Ever get in trouble for something completely stupid?

Yup. I did. Wanna hear my story?…No?! Well too bad…I will elaborate.

Randomly, I remembered this the other day- It was the 5th grade. In the little podunk town I lived in, 5th grade was considered middle school (so 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were all in the same building…sounds like a lot of HOOPLAH!)

Anyway, I had this rather random teacher, let’s call her Mrs. Essaypunisher (because I’d hate to ruin the identity of such a prominent 5th grade math teacher…ha). But Mrs. Essaypunisher had a quizzical way in which she dealt with her students in the course of discipline. Instead of the rather ordinary and conventional forms of punishment, say, such as: detention, lunch detention, recess detention, after-school detention, detention, detention, detention (need I go on?!)…her poison and cruel and unusual punishment was making her students (yup, you guessed it!) write an essay.

An essay?! Not just ANY essay, mind you- but a 5 paragraph essay in which one must follow the politically correct structure as follows:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction (Statement of Thesis)
  • Paragraph 2: Body paragraph 1 (Point 1)
  • Paragraph 3: Body paragraph 2 (Point 2)
  • Paragraph 4: Body paragraph 3 (Point 3)
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion and summary of Thesis (in case you missed reading it in Paragraph 1…roll your eyes)

This system of punishment was exceptionally cruel, unusually, and stupid (I thought so, anyway). It never made a hint of sense, but I suppose Mrs. Essaypunisher felt that as a teacher it was her job to hone her student’s writing skills (even though she was a math teacher) and why waste an opportunity, such as discipline, to practice sentence formation and vocabulary enhancement.

As the weeks of my beginner ‘middle school’ experience commenced, I began to notice several things that Mrs. Essaypunisher would hand out the highly feared ‘5 paragraph essay’ punishment: Forgetting homework at home (this was at the top of the list), forgetting homework in a locker (I guess it didn’t matter who’s locker it was, but either way the homework was not in the classroom), forgetting to bring in field trip forms/other documents that needed to be signed by a parent/guardian (the failing grades that had to be signed by mommy or daddy were probably big on the hit list), and other assortments of socially ‘unacceptable’ behavior in the 5th grade- talking too much (socializing! ugh. Do home-schooled students ever get in trouble for ‘socializing’??), passing notes (back then we didn’t have cell phones to text…oh, the cave-life!), Reading a ‘pleasure book’ when we were supposed to be doing homework (I wish I had an IPAD then- you could switch screens and no one would know…ha!)…and so on.

I would say that I was an average, normally well-behaved child with proper mannerisms and the aura of political correctness needed to succeed at the 5th grade (‘middle-school‘) level. But one day, I realized that I had a pencil without an eraser on it (well, it probably DID have an eraser on it at some point, but I used it obviously otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about this now) and my friend, let’s call her Erinne Eraserthrower who sat about 4 desks away from me had one of those big block erasers (about the size of your palm…no lie!) that only supremely financially wealthy children had because those kinds of erasers came from Staples Premium Store and alone cost about more than the mini corn dogs I was about to devour at lunch that day. Well I whispered (loudly) and asked her if I could borrow her eraser because I needed it…to erase something (and out comes Captain Obvious) … so she threw me the eraser. And I caught it. And I erased the mindless pencil marks that needed removing.

The End. 

Too bad I couldn’t end this post right here… HA. I wish that was the end. But here comes the loony part: I guess Erinne Eraserthrower had thrown the eraser when Mrs. Essaypunisher had turned her back…because it wasn’t long before Erinne Eraserthrower whispered (loudly) that she needed her eraser back…and I did the next stupid thing: I threw the eraser.

And then, my 5th grade life came to a tumbling close. Mrs. Essaypunisher SAW me throw the eraser…and guess what?!…she shook her head, called my name, and assigned me a 5 PARAGRAPH ESSAY ON WHY I SHOULD NOT THROW AN ERASER!!!!!! I was like……..WHAT?!!??!

The kid sitting next to me, Lance Laughalot, violently and cynically cackled so hard. And I wanted to elbow him in the face. (But I didn’t for fear Mrs. Essaypunisher may have me write an essay on “Why it’s NOT okay to elbow the jerk sitting next to you in the face”). GRRRRRRR. 

And that I why I think it was stupid. In case you’re wondering, I went home that night, and wrote an outline something like this:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction (Statement of Thesis)
    • It is wrong to throw an eraser in 5th grade. It is wrong to throw an eraser in this stupid class. It is not appropriate to throw an eraser.
  • Paragraph 2: Body paragraph 1 (Point 1)
    • Throwing an eraser could be physically harmful to my fellow students and peers. By throwing an eraser, one student could accidentally damage their cerebral cortex due to the force with which the eraser was thrown, and they were hit. It could alter the neurological connection between the temporal and occipital lobes, impairing physiological function in the cerebellum. 
  • Paragraph 3: Body paragraph 2 (Point 2)
    • Throwing an eraser is distracting to my fellow students and peers. If one of my fellow students and colleagues is taking an exam, and all of a sudden they see an eraser zooming past their eyes to someone 2 desks away, they could be distracted. Distracting them might be detrimental to their academic career: they could answer the question wrong, fail the assignment, and miss their chance at attending Harvard Law School, Sigma Cum Laude, with Honors and $13,400 deans scholarship per year with a free meal plan.
  • Paragraph 4: Body paragraph 3 (Point 3)
    • Throwing an eraser in class is disrespectful to the teacher. Especially when math is the most important subject in the 5th grade, and throwing an eraser to fix a math problem in math class is rude. If I was the teacher, I would not want math students throwing eraser, even if the eraser was expensive and came from Staples Premium Shipment Store, because it’s math class. And it’s rude. Because it’s math.
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion and summary of Thesis
    • It is not acceptable to throw an eraser in this class. Or in the 5th grade. Or in math class. This would not be an issue if I had an IPAD with a ‘delete’ function, then I wouldn’t be using lead with wood wrapped around a labeled ‘Ticonderoga’ utensil with an eraser busted. End of Essay. Lest, I need not elaborate, but throwing an eraser is bad.

So I meandered my way home that night and wrote the essay. And it was miserable. But I did it! Yes ma’am I did it! I wrote a great essay- and packed it away in my bag, ready to hand to Mrs. Essaypunisher first this in the morning. Sure thing, I was outright proud of myself- I may have been the only 5th grader able to milk out a 5-paragraph essay on such an eloquent topic.

And just as I was walking in the next morning, essay in hand, ready to go, and proudly accept the consequence of such a archaic fate…Mrs. Essaypunisher came up to me and said, “Good morning Chris- don’t worry about that essay, you’re a good kid…. I won’t be needing it.

I do not wish to express the depth of my distress at such a time.



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