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Things I Learned While Standing in the Corner

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1. If given enough time, a teacher can actually forget you’re there. Ms. Cook sent me there four times in a row; by the fourth time, because of her forgetfulness, I almost missed lunch.


2. You become invisible to other children. While standing in the corner Monday morning right after breakfast, I was pelted by two pencils, an eraser, and four spit balls meant for the cracked upper block.


3. Most spiders don’t like to be watched. Try as I could on Monday afternoon during my third trip to the corner, I could never get a spider to come out. I pried my fingers into the wall. I scratched the paint. I even drummed on the blocks with a pencil that I had hidden in my socks. Ms. Cook punished Clarence for it since he was closest to the sound. He stood in the corner across the room, crying.


4. Teachers feel better once you’re there. Ms. Cook always says, “Jesus wept!” whenever she sends me.


5. Legs get shorter after ten minutes of concentrated standing. On Tuesday morning I was able to touch the top of the fourth block with my tongue when I was first placed in the corner. After being there for my ten minutes, plus three more adding for humming a jingle my daddy liked to sing in the tub, I could only tongue the top of the third block.


6. Given enough time, a trip can be taken while standing in the corner. On Wednesday I traveled to the far reaches of No Teacher Land. It’s a place where all the teachers are locked out and all the corners have bookshelves. And if a child happens upon a teacher, the teacher has to write one hundred times, “I will not corner the student!”


7. After a while you don’t have to be told to go there. After whispering in Casey’s ear and pulling the laces out of Clarence’s new shoes that he got for not telling his mama that he saw his daddy winking at one of the teachers, a certain look from Ms. Cook immediately causes me to rise and head for the corner preferred by my teacher the most. It’s always the one that’s farther from her.


8. Principals get very upset when they come into the room and see you there. Mrs. Holcomb stood over me and grunted for two minutes on Thursday and it was only my first trip of the day.


9. It’s best to tear up corner notes before departing the bus. Once I had a temporary lapse in memory and actually carried the note from school, off the bus, and into my house. It was a long night. People wrung their hands and scratched their heads and spent hours thinking up suitable punishment. Funny thing is, once the punishment was given, it didn’t suit me at all!


10. Grandmas don’t reward Wall Dwellers. Over a two-month period I lost a nice purse, two dolls, and four games for standing on the wall. On the other hand, they do give nice new bibles with certain passages underlined. My Granny liked the verses about “a time to speak and a time to shut up.” Along with, “being obedient to parents or my days will get short.” Grandpa circled the ones about damnation and hell fire in bold red marker.

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