Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Comes Around

In the fourth grade, my teacher was named Mrs. Snow. That name conjures up some sort of jollility or joviality, none of which she possessed. Mrs. Snow was a rather morose woman, who didn't seem to exactly find joy in teaching. In fact, she gave us tons of work and seemed to revel in our not very subtle complaints. Thanks to Mrs. Snow, I developed a callus on one of the fingers on my right hand, of which the vestiges are still visible to this day.

Age had not been kind to Mrs. Snow, and although she probably wasn't older than 50, she seemed to bear the years in the large puffy bags under her eyes, and in the resigned attitude of one who no longer particularly cares. I wouldn't have called her an attractive woman, and she didn't seem to care much about her looks.

But the biggest thing that she was known for was the curling hair that protruded from the bottom of her chin. That must have come from the not caring about the looks, or else she had very poor lighting in her home. Because I could not imagine that she didn't know it was there. Barring any legal blindness, it would have been impossible to not see on your own face. When you looked at it, and every time you looked at her you looked at it, you felt like doing her a favor and yanking it out.

Whenever her students were particularly annoyed with her, they would describe her in the most unflattering terms, and always the chin hair was thrown in for good measure. It made her seem a bit scary, a bit witch-like for some reason. Because even though they would talk about it, the kids would always voice their dissatisfaction softly, and glance around to make sure they hadn't been heard by anyone but their intended audience.

While I would never list her as one of my favorite teachers, in retrospect I have to admit that I did learn a lot under her tutelage. And I don't remember explicitly making fun of her, I'm sure I probably must have, for the amounts of homework she gave were prodigious for fourth graders, and I certainly remember not liking the hours I spent toiling away.

So imagine my surprise when not all that long ago, I discovered my own rather unwelcome visitor protruding out of my chin. It has never achieved the length of Mrs. Snow's, but I imagine that somewhere, she is laughing.

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