October 06, 2005
The Day The Magnet Hit The FloorTweet
I'm not a violent person - sure I get mad like anyone does from time to time, but I don't usually blow up. However, there was one time, back in high school that still sticks out in my mind.
I think that our city was fortunate to have a high school that was so well-rounded in its offerings. It had classes of such a variety that there really was something for everyone. You could take hard core shop classes like welding, automotive, household electrical or woodworking. On the other end of the spectrum were French and Cree language classes, Drama and Cooking (or was it still Home Ec back then?) In the middle were a mix of Typing, Word Processing, Stage Sound and Lighting, Computer Programming and Electronics.
Since I was already taking everything apart that resembled a radio or other small gadget, and I had numerous home-made electronic projects under my belt, I chose Electronics as an elective class. The class size was about 25 people in grade 11, and of those 25 probably about 2/3 of them actually cared about electronics, the other third were just there for what they thought might be an easy credit. One of the people who sat in front of me, Chris, fell in the "easy credit" crowd.
I remember that I didn't like Chris right from the very first class. I had never been in a class with him before, so it must have been a "bad first impression" kind of feeling. Chris wasn't a stupid person, I could tell that from his work in class, but he didn't care about electronics and wasn't applying himself. His goofing off in class was somewhat annoying, but usually easily tolerated. I certainly wasn't a saint in that regard - I'm sure that I did my fair share of annoying people in other classes (like English) that I didn't particularily care for.
Since I was also enrolled in Computer Programming class, and since the storage medium of that era was 5.25" floppy disks, I routinely carried around a box of disks. I was somewhat paranoid about losing the information on thoses disks since I put a large number of hours into programming (perhaps more than I should have). I had a large emotional investment in the data on those disks.
One day in Electronics class about two months into the term, for whatever reason, Chris had a decently-sized permanent magnet. Just before the start of the lecture, as we were all sitting in our desks, he had turned around and asked me what I would do if he were to wave the magnet over my box of disks lying on the front corner of my desk. I got pissed off and told him in no uncertain terms that I would be quite mad and he shouldn't even joke about that.
The teacher started his lecture and turned to the chalk board to draw a schematic diagram and some notes. Chris took that opportunity to turn around to face me and pretend that he was waving the magnet over my computer disks. Again I warned him, and he just laughed as he turned back. A few minutes later he must have been bored again with the lecture, since he turned around and duplicated the pretending to wave the magnet over the disks - but this time, he went a little closer to them. Again I got mad, and again he laughed and turned back.
I know that the people around us at the time were aware of what was going on. The teacher was completely unaware, but the rest of the class could feel the tension rising, and a few of them were paying more attention to the growing issue than the lecture up front.
The last time that Chris turned around to annoy me, his magnet came way too close to the disks for my comfort. I was mortified about the possibility of losing data, and I completely lost control of myself. I drew my right hand back quickly and then let it fly right at Chris; I hit him squarely and firmly in the jaw. The punch connected so well that Chris flew right out of his chair and ended up falling hard onto the concrete shop floor.
The whole class went dead silent.
The teacher turned around, wondering what had just happened. He looked at me and saw that my face was flushed. His eyes were then drawn to the empty desk in front of me, and finally down to the floor where Chris was just starting to gather himself back up again. The teacher turned back to me, smiled, and then turned back to the board to continue his lecture. He didn't say a word.
For the rest of that year and next, Chris never spoke another word to me, and went out of his way to avoid me. I didn't feel good about hitting him, but neither did I feel guilty. To this day, that incident is still one of only two times that I have ever hit another person in anger.
Posted by Hammer at October 6, 2005 02:40 PM
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read more in the Nostalgia category.
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