Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Mustachioed Junior High Vice Principal

Mr. Gonzalo was a cartoonish looking Mexican. He had a thick brown mustache, and when he smiled you could see a slight gap between his two front teeth, Luis Miguel status. When he spoke it was with a heavy accent, the kind you hear in those old western movies with shitty actors that intentionally up the heaviness of the accent, so they can "truly" sound Mexican-"We don't need no steeeenking badges." That was him. I had met him for the first time, a couple of times. The first time was when my 6th grade class took a trip to the junior high we'd be attending the following year, not sure why the schools did this, I guess it gave the teachers a reason to organize a short field trip, to get away from the chaos that could be a classroom full of prepubescent children. Nonetheless, Mr. Gonazalo was the vice principal of the junior high, and he's the one that did the introduction, you know welcoming us to the campus, and all that. He did a bit of stand up comedy, where he'd say he was a nice guy, unless you got in trouble, then he'd bring you to his office, and in his office he had a bat, which he would then grab and use on you. He would grit his teeth and exaggerate the movement of his body as if he were actually swinging a bat violently at a kid. I think there were some chuckles here and there amongst the audience made up mainly of students. I think this was his way of selling himself as a genuine nice and funny guy. I got to see his bit again (along with everyone else who'd seen it on that campus visit) a few months later on the first day of school, for a welcome assembly. It still got only a few nervous chuckles.

I remember him, because in my mind he was a douche. There had been some type of assembly. Toward the end of the assembly as we were filing out of the cafeteria/auditorium/basketball court me and one of my friends had been horsing around, play fighting or some shit. When we felt Mr. Gonzalo's hands tightly grip the back of our necks, and through clenched teeth say, "C'mere, stand over here." He pushed us up against one of the cafeteria walls, thinking back, our cafeteria/auditorium/basketball court was pretty cool because you could fold the cafeteria tables into the wall. Our noses were practically touching the surface of the tables, you could only hope that the students helpers had done a good job cleaning the tabletops. As everyone walked out of the building, we probably looked like that scene from the Blair Witch Project, you know, where people end up in the house, and the girl with the camera catches I think one or two of her friends facing a wall while she shits a brick in utter fright. That's how I imagine me and my friend looking now, only not as scary cause it was daylight, and the lunch ladies hadn't served lunch yet. After everyone had left the building me and friend stood there for another 15-20 minutes, and we eventually talked to each other. I think I had asked him, "When do you think we can leave?" He answered, "I don't know. Maybe we should go to the office and ask him." The thought of of leaving the spot that the vice principal had assigned us, freaked me out. As it was that fucker had grabbed us by the necks and practically thrown us against the wall face first. Eventually we got the nerve to go to the office, and ask if we could go back to our classrooms or if we were going to get suspended or have to pick up trash around the school or miss lunch recess or whatever other punishment the adults would dole out to make our lives miserable.

As we walked in to the main office, it was chaos, the phones are ringing, people are walking in and out of offices. The secretary looked at us, she looked a bit disgruntled herself probably with all the calls she was having to field, "Can I help you." My friend told her we were looking for the vice principal because he'd made us stand facing the wall and we were wondering if we could go back to class. She told us to hold on while she tried to get him on the phone. As she was doing this Mr. Gonzalo seemed to be having a discussion with quite a few people all at once, you could tell he was overwhelmed and agitated. When he saw us, he asked "What are they doing here?!" My friend was about to ask if we could go back to our classroom when Mr. Gonzalo said, "Get them the . . . hell out of here!" You could tell he wanted to drop an f-bomb, but instead he held it at "hell," and even the "hell" he tried to say under his breath. When I think back about him asking what we were doing there, I don't think he remembered giving us a time out back at the cafeteria/auditorium/basketball court. His question sounded more like it was meant to be, a "what the hell are kids doing in the main office?" The fucker hadn't remembered us, which was pretty apparent by how long we'd stayed in the cafeteria/auditorium/basketball court waiting, and it was further confirmed in the office when he saw us and was wondering what a couple of kids were doing there in the main office.

About a year or so after leaving junior high, I was hanging out in my parent's driveway, talking with one of my friends. As we faced the road, a truck was being driven past us, and the driver honked and waved. I recognized the mustache right away, it was Mr. Gonzalo, he smiled his gap toothed smile. I remember thinking what the fuck? Not as in what the fuck is he doing in our neighborhood, but as in "what the fuck are you being all cheery and nice to me for motherfucker?" I still hadn't forgotten about the cafeteria/auditorium/basketball court wall facing incident. So I just gave him the maddog look, which I'm pretty sure tends to translate to "fuck you," or "fuck off," or "go fuck yourself."He had a kid in his car, I'm guessing his son. I even told my mom that I'd just seen him after I went into the house, and she asked if I'd said "hi." And I told her nope, and she went on this thing about being nice and respecting him. To which I told her about the wall-facing and how he had grabbed us violently by the neck. Of course she still thought it wasn't right that I was mean/rude to him, even though he was a prick. This a sigh moment, because that is the misfortune of being raised Mexican, adults are always right and if we got in trouble we must have been doing something wrong.

One of my friends, he'd pretty much grown up in a family of older cousins that were gang members, so pretty much followed along. Smart guy, but he was a troublemaker, the trouble he'd get into wasn't gang trouble though, it was usually random fights and the occasional trouble with a teacher, but for the most part he was pretty well liked by the teachers. Nonetheless, I think before we got to high school, I'd told him about what had occurred with Mr. Gonzalo. He then told me about his incident, where he'd been sent to Mr. Gonzalo's office for having been in a fight I think. He said that Mr. Gonzalo talked to him, telling him he knew he was a good kid, and that he should stay out trouble, because he was smart. My friend even said that Mr. Gonzalo got all weepy, but all my friend did was talk back. Can't remember what he'd actually talked back, but it was pretty funny, then again, we were teens, so anything he would've said, would have been funny, cause it was defiance of authority. I can't remember if my friend had gotten suspended for whatever school code he had broken that day, I'm pretty sure he did though. I think what I get a kick out of, is that my friend had broken Mr. Gonazlo. 

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