I had an uneventful education. As a good student in a well-funded suburban district, I spent my primary school years dutifully studying and excelling without many distractions. Problems with other kids were limited to schoolyard bullying which in retrospect was very mild.
Kindergarten started easily. I’d been to preschool and didn’t have the adjustment issues some other kids did; it was just another school. I was no good at cut and paste and had a hell of a time getting all the numbers up to 20 in a row, but otherwise it was fun and easy. It was the time, however, that I faced my worst adversary in 12 years of education…
The Spit Monster.
I forget the kid’s name; let’s call him Greg. He was a round kid with a round face and a bowl cut. He always wore horizontally striped shirts and looked like one of the Peanuts kids, probably Linus. He was as they said then “hyperactive” and was always getting into trouble. Once when a girl fell off the monkey bars and broke her arm, it was suspected that he’d pushed her.
One day Greg decided that he was a new supervillain: The Spit Monster. The Spit Monster ran around the playground playing a one-way game of tag in which he spit on people. He tried to spit in the face but would settle for the back or side of the head. His reign of terror began at morning break one day and lasted approximately 5 minutes. After spitting on five or six kids, the Spit Monster found me cowering behind the merry go round and cornered me in perfect position. I didn’t get my hands up in time and he got me full in the face.
I nearly barfed. Not sure why I didn’t; I have a notoriously quick gag reflex. Gathering my composure a bit, I ran into the classroom and complained to a teacher.
The Spit Monster was immediately arrested. He was unrepentant, saying only “I’m the SPIT MONSTER!” when asked what he was doing. Due to the seriousness of the crime and lack of remorse of the criminal, he was told to go to the principal’s office, no doubt for summary execution. He marched off in style, head held high.
That was the end of the story for me, but for the Monster himself it was only the beginning. Because the Spit Monster was not going to any punk-ass principal’s office. He knew that he needed to appeal to a higher authority: his mother.
The trouble here is that his mother was not at home. He knew where she worked, though, at the mall. There was only one thing to do. Like Frodo Baggins, he had the burden of a quest, and he rose to the challenge. Stopping by his house down the street, he got on his tricycle and headed across town.
For an idea of the scale of the Monster’s journey, here’s the Google Maps directions. Five miles is a long way on a tricycle, and there are hills involved. Leaving at maybe 10:30 a.m., he arrived in mid afternoon at his mother’s job and announced himself and his mission; he required justice.
Needless to say there was a huge shitstorm. A new policy was instituted in which children being sent to the principal were accompanied, and more attention was paid to entry and exit from the school. The question of how many people must have seen him pedaling furiously down sidewalks for five miles and let it slide was worrying, too.
But the Spit Monster never returned. We just got Greg, and as far as I can remember he never bugged anyone again after that. He didn’t have to. We all knew that he was a Luciferian antihero, a bandit rebel, and the best playground supervillain ever. Today I salute the Spit Monster again, despite nearly barfing. Ride on!