9/4/13-"Welcome to the Thoracic Period!"


Today was the first day of school.  The beginning of the end. The long-dreaded, long-anticipated, long--

Whatever.  You probably don't care.  I'll try to stop boring you.

Anyway, it went better than I had dared to hope.  In fact, it was the best first day of school I've had in a very. long. time.  Even the fact that a fair chunk of the day was occupied by assemblies, class meetings and homeroom (what we call "Advisory") didn't detract too much from my unexpected enjoyment. 

I think this is going to be a good year.

First Period (once we were finally able to go to our actual classes) was choir.  I was surprised to see so many people sitting on the risers when I entered the room.  It seems that the class is now at least twice as popular as it was last year.  And we have three boys!  That's three boys more than we had in September 2012, and...wait for it...all three of them can actually sing.  It's a miracle.

There was, however, only one boy in the room when I got there--a small-statured, nervous kid who looked to be a freshman.  It was evident that he was afraid he would be the only male in the class, and I felt a bit sorry for him.  I wouldn't want to be in such a position.  Imagine singing in a concert, all of the audience's eyes on you because you are visibly and audibly different from everyone else on stage.  Some people can deal with the attention, even bask in it.  This little guy didn't look like one of those people.

When the second male member of the species, a senior, entered the room, the kid was obviously relieved.  He even gave his savior a quiet round of applause.

The applause was much louder upon the entrance of the third boy (a junior) mostly because almost everyone knew him.  The semi-popular newcomer, J., grinned and bowed before depositing his backpack on an empty desk and returning to scout out a seat on the now-crowded risers.  I moved my feet, and he sat down in front of me.

The rest of the class was entertaining, but you really had to be there.

Next period was Economics.  The single dark point of the school day.  I shan't go into details.

After lunch came Spanish.  Spanish 5, to be precise.  There are eight of us in the class, which is the highest level foreign language course in the school.  We discussed our summers, which somehow evolved into a discussion of the Oregon Country Fair and nudists.  None of it in English, of course.  After this, we danced the hula to a Spanish-language exercise video, in which we were instructed to"¡Coge cocos!"

For fourth period, I had been placed in Anatomy and Physiology.  Originally, I had wanted to be in Biochemistry, but that conflicted with Spanish.  Needless to say, I wasn't too happy about it.  That changed shortly.

Firstly, there, first to class as usual, right in the middle of the room, sat N., who hadn't been in any of my classes since our freshman year, and who happens to be one of the few teenage males I am capable of conversing with.

"Hey!" he exclaimed when I came into the room.  "I haven't seen you in ages!"

"Yeah," I replied.  "It's been a while.  How was your summer?"

"It was..." he paused, a peculiar expression crossing his face.  "Summer.  It was summer.  You know," he announced suddenly, wiggling the badly-attached back of his chair, "I don't think I'm going to be able to deal with this."  He tested another chair, with the same results.  "Gah!  Are they all like this?"

It turned out that they weren't all like that, though the majority were.  He settled upon a stable seat a row back, and I sat next to him.

Secondly, I soon discovered that the teacher, Mr. M., has a knack for humor.  Before this year, he had occupied a room in the science department, but since he's only teaching two science classes this year, he gave up his old space to a teacher who needed it more.  The new classroom, which was at one point an art room, is much smaller, with a bank of small but numerous windows along one wall.

"Do any of you know," Mr. M. asked of us, once class had begun, "why they call this room the 'fishbowl'?"

There was a general mumbling of "windows."

"Exactly.  People walking by just can't resist looking in." He stopped a moment before continuing.  "When the administrators walk from our school office to the district office, over there," he went on, "they pass right by here.  And usually, they might look in here, to see what's going on.  We need to agree on a codeword--"

The class, anticipating what was coming, laughed.

"Just something so we all know that the principal or someone's walking by.  Maybe we could all be in costume or something, or doing something that will make them look...then stop...and maybe back up a little...and look again...maybe even open the door and stick their head in to see if everything's alright."

"The Harlem Shake!" somebody piped up.

"Yeah," he chuckled, "maybe.  Or we could all freeze...and I'd be up here like this," he adopted a rigid position that suggested he had been petrified mid-lecture.  "And they'd look, and keep walking for a bit...and then, 'something is not right here'..."

We then broke into groups for a little pretest on the various anatomical regions, which we were supposed to label on a drawing of a naked man.  Most of the words in the word bank were utterly unfamiliar.  After a bit, we reconvened to correct our answers, starting with the head and working downwards.  Mr. M. had to explain why the neck was called the 'cervical' region.

"That's what the bones in your neck are called.  It has nothing to do with cervical cancer."

N. squinted thoughtfully and spoke up.  "But what if you get cancer in your neck bones?"

Mr. M laughed.  "Then you'd better make sure the doctors are treating the right area!"

We proceeded downward, past the Brachial region (upper arms) and on to the chest, which Mr. M. informed us was the Thoracic area.

"I thought the thoracic period was over a few million years ago," N. whispered to me.

"Rawr," I replied, making T-Rex arms.

N. glanced down at his worksheet and grinned at me.  "Some guy rips off his shirt--'Welcome to the Thoracic Period!'"

Well, even if I don't remember any other body part on the test, I can't miss that one again.

The End

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