The Principal’s Office.

Posted by admin on November 30, 2015 in Growing Up |
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A new hotel and bar opened in Seattle recently. Well, more accurately, it’s in Bothell. It’s in an old elementary school. You can even have a drink in the principal’s office, which fittingly has been converted into a bar.

I can’t help but think that this would have made the principal’s office a much nicer place to visit when I was in school. The principals I visited certainly could have used a good stiff drink, given the constant parade of delinquents marching through their offices.

It was a place II never set out to visit and I wasn’t much of a delinquent. I was a pretty good kid, well, at least on the surface. It’s not that I never misbehaved. I just rarely got caught.

I can’t say the same thing for Sunday school or Catholic school in the summer. I was invited to Mother Superior’s office regularly. If I wasn’t sitting on a stool in front of the class for playing with the one-time ink well or getting my stations of the cross wrong on a test, I was in Mother Superior’s office, in trouble for one sin or another.

I just couldn’t seem to get a handle on all that good Catholic behavior stuff. I mean, I was just a kid. How was I supposed to understand all the strict rules that I seemed to break with alarming regularity. There were simply too many of them.

Eventually, I didn’t have to do the walk of shame to Mother Superior’s office anymore. My parents tired of being called down to the office, so one day they pulled my brothers and I out of summer CCD class for good.

In public school, my first visit to the principal’s office was at Kennydale Elementary. An office assistant showed up in class one day, whispered to Mrs. Sparrow who then pointed at me. I didn’t know what I did. All I knew was that Mr. Brabant wanted to see me – now.

When I arrived in his office, he wasn’t there. So there I sat, sitting in a chair across from his desk, wondering what was to become of me. After what seemed like an eternity, Mr. Brabant entered. He gave me the creeps, largely because he had a glass eye that didn’t follow his other eye. It just stared at you no matter where he looked.

“Robert,” he said. “We have a problem. A serious one.”

It was then that he told me that he had heard that I had been telling other kids at the school that Doug Vineyard had stabbed Bob Bergman, my next door neighbor. Mr. Brabant said I shouldn’t be spreading rumors like that. I replied that it wasn’t a rumor. It was a fact. He could check Bob’s back if he liked, a three-inch long jackknife blade between his shoulder blades served as living proof.

Eventually, he called my mother. She came down to the school. I was told to wait in the main office as my mother reviewed my rap sheet with Mr. Brabant. I was sure I was in trouble. I wasn’t. Instead, it appears Mr. Brabant was in trouble, for my mom gave him an earful as I was telling the truth.

It wasn’t until high school that I ended up in the principal’s office again. I had somehow managed to avoid any visits for the intervening eight years of school, even though, as I said, I did stuff, I just didn’t get caught.

I thought I had made it all the way through school without a return visit to the principal’s office. It was May of my senior year. I was a month away from graduation, so why would I ever think that I was going to get in trouble?

If only I hadn’t thought up the idea of running a mythical candidate for office. Sure, Larry Harwood was a figment of my overly active imagination. And the wall-to-wall signage asking students to vote for him for SBA Historian was my handiwork (Communist China supports Larry Harwood for SBA Historian. 6 billion Chinese can’t be wrong. Or can they?). It was a great campaign. I think he had a good chance of getting elected. If only he had been real.

My visit with Mr. Hash wasn’t overly long. I’m still not sure that he really thought it was necessary to bring Kevin Kever and I into his office. But in our zeal to get Larry elected, we had forged some transcripts and a class schedule. I guess that’s not really allowed.

I was sure that we’d be expelled, just four short weeks before our graduation. Mr. Hash sure made it sound like we would. He was alternately amused and then stern.

If only the story hadn’t broken in the school newspaper in a very Watergate-like way. Names were named, the whole plot was outlined in detail. Damn those nosy reporters. I knew Kever and I shouldn’t have written that story about what we had done.

Thankfully, my school counselor Mr. Brannion took the hit for filing the falsified school records. And then he reminded Mr. Hash that Kevin Kever was the school’s first student to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and he had already been named the valedictorian.

It helps to be in cahoots with the right person. I guess I picked well. I didn’t have a four point. I wasn’t speaking at graduation. I was, in short, expendable. I could have been hung out to dry, but he couldn’t kick me out and let Kevin stay in school. He had to let us both off the hook.

Thus ended my visits to the principal’s office. Only two times. Well, there was that time when I was blacklisted by the Dean for Students at Green River Community College. Yes, Larry Harwood had run for office there as well, but that wasn’t the reason for the blacklisting. Something about scoring girls in Olympic gymnastics fashion in the student union building. I guess we shouldn’t have given that girl a 1.3 for looks.

Thankfully, they didn’t tag me for bringing a tank to school or for putting that machine gun together in Journalism class. Or getting the radio station guys to streak my girlfriend’s prom. Or helping Steve Klopfstein scale the student union building in a black mask and cape. Thankfully, I got my degree when people still had a sense of humor about guns, tanks, make believe students and dark super heroes with wall-scaling prowess.

In the Emerald City, pretty amazed I’m still alive and not in jail,

– Robb

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