Friday, July 09, 2010

Sarah and Me

I'm not a Jewish nymphomaniac but I do share a few qualities with Sarah Silverman. One, I grew up in Bedford, NH. And two, I went to Manchester High School West--I in the 40s-50s; she in the 80s. So am pleased to read in her memoir:
...West was a giant school with thousands of students. I got lost every single day. I didn't know anyone, except for an occasional Bedford kid peppered among the masses. And, you know how there's this giant discrepancy between ninth and twelfth grade?--I mean, Jesus Christ, there were guys with beards. There was a fucking smoking patio.
--Sarah Silverman, Bedwetter 23 (2010)

Oh now Sarah. In my day it was under 500. The current Wiki says 2,000, so you might be stretching just a smidge, but hey, that's comedy.

Beards? No, no beards in my day, although a bunch of guys gave themselves Mohawk haircuts and garnered a suspension. But let's talk about the "smoking patio." I was going to say "there was no smoking patio;" but on second thought, we did have a smoking patio; it just wasn't a patio. You remember, Sarah? It was on the Main Street side, facing the ball park, tucked in between the old building and the new? There was a little niche or cubby, good for all kinds of nasty misbehavior. The cool guys--well: the cool guys and I--would repair there at lunch hour to puff on our butts. No, not ciggies, fags, cofffin nails. Butts. Got a match? Sure, my ass and your face. Oh, those were the days.

And Mr. Peterson. Oh dear, Mr. Peterson. God knows what kind of nasty misbehavior he had engaged in to cause him to draw the butt patrol. OTOH, the teaching of physics,which was his (nominal) regular job must have been some kind of noncustodial punishment for him in the first place. To all appearances, he hated it as much as we did. He might actually have known some physics, but he mumbled so much nobody could ever hear a word he said.

But I digress... more or less every lunch hour, just as the blue haze began to thicken, Mr. Peterson took the stroll around the old redbrick Victorian pile and show the flag at the smoker's patio cubby. We'd show our respect by cupping our butts (ciggies) in our hands and shoving the hands in our pockets (just where we expected the smoke to go I have long since forgotten). Mr. Peterson would mutter something that might have been "you boys wouldn't be smoking, now would you?"--had we been able to hear it. We 'd show our disrespect with banter and catcalls and miscellaneous rude stuff. He would mutter something that sounded like a response, and resume his meridianal trudge.

I have no idea where and when the real smokers' patio came on scene. I suppose sooner or later somebody decided they had some better use of the talents of poor Mr. Peterson and deployed him in a more productive occupation. I hope so; I'd have to concede that trying to teach or harass students like me was enough to kick the straw out of any man's stuffing. I hope they dedicated the patio to him. Yo Sarah! We could put up a plaque.

1 comment:

Toni said...

I just love the cognitive dissonance I experience when I use Jack Ayer and Sarah Silverman in the same sentence.

P.S. Have you seen The Aristocrats? The bit got old but I kept laughing anyway.