As a senior in high school in the mid-80s, math was for many, by far, the most dreaded subject. I was one of the many. Thus, upon being given the choice between Physics, or a new 'elective' -- in its fledgling year at our school -- entitled, "Bachelor Living," it was a no-brainer.
I challenge anyone before or after to come up with a better, school-sanctioned, waste of an entire period.
Upon looking around the room the first day, I quickly surmised that I was not alone in my quest to avoid thinking any longer than was absolutely necessary, as the entire class, of about 20, was made up of 10 "burn-outs," 8 "jocks," and my friend Darin and myself. We were "roamers."
A "roamer" was someone who wasn't a nerd, a jock, nor a burn-out, but, given the right time and place, could be either one.
Given that the combined make-up of the the class probably had an IQ of around 5, I was fairly confident I was in the right place. After all, what's the worst question that could be asked on a test in a class like this?
How long do you toast a piece of toast?
As if a legal, 45 minute snooze-fest in the middle of the day wasn't enough to make a young boy eager to wake up each morning, add to the mix the teacher assigned to instruct us on how to master the finer points of living like a single guy... was Mrs. Baldwin; the school's sweet, harmless, 80 year-old guidance counselor. It was the equivalent of Clint Eastwood showing up to teach pre-teen ballet.
God, what that poor woman had to endure. To her credit, she always took everything with a grain of salt, and, laughed it off. Even the hardest of the derelicts grew to respect her for standing there and taking it. The shout-outs, comments, 'spiking of the brownies,' and the overall abuse doled out by a class of nearly two dozen, hormone -- and occasionally unknown substance -- filled boys, would have been enough to drive any seasoned teacher to resign after only a week. Mrs. Baldwin lasted the whole year.
Thanks to her, I learned how to make spaghetti, create my own shirts with mismatching sleeves, and sew a football-shaped pillow from scratch. What else would a bachelor in the 80s need?
Of course, if the class were taught today, they'd have to include a few more basics;
Marital Law -- In case your girlfriend starts referring to herself as your "common-law wife."
Hacking -- So, when your boss tries to downsize you, you can show him the photos you found on his laptop.
Singing lessons -- Because, let's face it, according to your father, the only shot you have at not winding up at Starbucks is being a contestant on The Voice.
Her legendary incite into the bachelor life was so inspirational, to this day, Mrs. Baldwin is the reason I'm still single. #carryingthetorch
Follow David Fagin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nikchapman