A creative writing assignment in Ms. Loeb’s fifth grade class was to write about what would happen if suddenly, all of the days of the weeks had new names. What would they be?
I don’t remember what I named the days of the week, but I remember that I got my homework assignment back covered in red ink, and that I was very upset.
One error was my gross abuse of the exclamation point. Today, I would have to say that I am in agreement with Ms. Loeb. Finishing a sentence with twenty of them for emphasis is overkill.
What bothered me, however, was that Ms. Loeb failed to recognize that I had purposely written the entire piece in the voice of a New York gangster.
I never asked her how this could go over her head. I was only nine years old, and not one to challenge authority. But she might as well have punched me in my stomach. That’s how much it hurt.
She didn’t like that I said, “You’s’all” and, “Then I says to the other one.” She marked them right out. There was not a single sentence that she liked. She couldn’t see that that I was utilizing gangster vernacular. Helloooooooo.
Up yours, Ms. Loeb.