Mr. Lane, my sixth grade science teacher, was incredibly popular. When an assignment was given in my English class to write a letter to any teacher, the vast majority of them went to him. He was considered to be way cool by most of the students, the exception to the rule being any social outcasts or people smart enough to see through his bullshit. He hated me, and I hated him.
He loved to tell awful jokes that the cool kids just ate up. I didn't find him particularly funny, and he once booted me out of class for laughing too loudly at one of his wisecracks. I guess I wasn't subtle enough in my effort to make fun of him and everybody in my class who thought he was a real laugh riot.
"I told you before not to do that," he said as I was walking out. It wasn't true.
He loved using his clout to push his self-righteous moral guidance on the class. There was a poster on the wall that was a montage of people involved in various outdoor activities. He loved to point out how he had conspicuously used a marker to black out a cigarette that one of the people on the poster was holding. There was also a story he told, which I later realized was probably entirely made up, about how he had never broken a single law, except for one isolated incident. He was driving with his wife and kids, and was the only car stopped at a light at an empty intersection. Somebody approached his car, offering him handfuls of drugs, and Mr. Lane had floored the accelerator, running the red light and saving his family from certain doom.
Mr. Lane liked to talk about God, and even though I was at a public school, he got away with it because we were in the middle of nowhere, and nearly the entire student body consisted of a mix of Christians, other Christians, and some more Christians. Oh, and me. This may have been where his distaste for me originated, as he was a member of one of the bat shit crazy denominations of Christianity that considered Dungeons and Dragons to be the work of the devil. I was an awkward nerd, and my handful of friends I had made by carrying around my D&D books with my school books.
"Is this for a class?" he asked me one day, spotting a hardback tome emblazoned with a picture of a guy fighting a dragon sitting on top of my science book.
"Uh, no," I said, wondering if there was some awesome class that somehow involved Dungeons and Dragons.
"Don't bring it back to my class," he said.
I sat, dumbstruck, wondering what his problem was. I asked around later and found out that many people there honestly believed that Dungeons and Dragons was completely "Satanic", though nobody could explain exactly why. Annoyed, I began stopping at my locker before his class to drop off my D&D books, and stopping again after his class to pick my books back up. Prior to that, I carried most of what I needed with me all the time to minimize the number of trips I made to my locker.
One day I had a small paperback book sitting on my desk. It wasn't a Dungeons and Dragons book, but it had a picture of a guy with a sword fighting some kind of monster on the cover. I learned that day that the "Satanic" label applied to basically all fantasy fiction.
"I thought I told you not to bring that stuff to class anymore," he said, pointing at my book. He made me go put it in my locker.
Every day, students that didn't have band or choir practice had an hour-long study hall to work on their homework, or read if they didn't have any. The teachers all took turns doing study hall duty, which consisted of sitting there and making sure nobody acted like an idiot. In Mr. Lane's case, it also included making jokes, flirting with 12 year old girls, and harassing nerds.
I had just made a new friend, when this guy I had never spoken to saw me hauling around a Dungeons and Dragons book. He didn't have any homework, or just didn't feel like doing it, so I let him look at a couple of my D&D books during study hall. He sat towards the front of the class, and when he unfolded a big dungeon map, I knew Mr. Lane was going to see him and say something crazy. Moments later, my prediction came true.
"Is that for a class?" he asked.
"No," the kid said.
"Put it away and don't bring it back," he said.