Those were the days...
| Remember high school? Of course you do. As Dickens once wrote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Remember detention? When I went to high school, back in the Paleolithic Age (yes, I had to look that up), if we fooled around in class or were caught for some minor misdemeanor, the typical punishment was to be sent to detention. I went to a Catholic high school so Detention (with a capital D) was a way of life (especially for some of us).
Here’s what I hated about detention: 1. You were the subject of ridicule, or at least some friendly ribbing, in front of your classmates; 2. You would miss your usual bus to go home or miss any after-school activity you had planned; and 3. You had to write an essay. The first two issues I got accustomed to. It was the essay that became a burden.
That was the penalty. You had to be there for a minimum of 30 minutes and you had to write a 300-word essay. That could mean anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes sometimes. You never knew what the subject of the essay was going to be so you couldn’t prepare ahead of time. The topic was chosen by the proctor – a teacher who wanted to be there even less than you did. So sometimes the topic was not quite as simple as you would like.
I guess you could say that I spent a lot of time in Detention. Never intentionally, mind you. I just seemed to have a knack for getting into trouble – or, at least, for getting caught. Fortunately, I always had some comrades-in-arms with whom to share the time.
Getting back to the essays – I despised them. The proctor had to approve your essay before he would allow you to leave. Some guys (I went to an all-boys school) would pen their essays in record time and swagger up to the head of the room after 30 minutes wearing an evil grin as they were dismissed. Easy-peesy. Not me. I could never think of what to write. I found myself saying the same things over and over just to accumulate enough words to make the quota. Never really saying anything at all. I spent more time counting the words than writing them.
The thing is, something must have stuck. All these years later, I find that now I can jot down 300 words about almost anything (or nothing at all, as Jerry Seinfeld would say). Give me a topic, any topic and my little mind spews out endless trash, like a waste processing unit gone berserk. I don’t even count commas as words any more.
I realize now that I was born for Detention. Send me back today and I would be King of Detention!
Word count? – 480! Yeah-h-h.