's About That Time....


1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why? In my college studies, I'd have to say Physical Anthropology, because it really brought out my inner science geek. All that discussion about evolution and genetics and primates was fascinating. In high school and junior high, it was music. Music was my identity during this time and probably was what got me through high school in one piece.

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why? Mr. Myers, senior year AP English teacher. He was a really tall guy whose hair was slicked back a'la Pat Riley and wore suits to work everyday and always wore socks that complemented the tie he was wearing. He was a fun, yet serious instructor who, for me, made literature interesting and enjoyable. It was the first time I went an entire year without a missing or late book report!

3. What is your favorite memory of school? My favorite school memory was actually something I wasn't even there to witness first hand... It happened in my senior year, on "senior ditch day". I took the bait on this unofficial school-holiday and hung out with some other band kids at a friend's house. This was the day, unbeknownst to me, that my fave teacher, Mr. Myers, decided to hand back our largest assignment of the year - graded, for us to review.

The assignment was this: choose three works by a single author and write a 15-20 page paper on those works. But he explained that he wanted us to get creative with the papers. So after much back-and-forth and indecision on my part, I chose to do mine in screenplay format, on my fave author of the moment, J.D. Salinger. I hand-typed it in one long night on an old typewriter and handed it in early, hoping for bonus credit. The outlandish-plot of this screenplay was that, because our teacher won some contest for teacher of the year (me=kiss ass), our class won the prize of a visit from J.D. Salinger himself to discuss his works. Highly unlikely, I know, but I had to come up with something!!

Anyhow, I really didn't have much to say in the analysis of those books, so I relied upon fictionalized interactions between my classmates, using their highly-stereotyped personalities as fodder for more pages of dialogue. I tried to have everyone in the class represented in the script somehow, I guess somehow relating that I had an understanding of who they really were, and trying to add some sort of heightened-reality to the "story". I tried to show everyone in as bright a light as possible, and was only humorously-scathing in my treatment of personal friends - thinking that maybe they'd get a kick out of it later.
I guess I really had no idea how much Mr. Myers was going to enjoy my paper. Sure, I wanted him to, but I wasn't sure if I had gone too far in the format of the paper, and not gone far enough in its content.

I guess he liked it.

After passing out other's papers, he, in my absence, READ MY "SCRIPT" ALOUD TO THE CLASS!! I didn't hear about this until after school had let out, and a classmate dropped by the house where I was "hanging out" and shared the news. I could not believe it. At first, I was pleased to hear that the teacher enoyed it - then I was struck by a feeling of violation by his public reading.. I had never written this with the intention of others reading or, for goodness-sake, hearing it! Needless to say, I was a little anxious about the next class meeting... but I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of thinking my paper was crap, everyone seemed to have enjoyed it and thought it was clever. Relief! And the paper came back to me with an "A" followed by about 10 plusses, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, that paper was forever lost the very next year to flood damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake... oh well!

4. What was your favorite recess game? Handball. Highly interactive game involving lining up and taking your turn - very hard to be shunned.

5. What did you hate most about school? Homework. I was and continue to be terribly lazy, and I was always failing to do my homework... I always found it either boring or too hard. It took me until my senior year of high school to realize the value of homework and studying.

posted by julie at September 13, 2002 09:00 AM