Two days a week I work in an elementary school. There is nothing cooler than working in an elementary school. If you are not a teacher, but just an occasional visitor to the classrooms, you become something of a celebrity to the little tikes. They all wave hello everywhere you go and shout your name as you pass them in the hall. Certain select students are lucky enough to have weekly appointments with me, the famous Mr. Taylor of Martin Luther King Elementary School. All the other students are jealous of the chosen ones who get to leave class and visit my office. They all beg and plead for their chance to see where I take their classmates. I’m sure they’re imagining that my office is a some palatial throne room filled with candy and roller coasters. At this point you must be wondering what the title, “I Witnessed A Mugging” has to do with all of this. I did witness a mugging at the school. It was horrible. The poor kid didn’t have a chance. I’m not sure who was more tramatized, me or the young child I was escorting to my office. As we walked down the hallway we had casual conversation about that days’ events in his classroom, never suspecting the horror that awaited us around the next corner. With classes all in session, the dusty hallways were empty. Our footsteps echoed as we made our way to my office. As we rounded the next corner, almost to the safety of my office, the perpetrator leapt, seemingly right out of the cinder block wall to our left. At the outset, it was obvious that the student was the intended victim. It was a teacher, with marker in hand. I had never seen this before. It was a math mugging. She gently caught the student by the arm and directed him to look at the large piece of poster paper she had taped to the wall. On it was a math problem. She assertively suggested that the innocent boy try to solve the problem in as many ways as he could think of. I stood by helplessly as he pondered this problem. I had ideas. I thought I could help, but I was frozen. The math phobic child I used to be screaming inside my head to stay away. To run. To save myself while I still could. When I chose the field of mental health, I made a vow. A vow to myself to help others. I couldn’t abandon this meek, kind-hearted child. After his valiant effort to please the teacher who had so viciously attacked him, I escorted him to my office and attempted, with words and reason, to wash away the horror of what he had just endured.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor. thephilfactor.com
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