III. Third Grade
“And when my elders did not do as I demanded, either because they did not understand me or because it would not have been good for me, I was furious that my betters were not under my control, that free people were not my servants, and I took my revenge on them by crying.”
I had power. It was limited. But adults didn’t like to be bothered. Bothering them opened a new world. And as for kids, my peers, I could antagonize them with the truth. “There is no Santa Claus,” I told them.
Whatever playground celebrity this earned me was canceled by my teacher.
“You’ll be another Hitler,” she said.
I liked drawing tanks and World War II stuff, including swastikas on my German tanks.
That teacher made me cry. I put my head down on the table, and a girl called Jennifer came and tried to comfort me. She gave me Kleenex. One day, another kid and I were messing around and somehow his eye got poked. This teacher said that kid should poke me in the eye. He did. I cried but I went down to the office. The result was I was translated to the 4th grade.
These people were crazy. But I knew how to draw them out, and their anger would make me suffer. But they were weak. I was strong. Come and get me, fuckers! And they came for me, always. They never broke me. I loved school, but school hated me. At home was chaos, at school was people to tempt.
“May even those who ask ‘What is this?’ rejoice. May they rejoice even in their perplexity; may they be glad that in failing to find their answers they have found you, rather than finding answers but missing you.”