Mr. Roberts: Sadistic, overgrown jock.

In second grade, my gym teacher used to terrify kids by pretending to punch them in the face. In fifth grade, my gym teacher used to issue daily threats to students, claiming he was going to kick them so hard in the face or ass that his shoe would become lodged in their nose, mouth, or anus. And in seventh grade, my gym teacher taught me a very valuable lesson: violence is wrong, except when it is a grown man hitting a defenseless child with a weapon.

Our class had been broken up into two teams, and each team broken into neat little rows to designate who would serve the ball next. We were playing volleyball. Somebody would serve the ball, and when it hit the ground, everybody would move forward in their row, and the person who served the ball would move to the back. I began the game in front of John, a guy that I didn't get along with. He was a Star Trek nerd, while my friends and I were Dungeons and Dragons nerds. We made fun of him constantly, and he would respond by attacking our choice of nerd-vice, which we found amusing, because he clearly had no understanding of what Dungeons and Dragons even was.

After the first game was over, we were instructed to switch sides, but to maintain the order in which people served the ball. The game had progressed for a few minutes before I realized John had somehow moved in front of me in line. I attempted to remedy the situation by moving ahead of him, where I belonged. John shoved me. He towered over me, but I shoved him back.

"Hey!" Mr. Roberts yelled. We both stopped and looked at him. "There's no fighting in my class! Get in my office!"

Mr. Roberts stared us down as we walked silently to his office. We sat waiting until gym class was over. Mr. Roberts came in.

"There's no fighting in my class," he said, reaching for a drawer in his desk. He pulled the drawer out, and then pulled a large, wooden paddle from the drawer. He dropped it on the desk. It was heavy and loud. "The penalty for fighting is a swat. Go take your showers and then wait on the bleachers."

We went and showered with everyone else, and then came out of the locker room to wait on the bleachers with everyone else. When the bell rang, everybody left except us.

Mr. Roberts appeared at the door of the gym, bringing one of the shop teachers, Mr. Hummel, with him. "Paul, you're first," he said, gesturing me to follow him into his office. I did, and he closed the door behind me.

"Mr. Hummel is here as a witness," he said. Mr. Hummel was another sadistic asshole. He would later threaten to give me swats for not paying attention to Disney's Aladdin on the last day of school when there was no work to do and no tests to take. He was a piece of shit, and was probably just there because he liked seeing kids getting hit. He probably made the paddle himself.

"I called your mom and got authorization. Now, I'm a pretty good golfer and I've got a really nice swing. I swing pretty hard, but you're a little guy, so I'm only going to give you a half swat. Bend over and grab your knees."

I did, and then he hit me. I crumpled to the floor, the pain radiating through my ass and into the rest of my body. My eyes teared up and I clenched my teeth, both in pain and rage. The pain didn't make me feel like I shouldn't have shoved John back, it made me feel like beating John, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Hummel to death with the paddle.

Seconds after swatting me, while I was still on the floor, crying, Mr. Roberts flung the door open. "Get to class," he said. I hobbled out, wondering what a full swat felt like if that was really only half a swat. The halls were empty, and I was late to class, but a tardy seemed better than being embarrassed by my tears.

Years later, my friend told me he heard Mr. Roberts was getting fired for threatening to beat up a 10 year old, among other things. I looked up the school on the internet recently, and was dismayed to see that he still worked there.

I mentioned the incident to my mom recently, and she told me she never would have given anybody permission to give me any swats.


You guys talking about systems?

Ninth grade was the last year that I had gym class, as it was the last year that it was mandatory. Once a week, after doing our daily calisthenics that we wouldn't actually do if the teacher wasn't watching, we'd go to the weight room for "weight training". We got to pick out our own workout routines, so for my friends and I, this meant grabbing the smallest free-weights, finding an isolated spot to sit, and only pretending to lift the weights when the teacher was looking or yelling at us.

One day in the weight room, we were sitting around, not lifting weights, and discussing the merits of various pen-and-paper role playing game systems.

"I think the to-hit-armor-class-zero system Dungeons and Dragons uses works so perfectly," I said, "it's not needlessly complex, like DC Heroes or the Palladium system."

"Yeah, THAC0 is good," Sean said, "I prefer it over the Palladium system, but Palladium does put out great content for their games. Rifts is great. I like using Palladium setting ideas, but with the Dungeons and Dragons system."

"You guys talking about systems?" a voice suddenly interjected. It was Danny Pitarms. He was an alright guy who we talked to occasionally, but he wasn't part of our nerd circle.

"Uh, yeah," I said, "RPG systems."

