I Made Him Join The Priesthood
In my second year of high school I had a maths teacher, who was the endless source of amusement for me. I was a terror back then with a strong sense of social justice which made for some rebellious acts against the “system” even then.
To describe Mr. Gaunt to you is a tad difficult. My only description of him gets rather confused because every time I think of Mr. Gaunt, Mr. Bean pops into my head and I crack up laughing. To this day I can not differentiate between the two. I am telling you now, Rowan Atkinson modeled Mr. Bean from My Mr. Gaunt.
I had always been put in the top class but I hated it. My friends were in the lower graded classes and the other kids in my class were stuck up snobs. So I made it my mission to be put in the lower classes with my friends. Hence not long after the start of my mission I was moved down into Mr. Gaunts lower math class with all the cool people and all my friends.
There was only one problem with that.
Mr. Gaunt was stuck teaching the lower classes because he was well, Mr. Beanlike dumb.
He wore long socks, long shorts with a short sleeved shirt and tie and I really think his face was more Mr. Beanlike than Mr. Bean. He was a confirmed bachelor who lived in a tiny flat and the thought of him with a woman was the source of many laughter outburst by my friends and myself in class. Mind you he didn’t rate as high on the idiot scale as Mr. Freame, the Latin master but Mr. Freame and my detention stories are still to come.
Mr. Gaunt had no control over the class. He would turn to us and ask us if we thought we should have a math’s test the next week. Well hey, back then everything had been sorted into lots of life already. He was asking every potential deviant over the years to come in our home if we WANTED a math test? Somehow we managed to persuade him every week that we were not quite ready.
Mr. Gaunt had many peculiarities other than having his shorts hitched up to his ribcage and a way of walking that at best could be described as Emu Like. He had a weird habit of waiting until we were all seated quietly in the class before making his entrance and he would EMU into the room and up to his desk, pulling his chair out and turning it to face the class. Then he would stand behind it and swing a leg over it, placing his foot on the seating part and begin rocking it back and forward leaning on his knee as he talked. He would proceed to waffle on for forty minutes about nothing. Or preach sermons on the greatness of math. Coming from a class where we actually did math, this was all new to me but got boring real quick. It seemed to drone on worse than the minister on Sundays, day after day, week after week.
One day it got too much for the imp in me. I waited until everyone was in class and watched Mr. Gaunt EMU his way up the corridor and then I made my entrance. I EMUED, myself along the corridor past the tiny glass windows and into the classroom and the rest of the class burst out laughing at me as soon as they saw me. They were used to my imitations and I had my Mr. Gaunt act down pat by this stage. Before I even got to my desk he called to me so I got to my seat and pulled it out as I threw my bag down and swung my leg over the back of it in an exact imitation of his own daily morning ritualistic actions.
“Yes Mr. Gaunt, present and accounted for Sir.” I said with a cheeky grin on my face as the rest of the class sat in silent anticipation of what was to come.
“You are late young lady” He said pointing his finger at me and puffing his chest out.
I pointed my finger right back. “So I am sir” I took at deep breath and stood there grinning with my own puny chest puffed out too.
He started rocking his chair back and forth as he did when he got nervous.
“If everyone was late we wouldn’t have a class” He said, his hand still pointing at me.
My hand still pointed at him and my own chair started rocking in time with his. “It’s not like I missed anything important sir”.
At that point he dropped his arm across his knee and kept rocking, just staring at me. I had shocked him. He was speechless. His mouth opened and closed like a fish.
I stood there silent too, my own hand now dropped into position to match his and I watched him as I rocked in time to him.
“That is beside the point.” he exploded. “You are supposed to be here present in the class to get an education”
One of the other kids spoke up at that point. He was one of the sporty kids that I didn’t have much to do with.
“Well Mr. Gaunt, it is the point really. You never teach us anything. You just stand there preaching all lesson”.
A voice from the back of the class piped up with “and swings on his chair all day doing it”. That set everyone off. The whole class started laughing out loud, letting go of all the tension build up from the confrontation.
Mr. Gaunt started shaking as his face turned bright purple. I was still rocking in time with his motions and he turned to me, pointed and said
I pointed back again and stepped off my chair in time with him. “Yes sir, at your command”. The hum started around me as I stepped into the aisle and EMUED my way to the front of the class. It got louder as all the class took it up and I stepped out into the corridor where the door was ajar and I could see in.
The moment I stepped out the hum stopped. It was our thing, our little call of unity when one of us got into trouble to let them know it was ok and everyone was behind them.
I stood against the wall for a minute cursing myself for not grabbing my bag with my cigarettes in it. As I debated walking back in and grabbing my bag I pulled out a lump from my pocket. It was my little round grey Plasticine ball (like play dough) . I always had it in my pocket to keep my self busy while Mr. Gaunt droned on day after day. I stated modeling shapes and then sticking them on the door where the rest of the kids could see them but Mr. Gaunt couldn’t. Each new creation bought a fit of stifled giggles as they tried to keep straight faces and pretend they were absorbed in his speech.
By now he was lecturing again on how if we all learned our math we could become rocket scientists and accountants. I, being me, of course began to model the obvious shape. A penis and balls. I carefully arranged them into a shape that looked a bit like a face and then revealed to the class what I had created on the door.
They erupted into a fit of laughter again. All of them were in hysterics, not so much by the “penis and balls” concept, but at the positioning because they could see what was going to happen next…. And it did……. Classically…..
By this time I was innocently standing on the other side of the corridor minding my own business. When the class erupted into giggles, Mr. Gaunt EMUED his way over to the door and threw it open yelling as he did so, “What is going on out here”.
The class lost it at this point and absolutely squealed with laughter because what Mr. Gaunt didn’t realize was, that as he opened the door my new molded shape was dangling right in front of his mouth.
Suddenly he looked down and saw it in horror. He froze and then screamed himself and went running off down the corridor which made everyone crack up even more. Just then the bell rang for end of class. Everyone was still laughing as they made their way out. We didn’t see Mr. Gaunt around the school for a week or so after that and things were never the same but that was a good thing.
We got a new maths teacher who actually taught Math. A few weeks later, Mr. Gaunt left teaching and joined the priesthood. No I am not joking he seriously did join the priesthood and that made perfect sense to me because he didn’t cut it as a teacher…. And as for me.. I am always in trouble… just the depth varies
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