In 4th grade I had this friend I’ll call
Kelly. Her mom was an artist and made sand art in glass containers. The mom
would donated plants potted in her artwork to raffle as school fundraisers. I
thought the art was amazing and I would buy colored sand at the fish store and
make my own lopsided pieces, which me and my sister called sand plants. My sand
plants were pretty cool, but not as great as Kelly’s mom’s.
One day Kelly brought in some plants to be raffled and
our teacher, Mrs. Ryan, one of my favorite teachers ever, asked me to be
Kelly’s helper. So at lunch break each day that week, Kelly and I would leave
class early and set up a table where we would eat our lunch and sell raffle
tickets.Then when the bell to
line up for class rang,we would
go straight to our classroom, getting there before everyone else, so we could
put the plant away safe before all the other kids came tumbling in.
I had always be a dedicated conscientious student,
doing all my work and trying hard to do it all correctly. I never copied or
cheated. Well, the very first day we got back to the classroom early Kelly ran
over to the teacher’s desk and grabbed a book and told me to get my math
workbook while she gathered hers. Furiously she turned the pages of the
teacher’s book until she got to the page she was looking for and began copying
all of the answers from the key onto the pages of her math workbook. She
explained to me how we had to finish fast, before we heard the kids coming back
to the room.
I joined right in, understanding that I would not have
to spend time multiplying double and triple digits that night. We finished a
page or two and stuck the book back in place before the teacher and the class
returned. Mrs. Ryan gave us compliments for working the raffle instead of
playing at lunch break.
The next day and everyday that week we did the same
thing, racing back to class to copy as much a possible, laughing hysterically
and thrilling in the adrenaline rush of getting away with something we were not
supposed to do, a feeling I later heard my friend Amber describe perfectly as
“crime ecstasy”. We copied enough answers to last for weeks, and for those
fantastic weeks, I did not have to carry a heavy math book home and I could
watch extra TV.This was great!
Then one day Mrs. Ryan asked us to open our math
workbooks to the next page and she saw that mine was already done. She was
confused and checked her notes and saw that other kids had blank pages where
mine were filled out. I looked at her and lied and said that I had done extra
work. I feared that she might look and see that there were several more pages
completed. But she did not. Instead she gave me a work sheet to do while
everyone else did those pages. Having to do that work sheet felt like such a
drag. I had to do extra math, my punishment for the otherwise perfect crime.
Kelly wound up moving away that year. Eventually I had to go back to doing homework again,
but it was sweet while it lasted.