Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Growing Up in the d20 Dark Ages (Part 5)

During late elementary and throughout middle school, I identified with Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage, on The Wonder Years. I did kinda have the hair, maybe cut shorter on the sides. But I didn't play baseball and I wasn't that thin. But otherwise, I thought pretty highly of myself and got into some rather troublesome situations because of my big mouth. Kevin Arnold did too, at times.

One of the stupid things I'd do in 7th Grade was to bring my AD&D books to school. Hey, the days were long and my attention span was short. And I never knew if my friends wanted to suddenly play a game right after school, especially in the spring, when I didn't play football.

Okay, most of the time, they didn't want to play. But that didn't prevent me from trying. Also, while I was carrying these books around, people would ask about them. It was a recruiting tool. Because, as stated in a previous post, I had an ever-rotating roster of players.

Furthermore, I put brown paper bag sleeves on the covers to not only protect them, but to make them look more like textbooks. Most of the time it worked. And most of the teachers who discovered I had these books were okay with them... except one.

She was my 7th grade math teacher (who shall remain anonymous to protect me). Once, during home room, she found me looking at the 1e Monster Manual (because the Monstrous Compendium was too cumbersome to bring). Maybe she saw the succubus, or the Type V Demon (Marilith), or perhaps the slyph. I don't know. I was just prepping for my next game. But suddenly she bolted from her desk at the back of the room was standing over my desk at the front.

"Since this is game, you need to put it away," she said as she leaned in. She had bad breath. "This is time is for homework."

"I don't have any," I said.

"You have assignment for me," she said.

"I'll finish it later," I said. I had priorities after all.

"Put them away."

"No, I'm not bothering anybody. At least I wasn't until you came along." True, but...

She sent me to the hall until class was over. I was annoyed. Now I couldn't get anything done.

However, my locker was just down the hall, where I had another AD&D book (again, dumb, the school didn't let us have locks). I don't remember which one. So I went and got that. She never checked up on me, fortunately. At the end of home room I snuck the book back inside into my backpack. But before I left, she forbade me from bringing any D&D books into her classroom. If I did, then I'd be sent to the principal's office.

 Still, on top of that I got a mark. See, she had this system where if a student misbehaved he (almost always he) would get a mark. If you got nine marks, you got permanently kicked out of her class. I usually tallied around 4 in a given trimester. After than, the penalties (detection, expulsion for a day, etc) really started to add up. I didn't matter if you were in homeroom or her math class. A mark was a mark.

I had her twice a day for a trimester, so I really had to watch myself. Looking back now though, I realize she was being very lenient (I can't believe I just typed that!). Nowadays I probably would have had a detention or worse, given some horror stories I've heard from K-12 teachers.

Once I even yelled at her for giving me a mark. I was partnered up with a girl to work on some math exercises on the old Apple IIe at the back of the room. I said something, but the girl thought I was being snide, so she hit on the shoulder. It kinda hurt, so I said "Ow."

"That's a mark," said the math teacher.

"I didn't do anything damn it!" I shouted. "She hit me!"

Next thing I knew I was in the hall, and my D&D books were still inside, in my backpack. I prayed that she wouldn't see it open. Fortunately, I never got caught with them in her class. Or she didn't bother if she saw them.

Still, looking back it was stupid for me to bring my D&D books to school. Yes, I should have been studying. But they could have been damaged or stolen or damaged. In 8th Grade, one did get stolen. Another time, I got in a fight with them in my hands.

But those are tales for another time...

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