May 152015

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Green-Eyed Monster.”

This isn’t so much an apology as it is a reminiscence about an important lesson I learned as a child.

It was the fall of 1977 and I was in the first grade.  Mrs. Cornelius, our (improbably attractive) teacher, decided to hold a handwriting contest.  I felt sure that I would win.  My handwriting was great!  Well, I thought it was great.  Never mind that Mrs. Cornelius had to remind me not to draw little choo-choos on my letters.  That had nothing to do with anything.  Besides, I had just turned seven – facts and logic were still, er, “negotiable” in my mind.  At any rate, the contest was over, and the teacher announced the girl’s winner and the boy’s winner.  That boy was not me, and I was not pleased.  In fact, I was mad, and green with envy.  Oh yeah, I was steamed.  And so, when Mrs. C invited us all to give the winners a round of applause, I began to show my disdain by booing soundly.  You could easily my “BOO!  BOO!” through the clapping.  I was really letting them (well, him) have it.  This lasted for all of, oh, five seconds before I heard “Shawn!  Put your head down!  We do not ‘boo’ in the first grade!.”  from the teacher.  The intensity of her words was matched by her angry glare, and I knew that I had stepped in it but good.  So, down my head went.  Oh, the shame!

But I learned two important things that day:

  1. You have to pick your battles, jealousy or no.  Actions have consequences.
  2. Using the royal “we” when scolding people actually sounds kinda cool.  I have tried to incorporate into my patois from time-to-time since.  So, kudos to you, Mrs. Cornelius!  You taught me something after all.