Mr. White pulled me aside as the rest of the screaming eight year-olds rushed out of the classroom.
“You need to clean out your desk.”
Excuse me, Mr. White—excellent third grade teacher, but otherwise major bummer—who do you think you are? I have things in that desk. Important things. I can’t just clean it out. What will I do with my THINGS?
Apparently, while I was out sick the previous day he noticed some sort of pencil-shavings-trail generated from my desk so he investigated.
Although a trail of garbage coming from my desk does sound like me in elementary school, I didn’t think there was a problem.
He audaciously threw around slander such as “filthy”, “irresponsible”, and “tornado after-math”. He then proceeded to tell me that I would spend recess cleaning it out and ask why I felt it necessary to keep all of my pencil shavings and broken erasers?
“Well, Mr. White, you see…. I need them… Let me explain…. I need them?”
“Throw them out.” Mr. White said, stern-faced and unsympathetic.
I couldn’t tell him the truth. It was too hard. How would I explain why I meticulously broke off the erasers so that they created lovely, perfect pink disks? How could I tell him that it was, in fact, very hard to wrangle the shavings each time I tuned up my pencil? I kept the shavings in as neat of a pile as I could!
Throw them out, He says. Just like that.
Mr. White just didn’t understand.
It has been approximately 22 years since I was in third grade and I think I’m finally ready to explain. It’s time for me to come clean; to make it understood. I wasn’t some crazy third grade hoarder. Those pencil shavings and erasers… They were important.
Those were my vitamins.
Let’s allow that to settle for a moment.
I kept a pile of pencil shavings and broken off erasers in my desk… because they were my vitamins… which I ate every day before recess. It’s important to stay on schedule with these types of things.
But you wouldn’t understand, you’ve never had to do it.
Mr. White didn’t understand either, so I spend my whole recess cleaning out my desk and parting with all my hard work.
Like I said, he was a good teacher, but a major bummer.
Since this incident I stopped collecting vitamins. Mr. White put me on weekly desk checks. The nerve! What’s worse is I haven’t taken my vitamins since. He essentially put my health at risk.
All right, so I now take “actual” vitamins. Ones that aren’t made from rubber and wood. And it is quite possibly for the better… You may remember that I was out sick just the day before desk-cleaning.
God, I was a weird kid.
Cheers, Mr. White.