When the World Series happens during school

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I was in the seventh grade.

I was in a classroom. I’m not sure what class was being taught because I wasn’t paying attention. I know it wasn’t biology because I couldn’t smell formaldehyde.

It wasn’t my fault that I didn’t know what class it was. It was the fault of the transistor radio. That’s a word not heard often anymore — “transistor.” It had nothing to do with a sibling’s love of trans fats. A transistor was a little radio that apparently had at least one transistor in it. I’m not sure what that transistor did — it likely transisted. I do know that the radio picked up radio stations. That’s quite a feat when you think about it. Just think of a bus picking up bus stations or a train picking up train stations. It makes you want to stop thinking, doesn’t it?

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I had a problem. OK, I had many problems. I was in the seventh grade and girls were beginning to look pretty good to me. I evidently looked invisible to them. Another problem was that I couldn’t stop thinking about driving but was too young to obtain a driver’s license. Having no clue as to what class I was in was a problem, too. My major problem of the day was that I was in school during the time when a World Series game was being played. It didn’t matter who the teams were. All that mattered was that it was the World Series.

I had my priorities straight, but my parents, well, you know parents. They have some goofy ideas. Some of you might even be parents. If you are, you know how you are. I was the voice of reason and keen on staying home and enjoying the ballgame. My parents, by a unanimous vote of two to zero, determined that I would be furthering my education while the athletic endeavor was taking place.

Despite my protests, I found myself on the school bus. I considered how unfair the world was as the bus bounced its way to the institution of middle learning. I was soon confined in the hallowed halls, bemoaning my failure to convince my parents of the intellectual benefits of enjoying a baseball game.

I had not ruled out the chance that I might be in school on that day. After all, it was a school day. I had done some planning. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

I sat at my desk, located in the middle of the room, as my teacher went on and on about something. I had brought my transistor radio, complete with its at least one transistor, to school with me. The GE transistor radio was a small white job. I was a huge fan of that radio. No, it wasn’t Bring a Radio to School Day. It wasn’t even Show and Tell Day. I had the radio stuffed into a pocket of my pants. It made sitting uncomfortable, but trying to learn whatever it was that my teacher was babbling about caused discomfort, too.

The radio came with an earphone, made out of genuine plastic, situated at the end of a long wire. The idea was to poke the plug on one end of the wire into the radio and the earphone on the other end into an ear. By trial and error, I had learned that the two ends were not interchangeable.

I plugged the correct end into the radio concealed in my pocket, threaded the wire from the pocket up my shirt and into the long sleeve of the shirt covering my left arm.

I placed my left elbow on my well-carved desk — right on a lovely etching of “Craig ’64” — and supported my chin with my left hand. The fingers of my left hand crawled up and covered my ear. The ear where the earphone hid. This position allowed me to take notes with my right hand. Genius!

I’d considered adopting the guise of someone completely enthralled, but I worried that might give my teacher reason to call on me. Instead, I assumed the vacant look that had served me so well during my school career.

Things were going well. Then the Titanic sank. One of my favorite players cracked out a home run, putting a zip in my doodah. I wanted to jump for joy. My left hand did, pulling the plug from the radio.

A loud and excited play-by-play announcer extolling a home run of mammoth proportions interrupted the scholarly atmosphere.

The teacher stared right at me. Everyone was staring at me.

I expected the worst.

The instructor said, “Mr. Batt, kill that noise, but do keep us posted on the score.”

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.