Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The last time I saw Mr. J.

Mr. J was the principal of the smallish Junior High/High School that I went to in the country from roughly 7th to 9th grade. I came from another small town in the country, one that was marginally larger and more cosmopolitan, but when I passed over the county line I found myself transported into a world reminiscent of 'Deliverance'. My grades went down, I started hanging around with the 'bad kids', and after several skirmishes with the school administration I ended up transferring to the county Alternative School, where kids who were hardened juvenile criminals or who had been kicked out schools went. It had much to do with Mr. J. and the school, although he cast himself in the role of Pilate, simply obeying the dictates of conservative parents and school administrators. On a personal level, he presented himself as the cool Principal who would mix with the kids and hang out. On a practical level, he wasn't that much different from other school administrators.

In any case,the principal at the Alternative School saw that I was smart and that I shouldn't have been there, and so she started on a campaign to get me into a better school. She was successful, I got into a great private school for gifted children outside of Detroit, which I graduated from.

The last time I saw Mr. J. was at a friend's concert. My friend played bass with a few other kids from town, and a friend's cousin's parents or some such relation owned a small restaurant in the Detroit suburbs and allowed them to play a set. I was going to the private school at the time.Mr. J. was there to support my friend, a good gesture. He liked to be cool and mix with the kids. Anyways, after a while I went up to talk to him. His statement was "I'm glad you're still alive".

I thought to myself "No thanks to you.", stopped for a second, then turned and walked out, missing most of my friend's performance. I went back to my new life, back to my new school, and left Mr. J. and that other life behind.

No comments: