I have been talking about dreams a lot recently. I had a dream last night that involved someone I went to high school with. Nothing amazing happened in the dream except we seemed like great friends and were making each other laugh while walking through New York City on LSD. To clarify, it was not us who were taking LSD. New York City was the culprit. We were talking with clarity and speed and wit, which I doubt one can do on LSD. Meanwhile, the City itself was all different colors and morphing and what not. Buildings transforming and turning to liquid – the usual.

It is probably not impossible to talk with the quick clever speech while freaking out on LSD, but it is probably impossible.

Anyway, when I woke up I started thinking about school and my mind wandered to gym class. I never thought the band Gym Class Heroes was anything special – they had two or three songs that I liked, but they were no Black Eyed Peas if you know what I mean. I have always loved that name though – Gym Class Heroes. It is very accurate. I have known many gym class heroes who showed an elite level of athleticism in that period of school, but were reluctant to do so on any team or social setting outside of school.

My two least favorite activities in all of school took place in gym class:

– the mile run

– roller skating

I have always hated homework, but homework is at home so it doesn’t count. But within the confines of the school itself, the two most loathed tasks set for me to accomplish were “the mile run” and “roller skating”.

THE MILE RUN

The mile run haunted me all years of my elementary and middle school. I believe we also had to do the mile run in high school, but definitely not every year. Maybe once. In elementary school, it was every year and we ran around the soccer field. Yes! In America we have soccer fields! For a country that people think hates soccer – we play an ass ton of it. From 1st through 5th grade at George Washington Elementary School, we ran the soccer field. Technically, that field was also set up for football as well, but no one played football on it. Regardless, we ran around it I think 7 times. I can’t remember.

And if it took you longer than 12 minutes then you failed and had to do it again.

I wanted to highlight that so I removed it from the paragraph. But yes, if your 9 year old legs and cardio were not good enough to complete a 12 minute mile then you had to do it again. What a shit punishment! I couldn’t think of a worse punishment that is legal. I mean you suck at running the mile already and you did it, you actually accomplished, and now because you didn’t do it good enough you have to do it again. Damn you, gym teacher! Damn you!

I won’t name names, but let’s just say my gym teacher was a woman, had shorter hair than I do now, drew her eye brows on with a pencil, smoked cigarettes by the carton, wore a windbreaker track suit everyday and didn’t seem too fond of kids. That was elementary school.

In Middle school (6th through 8th), at Theodore Roosevelt Intermediate School we ran the mile around the school. I believe it was 2 laps or 2 and a half laps around the school. The school were two large buildings connected by a 2nd floor enclosed walkway bridge, a baseball field, a parking lot and some woods. I cannot imagine my class was the only class to do this, but kids cheated like crazy on the middle school mile runs.

The runner was supposed to run the perimeter of the school. There was a sidewalk perimeter for most of it, but even if there wasn’t the school grounds was one big square, so if you just stuck to the edge and didn’t run in the street then everything would be fine. Kids, on the other hand, would cheat in and run on the grass and not run to the corners of the square and instead cut through those corners running the hypotenuse. The worst cheating were the kids who arrogantly ran through the woods. That was quite the move. One could easily be caught popping out of the woods instead of running around them. I’m pretty sure the teacher would notice the difference there.

I’m pretty sure we had to redo the mile run one year because kids were posting insane numbers on the mile – like state and national records. The kids were cutting off like a third of the run and clearly making no bones about it. From then on the gym teacher would pace the class. Kids put up more modest numbers that time.

There were many middle school gym teachers, but there was only one that really stuck. He was the military type who had never served in the military, flat top buzz cut, cocky attitude, in good shape, kind of an asshole, carried a gun in his car, his car being a Camaro, and he once chased a purse snatcher who was on a bike while he was on foot for over about a mile and then tackled the guy off the bike when he pulled into a parking lot making a citizen’s arrest.

High school – I think we just ran the track. I think we only did it once. No real memories of running the mile in high school.

ROLLER SKATING

I was never good at roller skating or roller blading. At one time, I was adequate at roller blading. There was a slew of roller blading/skating parties and one had to learn to participate. I think it was for a month or so, I learned how to roller blade. But it never really stuck and the fad was over. Nevertheless, we still had to roller skate in school. I’m not sure why we had to roller skate in gym class, but we did. Learning to roller blade and learning to roller skate on roller skates that pre-date the Jimmy Carter administration are two very different scenarios.

The skates themselves were canvas and were four wheels loosely attached to the bottom of the skate. It wasn’t spontaneous combustion – it was more like spontaneous catastrophe as kids skated all of a sudden someone would fall or lose control and it was a car wreck. I remember one semester a series of kids got really hurt. It was like a plague hit the school because twisted ankles, broken bones in the legs, really horrible bruising et cetera was running rampant on these kids.

At some point, I decided to make a stand. I am a human being and as a human being my health and welfare needs not only to be looked out for by myself, but it doesn’t need to be put into jeopardy by others. I made a stand and said that I was not going to roller skate. I had seen kids get hurt, I sucked at roller skating, I knew the likelihood of myself getting hurt and I said enough was enough it was time for a change. I talked to someone in the office – principal, vice principal or someone and after some arguing – I won out.

I instead went to the library and had to write a research paper.

All true. I was good, even a gym class hero at points, at other “sports” in school – but not the mile run and not roller skating. Anybody up for a game of “speedball” or “deck hockey” or “team handball” or “dodgeball/Indian pin”?

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