Mr.Brightside | Teen Ink


January 17, 2013
By Ninjagall, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Ninjagall, Franklin, Wisconsin
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Author's note: It's my childhood

Let me tell you a story. By that, I mean quite a few stories, which all add up to one total story. My story. I should probably start by describing the school. It was a small building, about as big as a fourth, maybe less, of my high school. Each class had their own room and about fifteen to twenty kids in each grade. Even for a private school, it was small. As a kid I assumed that all schools were small like mine, and whenever I read about other schools, I assumed that they were made up like they were to fit the setting, with bells, large classes, and a system where you can pick your classes. Things like that didn’t happen. Whoops.

I remember in kindergarten, I was left handed. But at the tender age of five peer pressure kicked in, and I saw everybody writing with their right hands, and I didn’t want to be different, so I started writing with my right hand, which is why my hand writing is so terrible now, because I can’t really write with either hand now.
As a kid, and still now, I have a higher intelligence. I’m just very lazy. This still damages my GPA a lot, since I’ll get bored doing the homework, and just stop. I remember when we did handwriting; I would abbreviate every word ever, just to get out of any actual writing.
The first incident I remember at the school involved the “trouble” system, or how the teacher record how bad you’ve been throughout the day, and it was a traffic light with a small police cap on top. If you were on green, you were a very good rule follower. If you were on yellow, that was bad, maybe you talked or called someone something very offensive at the time, like “Dumb”. Finally, if you were on red, at the top, you’re basically devil spawn for the rest of the day, and nobody would talk to you. I made it a personal hobby to sneak into the room when nobody else was there, and move all the kids how were annoying to the “red” area. Just to clarify, almost everyone annoys me. If it breathed, it was probably on my nerves. I was caught doing this on many occasions, and was moved to the “yellow” area, which meant I didn’t get an hour of game boy at home later.
How tragic.
Anyway, the biggest memory that sticks to me was when a kid named Del called someone else “stupid” (which, at age five, is basically a nicer version of F*** you.” She would’ve moved his clip up to the red, but he was already up there. So she moved his clip to the top of the police hat, and left it there. Del looked at the clip on the hat, looked at the teacher, and said in a sarcastic voice “What does that even MEAN?”
Del was given a detention at age five, and as far as I know, nobody else got to the hat since then, although many (including me) have tried.

I’ll go into a little more detail about details each chapter. So by third grade, out of a class of seventeen or so, I had made a grand total of four real friends. Their names were Luke, Mark, Marge, and Becky. We joked around in class a lot, not getting into serious trouble, just getting yelled at for talking in class and such. I knew the rest of the class, but I didn’t consider them friends. One of these people was named Susan. Although she was very close to Marge, Susan and I never got along, one of us would always try to one up the other, her usually winning. I didn’t have the language at this age, but I believe the term I would’ve used back then to describe her was “B****”

In third grade, at age nine, Marge and I were looking at a cocoon in the playground, our third grade minds still wrapping around the idea of a bug wrapping itself up for months.

“Look Marge, it’s a huge cocoon!” I exclaimed when we found it. I heard footsteps closing in on me, and me and Marge both turned around to see Susan.

“Actually, it’s called a chrysalis. Get a brain moron!” She said as she started to laugh. Marge, who agreed with me earlier, started to laugh at me also. I thought for a second, and then, without hesitation, I reached out and slapped Susan with the back of my hand, causing her to fall down and start to cry.

“Whoops.” I said. “That’s called a slap.”

She ran to get a teacher, and I could tell my fate was sealed and I was doomed. Our teacher, Mrs.Curski, materialized next to me, and went on a rant about how much trouble I would be in later when we got inside. The new punishment system was a card that had the numbers zero, one, two, and three on it. Zero being the best and three being the worst; and my card flew to three faster than I could even say “chrysalis.”

From then on, Susan and I became friends. There are some things you can’t do without becoming friends, and back handing someone appeared to be one of those more unlikely things.

