Gary Rinsem

Handsome Harry's Boner

Deservedly labeled "World's worst teacher." Written in the 1980s Minor Edits 2020

It was the third day of my freshman year, excited by the adult-ness of it, high school was overwhelming me. Each moment a new experience. I don't know what class he taught, but I'd hated him since beginning of the first day. I shared the class with four of my girls, we'd all agreed to take it together. They were calling him 'Handsome.' It was their sarcasm because he was obviously full of himself. Handsome had yet to teach after two full classes. All he'd done was rag about Nixon for the first two days. He brought newspaper clippings to read and tell the class what to think. The many ways to hate Nixon. All he did was make students hate him for his arrogant self righteous hateful attitude. He was quickly labeled the world's worst teacher. Now the third day, Handsome started out more belligerent than before. So bad I still vividly remember it forty-seven years later. I couldn't ignore the distress of my girl on the left. Bent over laying on her desk she was convulsing with constrained laughter. Uncontrollable and hand over her mouth, laughter had brought her to tears. Realizing I was missing something funny, I frantically scanned the classroom. Confused by my inability to spot the humor, I noticed all four of my girls were desperately doing their best not to be noticed laughing. Something good was happening. Handsome turned to write on the blackboard and my girl leaned into the aisle. Meeting her half way, amid much laughter she whispered "He's got a boner." In disbelief of what I'd heard I wanted confirmation and whispered back "What?" She repeated "He's got a boner." Handsome's back still to the class, only the four girls appeared aware. The rest of the class oblivious and me in disbelief of what I'd been told. The vaudeville comedy routine "Slowly I Turned" became forever associated with the next moment in time. Handsome slowly turned toward the class. As he did, his protuberance swung around before him like a flagstaff attached to his crotch. My mind raced to permanently record the moment in slow motion horror, as it seemed to point directly at me. Handsome was a big boy and it showed. Still in disbelief I spun all directions checking the class for a reaction. There were none other than my girls. Apparently kids don't look at teacher's crotches. I wasn't as good as the girls at controlling spasmodic laughter. Handsome began admonishing me for disrupting the class that he wasn't teaching. I lost all control and laughed openly as he approached my desk, flagstaff still pointing at me. I was about to dash out of the room when all four girls joined me in blatant laughter. It was the distraction I needed. Jerk that he was, Handsome got belligerent in his demands that I was wasting HIS time to spew Nixon hate. I couldn't reply to him standing in the aisle with his flagstaff pointing at me. Confused by five kids laughing, he went back to Nixon bashing. Handsome's boner was repeated so often we stopped mentioning it after class. As other kids noticed we couldn't help but join in their laughter. He slowly mixed in teaching with Nixon bashing, but I doubt there was ever a bash free class. One day he repeatedly demanded Nixon would have us in another war within one year. I'd had enough and challenged his moronic hate claim. Handsome demanded he was older and the teacher which made him correct. I demanded he was fullabull. It ended with me accepting his $50 bet that Nixon would start another war in less than one year. Laughing quietly I wrote the bet in my notebook and went to the front of the class to confront him, believing he'd never sign the bet. I was almost right, but enough belittling in front of his students forced him to put his signature where his mouth had gone. The notebook was retired a year and it's day had come. Moments before the bell to start class I walked into his room and confronted him. I spelled out the circumstances for his current class to understand. Arrogance and self righteous attitude had him demanding he was too great and too professional to make a bet with a student. I kept his lying self defense going until he'd dug himself into a very deep hole. Handsome could no longer deny when I opened the notebook to his signature on the bet. To my great pleasure he refused to pay. I laugh still. Word spread and for days I was asked about it. Turns out a great many kids hated Handsome Harry.