Behaving Badly

 

I was surprised to hear that many stories that we write about our early memories are based on the phrase “I didn’t mean to be bad.” My own early experiences can be described more appropriately by the phrase “I meant to be bad, but I didn’t want to get caught.”

 

I was in first grade, and I’d been looking forward to the year ever since four-year-old kindergarten when I fell in love with Mademoiselle Geier. She never exactly returned my affection, even though I always wore a nice pair of corduroy pants and my Pepsi Fan Club Milwaukee Brewers hat. Maybe I was just trying to get her attention when I decided to be bad in class, or maybe I was just a mean-spirited little seven year-old. Another possibility is that I was simply learning and practicing essential survival skills. Don’t get me wrong, though, as I didn’t get in trouble every day. In fact, I can only remember two stories of me being bad in first grade. For some reason, I didn’t even get caught for either one, but I did learn some good lessons in how not to get caught.

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