Art was never one of my strong strengths, as I said before, my handwriting alone was terrible. But the ability to create images using lines, colors, and neat flicks of a pencil was way beyond my capacity. Art was mandatory at my school, so everyone in my grade had to take it, every Friday, for 45 minutes.

It was the longest 45 minutes I’ve ever experienced, and each week it seemed to get longer.

For one (sorry in advance, teachers and fat people.) Our teacher was HUGE. One day, Mark and I counted how long it would take to walk from the street to the entrance to the school, and it took about one minute. For her, it took ten minutes. Everyone would share their drawings every Friday, and I’d always just go last, because the class would laugh at my drawing. One Friday, the teacher yelled at me, and I just sat there wondering what I did. She made me stand in front of the class, and hold my drawing up. It was a pyramid, since the assignment was to draw a building in the shape of an actual shape.

“Class!” She announced “What’s wrong here?”

The class was silent, and then Marge spoke out, from the silence, “It’s ugly?”

The whole class, even me, burst out laughing.

“NO NO NO NO!” She yelled, her face getting tomato red. “Look in the corner.”

17 pairs of eyes made their way to the corner of my paper, and meet a small sun in my page.

“What’s wrong with that?” Said Susan. “It’s a sun.”

“No, it’s a corner sun!” She yells. “We are in FOURTH GRADE. We have moved on past this cheap crap!” I almost couldn’t help myself from laughing.


“Matt, why are you LAUGHING? This is SERIOUS!” She bellowed at the top of her huge lungs, her many chins wobbling around.

“So I drew a corner sun, big deal!” I almost fell to the floor laughing by now. My artistic abilities were so lacking, a corner sun was probably all I could handle. She gave me a look of hatred and told me to sit back down. Marge was up next for the sketch book drawing, but she said she didn’t want to share.

“C’mon Marge, as long as you didn’t take the easy way out like Matt did, you’ll be fine.”

Marge was almost trembling when she held up her drawing, and I lost control of myself and burst out laughing.

She had a drawn a corner sun.

Sketch book drawings were canceled for the rest of the year, and that was that.

I know I’ve been bouncing around through grades, from kindergarten to third grade was a huge jump, but from now on the stories will be closer in time. If anything funny happened between kindergarten and third grade, it’s been long forgotten. But after fifth grade I remember a lot more.

We got a new student in fourth grade, the year before when we got another. The new students name was J. Throughout fourth grade, he was a trouble maker. He was one of those morons that would distract the teacher constantly, and annoy the kids actually learning. As I said before, if you’re a teacher reading this and you don’t like reading negative feedback on other teachers, please put this away. However, if you are an idiot and you don’t like reading about other idiots, you may also put this away.

Still there…? Good.

See, I figure that whoever you are, you don’t think you’re an idiot. But that’s the beauty of idiots, nobody thinks they are one. I’m not saying YOU are, but you could be. It’s a possibility.

Well, I should probably get back to this story.

In fifth grade we got a new student. Her name was Maggie. She was by far, one of the most annoying people I have ever met, even now, writing this in the eleventh grade. Nobody else in the class liked her either, as she went out of her way to make everybody around her seem like a dumbass.

Now this is pretty terrible, but it was Mark who came up with the idea, and although looking back, it was a horrible idea; we all went along with it. We had this thing called “inoculation” which was when a friend pinches you on the shoulder after Maggie makes physical contact with you. This inoculation would save your life, and if you did not get inoculated, you would wither away and die later in the day.

Sometime later in the year, it was her birthday, and she brought cookie cake. Now, everybody wanted it, but everybody was scared to eat it since they would get the Maggie disease and die. I looked towards Marge, who looked back at me, pinched her cookie cake, and said “All clear.” Maggie told the teacher, and she yelled at us for about a half hour about “respect” and such. I wasn’t listening too much; I was enjoying my now edible cookie cake, as I worked my way around the pinch I made in it, which made it safe to eat. Maggie left at the end of the year, because she “Didn’t want to be around so many idiots.”

