“Mrs. Reagan's Holy Water(1991)"
by W.Z Snyder
© 2006 William Snyder
My eighth grade science students were busy copying diagrams of mitosis and meiosis from their textbooks into their science journals. I assigned heaps of science diagrams that year. They looked good hanging on the classroom walls. Very colorful. I had no business teaching science to these students whose working class parents were paying 125 dollars a month to insure their children a superior Catholic school education. I was certified to teach English. Mrs. Chun taught English next door. She was certified to teach Math and I don’t know what the math teacher was certified to teach. I guess these parents got a better deal than my mother received when she sent me to Catholic school in the 1960’s. Nuns provided my elementary education and I'm quite certain they weren’t certified to teach anything. There was only one nun left at Saint Agnes. Her name was Sister Rose. She was very old and quiet and sweet. I never saw her beat the devil out of anyone’s knuckles with a ruler. Perhaps she had mellowed with age. The odds are old Sister Rose had whacked a few knuckles in her day. She was a nun. Chickens cluck and nuns beat on the knuckles of grade school children with twelve inch rulers; it's the law of the Catholic school jungle baby.
Joe Tinsley walked purposefully to the front of the room to pick up some colored pencils. I was standing, leaning on an old wooden podium. I could feel his presence lingering behind me.
“What are you doing back there Joe?”
“I’m checking to see if your bald spot got any bigger.”
“No respect. I get no respect,” I said.
“This is a science class. I’m observing data.”
“Glad I can help. I do what I can.”
“How old are you, Mr. Snyder?”
“I’m thirty-one, Joe.”
He walked back to his desk and did some button punching on his calculator.
“By my calculations, you will be completely bald by the time you’re forty.”
I want to point out that at the time of this writing, I am forty-five years of age and I am not completely bald.
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