Schoolyard Derision

From an e-mail:


Hi! I was browsing your site, and saw that you mentioned a Kent Purser. Now, keep in mind that I am a nerd, and the fact I had a chemistry teacher who may or may not have known a cast member of Star Trek: TNG excited me. So I planned on asking him about it, the only problem is I had graduated from high school already and wasn’t in the area. None of my lazy friends who were still in high school would ask him if he was indeed the Kent Purser who knew Wil Wheaton, so I had to wait until I went back to visit last week. He was indeed the Kent mentioned in your Star Wars toy story (Do you still get those? I got the coolest Jabba’s Palace one a while ago.) So yeah, Kent is now a chemistry high school teacher. He watched some Star Trek: TNG (Bet you wanted to know that), and claims he used to beat you up in school. I’m not sure if I believe him on the beating up part though. If you want, I’ll send you a picture of him (He looks somewhat goatish. A goatee will do that.) Adieu

Response:
Ha! Kent never beat me up. As a matter of fact, the only bully who ever beat me up was Joey Carnes, and that was just two hits: his fist hitting my nose, and my body hitting the ground.
Kent was one of The Cool Kids who I so desperately wanted to be friends with. Since he was a Cool Kid and I was a Total Geek that just wasn’t going to happen. He picked on me a lot, but that really doesn’t put him in any great club — everyone picked on me in grade school, because I was a Total Geek.
However, he did humiliate me pretty hardcore one time. In 5th grade, I was sitting off to the side of the playground, looking over a Monster Manual, or Player’s Handbook or something, when Kent and some of the other Cool Kids — Jimmy Galvin, Scott Anderson, Brandon Springs — walked by, heatedly discussing Schoolhouse Rock. Kent shouted over his shoulder to me, “Hey Wil, do you watch Schoolhouse Rock?”
I loved Schoolhouse Rock, and got up early on Saturdays to watch it at 6:00 a.m. before Superfriends. I knew the entire preamble to the Constitution, understood the complexities of Manifest Destiny, and was a math whiz, because of my devotion to SHR. I would often sing “Verb! That’s what’s happenin’!” in my head while waiting for my parents to pick me up from school. But we were in 5th grade, and I hadn’t heard enough of their conversation to know if I was supposed to answer in the affirmative, or not. So I flipped a mental coin, and sneered. “No way,” I laughed, summoning all the contempt and scorn I could muster. I did my best to sound like our principal, Mr Schultz, during one of his long lectures about the dangers of rock music. “Schoolhouse Rock is stupid. It’s totally for babies.”
I sat back, anxiously awaiting their agreement and approval. Maybe they’d welcome me into their circle for a few days, and they wouldn’t throw at my head when we played dodgeball in PE.
Kent made a braying sound, and topped my carefully measured derision. “For babies?! Schoolhouse Rock is cool, Wil. I watch it every chance I get.”
Kent and The Cool Kids all laughed, and walked away. My face began to sting, anticipating PE.

137 thoughts on “Schoolyard Derision”

  1. “Conjunction Juction, what’s you function!” I loved Schoolhouse Rocks. I still suddenly start singing that one every now and then. Can’t beat it .

  2. I think you and I had the exact same grammer school experience, Wil. Except, of course it was mostly fellow girls who were the bane of my existance…and, trust me, we girls can be VERY cruel.

  3. Wow! Talk about your classic Role Reversal…
    The Cool kid grows up to be a Chemistry Teacher, and the Total Geek an Actor/Writer.

  4. *L*
    It seems all countries have these really cool shows that explains about grammar and numbers and stuff. :)
    Just goes to show, people are not all that different in other countries … or they all have one big-shot TV Exec that controles it all.. Hmm… Not there’s a thought.. *L*

  5. That’s sweet.
    …The part about Kent being one of your posse’s teachers.
    I for one, did not watch Schoolhouse Rock. I loved the Saturday Afternoon Specials though. The ones with the cat that introduced them.

  6. I guess in that situation, I would have assumed the cool kids were setting me up to be verbally shot down no matter what I replied, and therefore would have repsonded with something neutral (“I see it every now and then when I watch Saturday morning TV.”) that would have forced them to strain their shrivelled little pea-brains to come up with an effective cut-down.

