“Oh, so it’s chips all around, is it? Someone must have bought the party pack.”
Can I just say that I got suspended in 7th grade because I wouldn’t throw away my potato chips? True story.
Let me begin by saying that I went to South Shore Christian, a very strange school. I loved it, and I wouldn’t change anything about having gone there for a second, but every now and then, they went a bit wack-a-doo. So, the year was 1987. My age, 12. And I guess they had just instituted this policy that didn’t allow the students to take food out of the cafeteria after the bell had rung. Why? I don’t know. It probably had something to do with sex.
Anyway, so one autumn afternoon, I had purchased Cottage Fries with my lunch. However, as the lunch hour, or rather, lunch 40 minutes, wore on, I grew full and didn’t desire my snack any longer. I will save it for after school, I told myself. OR SO I THOUGHT. On my way out, I was stopped by the National Guard, or rather, Mrs. Melillo the music teacher, who informed me that I was not going anywhere with those chips! But they weren’t opened, I explained. No matter, I was not to leave with them. I was to throw them out. WHY? That was a waste of money and food, and totally bureaucratic, in my humble, 12-year-old opinion.
I guess I got pissy and smart mouthed, as was/is my wont, for during the very next period (Life Science with Mrs. Murray), I was called out of class by Reverend Cole, the principal. He was all serious, telling me that I had been very rude to Mrs. Melillo, that it wasn’t her fault I couldn’t keep my Cottage Fries, and that I was not to backtalk to teachers, and…
…I was being suspended from school.
I mean, wait, WHAT? Despite my temper and tendency to mouth off to authority figures when I am threatened, I am usually able to objectively assess situations after the fact, and was even then, and be like, “Okay, that sucks, but it was my bad.” Only I wouldn’t have said “my bad” in ’87, because it had not yet crept into the vernacular, at least not at South Shore, but the point is, to this day, I maintain that suspension was just A BIT MUCH. And it was an AT-HOME suspension, no less! That was like, the serious counterpart to the in-school suspension.
I must give my mother mad props for her handling of the situation. She of all people knew what a smartass I could be, but she also knew that suspending me was beyond ridiculous and crackheaded of the higher ups at good old SSCS. So outside of the suspension itself, I didn’t get in trouble at all.
In fact, the suspension itself ended up being quite lovely. All I did the entire day was stay in my room and read Sweet Valley High. Bed, books, and rain on an October day? Best. Punishment. Ever!
© January 12, 2006