The Future of Miss Powers - Cover

The Future of Miss Powers

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 2

“Mr. McClellan?”

The teacher looked up from his desk where he was making a few notations in his notebook, about where he had gotten in the class that day. He wasn’t a ‘one size fits all’ type of teacher. Some classes seemed to get some material faster than others. Rather than marching forward according to a teaching plan, he paced his classes according to the ability of the students to grasp the material. As a result, he could get one class more than a week ahead of the others until they had a snag with some material.

“What can I do for you, Danny?”

“Here’s the homework for this week,” Danny answered holding out a stack of papers.

“How long did it take you?” Mr. McClellan asked while glancing over the pages.

“Twenty minutes. I was finished with it before you were done with the explaining the answers for last week’s test.”

“I apologize for making you do all this make work, but when it comes to you, I have to justify any grade I give.”

He started writing 100’s on each page without looking at it. He had already recorded the grades in his grade book. Now the work and his grades were in agreement.

“I understand. I really appreciate what you’re doing for me. It’s really nice of you to let me work on my Calculus II homework in class. Not only do I get it done on time, but it gives me a lot of time to work on my other assignments,” Danny said.

Mr. McClellan shook his head in disgust. He said, “I think it’s stupid to have someone who is taking second semester calculus in a university, sit through a high school introduction to algebra class.”

“I have to take algebra, because I’m a sophomore in high school. That’s the rule. We can’t ignore the rules. No one can graduate high school without taking algebra as a sophomore,” Danny said.

“It’s not right.”

Danny said, “Jack Welch said, ‘face reality as it is; not as it was, or as you wish it to be.’”

“Knowing he’s right doesn’t make it any easier to accept a reality that is structured on stupidity. You’re a good kid, Danny. I’d be furious if I were you.”

“Maya Angelou once said, ‘At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance; especially if one had no choice. I may have had a choice not to surrender, but I’d have lost more than I have.’”

“She is a very wise woman,” Mr. McClellan said.

“I better get to English.”

“How’s that going?”

“It’s boring. Mr. Timmons is of the opinion that no high school student can read Romeo and Juliet in less than five weeks.”

“I’ll try talking to him again.”

“Don’t bother. He’s calling on me the whole class because I’m the only who actually understands the story,” Danny said.

There was an edge of frustration to his voice.

“What English courses are you talking in college?”

“English literature. It’s based on the Norton Anthology of English Literature,” Danny answered.

“I remember that book. That course nearly killed me. I was a math major and wanted to immerse myself in mathematics. I viewed it as a detraction from my real interest. I was young and foolish in those days. I missed a lot because of my folly. I regret it, now.”

“Desiderius Erasmus said, ‘Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn’t - it’s human.’”

“Amen to that,” Mr. McClellan said with a chuckle. “You’d better get going or you’ll be late.”

Upon seeing Danny walk into the room, Mr. Timmons said, “You made it just before the bell. I was beginning to worry that you were taking another unanticipated holiday.”

The comment brought a round of laughter from the class. Danny had a reputation for taking unanticipated holidays from school gratis of the principal. The bell rang.

Dropping into his seat, Danny, in a bored voice, said, “Now that I’m here, let the tedium begin.”

“Where’s your book?” Mr. Timmons asked with a frown.

“I didn’t bring it.”

“I’m disappointed in you. You should come to class prepared.”

“I don’t need the book.”

“Why not?”

“I memorized it,” Danny answered.

“You memorized today’s reading?”

Danny looked at his teacher with the kind of expression that suggested that he was in the presence of a certified idiot.

“No. I memorized the whole play,” Danny said.


“A lot of actors do that, you know, and most of them have problems with drugs and alcohol. I figure if a drunk actress who can’t remember to wear her panties can memorize a whole play, so can I.”

A number of kids laughed at the bit about a drunk actress. That wasn’t exactly the kind of thing one was supposed to say to a teacher.

Danny turned to them and said, “I wouldn’t laugh at that. If an actress who can’t remember to wear her panties can memorize a play, then why can’t you? It kind of makes me wonder how many of you can’t remember to wear your panties.”

