The Gull Reef Club

Recent Comments:

6/6/2018 · 12:46 am· Michael (Net2007) · My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife
I've often felt this way, it's strange and divisive times in many ways. As far as this goes, I... | Read More

7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More

12/23/2016 · 8:43 am· lordhelmet · Merry Christmas Eve Eve Eve!
Merry Christmas to you and Mike as well as a Happy New Year!... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
Sure doesn't, which in no way explains why the Cubs won! Interesting that we all woke up this... | Read More

11/3/2016 · 12:21 pm· LH · See Something, Say Something, A First Hand Account
No good deed goes unpunished. But at least the Cubs won.... | Read More

5/29/2007

No Bounds

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:25 pm

My last entry reminded me of a minor act of educational disobedience I committed my sophomore year in high school. I thought I was so incredibly smart at the time.

The required reading for that year’s Honors English class included John Knowles’ A Separate Peace. The main lessons were carpe diem (of course) and non-conformity. After finishing the novel, our teacher asked us to write an essay on conformity/non-conformity. Being obnoxious, while believing I was clever, I opted to skip the essay and write a poem instead. My reasoning? What could be more non-conformist than intentionally ignoring the teacher’s instructions while still giving him what he wanted? Two pages, typed, double-spaced.

I handed in the paper with consummate smugness. If I passed, cool. If I failed, my cynicism toward the ability of a haughty-public-school English teacher trying to teach non-conformity would be overly justified.

Mr. Bounds posted our grades on a list hanging in the class room. Our grades were tied to our student ID numbers and not our names, but in Honors English we all knew who was who. And there I had it – a big fat glaring red F next to my number. I was pissed yet soaring. Aha! This sealed everything I tried to prove by writing a poem instead of an essay in the first place. However, there was an asterisk next to my F. At the bottom of the grades list, I saw the asterisk had an instruction to ‘See Me’ to discuss my grade.

Great. Now I’d have to try and defend what I thought was so obvious to this dinosaur of an English instructor.

Face to face with Mr. Bounds, his scary intense blue eyes and waxy bald head were distracting beyond imagination. He did not waste any time with me and asked me straight up why I wrote a poem instead of following his instructions. I asked him if he really didn’t see how what I did was glaringly obvious. His scary face broke into an even scarier smile, which was an attempt to be friendly. Of course he saw what I was up to. He then advised me that I was not going to receive an F, but rather an A. He then pulled out his grade book and showed me in person, my big red A. He then told me that this was between him and me and that if I told any one he would change it to a real F. He didn’t want copycatters, would have ruined the fun for both of us.

I guess it’s OK I tell you beachcombers this now. I don’t think Mr. Bounds can retract my A at this point. I honestly don’t even know if the man is still alive. I really didn’t like him much sophomore year, but aging can be so fine in so many ways. I relish what I did and I relish even more that Mr. Bounds ‘got it.’ Cheers to you, Mr. Bounds, wherever you are.

When A Body Catch a Body

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:58 pm

This weekend I flew through J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Like I said last entry, I am very glad I wasn’t forced to read this during my schooling. An English teacher would have certainly ruined this delicious novel for me. This book captured the essence of jaded adolescence and no adult could have aptly explained it to my teenage self. Having to write a related essay on it would have missed the point entirely.

Salinger did a marvelous job of bringing youthful angst, confusion, and cynicism to life. His first person narrative as the now classic Holden Caufield couldn’t have been more perfect. It is no wonder so many people sing the praises of Catcher in the Rye. Every one of us has a little Holden inside.

One thing I didn’t extract from this book, which I found in a few reviews, was that the story was related by Holden from a mental hospital. I didn’t find that to be the case. Seems Salinger won’t say either way.

I’m almost sorry I picked Salinger for this year’s death pool. At least I finally got around to this great classic. Catcher in the Rye is worthy of its label as classic.

The Gull Reef Club