  7. Yeah, I got a couple of those dodge balls in the face back in the day. I did have a righteous moment one time in sixth grade, though. It was team dodge ball and it came down to between me (tall, gangly geek) versus Rusty Downy (muscular jock). I was nearly pissing my pants with fear. He threw, I caught.
    And the heavens opened to the Ode to Joy.
    I was carried aloft the shoulders of my fallen brethren.
    Well, I would have had I not been such a tall, chubby farker…

  8. “Lallylallylally, get your adverbs here…”
    Nice story, Wil. I think most of us have lived something like that. I think it was Judy Blume books in 7th grade in my case…

  9. ~cue twilight zone music now~
    just happened to watch the complete SchoolHouse Rock on DVD today with my kids. VERB!
    Though I always liked the multiplication ones the best. Cause 3, well you know, is a magic number.
    i always knew i was a geek, now everybody knows ;) (well, they probably knew it too. doh!)

  10. Interplanet Janet, she’s a galaxy girl!!
    Have any of you heard the covers done of Schoolhouse Rock songs? You can check it out at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/43dc . They are fun – but nothing like the real thing! This year they have released a 30th Anniversary Edition of The Best of Schoolhouse Rock. http://tinyurl.com/43dh That’s on my wishlist!
    Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
    Hooking up words and phrases and clauses….
    ~Janece

  11. aw i remember School house rock! “i’m just a bill, yes only a bill, standing on top of capital hill” i think that’s how it went lol.

  12. One of those lessons that you learn early on, but don’t quite see until later….Just be yourself.
    ;)

  13. Oh, and you know what is funny?
    Kent is probably lurking around your site….
    Sometimes life is sweet like that.

  14. I love my SchoolHouse Rock… the dvd has me thrilled! You must get it if you don’t already have it… heck, you should send a copy to this now school teacher/ex cool kid!…

  15. Joey Carnes…Imagine that. I used to work with a Joe Carnes at the Cincinnati/N. KY International Airport…worked as an aircraft fueler for 3 years with this guy. He was eventually promoted to supervisor, then busted back down for…well I don’t really remember why…I think he wrecked a fuel tanker or something…or the position went to his head…not sure. I don’t think he lived in Kentucky all of his life, and he would be just about the same age as you and I (I’m 29. My birthday is in the same month and on the same day as Jonathan Frakes and Gene Roddenberry, a fact of which I am quite proud! ;})
    Hmm…Wouldn’t that be something if he happened to be the same Joey Carnes that punched you in the nose? I’d *gladly* return the favor for you Wil if he were the same one! LOL >=}

  16. …Interjection!…
    …I’m just a bill, on Capitol Hill…
    Loved those cartoons, but I wouldn’t have admitted it on the circumstances, either. :-)

  17. Yea! Superfriends and Schoolhouse Rock!
    I still want to hang out with Aquaman. I wonder if that Wonder Twins movie I heard about is ever gonna get made? Wonder Twin Powers Activate!!!
    Course I was getting up at 6 AM for a creepy show called Scooby Doo with a few old cool, Beetles tunes thrown in for good measure.
    Well…I’m off in search of Land of the Lost Photos.
    Someone should throw a costume party where ya have to dress up as your favorite old cartoon character. Whoo Hoo! I’m just full o ideas today.

  18. I loved those Schoolhouse Rock Cartoons. In fact, I’ve used the Grammar Rock videos to teach my elementary students. Nothing like a catchy tune to make a point.

  19. Heh, the best revenge is to be successful.
    I remember the misery of school bullies. Girls are more verbal and crueler. I’d have taken getting my clock cleaned anytime to the verbal abuse.
    But then you get to grow up and make your own life, and that is all behind you.
    In your case, you were successful. So who’s the loser now? Not you.

  20. Schoolhouse Rock…yes that was THE show to watch on Saturday Mornings. Ive seen the episodes on DVD, not sure why I haven’t bought it yet.

  21. *starts humming it’s a small world theme in her head then smacks herself because it is now stuck in her head*
    I was a Total Geek in school too. Still am, but yeah. I was also The Fat Kid and The New Kid. Fun times! …yeah not really. lol. Imagine being a non-skinny girl named Jenny when they had just started doing those 800 number commercials for Jenny Craig. :-/
    Wow, I am so babbling. Sorry about that, this is the first time I’ve ever commented here.
    Have a great day!
    Jenny

  22. I’m proud to say I that while I am not a total geek, I was a friend to the geeks. We hung out in the English/History dep’t. classrooms at break and lunch, dagnabbit. We talked about the coolness of Imperial Star Destroyers and such.
    I would have been there for you, Wil, all the way!

