February 25, 2013

  • My Wonder Years (Ep. 03)

    Mr. McLaughlin                   

    02/25/2013  08:00pm

    As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I was quite the cowering mess of a child. The word for kids like me back then was “faggot” (that was back in the days when it meant “shy and timid” rather than dudes who like penises instead of vaginas).  While I pretty much feared everyone, I had a particular aversion to authority figures. Parents (mine and my friends), teachers, bus drivers, policemen, and even doctors all scared the piss out of me. It was therefore either shit luck or our Lord’s oft-referenced sense of humor that I should be born to parents who lived in a part of town that would have me attending Brookville Elementary School.

    Serving the community’s school children from grades one to six, Brookville was presided over by a bona fide psychopath named William B. McLaughlin. I’m not sure what Mr. McLaughlin’s story was. Perhaps he was bullied in school as a child and, determined to get “his turn”, aspired to become a Principal so that he could bully the kids of those who bullied him. Or perhaps he just saw our generation as a bunch of undisciplined queers who needed to be whipped into shape if we were ever going to beat the Ruskies (I can just imagine what he would think of the current generation of emos, goths, and metrosexual pseudo males). Either way, there clearly should have been a law on the books to prevent a lunatic like him from having any regular interaction with children.

    At Mr. McLaughlin’s insistence, lunches were silent at Brookville. During the half hour period, you were expected to eat, drink, and shut-the-fuck-up. To enforce this, he patrolled the cafeteria holding, in his right hand, a stack of yardsticks bound together with a series rubber bands. He would slap this homemade lashing stick against his left palm as he walked around giving us the evil eye. Every now and then he would stop at a table where he suspected the children were conspiring to make unauthorized use of their vocal chords. As a warning shot of sorts he would slam his stick down on the tabletop, a thoroughly frightening gesture to a scared little boy such as me. At each table where he did this he would arbitrarily pick a few unlucky students and swat them across their back or on top of their shoulder. Admittedly it wasn’t a hard whack but it made his point clear – step out of line and you will surely be sorry.

    Despite the threat of verbal and physical violence, kids (as we all know) are quite incorrigible and, inevitably during each lunch period, a whisper or two would permeate the silent cafeteria. This would prompt Mr. McLaughlin to most forcefully blow the capacity of his lungs into his referee’s whistle then shout “Oooo-kay get those hands up, your mouths are closed!” Once he got everyone’s full attention he would proceed to scream and rant and threaten us with the horrors that awaited at “two-fawty-five” (the term by which he would refer to detention). Even so, a defiant student would every now and then take a stand and refuse to put his hand up when the whistle was blown. This was a decision to be regretted as Mr. McLaughlin would promptly take the child across his knee in front of the whole school and beat his ass raw until he cried like a little baby.

    Of course one’s sin need not have necessarily risen to that level of insubordination to have been met with such punishment. A mere accident or error in judgment could have just as easily resulted in you leaving school that day with a black and blue tattoo of Mr. McLaughlin’s hand across your tender young rump, as my second grade classmate David Rosenberg found out when he spilled his juice. Within seconds of the unfortunate incident, Mr. McLaughlin was lifting young David from his seat and frenziedly beating his ass for all to witness. Tears poured down the boy’s face as he screamed and begged for mercy. He got none. I had been sitting right beside David when the whole thing went down and was traumatized for life, my fear of Mr. McLaughlin (and authority figures in general) taken to whole new heights.

    The David Incident was by no means a rare occurrence. I watched dozens of school boys suffer the same fate. While I never saw Mr. McLaughlin put his hands on a girl, his magnanimity towards the weaker sex appeared to be just as negligible. I specifically recall the day he walked into the school library and caught little Jordana McCreary smiling. If there was one thing that enraged Mr. McLaughlin it was the smile of a child. Singling  her out from a across the room he pointed at her and shouted, “You, Smiley, yes you,  get up against the wall!” Seemingly in shock she did so without emotion.  That changed once he began his tirade. “Don’t you look at me!” he said, “Turn that smiling face around and face the wall!” At that point she was actually no longer smiling. She did as he said and although I couldn’t see her face, I was pretty sure from the shaking of her head and neck that she was crying. “Just where do you think you are?!” he demanded to know. “Where?! Tell me where you think you are! Oh? Not gonna answer me?! No? Hey! I asked you a question little girl!” He then launched into a raging dissertation on how school was for learning not for smiling or giggling or expressing any sort if happiness. By the end of it Jordana was clearly sobbing. “What’s the matter Smiley?! Are you gonna go home and tell your daddy?!” he asked her,  “You do that! Tell your daddy! Tell him to come see Mr. McLaughlin!” he dared her.

