Friday, February 5, 2010


A friend of mine and I were having a discussion back and forth via email about his passions. At one point he mentions an old TV show where the self-contained episodes were very short. I immediately had this Vietnamish flash of memory of....

"The Lottery"

It was a short story made into a movie that we were forced to watch in Advanced English my Sophomore year in high school. Sure, it had a grand, sweeping statement to make about dystopian society and the human condition, but it totally sucked the soul out of you. And it looks like Ed Begley, Jr. made his debut in this gem.

Suddenly all these other memories started flooding my head. My good friend Ian, who sat next to me and closest to the window of our classroom. My Adv. English teacher, Miss Gollberg. That nasty lime green pantsuit she wore too frequently. That she would say, "Um" so many times a day, Ian and I started keeping a tally. Ian throwing giant spitballs on the chalkboard while she had her back to us and she just kept on "um"ing.

Our East Campus was the original high school before the West Campus had been built one town over. It was built in the 50's, now houses only the Freshman and Sophomore classes and, in the 80's was wholly depressing and still without A/C. Miss Gollberg's room was next to what must have been a courtyard once, but I suspect its only purpose by the time I was imprisoned there was to ventilate the inner rooms. Bees would come in the open, screenless windows all the time. Ian would spend his time lying in wait with a small, thick English book propped open to the middle, like some kind of pious monk reading a Bible. If a bee was foolish enough to fly within arm's reach, WHAM! He'd slam the book shut, crushing the bee and scaring anyone who wasn't watching him half to death. And us erupting in giggles.

Gollberg would make us watch all kinds of insufferably depressing old movies and read gloomy, dark old stories. It was in that class I had to read Great Expectations, and watch "The Lottery" and...

"The Veldt"

All I can think as I'm going through this mental mess is: 1) Where can I get some uppers? 2) How did Gollberg not HANG HERSELF?? and 3) Thank Sweet Sweet Jeebus for Ian.

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