Nobody complained, probably because nobody in my class considered themselves an idiot. Besides, she didn’t really fit into our little group anyway.

I pulled a lot of pranks during 6th grade, more came later, but a lot of the funny ones came from this particular year. Once again, the teacher was huge; the art teacher made her look tiny, but this woman was still huge. Once, she took her sweatshirt off, and her shirt came off with it, revealing her chest. Becky almost screamed, and went to the bathroom for a half hour after this. One of the pranks that I pulled involved tape. I stuck it on the teachers chair so it would stick to her when she sat down. It worked, and tape was stuck to her butt for the rest of the day. But it didn’t end there, since the next day she worse the exact same pair of pants the next day, and the tape was still on her butt the next day, which disgusted all of us.

Another prank I pulled was I got Mark and Luke to go into the hall with the teacher and complain about something in private. When the teacher was out of the room, I got plastic wrap out of my desk and covered the teacher’s desk. The whole desk, and everything on it, was covered in plastic wrap. When she came back into the room, she just laughed, but then made the whole class partake in removing it from her desk. That same week, I convinced her she was hearing voices, because I’d say her name very quietly so she wouldn’t know who it was, and everybody would deny it.

It was probably the most entertaining week of the elementary school career.

It wasn’t just teachers I would pull pranks on. I pulled one on Luke where I took a perfume sample from the newspaper, and I told him to come by me at recess, where I took the perfume sample and rubbed it on him before he had enough time to get away. So for the rest of the day, he smelled like “Palm trees, sunshine, and happiness.”

We had a music teacher who was always very odd. She basically taught us nothing, and even today I don’t think I learned one thing in her class, for all ten years. One day during sixth grade, she dropped her pencil under her desk.

“Let me get that!” She bellowed, and went under her desk to retrieve the pencil. After five minutes, she still wasn’t up from the desk.

“Matt, go check on her.” Marge said to me.

“Why me,” I whispered, “I don’t even like her.”

“Just do it.”

I walked, grumbling, to her desk, and I saw her bent under it. I slowly move myself so I could see her better, and I noticed she was eating something. Confused, I looked even closer, and I noticed a bucket from Culvers under the desk, as she pulled chicken out from the bucket and ate it. I tried not to laugh at this as I slowly went back to my seat.

“Was she okay? What’s going on?” Marge asked.

“You’re not gonna believe me.” I say, trying not to laugh.

“Try me.”

I tried her, and I was right before. She didn’t believe me. Eventually she came up from under the desk, after about ten minutes, wiping her face off with her sleeve.

“That pencil was really hard to find!” She grinned.

I can tell, right now, you’re thinking this is a work of fiction, even in the midst of other nonfiction stories. Or you think they’re all fake. None of these are. Even this. Just because nobody believes me now doesn’t mean I’m gonna exclude it from this story. Whether or not you think this is true or not, I’ll let you decide, I’m just the reporter.
Later that year, the music teacher got mad at our class because we kept talking, so she took her binder, slammed it on the ground, and left the room in a huff. Being twelve years old, we all naturally started to talk and screw around. I went to the back of the room and started to play the song Clocks, by Coldplay, on the piano, which I had learned a few weeks beforehand. Everybody gathered around, and we all started to just kind of laugh it up. That’s when the teacher came back into the room, and started to go ballistic at me. I got sent to the principal, who just laughed off the reason why I was there. She sent me back to class, where the teacher started to yell at me again, and gave me a detention for playing the piano in music class.

Let me put emphasis on that. Playing the PIANO in MUSIC class.

Do you see the problem?
I do.

I didn’t hate gym because I was out of shape. In fact, I played soccer in the fall and ran track during the spring, so I was in pretty decent shape. I met my friend Sam, my second friend who didn’t come from my school. The first was a boy named Harrison, and my third, later in seventh grade, was another boy named Tony. Back to gym class, I didn’t hate it because it was hard, or because it was boring.