    Through the whole outburst, Mrs. Smitherman, the librarian, didn’t dare intervene or shoosh him in accordance with the library’s quiet policy. It was a wise decision on her part. Mr. McLaughlin had as little tolerance for the trespasses of his faculty as he did for those of his pupils and he was unreluctant to castigate them in full view of the student body. On more than one occasion I witnessed him pull a teacher out of class for a verbal lashing. He strategically did so right in front of the door so we could all watch through the plexiglass window. While his exact words may have been muffled by the door and wall, it was clear from his facial expressions, the volume of his voice, and the extension of his finger towards her face that he was not congratulating her for a job well done.

    The days were long and stress-filled at Brookville but eventually the clock would circle ‘round to 2:30 and they would come to an end. As with lunchtime, Mr. McLaughlin expected us to remain silent during the bus ride home. Before he would allow the buses to leave the school yard, he would climb aboard each one, blow his whistle, yell at us about our alleged plans to speak to one another, and command us to place our index fingers vertically over our lips and keep them there until we were delivered to our respective bus stops. While the other kids would remove their fingers and commence acting like kids as soon as we were a block or two from Brookville, I kept my finger firmly attached to my lips, sensing Mr. McLaughlin would somehow know if I did not. I was fully convinced he was omnipresent, lurking invisibly, waiting to take corrective action for any transgressions I might commit outside of school. At home I would sometimes have visions of his angry, disembodied head hovering outside my bedroom window, looking in,  blowing his whistle, yelling his various catchphrases at me -  “ooookay get those hands up, your mouths are closed ”, “last one over two-fawty-five”, “make it schnappy”, “are you gonna go home and tell your mommy”, “two-fawty-five, two-fawty-five, two-fawty-five  .   .   .”.

    As scared as I was of Mr. McLaughlin, I never personally endured his discipline myself. In fact, he actually seemed to take a liking to me early on. I remember him tapping me on the shoulder one day during an indoor recess and saying, “Come with me son.” He brought me to his office and closed the door behind him then proceeded to ask me a few questions that I can’t remember.  What I do remember is him opening one of his desk drawers and retrieving a zip lock bag filled with carrots and celery sticks. He removed a carrot and held it out to me. I reached and he pulled it back. “What do you say?” he asked.

    “Thank you Mr. McLaughlin?” I said, unsure of myself. He then handed me the carrot, this time for real.

    While it didn’t faze me at the time, that experience seems incredibly creepy to me now. I don’t remember him trying to molest me or anything but when the school principal takes you behind closed doors to feed you raw, phallic-shaped vegetables it does, in retrospect, seem like the prelude to an ass-fucking. If Mr. McLaughlin liked ‘em young though, I tend to think that Becky Montgomery was more his type. Despite being the miserable bastard he was, his face did seem to light up whenever he saw her around school. “Ree-beccah of Sunny Brook Farm”, he would call out to her, a perverse glow upon his face. I almost don’t blame him, callipygous young tart that she was. She may have been but a girl but Becky Montgomery definitely had a woman’s ass. Not that it would have justified him tapping it or anything but that shit was fucking unreal. It caught my attention long before I could even relate why or correlate it with the sudden tightness in my pants. But I digress.

    Mr. McLaughlin was a monster whose existence thoroughly terrified me as a child. Even after I left Brookville he continued to exert a frightening influence on my fragile psyche. For many years my hope was that he would meet his demise after getting transferred to an inner city high school. I imagined him blowing his whistle at a cafeteria full of teenage thugs, shouting at them to get their hands up and keep their mouths closed, threatening to two-fawty-five them, then getting his stupid ass shot dead right where he stood. Unfortunately that never happened and the most for which I could hope was for him to die a lonely, angry old man despised by his wife, disowned by his kids, and generally hated by everybody who had ever known him. Apparently that never happened either. About ten years ago my mother, who works for the school department, had mentioned that she was going to his retirement party. When I asked how she could, in good conscience, go to a party for that evil sonovabitch her response was, “Well he was always nice to me.”



