Control: Remember Middle School?

People are mad. They don’t like things at all. Let me tell you a story about when I was in middle school. I remember I went to school to an assembly. The teachers talked about integrity and trying or something. It was the gym teacher who told us just to try and remember nothing else about his class. I don’t remember much, but I remember that. He was right — effort gets you places in life. Or, maybe it was the talent show, where the beautiful Amanda impressed everyone by wearing form-fitting shorts that I really enjoyed. Hey, I was thirteen. Then a band tried to play and didn’t know how to play. Polite applause…then a wannabe boy band played and the girls went crazy, loving it more than anyone could love anything. It was one of those groups that wanted to hit it big but didn’t.

I felt something wet on the back of the neck. My ears grew red. I scowled. That was nothing, right? An accident. I ignored it as best as my thirteen year-old self could. Then someone did it again. I turned around. Two guys were laughing. I punched one of them as best as I could, which was very poorly. I did no damage. I have yet to actually harm someone with a punch except to hurt their feelings. Then everyone got mad, and we were broken up, and I was sent to the vice-principal’s office.

“Why did you do that, Dalton? I don’t usually see you.”

“He spit on me,” I said.

“Gleeked,” he said. Apparently gleeking is a form of spitting.

“You both get detention,” the vice-principal said.

I didn’t go to detention. I wanted to wait until I was formally told to go. No one ever told me formally that I had it. I never went to the one detention I was ever given in my life.

I went home and started to play basketball in front of my house.

I got my mom.

“Mom, I got into a fight,” I said.

Mom had this devastated look on her that she sometimes gets. She would get it years later when she learned of my drinking.

“I thought that we got past this in elementary school,” she said. “You can’t do this. This isn’t appropriate behavior.”

“I know,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

That was one of my last physical confrontations of my life. That was it. I was done — except one person, in particular, praised me.

“Good job standing up to the bullies,” Aaron Furness said. “Good job. I’m proud of you.”

I won’t forget you, Aaron. I’m sorry you died and are considered a bad guy by some. I’m sorry. I won’t forget you.

RIP recently, Aaron Furness, someone I knew in middle school. Just saying.

Thanks, and take care, friends.