I Only Flunk My Brightest Students -- stories from school and real life.
Milford, CT (PRWEB) February 1, 2009
In 1958, when Michael N. Marcus was in the sixth grade in New Haven, CT, he didn't like his teacher. Lots of kids don't like their teachers, but few write books about them, and few writers take 51 years to complete their books.
According to Marcus, this teacher set up a system that let student "group leaders" prevent other children from asking the teacher for permission to go to the bathroom, demanded lavish gifts from parents, and gave spelling tests where a whole group of children would fail if one of them said a word out of alphabetical order.
Marcus and his pre-teen classmates thought they had legitimate complaints about their teacher, but most parents of that era insisted that teachers should be respected because of their position, and the parents were not interested in what bothered their kids. Then 12 years old, Marcus decided that some day he would write a book, "to tell the world what the parents refused to listen to." After more than half a century of pondering, planning, writing and editing, the book is now a reality.
The book is called "I Only Flunk My Brightest Students -- stories from school and real life." The title is based on a quote from a high school English teacher. Marcus says, "She was nuts."
According to Marcus, this teacher poked students with pins while they took tests, made them talk to and wave to a tree in the school courtyard, and was obsessed with cats, Elvis and the Battle of Chickamauga. This teacher of English also talked baby-talk and purred like a cat in the classroom, and declared that "An F is the mark of true genius." Unfortunately, Marcus says, "Few college admissions officers understood that her F was the equivalent of another teacher's A."
The author recalls, "In 1963, when a guidance counselor asked what I most wanted to get out of high school, I shouted, "ME!"
The 308-page illustrated book includes much more than school stories.
Marcus says, "It could be viewed as a 'coming-of-age' book, with young male silliness and horniness in the tradition of Animal House and Porky's. It is that, but there's more to it. It's a collection of more than 100 stories that span 55 years. They're mostly short and funny. One is long and funny, and serious and chilling. They occurred in my early childhood, while in public school and college, and while working. Culture clash is a frequent theme. So are food, phoniness and incompetence. There's lots of sex, drugs and rock & roll. Even the sex and drug stories are funny. Some stories were written as revenge for bad teachers and evil bosses. There are also stories about the women I thought about marrying and the one woman I did marry. There are four murders. If I get killed for writing this, there will be five, and someone else will write the sequel."
Some of the story lines:
- Being scared by nuns that he thought were witches
- The school science experiment that nearly killed him
- The experiment at college to determine if he attracted crazy girls or drove girls crazy
- A menage a trois with a college professor and another student
- Being suspected of running a whorehouse and drug ring while in college
- Having a 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 21
- Catching a boss stealing from him.
- Learning the nice word for "fart" from an assistant principal
- A teacher hid textbooks from students and didn't know which subject to teach
- An advertising agency arranged for clients to date Penthouse Pets
- The differences between New York and Connecticut mommies
- Trying to cook spaghetti in a bathroom sink
- A boy's mother throwing spaghetti and some of it hanging from the ceiling
- The disgusting secret ingredients in the world's greatest coleslaw
- Baseball as child abuse
- Reciting fake Japanese poetry while drunk in a Manhattan hotel lobby
- How a free dog cost $100,000
- His one cool teacher
- Beating real lawyers in court
One book previewer -- a classmate since first grade -- said, "I couldn't stop reading. I couldn't stop laughing." Another reaction was, "Readers should wear diapers and rubber pants, because this book is so funny you're gonna pee in your pants." A third said, "If you liked Animal House, do yourself a favor and get this gem."
According to Marcus, "I changed the names of some nice people to maintain their privacy. I changed names of some bad people where I'm no longer as upset as I used to be and I don't want to embarrass them or their descendents, or if I think someone might sue me or beat me up. I'm a writer, not a fighter. The names of some very bad people have not been changed, and I'm not afraid to 'say ill about the dead.' Dead people can't sue me."
The book sells for $19.95 and is available from [Amazon.com