So, before I get into this, you should know I'm probably gonna ramble on a bit with some digressions which have no point and probably don't belong here, but it will be mostly maybe kind of worth it in the end. Possibly. OR WILL IT?
But c'mon it's not like there's anything good on tv (don't you DARE mention Walking Dead, that show is garbage. Whatshisface* is FINALLY getting killed off after fucking over everyone else's lives for eight seasons, are you kidding me?! It took EIGHT seasons to get to that point??!)
See what I mean about digressions? But hey, this is part of my style and y'all LOVED my story about heat exhaustion and that had rambling in it; or maybe you liked it because of the enormous suffering I went through. OK, so maybe not enormous, but I suffered. But c'mon, settle in with a drink and your pet dog/cat/lizard/squirrel/skunk/tarantula on your lap. (Winks) "I'll make you famous."
Also, before you go and call bullshit on "There's no way you could remember exactly what was said in that classroom more than 25 years later." Oh contrare. 8 years of acting lessons and theater classes made me great at remembering dialogue and conversations, but did jack for my actual acting skills.
I went to one of the best schools in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, I'm talking Top 100, we even have the stupid plaque displayed semi-prominently, at least it was until they remodeled the place. When I entered 9th grade I was involved in what the youths today call, what is it, oh yeah 'beef ' or 'drama' with another kid, who I had been friends with in eighth grade but had a falling out with. Actually the beef involved not just one kid but a group/gang of kids who hung around together. Many of these kids turned out to be in many of the same classes with me, which made for a not very pleasant time, to the extent I eventually said "Fuck this," and started skipping the last half of the school day, hanging out in the bathroom and hallways. Eventually I got hauled in to the office and got yelled at by the vice principal for not coming to a teacher or him and saying something. The end result was that some of the kids got suspended and I got my schedule switched around and so I ended up in horticulture which was taught by Mr. Sanderson. This was a class that was normally taken by upperclassmen and was known as a 'rocks for jocks' kind of deal and yes there were a bunch of football/basketball players in the class. But they were actually pretty cool, as many of them lived in my neighborhood and after they found out my situation several of them took me under their protection, kind of like My Bodyguard and told the bullies to knock it the fuck off, which eventually involved a fight of sorts which I was not involved in beyond watching.
ANYWAY, I ended up taking the class again when I was a junior because it was easy and I was allowed to. (I should probably add here that my grades in high school were NOT what one could call stellar, when we got our class rank beginning of senior year I was 504 out of 517. HELLO STATE SAFETY SCHOOL!!!!
So, Mr. Sanderson looked sorta but not really like John Denver, same hairstyle, slightly blonder hair, glasses, but Mr. Sanderson favored polo shirts. He was slightly befuddled and kind of sort of didn't have control of his classes, but it wasn't any REALLY out of control shit, if you wanted to talk he'd ask you to go to the back of the classroom. The horticulture class always had a section on drugs and it was only slightly suspicious that that was the exact time when our idiot principal Dr. Coles would show up and hang around for those two weeks. But the class was pretty fun. Mr. Sanderson had a Japanese guy come in for three weeks and teach us about bonsai and meditation and centering yourself and that was something I've held on to and kept at. We also did the landscaping around the school and the junior high school up the hill FOR FREE I might add.
Another thing we did was every person in the class had to grow a plant over the course of the semester. Which is a good idea because it teaches you about caring for and taking care of another living thing and what you're gonna have to do when civilization collapses and we all have to go back to being hunter gatherers and eat squirrel food for the rest of our lives. Boy is THAT going to suck.
I mentioned earlier that there were a good number of jocks in the class, but there were also a fair number of metalheads and burnouts. Which is fine, you couldn't take more than one shop class per semester. One of the metalheads in class my junior year was a guy named Mark Humphries, who coincidentally had been in the gang of kids bullying me. But that was off in the fog. Mark had long orange hair, sorta like Dave Mustaine, but fuller. Mark also wore various heavy metal concert T-shirts EVERY day.
Quiet Riot? Check.
Twisted Sister? Check.
Motley Crue? Check.
Iron Maiden? Are you kidding he had 4 different Maiden shirts.
Van Halen? Check.
And a dark blue denim jacket covered with patches from metal bands all over the back. It was known among the students that Mark in addition to being a metalhead was a pretty heavy druggie. he and another guy Rob Sooey, had gotten backstage at a Motley Crue concert and talked gleefully and often about snorting cocaine out of a big pile, not even 'railing it,' just slamming their face into the pile. Which, sure. I'd estimate that while Mark was in high school, and yes he did graduate, he was probably high/stoned 75% of the time. I'm talking all day, which again, that was his choice.
So we had to grow a plant during the semester and it was some outrageously huge part of your total grade, like 75%, but seriously, it was literally impossible to fuck it up and get less then that, unless you somehow set fire to the greenhouse.
Or you do what Mark did.
Which was grow pot. (Waits for collective "Well DUH!!!!!!" from those reading this.)
Actually Mark grew two plants that semester, one pot and one that wasn't. He was really good at keeping the pot plant hidden in the greenhouse, at least at first, and honestly it wasn't that hard to hide something there, Mr. Sanderson often didn't go up there for a week at a time. So it's near the end of May, and time for Mr. Sanderson to evaluate and grade everyone's plants (and give everyone that automatic A which covers 75% of your grade.) Normally Mr. Sanderson would have us fill out a worksheet and call us into the office to talk about our plant, what we did right and wrong. He was actually a pretty good botanist.
But not this time. This time he sat at the big lab table at the front of the class, (y'all have an idea what I mean by lab table, right? 'Cause I have no desire to go into any sort of description, oh I know, remember the classroom scenes from Breaking Bad, when Walter was teaching chemistry? That's the kind of table I'm not describing.)