"My buddy has an awesome system in his car," he told us, "The subwoofer can throw a quarter 25 feet!"

"Um, cool?"

Danny seemed to be able to tell that we weren't particularly impressed. He wandered away and we quietly made fun of him briefly before continuing our conversation. We were better than him, because we were nerds, and he was just a dork.


Sheena is NOT a punk rocker, nor does she appreciate the implication that she may be.

I was on my lunch break, sitting at a table in one of the quieter lobbies where I worked. I had already eaten, and was using the rest of my free time to read some comic books that I had just picked up.

"Can I sit here?"

I looked up. It was my boss's daughter, Sheena, holding a plastic container with food in it. It was lunch break time for her, too, though I was never sure why she was ever there. As far as I knew, she was either a teacher or becoming one, but I would see her around quite frequently.

"Sure," I said. There were plenty of free tables, and I felt like I would prefer to just read my comic books, but I thought she was cute and didn't really mind a chance to sit and talk to her for a while. I had never had a chance to talk to her without her mom, my boss, being there.

She sat down and we started talking. She was happy and friendly, and didn't immediately bore me to tears like most people, though I may have found her purple eyes more interesting than anything she had to say. The conversation was upbeat for the first few minutes, but then I asked the wrong question.

"Do you like The Ramones?" I asked.

"Well," she said, "I am a child of the 80's, so... yes."

"Have you ever heard 'Sheena is a punk rocker'?"

Her smile immediately disappeared. The happy look on her face was immediately replaced by a cold stare. She looked like I had just asked her if she had ever heard a song called "Sheena is a huge filthy whore who stinks."

"No," she said flatly, "No, I haven't."

"Well," I said, "you should check it out. It's a fucking great song! I think of it every time I hear your name."

She seemed to sense from my tone of voice that perhaps "punk rocker" didn't mean "huge filthy whore who stinks", and the conversation once again became upbeat. It was too late, though, because I had decided in the previous few seconds that I didn't want to talk to her anymore. I made small talk for a few minutes before I told her I had to go back to work.

"Oh, OK. I'll see you later. It was nice talking to you," she said.

I found a quiet spot and went back to reading my comic books until it actually was time to go back to work.


Jury duty.

"Do you live in the city proper or one of the townships?" the girl asked me when I handed her the jury duty notice I had received in the mail. She had noticed the forwarding label from my old address to my new one. The town wasn't even the same, so I hoped I would be able to go home and get back to sleep. I was sick as hell, and 8:30 in the morning is only a couple of hours after I normally go to bed, so I was tired on top of feeling weak and snotty and coughing my lungs out. I told her what township I lived in, and she punched out a jury duty tag for me to pin to my shirt and handed me an official-looking certificate to hang on my wall to let people know I had done my civic duty. I sat down on one of the benches and settled in to spend the day there. I immediately realized I should have brought something to read.

I couldn't get comfortable. My body temperature was all fucked up from having a cold, and I was either too hot or too cold. I kept taking off my sweatshirt and putting it back on. The second time I pulled it back on, I realized the ends of my sleeves were crusty with my snot, and for the rest of the morning I would twist my sleeves around to try to conceal the gross looking patches.

Shortly after arriving, the lights were dimmed and we were shown a video about jury duty. I was surprised to learn that people were randomly selected from the pool of people who have drivers licenses, which surprised me, because I had thought that jury duty was a penalty for voting. After the video, the girl who had given everyone their civic duty certificates explained a little bit more about the process, and then told us to wait for it to start.

The old guy to my left was quiet and never said anything, for which I was grateful. The lady to my left was engaged in conversation with the guy on the opposite side of her. I tuned them out as they talked about school and crime. I hoped she wouldn't talk to me.

A guy with a big mustache and a Harley Davidson sweatshirt kept walking around the room, loudly talking to anybody who would listen about his Harley.

"Yeah, I ride a Harley! My friends ride Harleys, too!"

He was really intent on making sure absolutely everybody, even those who weren't at all interested, knew what kind of motorcycle he rode. It was hard to tune him out, because he was very loud. I avoided making eye contact, because I knew he would take that as an invitation to come tell me about his Harley, and make a hilarious joke that only he would laugh loudly about.

"No, man, I don't ride a horse. I've got a Harley!" I heard him say before letting out a big laugh to let everyone in the room know that it had been some kind of joke. Later, I heard him say, "He said vegetarian pizza, I said, what's the point?" before letting out another huge guffaw. He seemed like any number of redneck jackasses I had gone to high school with, and I imagined telling him I was gay if he tried to talk to me so he would leave me the hell alone.

