One summer in high school I take American History. That’s like three or four hours of American History every morning for six weeks and it is one of the worst classes I took in high school. All we did was read the text book and memorize stuff for the quizzes. Now this is the history of America, the country we live in, and from this class, you get the feeling that we must live in the dullest damn country ever created.
My basketball coach teaches the class if you can call what he did teaching, since he mostly taught by saying read pages x through y and prepare for the quiz, and then we had a quiz and went home. Did I say, the coach is maybe 6 feet 5, boney as hell, with a narrow boney face, and black hair worn in a flat top! Also he wears a coat and tie to class and black rimmed glasses perched on his boney nose for reading purposes. He wasn’t a bad guy I guess, and he took a mild interest in me since I was on the basketball team, and having had a chance to observe me outside of class had concluded that I was a bit troubled.
One day we are out running laps on the track and I have done my laps and am just standing there, and the guy comes up to me and has the nerve to ask if I have a girlfriend. How he gets off presuming this degree of intimacy I don’t know, but to his credit he hit a significant part of my problem. And I remember he says,” You don’t have to love’em to kiss’em.” I was like totally embarrassed, not so much for me, as I was for him because he really wasn’t in the ballpark at all. I wasn’t worried about love or kissing, I was like totally paralyzed with the fear that my dick might get cut off. Oh, well, he tried anyway which is more than I can say for 98% of the teachers I have had.
I can remember the only excitement we had in that class. In high school, unlike elementary school, we have lots of male teachers and we have movie projectors. Mostly they don’t work, but one day he says he is going to show a movie about American Settlers and the Indians. And while we are watching the movie we are going to notice something. We are going to notice that the Indians are not wearing the right shoes, and when we notice that we are not to laugh and, I repeat, we are not to laugh.
Psychologically speaking, this guy was stupid. Once he said that nobody got a damn thing out of the movie (not that there was anything in it but a pack of lies 1950’s style); all we did was sit there waiting for the Indians and looking at their shoes. Anyhow whoever made this movie was not into realism because at one point the Indians are charging up an embankment and they are not even wearing shoes, they are wearing tennis shoes.
Sometimes, I just couldn’t help myself. I didn’t think about it really. I would sit in the back row of the class and let out a zinger now and then. I didn’t try to whisper it. I said it so that the teacher could hear it and my zingers were good enough that usually they laughed too. So I couldn’t help myself and I say, “Look like Converse to me.” Back then before Nike, and Reebok and Adidas and all that shit we had like two types of sneakers, Converse and Keds.
The whole class like roars and the Coach sort of lowers his head and puts his hand to his mouth because he is laughing too.
I mean what the fuck was the big deal.