An Old Story

There is really nothing relevant about this, except that I think about it every so often, and have been meaning to write about it for quite some time. And vindication is vindication, and it’s my blog, and that’s just the way I roll.

Backstory to the Story
In ninth grade, my high school, in an effort to instill respect for our teachers and administrators (because they couldn’t earn it?), instituted a new policy: whenver a teacher or administrator entered the room, everyone was to stand up. This was (and remains) the known and respectful policy for Rabbis and Scholars, and the school extended it to Political Science teachers and Guidance Counselors. (I’m really trying hard not to get off on a rant here about earning respect, and degradation of respect for those that deserve by uniform-izing the behavior. But just know that I am thinking it.)
In the beginning, the policy was implemented without a hitch, until the Principal realized that more often than not, he was entering a room to whisper something to the teacher quickly, and not to address the class. In those cases, making everyone get up was more disruptive than it was worth. And so, it became routine that the Principal would wave everyone down and say “sit” as he walked into the room. See, I caught onto “disruptive” right away, because, well, that was the way I rolled in ninth grade (especially in the one class where the following story happened, a story my friends know well).
One day, the principal came into class to say something to teacher. We all stood, except this time, he didn’t wave us down. I seized the opportunity (“Carpe diem, boys.”), and remained standing, even after everyone else sat down. The principal noticed me, and asked me, “why are you still standing.” Summoning my most humble and respectful tone, I answered, “because you haven’t yet told us to sit.” His response? “Go wait for me in my office.” Perhaps on the way upstairs he realized I was right, because when he got there, I wasn’t punished, I only recieved a short lecture on respect. I think he realized I was disrespecting the bio teacher more than him, and that was just routine already (this is the woman who called me a “shmuck” in class, which elicited the response “takes one to know one.” Not the best zinger, but the point came across.)

The Story
Years later, I was working on a trial. Every time the judge entered the court room, we all stood, as instructed, “please rise.” The judge, always said, “be seated.” And nobody sat until he said so. One day, the judge came in slightly pre-occupied with something. We all stood, but he didn’t say, “be seated.” Everyone, not just insolent little me, EVERYONE, remained standing, even as the judge went on the with the business that was preoccupying him. A minute or two later, the judge looked up, and saw everyone standing. He said, “why are you all standing? Sit down.” And everyone sat down. Immediately, the story from ninth grade popped into my mind. I wanted to run out of the court room, and call everyone who knew me in ninth grade, not the least, my principal. Instead, I wrote the story down in my journal from that trial, and went about my day with a sense of vindication that just warmed my heart.


3 responses to “An Old Story

  1. And you thought you didn’t learn anything practical in HAFTR.


  2. I appreciate your story…well done.
    I was the guy who didn’t stand for Vitow (but stood for R Bajnon , who I liked) figuring if everyone else was who would notoice i wasnt?
    Vitow let me slide on this, although he noticed (killing my theory) as he was sick of having an office mate.
    Years later, I would attend Court hearings on a daily basis, and to be honest, I played the situation by ear…as did the Judges. During trials the up and down took place, at discovery conferences however nobody stood, or if they did, they sat without awaiting instruction.
    I also remember standing (pun intended)for a particular math teacher, but that with the hopes of getting noticed by her and living out every teenaged boys fantasy…

  3. When were you in this school?

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