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a Lesson to Remeber
This past school year, I learned something more important than the 8 years I had attended the boarding school. I can recall it clearly, as I sit on my desk, typing this up in my room, the crowds of students passing. It all started when I was sitting with those who meant the most to me; my girlfriend Amie, my two best friends Seth and Andy, and Pierre. Bobby was there too, but I’m not really sure why. Andy made the comment about, as he so eloquently worded it “some weirdo” who we had all seen walking the corridors as students ranging from ages 11 to 18 passed him by. But, that described about 90% of the school population.
See, I go to a spy academy, where only about 10% of the population is made up of girls. We were all being trained to be constantly on guard. Naturally, this turned most of us into paranoid freaks until we realized what Professor Stratford and Mr. Anderson were trying to stay: never lower your guard, you can get a surprise attack at any moment. Naturally, that’s when the paranoia rate increases, so you’ve got a boarding school full of paranoid teenagers that Headmaster Johnson so cleverly dubbed as “weirdoes.” So naturally my first response to Andy’s comment was “Which weirdo in particular, Andy?”
“He’s talking about the guy who walks down the hallway pretending to drive a car.” Amie said. Pierre laughed, which sort of sounded funny, seeing as Amie hails from New York City (despite her now-divorced parents being British) and Pierre was French. Seth rolled his eyes, silent as usual. I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose.
“You mean Bobby?” I asked. The others roared with laughter, making several teachers in the dining hall stare at our table. I waved at them, and they continued on with their conversations. I turned back to my friends, uncapping my water and drinking it.
“Hey!” Bobby protested in his Southern accent. “I was paid to do that!” Actually, he’s right. He was paid $150 American money for it. It was pretty funny, and Headmaster even offered to put him in counseling at one point.
I laughed. “I was just kidding my friend” I replied. “But who are you talking about?” Amie put her head on my shoulder. I kissed the top of her head.
“That Jon-Mario kid.” Pierre replied in a thick French accent.
“Kid? He’s in our year, Pierre, he’s hardly a kid.”
“He acts like one.” Bobby replied. Amie nodded in agreement.
“And you don’t?” Seth asked him quietly. We all laughed. The next day I was on my way to Professor Rider’s classroom, ready to see what he was willing to teach us today. I enjoyed his class. I adjusted my tie, and cleaned my glasses off on my sweater vest (no this is not the school uniform. The school has no uniform). I stopped Jon-Mario in the hallway, and Professor Stratford stopped too. A lot of people liked to pick on Jon-Mario, so he was curious about what I was going to say.
“Hey Remus.” Jon-Mario said, flicking his shaggy hair out of his eyes. “What’s up?”
“Well…I was wondering if you really like driving.” I said hesitantly, trying not to sound rude. I scratched the top of my head. “or is it a possibility that you’re practicing for your driver’s test?” I had discovered from my American girlfriend (now my wife) that American’s get their licenses at 16. We got ours at 18. Both Jon-Mario and I were 17.
Jon-Mario laughed. “No, I’m just trying to make a point.” A point? What? Spies don’t usually not know an answer, and this time, I had no answer for the peculiar individual standing before me, in guy’s skinny jeans, sneakers covered in skulls-and-cross-bones, and a Mario Kart t-shirt. I mean, I knew spies were sometimes overly eccentric, but….
“Whatever do you mean, Jon-Mario?”
Mario” He automatically corrected. “See, Remus, you notice anything unusual about me?” Mario began. “Aside from the fact I’m pretending to hold a steering wheel.” I looked him up and down.
“Is there a reason as to why you are wearing a Mario Kart t-shirt when your name is Mario?” He looked down then laughed. He tugged on the front of his shirt.
“Nope, I just like the game.” I cringed at the word nope; I really despised that word. It was part of that whole, nerd thing.
“Well, then no.” I replied, pretending the word never left his mouth.
“And how is our conversation going?”
“Normally…I think.” I said.
Mario laughed. “See? I’m not weird at all. I’m an okay guy, right? Just because I’m doing something really weird, doesn’t mean I’m actually weird, right? Think of the movies. The better looking people are the evil ones, and the nerdy ones are super hero’s.” Mario said. “You might be a super hero one day.” I think he just called me a nerd. And I didn’t exactly get the last part, but I realized he had a point. Not only was I a nerd (people my age just don’t wear sweater vests for fun like I do) but also I realized the odd ones were the nicest.
As Professor Stratford passed me, we bumped into one another. I realized he did a brush pass, and put something in my pocket. “Mario, why don’t you come to class with me today? You can meet my friends.” Mario’s face lit up, and we walked off to class. Later I read Professor Stratford’s note. It read:
You’ve taught me something as I watched you interact with Jon-Mario today. You taught me that everyone needs a friend, and the ones who stand out in a crowd aren’t always weird, just proud of being different. Thank you, son, and remember, be on your guard at all times.
Professor John Stratford
I also learned something that day. That, not only does everyone need a friend, but also people make some pretty good points, and that everyone needs a friend. I learned that even the strictest of teachers could be the biggest softies. And finally, I learned that not everybody is who he or she seems to be.