  23. “Slice”, that was too funny..
    I LOVE (present tense) Schoolhouse Rock and when I saw the commercial for the DVD set, I said to myself “It will be mine. Oh, yes. I will be mine.”

  24. has anyone else notived how wil looks like scott stapp?? Innit! Older men are soo much better than lanky teens :)
    “honey to the bee thats you and me”

  25. Posted by Joseph J. Finn:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Cool kid grows up to be a Chemistry Teacher, and the Total Geek an Actor/Writer.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    *ahem*… that’s WRITER/Actor…
    ;-P
    OK… following what Wil says WAY too much….

  26. “…so we unpacked our adjectives” (fav)
    Too bad that kids now a days don’t have Schoolhouse rock followed by Superfriends. That was a great Saturday morning line up.

  27. Do you still find yourself singing the “Preamble Song” just to remember it? I don’t think I could remember the whole preamble without singing it.

  28. that preamble song helped me pass a test one time. I could never remember the whole thing without that song.

  29. To agree with The Slice….
    You need to either take apart his car and rebuild it in his bedroom, implant a speaker device in his teeth and talk to him, pretending you’re God, or explode a giant bag of Jiffy Pop around him.
    Of course, no matter what you do, he’ll still be a guy named “Kent” and you’ll be a guy named “Wil” with one L.
    (And in you story, when he said “Hey, Wil, do you watch Schoolhouse Rock”, shouldn’t the “Wil” have been spelled “Will” since that change didn’t occur yet? Or did it?)

  30. Buntz,
    Wil was born Richard Wheaton i believe so the Wil(l) change is a different story. One I’d like to hear if Mr Wheaton would share it.
    Being picked on sucks ass.
    Good to see you’re enlightened and haven’t sent your crack team of Ninja Assasin Monkeys round to “deal with him” and the ambiguous tone of your post is admirable.
    Big words from the small petty man that I am…

  31. duhduhhh dadududuh duhduh duduhdunhdaduuuuuunh
    The Superfriends! hehe God, I used to wake up early for them, as well. *swooshy electronic sound as the logo flies out of frame* Man, memories!
    Next time you’re in Australia we’ll play golf and discuss the finer points of the Superfriends versions of Superman and Batman; Great or Groan? Hero or Wusso? heh (uh, it’s late… realising I sound like a d0rk… shutting up now…)

  32. Hello all,
    Just wanted to ask for some well
    needed MOJO while i fly to Minisota today…
    First flieght gince 09/11 and i wouldappreciate some help here…. :(
    Any helpwould be nice here in San Jose, Ca.
    Paul

  33. It’s like the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.” You’re a doer, Wil. Never doubt that.
    I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geeks. Hell, I even married a geek, and that’s the best thing for a girl to do. Be proud. Geeks are the ones everyone now fears. Mess with a geek, and your computer will magically begin to slow…then smoke…and your whole email/internet world will collapse!
    I’m getting Schoolhouse Rock on DVD for my brithday Jan. 21 from my wonderful husband!

  34. Seems like it’s always the way, with the role reversals. The Cool Kids end up in a boring job (due to the fact that their creativity is never brought out into the open since their friends are copying MTV), and the Total Geeks end up getting a cool job (since they had to be creative to get themselves up in the morning).

  35. My 4th grade teacher Grady Tate was involved in schoolhouse rock.Mine was the last class he taught before moving on to do that. While he taught us though played the guitar and sang a lot and he did some moonlighting at a local(Port Orchard Wa.) radio station.
    He was a cool teacher!

  36. School house Rock was Fun! Hope Anne is healing well. You two are like my kids to me. How did the kids react to Anne’s bite?? Colleen – a nurse.

  37. School House Rocks and Superfriends, oh the memories! All good ones. Aquaman and Spiderman(and I hate spiders) were my all time animated favorite super heros. Gosh, I want to to be six again, haha.

  38. Jodie wrote: “Posted by Joseph J. Finn:” Actually, it was Cherish who said that and I had that same thought. The cool kid as chemistry teacher. Ha!
    Amber wrote:
    “I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geeks. Hell, I even married a geek, and that’s the best thing for a girl to do. Be proud. Geeks are the ones everyone now fears.”
    -Reminds me of the end of Revenge of the Nerds.
    And what did the Schoolhouse Rocks experience teach Young Wheaton?
    “And this above all, TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.”
    (my academic contribution)
    Or, I hope that’s what he learned. Either that or it taught him ignore those kids.

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