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January 6, 2010

Sixth grade is a pain in the ass

[Jim Welp is on vacation. This column originally appeared in LEO in January 1971. -ed.]

Sixth Grade at St. Mary’s School is a pain in the ass. I thought fifth grade was bad, but sixth grade is even worse. At least in fifth grade Sister Rose Ann was dense enough that you could get away with stuff, especially on field trips. But this year, Mr. Thompson is a complete psycho.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Joey Martin, who got smacked upside the head with a chalkboard eraser for talking in math class. Mr. Thompson was plenty sly about it, too. I mean, he just moseyed up to the blackboard like he was going to do a math problem or something. You had no idea he was even paying attention to Joey at all. And poor ol’ Joey, he had his back turned and was whispering to Susan Mellencamp — a human cootie if ever there was one — and Thompson kept talking about goddamn fractions and shit while he reached for the eraser. Well, he whipped around and hurled that thing right down the aisle so fast you couldn’t even see it — I could hear it whizzing as it flew past me — and it hit Joey right upside the head: Pow!

I think Mr. Thompson probably meant to hit him a little softer and lower, but the eraser trailed high like a Vida Blue fastball, and Joey turned back around at the worst possible second, and he took that eraser right in the side of the face. You could see the long, thin rectangles of chalk all down his cheek, looking just like the business side of an eraser. One thing you can say — Joey Martin doesn’t talk to Susan Mellencamp in class anymore.

Here’s something else pain-in-the-ass about sixth grade: sex education. We had our first class yesterday, boys only. The girls had theirs last month. They teach sex to the girls first and then to the boys, don’t ask me why. Gives them a running head start I guess.

So ol’ Thompson laid it all on the line for us, telling us all about underpit deodorant and our voices changing and needing to shave and crap like that for 45 minutes, and then spent about five seconds explaining what goes where when you’re making babies. Then he looked at the clock and there were five minutes left. So he goes, “Any questions?,” which of course means shut the hell up and sit on your hands.

But what do you think happened? That dumbass Mike Picklebach piped up, “Mr. Thompson, um, I was wondering, um, how long do you have to keep it in there?” We are like five minutes from escaping, and Picklebach wants to know how long he has to keep his wiener inside a girl to get her pregnant! Oh, crap, you shoulda heard the laughing.

So then ol’ Thompson got kinda steamed and said it’s a good question and yelled at everybody to pipe down and then looked all serious at Mike and, to be honest, I was a little curious about what the answer was going to be. But ol’ Thomspon went completely blank. He just stood there looking like God’s own statue of a dumbass. This went on for about a hundred weeks, and I was dying for the guy to say something, anything! Finally, he got this even stupider look on his face and he went, “When the time comes, you’ll know,” and after a second of silence, everybody cracked up again so much we almost couldn’t hear the bell ringing.

Then, to top that, Cheryl Mountjoy puked up her communion wafer from the 8 o’clock mass right in the middle of English class. They had to call in Father George to clean it up because nobody can touch the Body of Christ except a priest, even if it’s been eaten and ralphed back up. So, ol’ Father George, he poured some kitty litter on top of the puke to make it less gross, but I guess it didn’t work because then he started gagging, which got some of the other kids gagging, and finally we all got to go out on the playground for some fresh air before the whole goddamn school upchucked their communion wafers, so at least that beat the hell out of English class. But other than that, sixth grade is a pain in the ass.