I had been waiting silently for an hour or two before the lady on my left said anything to me.

"So what do you do?" she asked me suddenly.

"I'm currently unemployed," I told her.

"What did you do?"

"I filed medical records at the university."

"Oh, did you get laid off because they're switching to digital records?"

"No," I told her, "I quit."

She asked me if I knew the big boss of the medical records operation. "She used to be a therapist, like me," she said.

"Yeah," I said, "She should be fired, along with every other level of their grossly incompetent and bloated management."

"Really, why?"

"There's absolutely no quality control, and nobody cares. All but the smallest records have other peoples' information in them, and nobody does anything at all about it. It's pretty disgusting."

"Yes, that is disgusting," she said, her face reflecting her actual disgust, which made me happy, not because I wanted to disgust her, but because I think it's important that people know their sensitive health information is being grossly mishandled.

She stopped talking to me, and I hoped she wouldn't start again. She seemed nice enough, but I felt like shit and wished I could go to sleep. I ate some Dayquil that I had in my pocket and continued to wait silently for the jury selection process to begin.

It was only after several hours of waiting that the judge made his first appearance. He seemed like a jovial character, but I imagined he was probably actually a huge douchebag, like any of the popular "nice" teachers in high school. He told us that they were able to do plea bargains for most of the cases, but they still had some work to do before they might select juries. He had us vote on whether or not we wanted to break for lunch. I voted against it, because it would have meant staying longer, and I didn't have a car to go anywhere if we did break, anyway. Fortunately, most of the people seemed to be in favor of a shorter stay, so we got to continue sitting around, waiting, instead of breaking for lunch.

"So, what do you do if you don't work?" the lady on my left asked me.

"I play a lot of music and video games," I said.

"You sound like a college student."

"Yeah, it's a sweet life," I replied, "I hope to live like this forever."

"Do you think that's what people do?" she asked, "Do you think people are just hippies their whole lives?"

"Well, obviously not everyone," I said, "but if I can get away with it, I don't see why I shouldn't do what makes me happy and avoid what makes me unhappy."

She thought about what I said for a minute before asking, "What do you want to do? What do you like doing?"

"Well, playing music and video games," I said. "There's not a lot of money in it, but it's really a blast."

"I knew when I was 8 years old that I wanted to be a therapist," she told me, "I'm a hand therapist now. I solve problems for people. With their hands. I really enjoy it."

"It must be nice doing something you enjoy," I told her.

"What kind of music do you play?" she asked, changing the subject.

"Reggae," I said.

"What's reggae?" she asked. I immediately knew I should have said something else.

"Well," I said, "Um, it started in Jamaica. It's really mellow." I wanted to tell her the emphasis was on the off-beat, but figured it would be a waste of time.

"Who is a reggae artist I might know?"

"Well, Bob Marley isn't really one of my favorites, but he's the one that most people have heard of."

"I see. Who else is there?"

"Well, if you don't know Bob Marley, there really isn't anybody else I can name that you would know."

"Is it kind of rock and roll?" she asked.

"Um, yeah," I said, "It's rock and roll." It was accurate because reggae is another blues-based form of music. The blues, rock and roll, and reggae all rely heavily on the same three chords.

"Okay..." she said, "Is it bluesy?"

"Yeah, I'd say it was bluesy," I responded. It was the same goddamn question to me.

"So... reggae is like a bluesy sort of rock music?"

"Yeah," I said, satisfied enough.

"That sounds interesting," she said.

"Yeah," I said, "Reggae is good stuff." I made a mental note just to say "rock and roll" to begin with if I thought someone didn't know what reggae was (unless I thought they might come to an Assbutts show, in which case I might try to explain, or just tell them to come see).

The judge came out and told us that they had managed to do plea bargains for all of the cases, and that we could go home. Everybody applauded and then began shuffling out. We had been there for about four hours.

"See you next year!" the lady who was sitting next to me said.

"Yeah, see you," I replied.

I went outside to the locker where I had to lock my cel phone, and then called my ride. The guy who had been sitting on the opposite side of the lady next to me heard me on the phone and offered me a ride, since he had heard where I lived when I was talking to the lady. He gave me a ride, and then I immediately went back to sleep when I got home.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to experience the actual jury selection process. It certainly would have been more interesting than just sitting around for four hours.


I'm pretty sure she made me touch her butt.

