“Good morning, class.”
“Good morning, teacher,” appropriately answered the class in unison.
“My name is Mr. Kruztashun.” He fiddled with some papers on the little lectern on the table. He did not sit. “Mr. Drumpfelstilzchin is away on business.”
A hand went up in the back. Mr. Kruztashun nodded in its direction and pointed.
“Where’s our usual substitute teacher?”
“Mr. Braunesel has better things to do.” Mr. Kruztashun set his hands firmly on the papers on the lectern. “Today we are–”
“We hate this class,” said a little boy in the far corner. The rest of the class snickered.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about! Hate.” Suddenly the class was quiet, so quiet the windows rattled with the breathing of the students. “This is Social Studies 3, is it not?”
“Yes!” answered the class in unison.
“Well, then! There’s nothing better to talk about in relation to social studies than hate.” Mr. Kruztashun put a hand on his left hip, bent forward from the waist and pointed out over the heads of the students, a good teacherly thing to do, for it kind of included everyone. “What do you hate?”
A great intake of breath in the classroom. They’d never been asked about this before. They’d been told that hate was bad and not to be disseminated out in public–and surely not toward parents, the greatest thing in the world to hate.
“I hate niggers.”
“I hate spicks.”
“I hate camel jockeys.”
“I hate girls.”
“I hate rich people.”
“I hate poor people.”
“I hate smarty pants.”
“I hate chinks.”
“I. . .hate. . .parents!”
The class erupted into tremors of chaos. Girls and boys were shouting and laughing and generally whooping it up. Mr. Kruztashun did nothing to quell the uprising. After all, getting people, even little people, enthusiastic and involved was part of teaching. Only when you’ve got them on your side, as it were, interested in what you are teaching, can you succeed in teaching them the right stuff.
When the class settled down somewhat, Mr. Kruztashun put up his hand. “Wow! We’re doing so good! You hate a lot.”
The same hand that shot up at the beginning of class shot up again. Mr. Kruztashun nodded in its direction again.
“Hate is good?”
“You betcha. Before you can do anything about it, you have to get it out in the open. Then you can do something with it.”
“Like what?” asked a tow-headed little girl in the front row.
“Well. . .what happens when you hate?”
“You get left alone?”
“Right. And what’s the big word for being left alone?”
“We don’t know any big words, Mr. Kruztashun.”
“Well! Would you like to learn one?”
“Yes!” from the now enthusiastic class.
“Okay. Here it is. . .isolation.”
“Isolation,” the good students parroted.
“Right. Isolation. You hate it when people don’t leave you alone, don’t you?”
These kids were good, Mr. Kruztashun thought. “So, that hate makes them leave you alone, right?”
“Yeah. We get sent to our rooms.” Lots of murmuring agreement.
“And you hate that, right?”
“But,” Mr. Kruztashun held up a knotty knuckled index finger, “when that happens and you are isolated, there are no more hateful people with you. They are all outside. Right?”
“Yes! You are isolated.” Mr. Kruztashun leaned over the lectern. “And inside.”
“What do you do when you’re left alone?”
“Masturbate,” said a little boy at the far end of the front row.
Everyone else snickered and giggled and held their breaths. To say such a thing in public! To say it in the classroom! What was Johnny thinking?
“Exactly!’ Shouted Mr. Kruztashun. “You win the prize.”
“What prize is that?” A smiley face? A star? A gold sunburst?
“You get to feel good!” Quiet reigned. “You do feel good when you masturbate, don’t you?”
“Sir?” a little blonde girl put her hand up. “You mean it’s okay to feel good when you. . .masturbate?”
“Of course it’s okay.” Mr. Kruztashun leaned over the lectern. “You do feel good when you masturbate, don’t you?”
“Well, then. How can that be bad?”
Lots of mumbling and rumbling and giggling.
“So!” Mr. Kruztashun brought the class round to him. “When you hate, you are isolated, right?”
“And that’s a good thing, right?”
“And it makes you feel good that all that you hate is outside, right?”
“So, now you can hate all you want in your isolation, right?”
“What better kind of place could you live in?”
“Yes!” Mr. Kruztashun wiped the wetness from his lips. “Now. You’re left alone.”
“And you can hate to your heart’s content.”
“That’s like masturbating til your hand hurts.”
“And you’re all sticky!”
“Ee-yew, Johnny! You’re dizgusting!” shouted a group of girls in the middle of things.
“What do you care?”
“Yeah!” shouted another antagonistic boy. “What happens when you tickle your moose?”
The class erupted in joyous laughter and taunting.
“I bet you wet your pants,” said a shy little boy.
“I want to watch.”
“Well!” said Mr. Kruztashun, clearing his throat. “When you’re isolated, you can watch because everyone’s masturbating.”
“Cool beans, Mr. Kruztashun,” said Johnny. “You’re the best teacher ever.”
“Oh, thank you, Johnny!” Mr. Kruztashun tried hard to blush but only got his eye lashes to flash up and down. He had short eye lashes, too. “Well! So. You’re isolated. What else can you say about it?”
“Nobody bothers you.”
“You don’t have to pay attention to what anybody else says.”
“Right. You don’t have to share.”
“Yeah. And you don’t have to do things like other people do.”
“You don’t have to share!”
“Exactly! You’re your own boss. You don’t have to trade with those others.”
“Yup. Like, I’ll give you this and you give me that.”
“Does that mean, Mr. Kruztashun, that, like, I can, uhhm, wear things that are mine?”
“You mean, like things that are only made by you?”
“Yes. Only things made by you, for you.”
“Like. . .no Chinese stuff?”
“No Japanese stuff.”
“No German stuff.”
“No Mexican stuff.”
“And no African stuff.”
“That’s right. Only American stuff.”
“Then we’ll know it’s good, right?”
“Right.” Mr. Kruztashun rubbed his hands together. “Boy! You guys are great.”
“Yeah!” shouted one girl. “We can do what we want! We can do for ourselves. And we can keep it all for ourselves.”
“Masturba-aaation!” shouted little Johnny. “Uhn! Uhn! Uhn!”
“Yes. And. . .what happens when you’re isolated and everything is for you and by you and you don’t want or need anyone else and your masturbating to your heart’s content?”
The bell rang just as the kids raised their hands, clamoring to be the one with the answer.
“Oops! Looks like we’ll have to wait for next time to talk about stagnation.”
“Time’s up. We’ll talk about that next time.” Mr. Kruztashun opened the door and held it for everyone. “See you next time, guys,” he said as all the students filed out. “You’re the greatest.”
“Hate!” said one boy, giving Mr. Kruztashun a high five.
“Isolation!” said another.
“We’re the best!”
“It’s my land.”
“Right. Hey! See you next time.”
© James L. Secor, 2016