On Thursday last, the second day of my grammar class, several of the shy students decided they weren’t shy anymore.
This phenomenon happened right in the middle of my story about a time when the Nerdy Little 8th Grader was a Nerdy Little 7th Grader.
* * *
The Nerdy Little 7th Grader’s Horrible Fright
Being short has its advantages and the Nerdy Little 7th Grader learned that fact one hot May afternoon at Centerville Junior High School in 1962.
Mrs. Whooton was a stern and wide English teacher.
She was as wide as the Nerdy Little 7th Grader was tall.
Their personalities were as different as nouns and verbs.
The Nerdy Little 7th Grader was a force to be reckoned with and Mrs. Whooton was a mass of grammatical rules. In physics the equation would look like this: (F=ma)
Force = mass × acceleration
The acceleration came in a projectile known as an eraser.
The equation came to life that hot afternoon in May during 5th period as the smell of honeysuckle wafted into the open windows and the Nerdy 7th grade girl’s mind wandered away from subjects and predicates and over to horses and the upcoming Kentucky Derby. She had a 25-cent bet with Meaux Morrow that CarryBack would win.
Ms. Whooton demanded that her pet, Kathy, and the Nerdy 7th grade girl go to the blackboard and diagram two complicated sentences.
The Nerdy 7th grade girl was running for ASB Vice President against Lisa, a girl in full bloom, so the Nerdy 7th grade girl needed a stunt to draw attention to her mind, not Lisa’s body.
She diagrammed the sentence in a twisted way, so that her diagram looked like stick figures solving a physics equation.
Kids laughed, so she kept creating more legs and marks and slashes and diagonal lines. It was the happy face that did her in.
If force is measured in newtons, then a newtonic eraser came hurtling through the atmosphere at Mach 1. Launched from the back of the classroom, with 160 solid (and wide) pounds of horizontal thrust, powered by an angry teacher at a small child, the eraser hit the chalkboard, just after the Nerdy 7th grade girl ducked.
She yelled at the Nerdy 7th grade girl: You don’t know a subject from a hole in the wall!!!
* * *
One of my formerly shy students asked, What did the Nerdy 7th grade girl do then?
Before I tell you what happened, let’s review what a subject of a sentence is, shall we?
So, things (and persons and places) are moving along swimmingly in Grammar Grades 7-9. Conjunctions, adverbs, and adjectives are on tap for next Tuesday. We will be using Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.
And to think I am getting paid for this fun. What would Isaac Newton have said about that gravitational pull?