It's a good thing that I'm not in grade school anymore, or any school, for that matter. If I were I'd be kicked out, drugged up, shipped off to a mental institution, or maybe all three. I'd be considered dangerously violent, would be on the government's no-fly list, and would probably be banned from every Wal-Mart in the land. I’d be viewed as such a degenerate, good-for-nothing, anti-social creep that the only thing I’d be able to do was run for public office.
Because I had a violent imagination, and I put my thoughts down in words and in drawings. And even though kids, especially boys, have been saying violent things and drawing creepy pictures ever since humans have been on this planet, that normal childhood behavior—that’s right, it’s normal childhood behavior—is now being viewed as terribly dangerous and something that needs to be punished and eradicated.
The latest example of how stupid and moronic school officials are when it comes to kids being kids comes from Eagle Point, Ore., where a six-year-old boy has been suspended for drawing a stick figure shooting another figure in the head with a gun. According to the Mail Tribune newspaper, the kid, Ryan Weathers, a first-grader at Little Butte School, also threatened to shoot a couple of his classmates in the head.
Ryan drew the picture, and he probably did threaten some classmates, but so what? He’s in first grade! At that age he has no concept of reality, death or anything. And he shouldn’t, because at age six, his brain about 20 years away from becoming fully developed.
Truth is, drawing violent, scary and war-like pictures is normal for kids. So is threatening everyone. Listen to kids and you’ll hear things like, “I’m gonna rip your hair out,” or “If she talks to that boy, I’ll kill her,” or “I’m starving to death.” Even adults say they’re starving to death. Does anybody really believe that when an overweight, middle or upper-class American proclaims that they’re starving to death that a coffin needs to be ordered?
Of course not. Most of us know that these are exaggerations and wild fantasies that, although expressed, are never acted upon. Most of us realize that it’s healthy, and necessary, to overstate and over-fantasize about things.
Boys have always made goofy and violent drawings. Their favorites are monster-like creatures with giant teeth that eat kids, babies and other monsters. They love drawing airplanes bombing things; and guys, or monsters with big muscles, shooting giant guns and blowing buildings and people up. Blood is a big element in these drawings, so are exploding heads.
It’s nothing to worry about, unless, of course, you’re an insecure creep who really doesn’t trust yourself and really does want to make the boss’s head explode. That’s where the hypersensitivity about this stuff is coming from—from people who are so afraid of themselves that they never dared to express their violent fantasies. They think that if they dare express these things, they’ll actually do them.
Most of my pals and I drew pictures of exploding heads, bombed-out villages and teacher-eating monsters. None of us turned into axe-murderers. Although one kid did turn so hideously wrong that the rest of us view him as a menace to society. He became a public school administrator.
As proof that you can engage in violent fantasies as a kid and still turn out somewhat normal, I offer excerpts from the book Strange Happenings, a violent, irreverent and rebellious parody of a book on safety the nuns had made us read. I put this together in 1966 when I was in sixth grade, and when school administrators didn’t hyperventilate when kids behaved like kids.
The cover, posted above, features a patrol boy stabbing a teacher. Funny stuff.
My other favorites are a teacher telling a kid to play with a rifle, instead of a baseball bat, and a guy trying to stomp a drowning ice skater into an ice-cold pond.
Had the nuns at the Catholic grammar school I attended ever seen my book, they would have beaten me silly, taken the thing away and made me do endless rounds of long division as a penalty. They would not have suspended me.
So for all you hypersensitive, wussy school administrators who think it’s now a crime for kids to be kids, screw you. Strange happenings forever!