…and other ballistic paper products.
My 4th grade science teacher’s name eludes me at the moment. It must be one of the myriad things I’ve suppressed over the years. One or two incidents are too vivid to fade away into the background static of elementary school, though.
Mr. Crabley, as we’ll call him, was a fearsome sight to a 10 year old. He caught some poor kid sleeping once. He shushed the class with a glance and crept up on the unsuspecting victim with an exaggerated step. He wanted us to remember what was going to happen next. In the best horror movie tradition, he pulled a rock hammer from behind his back. Even the kid who always chewed gum was staring slack jawed as he raised it over the boy’s head. CRASH@! Mr. Crabley smote the table, inches from his face, right into the drool coming from his mouth. It propelled him out of his chair and into the storage closet behind him. He was trying to run through the concrete wall at the back of the closet before he opened his eyes. Besides scarring 20 impressionable psyches, I’m sure that poor guy’s ears are still ringing 30 years later.
Mr. Crabley lectured the class in a unique way. he would stand at the chalkboard, splintering chalk as he diagrammed a frog stomach or sea cucumber. He would turn suddenly to survey the class. Anyone out of place would get a piece of chalk thrown at him for his trouble. We delighted in pushing the limits of his wrath. Everytime he turned to the board, the timid kids would raise their heavy textbooks as shields while the others shot spitballs at them through bic pens. Once, towards the end of an especially taxing class, Mr. Crabley turned too fast for us. 20 pairs of eyes followed the last shot from the bully’s corner. Mr. Crabley turned right into it, and we all gasped as we saw it adhere to the right lens of his glasses. He looked us over for a moment, then turned back to the board! He started lecturing and splintering again! Turns out, Mr/s Crabley had really bad eyesight. He was blind in his right eye, and wore glasses for his left. Unwittingly, we had found the dragon’s weak spot, Achilles’ heel, Bert’s Ernie.
We reveled in our victory out at recess. I’m sure someone pointed out Mr. Crabley’s new hood ornament in the faculty lounge. Oh, I’d love to have seen his face when he realized why we were so quiet for the rest of that class.
Anyway, I’ve been reading up on Origami lately, which naturally led to paper airplanes… which naturally led to spitballs…