It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I was not a troublemaker in high school.
To this day, my sister (who is five years younger) still teases me about how I once told her that I never went to any wild parties in high school because I was never invited to one. “You don’t get invited to those!” she told me, shaking her head.
I did, however, know how to work “the system”. Although I never planned on revealing this specific part of my past to my kids, a conversation over dinner a couple of weeks ago led to my telling J about my biggest high school offense, which happened over the course of about four months at the end of my junior year.
The Tennessee high school that Jim and I attended had a fourth (or fifth?) period that was divided into thirds, and students went to class for two of those thirds and lunch for the third, uh, third.
I had first lunch (in the first third. Follow me?), but I spent my lunch period volunteering in the Counselor’s Office. Spanish class was where I went after that, except on days (many days) when I made a detour, and that’s where the trouble begins.
Jim had second lunch.
I used to go see him “on my way” to Spanish (as long as “on the way” means going downstairs from the Counselor’s Office to the cafeteria and then back up the stairs to class) for five or ten minutes. I was chronically late.
At dinner a couple of weeks ago I got all the way to that part of the story before I realized that my nineteen-year-old would likely ask the question. And he did.
“How did you get away with being late to class all the time?”
I lowered my voice a little bit and said, “I lifted some late-excuse pads from the Counselor’s Office and forged signatures so my Spanish teacher just thought I was finishing up loose ends. BUT I HAD AN ‘A’ AVERAGE IN SPANISH SO SHE WAS FINE WITH IT.”
Once he picked up his chin from the floor, he spent a few minutes nervously laughing and shaking his head while clearly in shock over this revelation.
“So…you just FORGED their signatures????”
“And you had PADS of those excuse sheets????”
“And your teacher never got you in trouble?????”
“How often did you do that???”
Three or four days each week.
And hey, it all worked out okay, didn’t it?