Three teenagers take an art class
|A WELL DESERVED “A+”
Wearing a long, loose-fitting Mother Hubbard, the bespectacled and bohemian-looking art teacher passed out the grade reports to nervous students. It was the end of my freshman year at Woodlawn High School and the time of reckoning had come. The chickens were about to come home to roost.
It was an art survey course and my good friends, Bobby and Jack, convinced me to take it. “It’ll be a snap,” they said. “All we got to do is draw a few watercolor pictures and learn the names of some really famous dudes who’re already dead.” According to the Curriculum Advisor, this was important stuff to know.
The problem was that Bobby, Jack and I didn’t do any of it. It was boring and, in our 14-year old heads, we figured that the whole process was a waste of time.
Plus, it was too easy to slip out the window when the teacher’s back was turned and sneak over to the stadium where the cheerleaders were practicing. We did it most every day: slide out at the beginning of class, and slide back in just as the bell rang. But now we had to pay the piper.
I looked over at Bobby as the reports were being distributed. He was squirming around in his desk with beads of perspiration beginning to form on his upper lip. Then, at Jack, who was sitting motionless and absently staring at some
point above the world map, no doubt wondering how he could explain a failing grade to his mama.
Me, I had my eyes closed when the teacher finally reached my desk. As she handed me the report, she muttered under her breath, “Tssk Tssk.”
I opened one eye and looked. Then, both eyes. I couldn’t believe it, the grade report was blank. What did that mean? Was I being expelled?
The teacher cleared it up for us, “Boys and girls, I want you to give serious thought to your performance this semester. Then, I want you to write down your grade and why you deserve it.”
I whispered to Bobby, “What’re you gonna put down?” He whispered back, “I dunno, maybe a ‘C’.” We turned toward Jack who was deep in thought and stroking his chin with thumb and forefinger. Then, with a decisive stroke of the pen, he wrote, “A+.”
Bobby said, “Jack, how in the Sam Hill are you going to justify an ‘A+’?” Then he showed us what else he had written: “I deserve this grade because of conservation of materials.”
He explained it: “I never used one stick of charcoal, one piece of paper, one brush or one color crayon. Shoot, with all the stuff I saved the School, they can afford to have this class again next year.”