(MR JONES IS CHARACTERIZED BY PERSONAL FLAWS. HE IS AT LEAST 30 POUNDS OVERWEIGHT. HIS FINGERS ARE BROWN FROM CIGARETTES. HE'S CERTAINLY NOT DRUNK, BUT-- HE DIDN'T HAVE A DRINK WITH LUNCH, DID HE? HE SPEAKS WITH TREMENDOUS CERTAINTY, IMPATIENCE, AND ANGER, WHICH EXCEED THE NORMAL LIMITS OF ARROGANCE.)
(DEBBIE IS A STUDENT. SHE IS TEN YEARS OLD AND BLIND, AND SHE HAS NO ARMS.)
(JEREMY IS A STUDENT. HE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD AND HAS A LITTLE TROUBLE SPEAKING, AND HE HAS LIMITED CONTROL OF HIS LIMBS.)
(MR JONES STANDS AT THE FRONT OF A CLASSROOM, ADDRESSING A ROOM FULL OF STUDENTS WHO ARE SEATED IN SCHOOL DESKS. HE IS UNPACKING AS HE SPEAKS, WITH HIS BACK TOWARD THE STUDENTS.)
Hello, class. I'm your new teacher, Mr. Jones. Now, you and I have a lot in common. Nobody wants to be taught by me, because I'm a bad teacher. And nobody wants to teach you, because you're bad students. I'm a bad teacher because I will not accept any challenge to my authority under any circumstances, and some parents seem to have a problem with that.
(MR. JONES TURNS AROUND AND FACES THE STUDENTS.)
And you're bad students because you're all physically handicapped in ways that make people uncomfortable to look at you. Now, you and I are going to get along just fine, as long as you follow my simple rules. Now, please write these down, those of you with arms.
(AS HE CONTINUES SPEAKING, MR. JONES WRITES ON THE BOARD "SHUT UP" IN ALL CAPS, WITHOUT THE QUOTATION MARKS, FINISHING JUST AS HE SAYS "NO CRYING".)
First of alland you'd be surprised how often this comes up no crying . Second, when my hand goes up like this,
(MR. JONES RAISES HIS HAND LIKE A MILITARY SALUTE, EXCEPT THAT IT'S A FOOT OVER HIS HEAD AND LEAVES IT THERE. AS HE CONTINUES TALKING, HE PUTS TWO EXCLAMATION POINTS AFTER "SHUT UP".)
that means, no talking.
But, you know, most of us are blind.
Why are you talking, while my hand is up?
(STUTTERING) I. I I. I.
(MR. JONES PUTS HIS HAND DOWN)
Now, I want you to come up here and write on the blackboard "I will not interrupt the teacher" 50 times.
What? 50 times!? I don't have any arms!
Do you want to make it a hundred? Now, what are you waiting for, a personal invitation?
(WITH GREAT EFFORT, DEBBIE GETS HERSELF OUT OF HER CHAIR, WITHOUT THE USE OF HER ARMS. USING HER KNEES SHE PUTS ON A SPECIAL HEAD BRACE THAT CAN HOLD A WRITING IMPLEMENT.)
Um. Is your hand up right now?
Okay, Don't get smart with me, young lady.
It's justcould you please put a piece of chalk in my mouth for me?
(DEBBIE SORT OF TRIES TO POINT WITH HER SHOULDERS).
(MR. JONES OBLIGES. DEBBIE STARTS TO WRITE, BUT IT IS TOTALLY ILLEGIBLE.)
(MR. JONES STARTS TO WALK TO THE BACK OF THE CLASS AS HE TALKS. THE NON-BLIND STUDENTS FOLOW HIM WITH THEIR EYES.)
Now, rule number 3: when I'm in the back of the room, reading my magazines, no one is to look in that direction.
(THE STUDENTS' HEADS SNAP BACK FORWARDS AT THIS.)
(MR. JONES' ATTENTION IS DRAWN TOWARD JEREMY, ANOTHER STUDENT, WHO HAS PUT SOMETHING SMALL IN HIS MOUTH.)
Hey. What's your name?
Jeremy, another one of my rules that we haven't gotten to yet, rule number 87, is "no eating in class".
I just saw you.
I was only taking my medication. If I don't take it, I'll die.
Did you bring enough for everybody?
Well, maybe there's enough, but it's very expensive. My mom has to work two jobs to pay for it. And it's really bad for people who do not have epilepsy.
Well, I'm sorry, but the rule is, if you didn't bring enough to share with everybody, then you're cleaning my pool this weekend.
What?! You're crazy!
Yeah: crazy like a racehorse.
I've never heard of that expression.
Don't question my authority! I'm confiscating the rest of your candy.
(MR. JONES TAKES JEREMY'S PILL BOTTLE.)
Okay. Rule number 4: do not speak unless you raise your hand.
(MR. JONES TURNS AND UNDERLINES THE WORDS "SHUT UP" ON THE BOARD.)
(JEREMY RAISES HIS HAND.)
I didn't give you permission to raise your hand, Jeremy. Okay, I can see that you're going to be the class troublemaker. Well, we'll just see how long you can keep up that tough-guy routine without your
(READS OFF BOTTLE)
Oh, and Debbie, you're going to have to start over, that's totally illegible.
(THE SCHOOL BELL RINGS.)
Okay, we'll start tomorrow with rule number 5. For your homework tonight, copy the first 20 pages of the textbook into your notebook. See you tomorrow.
He's better than the last guy.
I like him.