Old Mr. Block

In the folklore of the IWW Mr. Block is a man who never does anything right. He stands up for all the wrong things and is disappointed with the outcomes.

When I was in the seventh grade Mr. Block was my woodshop teacher. Not only was he Mr. Block because he taught woodshop, he was Mr. Block because whenever something raised his ire he would throw a random wood block at students.

Wood blocks would whiz through the air, wobbly projectiles barely missing random student heads. Then, often, colliding or not colliding with their intended target. Mr. Block had terrible aim; which was just one of his many sins.

One day a random block whizzed within an inch or two of my ear. My left ear. One of my two favorites. The intended target/victim sitting behind me and to my left.

When the projectile hit him he shouted, “Hey, you can’t do that.”

Mr. Block was incensed. More incensed than he was when he decided to launch an attack.

He basically said that he could do anything he wanted to in his classroom. Wherein I said, “No, he’s right, you can’t throw things.”

This made him even angrier. Mr. Block was well known for throwing things at students in class. Everyone knew this. In retrospect I must wonder if anyone ever challenged him before.

He said, to me, “This is none of your business!”

I said, “You made it my business.”

He said, “How would you like to go explain yourself in the office?”

I said, “I’d love to.”

Later, in the administrative wing, and all schools have ever-expanding administration wings, the assistant vice principal tried to take the side of Mr. Block.

I pounded my fist on the table and demanded  justice.

The assistant vice principal said, “How would you like me to call your father?”

I told him I thought that was a terrific idea. The only good idea he had thus far that afternoon.

My father, a union representative, came into the office later that afternoon and chewed out the assistant vice principal. And told him that, in fact, teachers cannot throw projectiles at students in class. And that assistant vice principals could not attempt to punish third party students who voice opposition to the throwing of projectiles in class. This was expressed in a low voice but in no uncertain terms.

And I never again saw a piece of wood fly through the air at school. At least not in my presence.

I stole this image of an Easter Bunny from That Great Beast, Richard F. Yates.

 

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