March 21, 2012

Graybar - pt. 1

My name is Graybar.  Graybar Morningside.

“What kind of name is Graybar?” a teacher once asked a much younger version of me loudly in front of my new 4th grade class. 

Unfortunately, I was always the “new kid” and had to reenact different versions of this scene multiple times in my young life.  I stood there nervously in front of the class wearing my brand new t-shirt and Sears Toughskin jeans, grasping firmly to my 3-ring binder and my Scooby Doo lunchbox. 

“Umm... It’s a family name.” I murmured quietly.  “My Grandfather was named Graybar.”

My new teacher looked at me with disdain.

Ms. Anita Stipple was a miserable, sorry excuse for a human being.  She was even a worse teacher.  She was only 38 years old, but looked at least 20 years older.  She was 5 foot tall and weighed 90 pounds.  She never wore makeup, always wore her stringy black hair in a tight bun perched on the top of her head and she smelled faintly like cat pee.  Her narrow lips were eternally pursed together in a look of scorn. She detested children and secretly loved to torment them.  She had no friends, no family and no lovers.  Even the other teachers avoided her.  The only things that brought any happiness into her wretched life were the 15 cats with which she shared her small house.   Her ex-husband, Stan, fed up with her prudishness, her frigidity and her constant accusations that he was cheating on her, had (several years before) finally decided that if she was going to accuse him of being unfaithful, he might as well be.  When he announced that he was leaving her and moving to Tulsa with a 20 year old stripper named Carmella, she tried to shoot him with the small caliber handgun that she always kept in her purse - just in case someone tried to rape her.  However, instead of shooting her husband between the eyes like she had wanted, she accidentally shot herself in the thigh.  The bullet had lodged itself into her femur and for the rest of her life, she needed to walk with a cane.  From that moment on, the children in her classes (along with most of the staff members and some of her neighbors) called her “Stipple the Cripple” (or just “Ms. Cripple” for short) behind her back.

 “Graybar…”  Ms. Stipple spat my name out like it was a rotten apple that she had just bitten into.

“Well, it’s not really a proper name - is it?”

She looked down and cocked her head at me like a crow.

“Gray.  Bar,” she enunciated, “Kind of sounds like gay bar.”

The classroom erupted into jeering laughter.

That small, stupid action by that small, stupid woman seemingly green-lighted several tortuous months of bullying that only ended with Chaz Fabiano screaming and clutching desperately at his bloody face on the playground one day at recess. 

That was my last day at that crappy school, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh


  1. I'm almost positive I had Ms. Stipple for a teacher in the fourth grade...maybe fourth grade teachers are part of some sort of union?

    In any event, this is a very interesting and fairly bizarre start to what could be a pretty funny tale. (Seriously, what kind of name is Graybar?)

    1. I think they used to be. Now that I'm a father of elementary school kids, I've noticed that they've replaced all the 'Ms. Stipples' from our childhood with younger, hotter, more dedicated teachers... It really makes going to parent-teacher conferences more enjoyable.

  2. Graybar the great!! what a bitch of a teacher!
    I'm hooked when is part two ?

    1. I'll load up on caffeine later and hopefully get part 2 to bubble out of me later...

  3. I had, just one teacher like that. One was enough. Great start.

  4. I am glad I never had any teachers like her. Great beginning to the story.

  5. Scary and mean teacher O_o

  6. Oh I've seen a few Ms. Stipples
    i'm thankful they never bothered me
    i love this... (^_^)


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