I knew I was going to have a different kind of life than those around me the day in second grade that I walked down the stairs at one end of my elementary school and noticed my brother Dan, walking down a similar set of stairs at the opposite end of the building....both of us on our way to the principal's office. It was the first day of that school year. I had already been visiting the principal on a regular basis since kindergarten, so for me it was nothing new, but to see my brother, then in sixth grade, heading for the principal's office must have been the first time ever for him. (It was not the last however. The next year when he was in the seventh grade, I threw myself in the sandbox at noon playtime, screaming " My brother stepped on my head. He stepped on my head" and with really good fake tears, I got the teacher on duty to take Dan to the principal's office. I might have been younger and more vulnerable to teasing than was Dan, but I by 8 years old, I knew the system and how the game was played...and I effectively used it to make certain I was never again "teased" at school.. )
Back to the main story. And what was our egregious offense? Well, as we learned that morning, it is not nice to tell one's little sister...on her first day at school as a kindergartner, that the principal Mr. Zoerb, would show up sometime during the day to welcome the new children, and then he would eat the cutest little girl in the class. I was certain that even at 5 years old, my little sister would know that people do not eat other people, but I was also wrong! As soon as he was introduced to the newest little students, my sister began crying inconsolably. Only after gentle intervention by the teacher, was the cause for the crying outburst revealed, and the perps apprehended. As my brother and I stood in front of Mr. Zoerb's desk pretending to listen to his strident, emotional, warning that his name was not to be used in vain, I began to understand what power does to people. I do not know if I still hold the Maryland Elementary School of Clayton, Missouri record for most visits to the principal's office, but I am certain that I held if for at least 40 or more of my 65 years.
My life remains dedicated to questioning authority....moral,political, scientific, and social. I consider this the first in a series of stories about my early years....elementary school, junior high, and high school. Just to keep the record straight..the first two words I learned to spell were "hypocrite" and "insubordination." I was, of course, the class clown, and very good at it. I could usually get the teachers laughing as loudly at my jokes and antics as my fellow students. I grew up to be a comic, but seldom receive the recognition I deserve for performing such an important role in society!