In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

The elementary years

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I recall the Stet box in fourth grade. Mr. Duhamel, who tortured Danny Stetner, the behavior problem in class, exiled him to a space at the back of the class behind the rest of us who sat at our desks dully and learned. He was sent there so often, Mr. Duhamel called that space of random books and classroom storage, the Stet box, til one spring day, Danny Stetner got up during class, hopped over the barrier to his box and jumped out of the ground level open windows and ran home–I presume. 

Mr. Duhamel left sometime during that year and we had Mr. Ebert who had a red face with a severe acne condition. His face got redder and his voice cracked when he raised it each time the students ran roughshod over him, which was daily. 

I only now wonder whether Mr. Duhamel was too much of a child abuser even for back then when corporal punishment was not outlawed yet and kids could still get a boxed ear or a blackboard eraser thrown at them in class. A far cry from the classroom of today where trigger issues and micro aggressions have entered the vocabulary of students and educators alike on college campuses, cramping the style and free speech of educators with censored words and ideas. Don’t teach about rape crimes in a criminal law class–craziness like that. 

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