Sunday, April 20, 2008

Silver Pass

Not to toot my own horn, but...

It was 1979. Maybe it was 1978. I don't really know. It was the 70's. That's all you need to know.

Everyone was a hippie. My neighbors were hippies. Dan Rather was a hippie. President Carter was a hippie. My school teachers were hippies. Bell bottoms, long hair, and a pervasive sense of communal kumbaya wove a macrame-like web of happy socialism.

My elementary school, like every other elementary school in Southern California, was made up of individual rows of classroom buildings, arrayed around a central outdoor courtyard. The architectural conceit being that it would not rain often, and it would never snow, which was mostly correct.

It was, I believe, the second grade, and my teacher, Mrs. S., had also been my first grade teacher the year before. By some fluke of scheduling, I had her two years in a row, which was fine with her, as I was her favorite student.

Truth be told, It is likely that I was her favorite student in her entire career. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At that time, and in the sharing-sense of the 70's, the administration had decided to experiment with open-door teaching. Our building had three classrooms in it. The first was a first-grade class taught by a new teacher. Young, gangly and somewhat horse faced, the homely Ms. H. was a little too weird to be liked. Mrs. S. and I had the middle room, and Ms. C. with her third graders had the end.

The district designers had decided that it would be a useful teaching tool to combine these classes. So, they simply punched holes in the walls, creating wide open breezeways between classes. Sitting front and center in Mrs. S.'s class, put me at the center of it all.

Feeling that it was not fit to simply punish the bad kids and the imbeciles, the academic coven of three, H, S, and C, decided that they need to somehow encourage the good kids and reward good behavior.

Thus, the Silver Pass was born.

It was a shiny silver slip with your name printed in permanent marker, pinned to the wall, providing privileges pined-for by many. When the bell rang, we were allowed to leave first. We were the first in line for lunch. We were the last to come in from recess. There were other rights at titles, which have been lost to time, but I think you get the idea.

The Silver pass, of course, was created just for me. Sure there were two other second graders who squeaked in to the club on the first try, but really, it was me. It wasn't enough that Mrs. S had special nicknames for me. It was frustrating that she could not give me more than straight A+'s. And while it was gratifying for her to tell my parents at parent-teacher conference that she wished she could have an entire classroom full of Bri-Bri's, I suspect that she and her cohorts needed some sort of more-substantially objective demonstration of just how fantastic I really was.

The following year, I graduated to Ms. C's third grade, and my Silver Pass followed along with me. I made sure of it.

But that was just the kid I was. I mean, most kids will stay awake at times, afraid of the bogey man or the monster in the closet. But me? Me? Oh yes, I stayed up awake at night too, but I couldn't care less about some monster.

No, my neurosis went something like this: I was a good. Very good. SO good in fact, that I was simply sure that Jesus was VERY happy with me. And being happy, he would naturally want to come down from heaven to hang out with me. Maybe play some board games. Of course, being mystical and spiritual, Jesus would only want to sneak down late at night, in the dark, when I was in bed.

And so, I would pull the covers way up over my head and close my eyes tight, for fear of seeing the glow-in-the-dark lord standing next to my bed holding a Yahtzee box, or maybe Scrabble...

Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the busy day, I forget to stop and consider just how stupendously fantastic I really am. I have to remind myself just how grateful you all are just to know me, and how fortunate the blogosphere is to have my words.

AND, fortunately for you, I am still the only one able to leave comments, which I am going to go do right now.


  1. Even though I am flopped out in an opium den in Jayapura, I must say, I do agree with you. You are simply the greatest man I know, next to Ryan of course.

    Tomorrow, I storm the beaches of Taipei with the PRC's Navy. Wish me luck!

  2. I was going to disagree with you, but really, I cannot find any weakness in your argument

  3. Obama is lucky to have a supporter like you.

  4. Saying that you were the smart kid at your elementary school is like saying Obama is the candidate with the best tan.

    If you had gone to the smart-kid school with Dave and I down the street, well, you would have a better sense of your own mediocrity

    Still, you're the greatest thing that ever happened to me. If my wife and I have a third son, I'll name him after both of us...

  5. Forget Saint David! The new patron saint of Wales should be Saint You!

    Oh, and, my boots match my underwear today...

  6. Ha ha! guess who has your pass word, you pompous hack!

    Team member, my ass...

  7. Wait, who the hell are you? How did you get my password?

    No worries. I'll just change it.

  8. I am Your dying pancreas. I am your swollen liver. I am your early morning anxiety. You cannot just change a password and hide from me. I own you.

  9. Ooh, clever words Mr. blogger. Oooh, fuckwad... You're a regular Dostoevsky.

  10. Dostoevsky8:17 PM

    He's right, you ae a fuckwad.

  11. blog and comments both are some of the best in a long time.


Be compelling.

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