Teacher’s Pet


I’d Cured My Worst Adolescent Habit …   

… of Procrastination and pitching Lame Excuses.

It happened thanks to one man.

A man named Ralph.

Back in 1977. 


Mr. Ralph’s 9th Grade Biology Class.

The last time I missed completing a homework assignment on time.

Missed any deadline – academically or professionally – without reason.

See asterisks (* **) below for substantiated examples.


Mr. Ralph Wasn’t My Favorite Teacher … 

Not even close.

I’m equally certain I was far from his favorite pupil.

I’ll be clear about that.


I’ve had a couple of all-time favs – Mr. Simmons and Mr. McNeese – from Elementary School.

The former made Math relevant and fun.

The later Health Sex Education equally so.

Love Those Guys.


Because I’m secretly – okay, now openly – still smitten with Ms. Hull after 4 decades.

Fourth Grade Crushes do not die easily in pre-adolescent boys, even as I stumble my carcass into The Unknowable Bliss Of Middle Age.

More goofy quips about my former teachers?

Check out The Fabulous Monsieur Tangelo and Mademoiselle: C’est Bon.

And, another in Fake Buddy.


I Remember About Mr. Ralph:

  1. He was a devilishly attired Sartorialist, favoring a blindingly incandescent White Lab Coat – do they make any other colors? – over a fine knit Turtleneck and a snappy Blazer …  Oh, so Continental, Carl;
  2. He was a Smartass … As in an insufferable Smarty Pants, and also, an Absolute Ass of Apocalyptic Anality ® – prickly, dismissive, sarcastic, unapproachable SOB … So, we had that little personality gem in common;
  3. He nurtured a deep fondness for acknowledging failure openly and generously in class, through unfettered bouts of Public Humility, i.e. Student ShamingUnnecessary, sure, and likely open to prosecution today, but it got the point across pronto without need for further explanation;
  4. He didn’t renege on his Promise To Fail Me – a most deserved fate … I’ve never thanked him;
  5. He bathed in a Tsunami of Formaldehyde-scented cologne … Yuckety, Yuck, Yuck;
  6. He played some type of racket sport, like squash or badminton, possibly racquetball or ping pong … Let’s go with tennis.  And, if I had to guess, a devoted practitioner of Cricket;
  7. He looked Royally Pissed Off when he smiled …  And, he was always ‘Smiling’ the way Hyenas ‘Smile’.  
  8. He sprouted a charcoal-hued 5 O’clock Shadow by 9 am that became more menacing and foreboding throughout the day … I was a bit envious at 14.
  9. He drove the CoolestCarEver.

I’ve Learned To Appreciate A Bunch Of Life Lessons Proferred by Mr. Ralph …

Many Years Later.

  1. Style:If you can’t Rock A White Lab Coat – and who really can these days aside from Walter White? – then don’t wear one.  I had to once – the details are unimportant as the Statute of Limitations are still intact I’ve been advised, but it was in Southern California (2016) and that’s all I’m saying for now – and I looked exactly like a Dink and a Doofus all the way out my element.
    • As for Turtlenecks and Harris Tweed or Corduroy Blazers?  With or without elbow patches? A proper tobacco pipe?  Nah, I don’t even drink Scotch or Irish Whiskey or Canadian Rye.
  2. Smartassery:Doesn’t come easy without requisite character traits and devotion to honing one’s chosen Craft.
    • Through the nuanced pollination of inherent Sharp Wit and lowbrow Street Intellect
    • Think Charm not common buffoonery.
    • I am still working on this.
  3. Public Humiliation:Says much about the malignant cowardice of bullies.
    • None of it is good.
    • Shaming, Why?
  4. Promises:Accept people regardless, and not only based on their spoken word …
    • We all screw up, just some more than others.
    • If we promise something, hold ourselves accountable.
  5. Formaldehyde:Is nauseating and un-smell-able.And, also performing unnecesary, and I suspect, quite illegal autopsies, on pickled earthworms – dissecting brined, fermented tubular corpses? – warmed to room temperature, no less …
    • What Institutional Dolt came up with the idea that teenagers – for any reason -would need to explore the grotesque Innards of Annelids … would make this must do curriculum?
    • Couldn’t we just have split open a Soy Bean or crushed a Flax Seed?
    • Taxidermy, Why?
  6.  Racket Sports:Tennis is not my thing.
    • I’ll watch a combined 84 seconds of both Wimbledon and the French Open every year.
    • I like the game just enough not to play it, because like golf and swimming, there’s a minimum degree of proficiency required to enjoy … and in the case of swimming, drowning is a possible conclusion if your skill doesn’t meet the minimum standard of floating.
  7.  Dirty Smirk:How the Lost Smile
    • And, those whom never learned to release inhabitation or share freely without fear of judgement.
    • The nether expression that hints at calculating, cunning and distrust in the Absence of Self Love
  8.  Grooming:Shave everyday, twice, if necessary.
    • Keep it Clean, boys.
    • Upstairs and Downstairs.
  9. Cars:Shouldn’t define people or be representative of their personality, real or perceived.
    • Except when they’re cool as Mr. Ralph’s … How I Remember It.
    • Like classic Volvo’s …
    • Specifically, the Volvo P1800 ES of 1972-1973.  Color it in sublimely euphoric Light Metallic Blue.

Is The Tormented Enabler of Opportunity Lost.

Fate Derailed.

Dreams Deferred.

Success and Procrastination?

These two are incompatible.

I’ve pooched up a few through negligence, deliberation and disconnected stupidity (*).

Yeah, but not so much these days.


Filing Income Taxes Late One Year Was Not A Good Idea … 

It happened (**).

Because I’d … you guessed it … P-p-p-p-p-p-procrastinated.

Okay, I was slow to pay them.

All of them.

On time.

It Matters.


How It Happened Way Back in ’77:

My excuse (I’ll paraphrase for brevity), when I offered Mr. Ralph my Best Lame Excuse for not completing my homework assignment:

“I totally forgot to do it, sir.”

Mr Ralph (In his affirmative ‘You’re An Idiot & You’ll Never Amount To Anything‘ tone)

“Maybe, I’ll totally forget to pass you.”


Something About A Microscope … 

I think.

I haven’t peaked through one since then.

Doubt I will ever again.

“Life From This Distance Is Just Fine.”


You Taught Me Well, Sir.

What you lacked in empathy and nice, you over compensated for with Bad Guy Teacher Love.

Even if I was a little late to learn my lesson.

Thank you, Mr. Ralph.


Photo by Dids from Pexels