First off, understand that the title sounds way more naughty than this post is going to get; I’ve been thinking about innocent school days. As Judith pointed out in the comments to June is… , now used to be the time we younguns were released into the world every year.
And I got to thinking about Fast Eddie.
Have you ever noticed that I like asking myself leading questions with obvious answers and then answering? I sure have. Hah!
I’m fairly certain that I get that from my high school Algebra II and Trigonometry teacher, who I, and many students before and after me, called “Fast Eddie.” He talked *really* fast, which isn’t necessarily a great trait in an advanced math teacher, but I loved him anyway.
He did everything fast, in fact, and since he had the silkiest blond hair for a guy already in his late 50s, it flopped and blew in the breeze as he charged down the hall, as if he had been traveling by sports car instead of a pair of legs.
Hard to tell anyway, because he was always kind of a blur.
Fast Eddie was a smart, witty straight-shooter, and, most admirable to me, he treated us like adults but he always, always had the upper hand of the classroom. His very presence demanded respect.
He had also been a baseball player and coach for a long time, so he had that whole sports and competition thing going on too—which most often surfaced when a particularly trying English teacher (trying for all of us, including faculty) would peek in to stir up friendly banter during our classes.
Looking back, I suppose that was kind of weird, but it did mark the first time I heard the phrase, “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out,” so I can’t say as though nothing stuck with me from my year of Trig torture instruction.
Oh, and did I mention he was free with cuss words? That’ll always win you points with high school kids.
I have two great memories of Fast Eddie, the first is a conversation we had after I had gone back home after having been in college for a few semesters, having already declared my English and history majors. He was crushed that I didn’t major in math—so I didn’t bother to tell him I didn’t plan to even take a math course in college, or, ahem, ever again. (And I didn’t.)
His response was that I was wasting my mathematics prowess and that I’d, I quote, “have the world by the balls” if I doubled up in English and math, but, not surprisingly, that didn’t encourage me to meet with my university advisor. It was touching to hear his confidence in my abilities, though, especially after I had been out of high school for some time, and I’ll never forget it.
The other memorable moment happened when it came time for our first test in Algebra II, and the class conversation/pep talk went a little something like this:
Worried Student: Will [something about Algebra II] be covered?
Fast Eddie: (long pause; vacant look out window; smooths hair)
Look, folks, it’s test time.
(another glance out window; sits on corner of his desk while shaking foot furiously over edge)
What’s going to be on the test? The things we covered.
Will it be hard? Nah. Not if you know your stuff, but if you haven’t done the work, hell yeah.
Can I get by with bullshit answers? No you can’t. I don’t like bullshit.
Should I study? You bet your ass—this ain’t 2 plus 2 folks.
Any more questions?
I certainly didn’t have any, but the answering my own asked questions really stuck; I found it hilarious, and even better, effective. Somehow, that little Q & A helped calm my nerves for the first big test of high school. Sometimes you just need someone to give it to you straight, to let you know where you stand, to cut out the bull.
(Sadly, though, this story is about all I remember from Algebra II.)
I’ve always felt blessed to have genuinely liked so many of my teachers and professors, but never more so than when I came here and began talking to P and his friends about school. Not one of them could pinpoint a teacher they liked even a little.
Granted they were probably hellions whereas I was the class pet—only because of the effort I put into school, mind you. I was definitely no brown-noser and, in fact, had quite a few personality clashes with teachers as well, usually when I felt condescended to, but let’s not dwell on that today.
Because for this week’s Love Thursday, I’m thinking about some of those teachers who made an impact in my life, and Fast Eddie is certainly one at the top of the list.
What about you? Any teachers leave good memories behind for you? Any who you feel particularly indebted to? Any who you’d like to write a thank you note to right now (even if they’ve passed on)? Don’t let me stop you!
Happy Love Thursday everyone!