I never really socialized much at work. I didn't really even leave my desk except when I had to, and when I did, I would do what I needed to do as quickly and efficiently as possible so I could get back to monitoring the tubes, reading science fiction magazines, and playing with my Nintendo DS. Sometimes I would wear headphones when I left my desk so I could pretend I didn't hear anybody and avoid talking to them. When I was forced to talk to people, I didn't say much, and would immediately go back to my desk when I was done doing what I was supposed to do, regardless of whether or not it seemed like somebody was done talking to me. I just didn't see any need to make friends with the people I worked with, and I didn't want to waste my time talking about the weather, sports, Jesus, TV shows, or any other inane bullshit people seemed interested in. My disinterest in talking to people stemmed less from a specific dislike for the people I worked with than from a general distaste for people.

There were, however, exceptions to this rule.

Some of the people I worked with I found truly disagreeable. Among them was a morbidly obese black woman who dressed very loudly and caked her face with many layers of clown/whore makeup every day. Her appearance was not the only loud thing about her, and I would often be forced to listen to her having long conversations with her friends in their normal indoor voices, which were the screams, yells, and cackles you would expect from people at a loud concert rather than a quiet office building. At least once, I turned my headphones up painfully loud, but was still unable to drown out the sound of her and another woman practicing their gospel singing at full volume.

The woman was somewhat crazy, and I had once heard from a girl my age about an altercation she had had with the woman. The girl was swearing, talking to her friend, when the woman put her face inches from the girl's face and engaged her in a yelling argument over her apparent lack of respect for herself. The girl asserted that she was "a grown-ass woman" who could talk however the hell she wanted to, which only served to make the woman louder and angrier.

I was, unfortunately, too friendly to be actively disliked. Despite my unwillingness to socialize with my coworkers, I would always help people with their retarded-person computer problems if they asked for my help. I would have preferred it if people thought I was an asshole and never tried to talk to me, but I gained a reputation as a quiet but friendly guy who was willing to help people when they were too goddamn inept to do incredibly basic tasks by themselves.

On several occasions, the loud woman came to my desk asking for computer help. Each time, she wanted me to go back down to her desk to help her. She was very slow-moving because of her girth, so I would be forced to endure extra moments of her talking to me. She would tell me about her teenage son's incredible musical skill, and how he played for a large number of incredibly famous acts, and how all kinds of guys really want her because she's so sexy. I never believed her. When we got to her desk, her problem would invariably be something so fucking stupid that it would shock me that somebody would give her a job sitting at a computer much of the day. I would save her file, or maximize her window, or whatever other stupid shit she needed, and then immediately go back to my desk.

I tried to avoid interacting with her more than I tried to avoid interaction with anybody else. When she did say something to me, it was often uncomfortable shit like, "You get more and more handsome every day", or trying to get me to come to her birthday party. I tried to be polite, but I was always very short and in a hurry to get back to my desk.

One day, I went downstairs to pick up my batch of work that should have been printing out at that moment, as it did every evening. The morbidly obese lady was standing near the printer with two other coworkers.

"They're not coming yet," she said.

"Oh," I replied, ready to go back upstairs.

She grabbed my hand. "Here," she said in her deep, manly voice, "let me show you."

I didn't need to be shown, and I sure as hell didn't need to have my hand held to walk 3 feet to the printer. My hand was limp as she clasped it and began waddling towards the printer.

And then my hand touched her butt.

"See?" she asked, gesturing at the empty printer with her free hand.

"Uh, yeah," I said, pulling my hand free. "I guess I'll check later," I said, and went back to my desk, wondering what the fuck just happened. Did she just pull my fucking hand into her butt? I asked myself.

It has been hypothesized that perhaps pulling my hand into her butt was just an unfortunate consequence of her being so fat that her butt took up so much space. That makes me wonder, how often do morbidly obese people "accidentally" touch their own butts? I will never know whether or not she intentionally made me touch her butt, but either way, she had no goddamn business grabbing my hand in the first place.

On my last day of working at that place, she stopped me as I was walking to my boss's desk, trying to bitch at me about doing too much work and raising the ludicrously low standards, which meant she actually had to do some work.

"You do all them boxes, and now Chris thinks we can all do that much. I can't. You need to..."

"This is my letter of resignation," I said, cutting her off and showing her the paper in my hand. "I don't have to take any shit at all from anybody here ever again."

She was clearly taken aback. "Oh," she said, "well, I was thinking I might have to do the same thing if things don't change around here."

"Yeah," I said, not trying to hide the contempt in my voice, "You do that." I walked away.

I'm so happy that I'll never have to see her again.


We don't have Flubber, but we have Blubber.

I used to go to the library regularly in fourth and fifth grade, mostly to browse the science fiction section. The library was a tiny, one-room building crammed with books. The head librarian, the only person there most of the time, was a very old, wrinkled, hunched-over lady who moved and spoke slowly.