Mr. Sanderson went into the office and brought out two plants, one of which was very obviously marijuana, and the other.....was not. he said, "Mark, can you come up here?" Mark came up and stood next to him, looking at the plants. "Mark, what was the assignment for this?" Mr. Sanderson waved his hand at the plants.
"We were like, supposed to grow a plant."
"Which is what I did."
(Keep in mind that the entire class has stopped dicking around/flirting/talking and is watching this whole thing play out.)
"Yes, you did Mark, and you did a very good job, but...it's just, Mark," Mr. Sanderson waved his hand at the marijuana plant and gave one of those full body exasperated sighs that was a weird combination of an 8th grade girls sighs, minus the full body eye roll and the "You have really disappointed not just me but your MOTHER," sighs that your dad gave when when you totaled your mom's car for the second time in less than 2 years.
"Mark, you grew marijuana."
"Whatta you mean, I did what you told us. You told us to choose a plant to grow and I did."
I forgot to mention that we had a choice of what type of plant to grow, and no marijuana was NOT one of the choices.
"Mark, you know marijuana is illegal. You KNOW this. You were here when we did the drug unit. This is a problem Mark."
"What do you mean, I just did what you told us to do. I grew a plant, in fact I grew two plants so I should get extra credit."
Earlier I noted that Mark was a druggie, but in spite of/because of? that he did graduate, but that doesn't mean he was what one would call smart. Wiley maybe, but not wiley enough not to get caught growing pot in the school greenhouse.
"What, Mark, how can I possibly give you extra credit? Do you have any idea how much trouble this could be? How much trouble you are in? How much trouble I could be in? How much trouble the school could be in? I could lose my job. I could get arrested. You could get arrested. Do you want to get arrested Mark? Do you want me to get arrested? Do you want me to lose my job Mark?"
Unfortunately Mark took just a little TOO much time answering, you know that amount of time where everyone and their dead great-great-great-great-great-great-great step uncle can tell that whatever you say after this pause that is just a little TOO long is going to be:
A) An absolute lie.
B) Complete bullshit.
C) A AND B.
If you're saying to yourself, "Wait a minute A and B are the EXACT SAME THING?! WHAT KIND OF SCAM ARE YOU RUNNING HERE, I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE FRESH BAKED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH NO NUTS. PROMISES WERE MADE", then you've forgotten what teenagers are like in high school or what they used to be like.
Mark said, "No I don't want any of that. I don't see what the big deal is, I just did what you said to do."
Now, I can sort of see Mark's point. He had gone above and beyond and grown two plants so his thing about getting extra credit wasn't exactly wrong. It WAS dumb and there was no way it was gonna happen. But it wasn't exactly wrong.
But this was also a time when this was a big deal. Three years before when I was in 9th grade, a senior girl from our school had killed herself and 10 other kids from three different high schools in an atrocity of a car wreck. and guess what they found in her system?
Angel dust? Check.
So our school was on a strict "We don't fuck around when it comes to drugs." The police would have drug sniffing dogs come through the school and check out lockers 4 or 5 times a year. If you were caught, you were expelled, not just from our high school, but from the county system.
Anyhoodle, back to the classroom.
"Mark, what are we going to do about this? I can't have this Mark, the school can't have this kind of thing going on, students growing pot in school Mark."
"Well, didn't I do a good job, it's not like they aren't healthy?"
Mr. Sanderson looked at both plants. "That's true Mark. They are very healthy."
"And how do you even know I grew that?" Mark pointed at the pot plant.
EXCELLENT question. Just how did you know, Mr. Smarty McSmarty Pants Detective/Teacher that this particular pot plant belonged to Mark Humphries and not someone ELSE in the class? Hmmmm?
Mr. Sanderson lifted and turned the plant. "Because you wrote your name is on the cannister Mark."
Not quite caught red handed but way more than enough for Mark to get expelled that very day.
Mark didn't say anything but looked around at the entire class staring at him with a kind of "Why are y'all just sitting there, come rescue me!" look on his face.
Mr. Sanderson sighed again and ran his hand through his hair and over his face. "Mark, look, you did do a good job, an excellent job on this assignment. And you're a decent kid, you come to class on time, you don't talk, you pay attention, I just don't understand why you would do this." That last sentence made just about everyone else in class roll their eyes, but remember,he was a addle minded. "I don't want you to get expelled or arrested Mark, but I have to punish you. You agree that you did something wrong here, don't you Mark?"
"Sure I guess."
"Good." There was about 30 seconds of silence while Mr. Sanderson mulled over what he should do. "Okay, I'll tell you what Mark, I'm going to give you an F for growing the pot plant and a 70 for growing the other plant. And we can talk about you doing some other things so that you don't fail, because I don't want you to fail the class, okay? Do you understand, Mark?"
Mark said, "Yeah. But I have a question."
"What is it Mark?"
"Can I have that? I mean, I grew it and all." Mark pointed at the pot plant.
Mr. Sanderson picked up the pot plant. "No Mark, I'm going to smoke it."
So how AWESOME was that story? How badly did it fail to meet your expectations? Would you care to read about the student who raped their way through our drama department and then became a kinda big star*** in Hollywood? Or how about when I nearly failed gym and thus eighth grade for the second time due to picking my nose and eating it and an abusive gym teacher? How can you NOT want to read about those?
**Okay, so technically Rush isn't/wasn't a metal band, but they did appear in Circus kind of regularly and the metalheads at my school sure as fuck thought they were metal as they wore their Rush t-shirts all the goddamned time.
***I shan't name the actor in this post but they are on a show which is currently airing and which does have a forum here on the board. that narrows it down not even the teeniest bit.