Mr. Timmons said, “Danny! There’s no need to be insulting.”

“As Jim Rohn said, ‘Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.’ I just took advantage of an opportunity to practice my communication skills.”

“I am well familiar with Jim Rohn the motivational speaker. He did not mean it in the manner you used it.”

“You are quite correct. However, I’m sure that if he was here, he’d agree with my usage of it. If I recall correctly, he had a rather low view of demotivational speakers such as yourself.”

“Would you like to visit Mr. Bell?”

“Not really. As Julius Caesar said, ‘It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.’ I fear that Mr. Bell is a pain I am unwilling to bear with patience. I’d rather volunteer to die.”

“You can’t be serious. You’d rather die?” the girl in the seat next to him said.

Danny rolled his eyes. He replied, “Naguib Mahfouz said, ‘An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.’ I fear that he was describing you.”

“You’re weird. Why do you keep quoting people no one knows?”

“I know them. A lot of people know them,” Danny said. “For example, Naguib Mahfouz won a Nobel Prize for literature in 1988.”

“I surprised you know about him,” Mr. Timmons said.

“A couple of years ago I took it upon myself to read authors whose works have been awarded on a widely recognized scale. I’ve read works of all of the authors who’ve won Nobel Prizes. I’ve also read works of all of those who’ve won Newberry, Hugo, and Nebula Awards. I read the classics as well.”

“So you read a lot.”

Danny nodded his head and added, “Yes. I finished all of Mr. Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets back when I was eight. I appreciated his sonnets more than his plays. It was pretty obvious, even to me back then, that his plays were for the masses. His sonnets, though, were truly insightful.”

The girl seated next to him said, “They spoke weird back then. You can’t understand them today.”

“That’s no reason not to understand the story. You’ve watched a hundred spin offs, derivatives, and adaptations of Romeo and Juliet without even knowing it. West Side Story is one well known example. Of course, we can’t forget the Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.”

“The Lion King was based on Romeo and Juliet?”

“Yes. It’s the story of a young female lion who befriends a young male from a banished tribe. They should have named the tribes the Capulets and the Montagues. The end of the story was changed to keep the lion cubs alive, but the core of story is the same.”

“I had no idea. Is that true, Mr. Timmons?”

“Yes. It is true. The end was changed because you can’t have a children’s story with the main characters getting killed off.”

“Gosh. I’ll never enjoy that movie again.”

Danny said, “Maybe if you tried to read the play and understand it, I wouldn’t be the only one talking about it in the class room. I am bored by it all. I understand it. I get it. Getting grilled on it over and over, is boring.

“It isn’t stupidity that you can’t understand this story, it is laziness. I mean you guys are living it here in the school every day. The football player dating a band girl – there’s a group of two families that don’t get along. Do the young lovers hide it? What happens when their relationship becomes known? Let’s not forget the intrigue, the drama, and the tears that follow discovery. Nor the friends who do their best to talk them out of their passionate love.

“It gets even better. Juliet is your age, not eighteen or twenty – she’s fourteen or fifteen. Romeo is your age. Think of the hormones churning through those hot little bodies. Can anyone say, horny? Old Romeo looks up at the balcony and says, “I’d like to bang that girl from now to Sunday. Look at the knockers on her.” She’s saying, “That Romeo is a real stud. This is one mare who wouldn’t mind being mounted by him.”


Ignoring the interruption from the teacher, Danny continued, “A little sword fight over some insult? How different is that to a pushing match over some perceived insult here on campus? Its like a jock telling a little band boy, you just better run off and blow on your clarinet. Or a nerd telling a jock, don’t forget to bring your coloring books to class. Hey brainiacs! Don’t forget the pocket protectors. A little pushing and shoving here and there between different cliques. It’s a daily occurrence here. It’s all there in Romeo and Juliet.

“There’s not one bit of difference between your lives and theirs, but you’re too lazy to see it. Maybe you aren’t Romeo. Maybe you are playing the role of Prince Escalus, Count Paris or Mercutio. You won’t know because you won’t take the few minutes required to understand the material.

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