    The Original Karate Kid



    create counter

Comments (37)

  • You ever watch Matilda?  This reminds me of the Trunchbull!!  OH THE HORROR OF THE CHOKIE.

    Seriously though, is this a true story?  Teachers were mean when i was a kid too, though not to this extent.  Now children are coddled in schools, because if not the government boogeyman will send them all to prison for child abuse.

  • @DrummingMediocrity - Names may have been changed but the account is otherwise accurate.

  • "(I can just imagine what he would think of the current generation of emos, goths, and metrosexual pseudo males)" now that's an amusing thought. 

  • Well this finally explains it...

  • Why does teaching attract jerks like him? When I hear the propaganda about how loving and dedicated teachers are, the hypocrisy makes me sick.

    A teacher in my jhs regularly beat up kids. It was entirely overlooked until he punched a 12 year old girl in the face and she had to explain to her parents why her glasses were broken. Then it made the papers, but he was never suspended or otherwise punished.

  • Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy
    your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  • I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the superb works guys I've included you guys to my blogroll.

  • No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she desires to be available that
    in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

  • I'd like to find out more? I'd care to find out more details.

  • If some one needs expert view regarding blogging and site-building after that i propose
    him/her to pay a quick visit this weblog, Keep
    up the good job.

  • Thanks for one's marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back someday.
    I want to encourage yourself to continue your great work,
    have a nice evening!

  • It's difficult to find experienced people in this particular subject,
    but you sound like you know what you're talking
    about! Thanks

  • Great site you've got here.. It's difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days.
    I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  • I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your
    site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you
    hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  • I constantly emailed this weblog post page to all my associates, because
    if like to read it afterward my links will too.

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I've
    truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I'll be subscribing
    in your feed and I'm hoping you write once more
    very soon!

  • Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus
    the rest of the site is also very good.

  • Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit
    and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and
    my visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

  • May I simply just say what a relief to find an individual who really knows what they're talking about on the internet.
    You actually understand how to bring an issue to light
    and make it important. More people really need to check this out and understand this side
    of the story. I can't believe you're not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

  • Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like
    to shoot you an e-mail. I've got some creative
    ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it
    develop over time.

  • I think this is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on few general
    things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers

  • You could definitely see your expertise in the article you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not
    afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  • Great article, just what I needed.

  • I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for
    only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • This is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read article!

  • I believe what you wrote was actually very reasonable.
    However, what about this? what if you were to create a awesome headline?

    I mean, I don't wish to tell you how to run your website,
    however what if you added a headline that grabbed folk's attention? I mean My Wonder Years (Ep.
    03) | SKANLYN's Xanga Site is a little plain. You could glance at Yahoo's home page and note how they create article headlines
    to get viewers to open the links. You might add a related video or a
    related pic or two to grab readers excited about everything've written. In my opinion, it could make your posts a little livelier.

  • Heya i'm for the first time here. I found this board and I find
    It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something
    back and help others like you helped me.

  • I'm not sure exactly why but this website is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
    I'll check back later on and see if the problem
    still exists.

  • Wow! Finally I got a webpage from where I can in fact
    take valuable data regarding my study and knowledge.

  • After studying content material start looking at the entire world diversely. How should you accomplish this it is easy to include words and phrases and so correctly? If only everybody the most suitable!

  • Amazing things here. I'm very glad to see your post.
    Thank you a lot and I'm looking forward to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  • It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the
    future and it's time to be happy. I've read this submit and if I may just I want to suggest you some attention-grabbing things or advice.

    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this
    article. I wish to learn more things approximately it!

  • Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear.
    Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway,
    just wanted to say excellent blog!

  • Thanks for finally talking about >My Wonder Years (Ep. 03)
    | SKANLYN's Xanga Site <Liked it!

  • Hi there, everything is going sound here and
    ofcourse every one is sharing information, that's really excellent, keep
    up writing.

  • I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come
    across a blog that's equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that
    too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy I came across this in my search for something
    concerning this.

  • I'm impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that's equally educative and entertaining,
    and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that too few men and women are
    speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

Post a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.