October 2013


On being a little terror – adventures in middle school when I was four.

Smiley Middle School

Smiley Middle School

Now that my friends have kids of school age, I’m starting to hear some interesting stories about schools and how bad their administrations are. Fighting strange school policies on behalf of their kids is a refrain I’m hearing more and more.

Listening to the stories reminded me of a story from my childhood.

I was the last of my siblings– and last by a long shot. As the baby in the family, my kindergarten and third grade teachers were well known to my parents and my siblings. Plus the librarian and a few other teachers.

After elementary school, I went off to Smiley Middle School – again I was following in the footsteps of my siblings. My pre-algebra teacher was the same that my siblings had, for example.

Mr. A, I quickly realized, was not the brightest bulb in the box. I’ve never actually met a school guidance councilor who I thought was bright, but he was exceptionally dim. He was the kind of guidance councilor who didn’t understand the rules and would recommend things that were patently stupid. One had to argue with him in order to get what was actually best.

Funny enough, when I met him at the start of seventh grade, I had no idea that I’d actually met him nearly a decade before, back when I was a mere infant.

He had been my sister’s guidance councilor and it seems that he was making some patently stupid recommendations to her – stupid enough that Mom had to march over to the school to set things straight for my sister. Except, of course, he thought that he knew better than my Mom, so he resisted.

Mom, though, had a secret weapon.


At that age, as my sister recalls, I was good, but I needed to be reminded to behave. Mom was good at reminding me to be good, especially in public.

Except in Mr. A’s office. It seems that she got so engaged in the discussion with him, that she stopped minding me and let me do whatever. I can only imagine what infant Adam was like – probably a little terror – and it was one of the few times that I wasn’t reminded to behave in public, so I can imagine that I got into all kinds of nice mischief within the confines of his office.

Mr. A caved very quickly to my Mom’s demands.

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