The Losers and the Sardine

(This occurred early in 2014)

Thursday morning’s algebra class rearranged their seats, to either sit by themselves or touch desks with their best buddies.

One boy sits like a happy sardine, totally trapped between his two cronies, chatting and laughing when class starts—loss for him and his buddies.  He rudely interrupts the teacher with rabbit-chasing questions, while she tries to read the school bulletin—loss for teacher’s management capabilities and class etiquette in general.  He sees a girl behind him opening up a cold bottle of chocolate milk and asks the teacher’s permission to go out for a drink of water.  He leaves to buy a cold bottle of chocolate milk, which would not have been permitted, if he’d asked for it instead of water.  Both bottles of milk are ignored, or are permitted, by the teacher—loss, because of school rules being both ignored and flaunted (only water is allowed in classrooms).

Sardine student chats and laughs louder and louder with his buddies—loss for them and the rest of us, who can’t hear the teacher well.  The teacher makes several big errors in her instruction of numbers because of the noise—loss for her and students.  

I finally burst out and order the three sardines to separate their desks and be quiet—loss for me, because I’m only the Para, a bug on the wall of school life.  Sardines comply unwillingly, and I stick to my guns—loss for teacher’s pride and loss for disturbing the class.  

As teacher continues to teach, Sardine continues to chat with now distant buddies in whispers.  I bite my tongue.  But, on the plus side, Sardine is able to answer a couple of questions from the teacher, so the move I made helped–one small gain for him and for the rest of us, which lasts about five minutes.

Then Sardine yawns loudly and tries to move closer to one of his buddies, but I make him move away, again—loss for everybody, again.  I angrily think, Should I be in class tomorrow? No, it’s better if I stay home, sick—loss for me; I’m not paying attention to the teacher.

Sardine manages to silently and sneakily edge his desk closer to a buddy, but I let it go, as long as they stay quiet. It’s not my class.

Teacher announces one more example for learning the solving and graphing systems for equations, but Sardine loudly complains, Aren’t we done yet? When is class over anyway? Teacher finally tells him to be quiet, but he rudely laughs silently, not paying attention.  How do we all get through this miserable day?  One loss at a time, I guess.

Teacher finally gives the class three questions to do for homework, which can be done in class, but Sardine bursts out with, How are we supposed to do the homework when we don’t understand what’s going on?  I burst back with, You were not listening to the lesson, nor were you taking notes, so it’s your problem, not anyone else’s!

He shut up


the bell rings

All the losers move on to the next ordeal.



Daytime Drama


Tail flails like a whip

almost snaps, pops

Balanced tautly on the high wire

between electrical poles

Black bird dives unexpectedly

straight for the little acrobat

unable to protect himself

without falling to assured death

Another black bird plunges

then another, flaps and pecks

Between attacks, the fuzzy squirrel

teeters farther along on the wire

The crisis travels out of sight

Did I just view a reality show of bullying

or was the victim a dastardly culprit

who robbed a cradle

while the birds sought vengeance

or protected their young?

The viewer must decide