One day, while I was perusing the scifi shelf, a girl who was roughly my age came in with her mom. Clearly unfamiliar with both card catalogs and the "alphabetical by author" system of shelving fiction, she immediately went to the librarian and asked if the library had a copy of Forever.

"Well, I know we have Blubber," she said, shuffling over to the young adult section, "but I don't know if we have Flubber."

"Forever," the girl said, following the librarian.

"Yes, yes, I know we have Blubber, but I don't know about Flubber," she replied, leaning close to the shelf and eyeballing books.

"Forever," the girl said again, "not Flubber."

"I don't know if we have that. I know we definitely have Blubber, though. Do you know who it's by?"

"Forever," she said again, clearly frustrated by this point, "by Judy Blume."

"Ah, yes," the librarian said, pulling down a copy of Blubber, also by Judy Blume, off of the shelf for the girl. "We have this one, Blubber, I don't see Flubber here, though."

"I'm not looking for Blubber or Flubber," the girl told the librarian. "I'm looking for Forever."

The librarian finally understood what she was saying. "Oh," she said, suddenly much less enthusiastic. "We got rid of that because it had some overnight stuff," she said in what sounded like a disgusted tone as she shelved the book. The girl stormed out without saying another word, and her mom thanked the librarian for her help before following.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out that the book is still unavailable in that backwards little town.


Simon's $50 pound of weed.

This is, by far, my post popular post, receiving a bunch of views every day, but nobody has ever left a comment. You can do it anonymously. You should leave one. What is it you're looking for that brought you here? Did the title lead you to believe somebody had a pound of weed for sale, over the internet, for $50? Were you trying to figure out what a pound of weed is worth? (ProTip: Try THMQ.) Are you doing research for school? I can't, for the life of me, think of what else might be bringing so many clicks this way. Why don't you leave a comment and help end the mystery?

I first met Simon in 5th grade. He was a couple years older than me, several times my size, and a compulsive liar. On the bus, he would brag to me about how he had so much body hair that he had to shampoo his chest, pubes, and armpits, and how his flacid penis was the size of a full roll of paper-towels. Simon was clearly black, but would vehemently deny it, claiming to be a Mexican/Native American hybrid, despite looking like neither. He referred to black people as "colored people."

I considered Simon a friend, though this didn't prevent me from occasionally setting off his violent temper just for kicks. I learned that simply stating "I am God" would infuriate the religious kid, so it became something I enjoyed saying. Both of us were classified as "emotionally handicapped" and stuck in a classroom of other fire-starting crazies, and on several occasions, I witnessed the full power of his explosive rage, with screaming, book-throwing, and eventual restraint by all the adults in the room.

In 8th grade, I lost my "emotionally handicapped" label and stopped riding the short bus into the neighboring school district. I started going to the school I was supposed to, and Simon followed me the next year. I had no classes with him, but would sometimes talk to him in the hallway.

One day, Simon pulled me off to the side of the hall. He looked around suspiciously, and then leaned in close to my ear.

"I'm looking for a pound," he whispered.

"A pound of weed?" I asked in my normal voice.

"Shhhh! Yeah. Can you help me out?"

"Yeah, I'll see what I can do," I told him, and walked away.

As luck would have it, I had a friend in Spanish class who was a known pot dealer that had recently been busted by his mom. She had opened the trunk of his car to find it full of weed that he had grown in the woods. She was furious, and wanted him to get rid of it all immediately. For this reason, he had actually offered me a pound of weed at the crazy discount price of $100 just days before Simon's request. I declined, as I didn't smoke or have $100. When Simon asked for the pound, though, lights starting going off in my head. I didn't tell him about the offer, because I figured I'd pretend I was looking around, and then make some money brokering a deal for him. Even at the time, so many years ago, you could consider yourself well-connected to even get an ounce for $100, so anybody actually looking to make some money would have no problem dropping a few bills for a whole pound.

"Hey, Simon," I called out in the hallway a couple days later. He walked over to me.


"I found that pound you wanted," I told him.

"How much?" he asked.

"Three hundred bucks."

Simon rolled his eyes. "I already found one for fifty!" he said, walking away.

I told my friend in Spanish class about the failed transaction. We both agreed that Simon was completely full of shit.

The last time I saw Simon was one day when he showed up at school when I was in 12th grade. He spoke in a very soft voice and told me he was now a missionary. I didn't know whether or not to believe him, because nothing he ever said seemed to be true. I didn't really care, though. That guy was a jackass.