Oh, dear. You would not believe the type of atrocities to which Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been subjected this year. Or maybe you would, if you've ever donned the teacher cap, and rubbed elbows without touching with the early-teenage set.
There I was, minding my own business grading the previous class's work, having presented the lesson and passed out the assignment and subdued the energetic attention-seekers who would rule if I blinked...when it happened.
A fart reverberated off a blue hard-plastic chair like thunder rolling across the hardpan prairie ahead of a thunderstorm.
I raised one eyebrow. Just to show that I KNEW. Because, of course, 21 pupils turned to look at ME. Make that 20. All but the gas-passer. It's not like I needed that bit of evidence to pick him out of the crowd. After all, he had leaned over to let it escape. And he was the third-closest student to my desk. Let the record show that he HAD asked to use the bathroom right before class started. And he was in a panic, because BOTH of the boys' bathrooms were being cleaned. Except they weren't. The custodian was merely standing in front of the one next to my classroom, the bright yellow mop cart blocking the entrance, but no yellow sign declaring "Closed For Cleaning." So Tooter went in and came back appearing refreshed.
But that was not the atrocity. Not even the smell such as might emanate from a rotting skunk carcass after it died from eating too many rotten eggs was the atrocity. No. There was a very special atrocity saved by Even Steven just for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Amidst the quiet and the silent stares and my raised eyebrow of resignation there arose two whispers.
"Who WAS that?"
"Mrs. Hillbilly Mom."
And then two ne'er-do-wells in front of Tooter began that Muttley wheezy laugh. OH, NOT-HEAVEN NO!
"That is enough. This is NOT proper classroom behavior, and it is NOT going to continue. I will put an end to this with a discipline referral if you can't control yourselves any better than that."
Silence. Tooter turned around. "I admit it was me. I didn't mean to. I sat wrong. I wasn't trying to do it."
"That's not the main issue. The main issue is that comment of 'It was Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.' I will not have my name brought up like that to disrupt class. I will not stand for it."
Tooter's eyes grew larger. "That part wasn't me. I promise. I would not do that."
"I know that wasn't you. It was one of your buddies in front of you. And it's going to stop right now." Both buddies had turned away quickly and began working more earnestly than they had on all assignments combined since August 14.
Near the end of class, Tooter turned around again. "I would sincerely like to apologize. I did not mean to do that. I am very sorry."
"That's okay, Tooter. I'm not mad at you. You are not the issue here."
Sometimes, you have to take those lemons life gives you, and squeeze them until they feel the pressure.