School Vignette – Boys just want to have fun

We’d been hosting live weekly PA announcements in the school for well over a decade. Some classes were featured much more often than others. It was unfair–they were the stars of RADIO 50. As it interrupted instructional time, you can imagine it was quite popular. And speaking was an honor. Today we chose a class that had never been on the air before. “Who wants to lead the school song?” I asked. Half a dozen hands shot up in the air like a spray of peacock feathers. They were more than enthusiastic, their energy exploded and disrupted the room. We settled them down before they marched merrily into the main office. Giggles and chatter, splattered the office as we pushed the PA button and waited for the on-the-air signal. Sure enough, the leader took the lead and led the charge. They belted the song out of the park. Applause and congratulations filled the room when they signed off. Instantly the main phone line rang and the receptionist’s face tightened, “I’ll pass your message,” she said. “Jose said, ‘butt cheeks,'” the complainant said. “I know it was him, I recognized his voice,” she said. Fierce denials amid accusations percolated, then ignited a rage of blame game through the ranks of the waist-high troubadour caravan. Pointing fingers, like metal filings settling on a magnet narrowed down to the most likely usual suspect. His denials grew fiercer. Borderline tears filled his eyes. “If you lie, you won’t go to heaven,” Angel said more than once. His angelic curls swirled as his conviction grew stronger. “We’ll have to tell your parents.” “One person can ruin it for everyone.” “No more RADIO 50.” Adult threats and consequences rained down on the shrunken leader. His head hung low as he slunk away.  Glory upended by defeat. Later that evening the school held a talent show. Once again he emerged as the leader willing to lead the charge. Before he got on stage I called him over. “Jose, are you going to say ‘butt cheeks?” He looked guilty, then embarrassed, then he shyly smiled and said, “I just wanted to have a little fun.” Then he leapt on the stage and knocked it out of the park again.

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