Social Studies

Posted on by Dave Woodruff

I had applied for a prestigious job, The first job of my career that required any sort of background check. I expected the usual, Arrested? Yes, Convicted? No. Fired, Not really. No legal issues, no sloppy divorces, my skeletons were all safely sleeping in their personal closet. Save for one.

Ms. Roth, My sixth grade science teacher had somehow been contacted. How that sort of thing happens is unknown, but it seems she was still a teacher at Clarendon elementary, probably still teaching the same curriculum, and working the same hairstyle. One thing she hadn’t changed for sure was her opinion of a certain incident.

In 1974, I turned in a science project that she had deemed too professional and skillful for a sixth-grader to have devised. It was a contradictory system for intelligence testing. I had long believed the standard IQ tests were biased on typical logic systems, not the more practical, romantic and perceptive approach I had created. My paper was flawless, my presentation oozed savvy, even my testing program name, Nuvovisio, my first product name, a meld of new and vision with a splash of Latin flair was as unequaled as tater tots in the lunch room. 

What did I get for my hard work? Labeled a cheat, and now unimaginably forced to repeat sixth grade. It’s only my third day in class and already the new teacher, Mr. Randall doesn’t like me. Luckily I didn’t have to take science with Ms. Roth, we have a history.

Mr. Randall isn’t a great step up. I suppose it could be the curriculum, memorizing the planets now for three days, and he hardly appreciated my contribution on the newly proposed theory that Pluto should no longer be considered a planet.

“It’s in the book.” He replied smugly.

“Yeah, well there were things in a book called Mein Kampf too, Does that make it right?”

My first detention in over thirty years.

I remember being very excited about lunch when I belonged here, now the idea of a diminutive portion on a plastic tray hardly seems adequate. So I have started bringing my own lunch. Sushi mostly, the other kids are grossed out, so I have a newfound feeling of superiority I lacked in school the first time around. Physical education is strangely devised now days, apparently, today’s youth can’t be forced to run, or jump, or sweat. And finally, it was my chance to dominate in basketball for once.

It’s sixth period, Social Studies, two sixteen p.m., and I am calculating how long I have been alive for about the fourth time this week. Then something strange happens, I’m sure it’s the surroundings, but I can’t recall if maybe it’s some kind of odd flashback. I try readjusting my position in my chair but there is no denying it, I have a boner in class.

I look around to see if anyone notices my fidgeting. It could just be paranoia, but they all seem to be staring. Is it that obvious? Do they even know what a boner is? I try to recall when the idea was introduced. All I can think is that whoever designed our anatomy and physiology liked playing strange trick from time to time.

“Dave, could you please come to the board and label Wyoming please?”


“Wyoming, Dave. I’m sure you can do this.”

I think for a moment and remember back to what it was like years ago, when everything was so immediate. The future was that evening. Your big plans were the weekend, and the end of the school year seemed eons away. Somehow, as we age, our system of time passage distorts and things that are months, even years away, suddenly have a very different perspective. An oblique way of seeing them.

“Dave, I’m waiting, Wyoming.”

I clear my voice. “Sir I cannot label Wyoming at this moment, you see, I have a raging hard on, and some of my classmates might be jealous of it.”

While in detention, I begin to prepare my science project about the differences in time perception as we age. Either that, or a volcano.