I hated it because our teacher was a freaking creep.

He would always creep on the girls; on one occasion he even went inside their locker room to yell at them. He even looked like a pedophile, having grey hair, a shaggy beard, and drove a black van with tinted windows, so we all assumed he was a huge creep inside and outside of school. One day, he asked Susan if she would want to go to Florida with him. She kindly refused, and then had a mental breakdown ten minutes later.

One day after gym, we were all changing in our locker rooms, which were connected to the cafeteria. That day’s lunch was pancakes and sausage, so the leftovers were still in the garbage cans.

“Hey guys, here’s an idea.” Mark reached into the garbage can and took out a sausage, then waited by the girls locker room to throw it. As it turned out, Marge was the first one to leave, and she got pelted in the face with a sausage, which left a red mark in the shape of a sausage.

“You son of a b****, I’ll kill you!” She laughed, and everyone charged towards the garbage cans to grab weapons. We all felt great during this, as if we were all just one big family inside of a school. This food fight went on for at least ten minutes, before the gym teacher stood at the door and started to yell and swear at us.


Mark came up to him really slowly, held out his hand, offering the sausage to him. “Sausage?”

For the rest of the year, he had to sit outside the doors while we changed, which made everybody extremely uncomfortable.

Even before this food fight, things were tense downstairs. The girls complained about a door in the back of the room that wouldn’t open. One day, Marge came out of the locker room screaming, and after that, all the girls practically flew out of the room. Then, a man nobody had ever seen before came out, waved to everybody with a smile on his face, and walked up the stairs.

“He- he came out of the room that’s locked.” Marge gulped. “What the hell, why did-“ Marge broke off, since she couldn’t believe what just happened.

As we went up the gym, all the girls said they were going to complain to the gym teacher about this, when they saw the man who creeped out of their locker room talking to our gym teacher, who said the man was his best friend and was here to visit him for the day. Since then, gym was just weird to even think about.

We got a new Spanish teacher in seventh grade. This wasn’t a surprise for us, since we got a new one every year. At the end of every year, the teacher would end up pregnant, and would have to leave. Every year, they would teach us the same s***, the colors, numbers, and occasionally a few words. So it was basically Spanish one for ten years, which is ironic, since Spanish is impossible for me to understand, even after a total of twelve years of it. This year, she was a tall blond lady who, as I said before, taught us the colors and number in the Spanish language. She was the worst, most boring teacher yet. One day, she bent over, and we noticed she was wearing a thong. Gross. She obviously gave no shits about her subject, and gave no effort in making sure we understood the subject.
Our English teacher, who we called Triangle hair (since, well, her hair looked like a triangle) had to go to a wedding, so she got a substitute teacher for the week. The sub was an eighty year old nun who probably couldn’t even hear correctly. After the first day, she grabbed my shoulder, and pulled me away from the class.
“You did very well, despite your difficulty.” She told me, then sent me to lunch with the rest of the class. I discussed this at lunch with Mark, Susan, Luke, and Marge.
“Does she think you’re ‘special’?” Mark asked, making air quotes around the word special for emphasis.
“I don’t know. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, so I don’t know why she’d think that.” I replied.
“That’s probably WHY she thinks that.” Marge joked.
We all laughed at that, but as it turns out, we were right. The substitute thought I was mentally handicapped, and I was treated differently for the whole week. When the class was given suckers for doing something right, I was given jolly ranchers, while the class had three pages of English homework to do, I was given a Color by Number worksheet.
Now, I suppose it’s bad that I didn’t speak up or anything, but it’s not like I acted differently the whole week, I acted completely normal. How she picked me to be special needs was a question even today I don’t know the answer to. Neither does anyone else.
Later that year, when the teacher came back, we told her about what happened, and she thought it was the funniest thing to happen to any of her students. That same month, Mark said if we didn’t know the answer for a test, we should just write “God loves us” for the answer, because the teacher shouldn’t be able to mark it wrong. That new strategy, as I found out, did not work during Biology, so I got poor marks on the cell division test.
The work we did in seventh and eighth grade wasn’t just normal work. The teacher we had for both history and science taught us high school level material. It wasn’t just Biology; it was almost like taking an AP Biology pre-course. We also did Chemistry and Physics, which were equally as hard. Although this has been a huge help now, during high school, at the time it was a living hell. So when I got a test back that read D+, SEE ME, on it, I was not that surprised, since half my answers were “God loves us.”

