please elaborate on how you got a substitute teacher to quit within one day. I'm genuinely curious.
all right everyone sit down, shut up and listen closely because I’m about to tell y'all the tale of Ms. Mormino.
Seventh grade is a time most people don’t look back on fondly. I know I sure don’t–I tend to regard that era as nothing more than an unpleasant, acne-filled haze of fall out boy and poor attempts at pseudo-zooey deschanel fashions. But enough about me. Let’s talk about my math teacher.
Ms. Isom. Poor old Ms. Isom. Well in her 60’s, always plagued with some illness or injury, she was hardly ever even at school. Since many of her absences were the result of short-notice incidents–“falling down the stairs” was popularly cited– it wasn’t all that uncommon to not have a substitute on hand. Being a smartass honors class, we’d gotten away with several successful evasions of administration, walking cavalierly into class to pass the next 48 minutes doing just about nothing. Hell, for good measure, we’d sometimes even toss in a friendly “hey, Ms. Isom!” if any administrators were anywhere within earshot. So incredibly anti-establishment, you could basically call it another Project Mayhem, except instead of Brad Pitt and Ed Norton concocting homemade bombs, it was a bunch of tweenyboppers with iPhone 3’s and Justin Bieber 2009 haircuts.
We got pretty accustomed to our own little self-governing system that rolled around every second period, so we naturally weren’t exactly thrilled when administration caught on to our little Anarchy Act and strictly enforced the presence of a substitute every day.
Most of our subs weren’t terrible–most were friendly, gave us participation grades, and didn’t object to the independent attitude of our class (which, mind you, only had about ten students in it)
That is, until Ms. Mormino came along.
Four feet, ten inches of raw, undiluted evil, Ms. Mormino walked into class with a scowl on her face and a chip on her shoulder. When the girl behind me sneezed, Ms. Mormino’s immediate response was “NO INAPPROPRIATE NOISES!"
Although we all suppressed our laughter, we all knew from that moment on that, try as she might with her despotism and her draconian anti-sneeze policy, Ms. Mormino didn’t stand a chance.
The arguable beginning of the end for Ms. Mormino’s all-too-brief reign of terror was the moment I asked for a calculator; mine was broken. Mormino asserted that I could only borrow a calculator if I loaned her something of mine; at that moment, the girl next to me chimed in, saying she, too, needed a calculator. "I have a folder I can give you,” I offered. “I have a highlighter,” added the other girl.
At that moment, a puberty-creaking voice from the back of the room piped up.
We all know certain people have certain gifts. Michelangelo saw angels in every block of marble and devoted his life to setting them free; Einstein had a mind which saw the potential of the entire universe; F. Scott Fitzgerald wove intricate tales of decadence and depravity. Max, however, had a different kind of gift: he could make anything–anything at all–into a “that’s what she said” joke. More on that later, though.
Max pried off a Nike sneaker and held it proudly in the air, like a coveted trophy.
“I have a shoe."
Tottering in one-shoe-one-sock, Max dumped the sneaker on Ms. Mormino’s desk, retrieved a calculator, then tottered back to his own desk, a sort of smirk playing on his face. And, as to be expected–the rest of us quickly followed suit.
A small pile of shoes on her desk, Ms. Mormino grit her teeth and glared at us as we all sat back down, quietly victorious, a calculator in each of our hands. It wasn’t long, however, until we all began to silently plot our next act of minor mayhem.
"Can I go to the bathroom?” asked Tyler, who, despite being in seventh grade, was approaching his sixteenth birthday. In a combination of verism and admiration of Tyler’s devil-may-care boldness, we unequivocally accepted him as our leader. For reasons unknown, Ms. Mormino denied his request. Tyler, much like his Fight Club namesake, heeded no rules but his own and left anyway–Ms. Mormino, furious, locked the door behind him and smugly insisted that “administration will take care of him."
Tyler, however, was not one to be caught, and stayed close by, appearing in the window of the door whenever Ms. Mormino wasn’t looking. Waving, smiling, laughing, making faces and obscene gestures, Tyler had us all in stitches, but cleverly avoided Ms. Mormino’s sight–when she asked us what was so funny, we all refused to give Tyler away.
A girl asked to go to the bathroom, stating she "really really really” needed to go. Ms. Mormino, again, denied her request. Ms. Mormino, however, seemed to be uninformed about the side door–leading right outside, always locked from the outside but always open from the inside.
“Well, I’ll go myself,” the girl responded, and took off, hurdling three desks and darting out the door. Right behind her, two other students took off, pursuing freedom. The door slammed behind all three students, and they were gone.
Six of us were left. Among us, importantly, was Chris.
Chris was thirteen, but looked half his age; scrawny, wiry, he probably measured in at about four-foot-three, but no taller. “Late Bloomer” are words that come to mind.
Despite his diminutive size, Chris possessed the gall of someone like Tyler.
“I have to use the bathroom,” said Chris, standing.
"Do you think I’m going to allow you to go to the bathroom?“ snapped Ms. Mormino.
"It’s an emergency!” Chris pleaded.
“Sit down,” Ms. Mormino growled.
Meanwhile, the entire class borders on hysteria. We have tears in our eyes, almost suffocating from choking back laughter.
“It’s an emergency,” repeated Chris, but it sounded more like a warning.
Silence. Silence, Silence and more silence, until we all began to notice a dark stain on Chris’s khakis. The stain grew. And grew. And grew.
Fists at his sides, stoicism in his face, and a cold, proud, triumphant glint in his eye, Chris locked eye contact with Ms. Mormino.
And pissed right in his pants.
The entire class erupted into a laugh only comparable to the detonation of a bomb.
We laughed so hard for the next five, ten, fifteen minutes straight that Ms. Mormino gave up. Surrendering, putting her head on her desk, she waited until the hysteria finally subsided.
Finally looking up, defeated, pathetic, Ms. Mormino glared at us all and wailed:
"This is too much, this is too hard, too hard, Jesus Christ, this is too much for me!“
A lone voice sounded from the back of the room. Guess whose it was.
"That’s what she said.”
Ms. Mormino officially retired from teaching that afternoon.