Monday, March 1, 2010

McNaughty: All you could ever want in an English teacher

I have been meaning to do an entry about my school days, but I inevitably end up deleting them. I think there is just too much material. But I guess you have to start somewhere, so I will do my best. I will start with my teachers.

Now, unlike most hipster types, I loved high school. I was smart so my teachers liked me but I was also considered funny so I got along with my classmates just fine as well. After awhile I realised that for some reason I could do just about anything and my teachers would let me get away with it. I have no idea why this was. I think it was because I was charming or something, or maybe it was just the fact that no matter how much I acted up in class I would always hand in my work on time and get excellent grades, so there wasn't much they could do to stop me. After awhile I started actively seeing what I could get away with.

The best example of this came one day while I was wandering the halls absentmindedly during class time. I ran into one of my English teachers.

"Shouldn't you be in class, miss?" I said sternly. She got embarrassingly far into a rambling excuse before she realised that I was the student and she was the teacher, and not only did she not have to explain herself to me, but that I should probably have been in class too. I'm not sure how many people could have got away with that, but I did.

That was my favourite teacher, hands down, ever. She was a lady who we will call McNaughty. This was actually what I called her when I was at school, but I figure it's not something she will find by googling herself so I'm safe. She was sensational. Every year when her birthday would come around she would sit at her desk and sigh loudly. With one arm lazily supporting her head, she would say that if anyone was going to buy her anything could it please be a bottle of Jack Daniels? Obviously no-one ever did. In the circumstances that high school students get their hands on full bottles of Jack Daniels, they are not turning it over voluntarily to their teachers.

But me, I'm a social rebel. I defy conventions. I kiss when I have coldsores. Yes, I'm that badass. In year 12, myself and a friend of mine had a free period directly before her class. I had turned 18 by this stage so I decided to actually buy her that bottle of Jack once and for all. I can still remember walking in to class and putting it on her desk. She had this strange way of laughing where she sounded like she thought whatever you did was very funny, but she still hated her job and wanted to kill herself. She would shake her head and roll her eyes, but she would still be laughing.

From there, that friend and I went out in our free period every second Tuesday and bought her some kind of gift, the more bizarre the better. We would trawl the local op-shops and discount stores looking for the ultimate prize. Every fortnight we had the pressure of having to out-weird our previous finds. The last one we found was the only one I really remember, but it really was the best one. It was a cigarette lighter, but when you went to use it a tune would play and lights would flash. There was also a topless man on it who would change position when you adjusted the angle. It was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. Every time we gave her one of her gifts, she would laugh that same laugh. I like to think that it sounded more sincere every time, but it's hard to tell based on memory alone.

The biggest sign that she appreciated our efforts came on my graduation day. She caught up with the both of us after the ceremony and handed us each a little bag, the type you put birthday gifts in when you can't be bothered with the endless frustrations of wrapping paper. A variety of wonders were contained within. I remember mine included a plastic lei, a small bottle of sparkling wine (which we were on strict orders to not reveal to anybody) and a mix cd of her favourite songs from the 80s. It was the best thing. I also remember her borrowing my phone that day to send a message to one of my friends, masquerading as me. The recipient knew straight away that it was a phony because she had used a lot of text abbreviations and my messages were always completely grammatically correct. I find this ironic, considering the message had been written by my English teacher.

The year after I graduated I ended up going to her house and getting drunk with her. We turned her living room rug into a dance floor and thrashed away to trashy 80s pop. She was a lesbian, but don't worry, it wasn't anything like that. She was just really freakin cool. Every now and then I would text her when I was out drinking, encouraging her to come out but she never would.

Naturally, we lost contact after awhile. I have no idea if she is still teaching at that school, or if she has decided to cut herself off from everyone whose name does not start with 'Jack' and end with 'Daniels'. I don't have her number any more, but I probably have her old email address somewhere on my computer. Maybe I will drop her a line someday.

-Smackie Onassis

1 comment:

  1. On a related note I have discovered that comments are a thing that are happening! I mean, I haven't received a huge amount but I have now located and replied to the ones that have happened. It was nice!

    What I am saying is, if you comment I will for totals reply.