8th grade was when my grade school career came to a close. This was the last year at my school before high school, and I spent the whole year waiting to get into high school to finally be with Sam, Tony, and Harrison, who had become my three best friends outside of school. We would hang out a lot, and we had a lot in common. We were all in boy scouts, we all liked video games and movies, and we all got along like normal people.

During 8th grade, the last prank we pulled as a class was during the “prayer circle”. In all honestly, the prayer circle was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done to waste time. We played sad music on a speaker, sat in a circle with play-doh, and used it to “mold” our desires and such. Our teacher, Triangle hair, was deathly afraid of birds, so we often would change the background of her computer to be a picture of a bird or something, which would freak her out. One day, before a prayer circle, Susan replaced the sad CD with a CD that contained the song “Surfin’ Bird”, which started to play during our prayer circle, leaving all of us in hysterical laughter.

Later in that year, another miracle happened. The idiot kid named J that came to our school in fourth grade had been picking on me a lot, and it was really started to bug me, to the point where high school couldn’t seem farther away. He got expelled later in the year, though, not because of anything he said or did to me, but because he told a teacher that “If I saw you got shot in the street, I would point and laugh, and congratulate the shooter.” I can honestly say I didnt like anyone I went to school with by then. Nobody had stood up for me during this, and it made me feel like crap. After 10 years, they couldn't have even told J to shut up. Thats when I knew when I got to high school, I'd keep going and try not to look back.

After he left, things improved dramatically. Nothing really mentionable happened, other than just mindless jokes we told and pulled on each other. At the end of the year, we went on a class trip to six flags, where it rained a majority of the day. We also went to the Kalahari water park in the dells, which was an amazing trip. During graduation, we had a “Roast and Toast” where the seventh grade class wrote jokes about who we would become in the future. One of them wrote for me that I would work at Ferch’s for the rest of my life and spend my free time reading books on the job, due to my love of Ferch’s ice cream and reading. After the dinner, we all went to a bowling alley for midnight bowling. I bowled a few rounds with Mark and Luke, and then my dad called me to leave. On the way out, somebody said goodbye to me, but I was in a rush, so I just raised my hand and didn’t look back.
I never did.

High schools been amazing so far. I’m writing this as a Junior, in a creative writing class. I always wanted to write, but I didn’t want to make it my main career, so I’m pursuing a medical style career, but I still want to write on the side. Thus, this. I stopped talking to a lot of the people who I went to grade school with, as we each had our own “groups” to talk to. I met a lot of new friends in the World History Honors class, and even more in the TV Production class. I tell them stories of my childhood often, probably too often, and a majority of them don’t believe they happened. I started talking to Mark again after we both started talking again in AP Biology, and he’s helped me remember a lot of these little stories, which I probably would have forgotten to include without him, so everybody give a round of applause to Mark.
But like I said before, high schools been great. I’ve meet a lot of new friends, a lot of great teachers, and there’s never really been a dull moment so far. Sam, Tony, Harrison and I all take the TV classes together, with a lot of other friends, making it my favorite class. I do hope that, whoever you are, you’ve enjoyed this little story, and that if you’re a teacher, you’re not setting it on fire right now from all the teacher talk. Just remember to look on the Brightside of everything.
It’s much more fun that way.

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