THE GREAT RADIO DEBACLE OF 1983

Once upon a time I was a high school freshman.

My 9th grade year was full of firsts. First love (hi Dmac!) First hickey (hi Dmac!) First diet. First pair of designer jeans. First C…

and my first time as a radio star.

Well, sorta.

An old friend and I reconnected on Facebook this week and he mentioned that he can’t think about me without thinking about THE GREAT RADIO DEBACLE. Ah yes. RadioHead by thy name.

See, it all started out innocently enough. I had this Civics teacher who I couldn’t stand. She was boring and mean. And she couldn’t stand me. Mostly it was just a personality conflict, but it became personal when she assigned me a controversial topic to debate. The class voted via secret ballot before the debate and again after. I swayed the class. (I can be quite convincing, ya know.) She didn’t like it because it went against her beliefs. (yet she assigned me that topic and that side of the debate) and she honestly took it out on me everyday after that.

So anyway, one of the morning shows was hosting “complain about a teacher day” and so I called in. The DJ asked me questions about her, and I answered them. I never named her, but I did talk about her (lack of) teaching habits (she read to the class directly from the book) and I talked about the debate. And then…I decided to spout off one more thing. “Not only is she mean and boring, but she also looks like a rat.” (She totally looked like Master Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!)

Now, I didn’t say my name and I certainly didn’t think anyone would know it was me…so imagine my surprise to discover the whole school was talking about it when I arrived that day.

Oh yes. Word travels fast…

What a mess that turned out to be. I had Master Splinter in 2nd period and the first thing she did was read the definition of Slander in front of the class.

slander [slan-der]
–noun
1. defamation;
calumny: rumors full of slander.
2. a malicious, false, and defamatory
statement or report: a slander against his good name.
3. Law. defamation by
oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

I had no idea she would find out about it; I had NO idea my little call would cause such a problem! So I was seriously ready to apologize to her until she got up in front of class and threatened to sue me for slander stating that calling her a rat was defamation.

And that’s when I stood and said, “I’m sorry, but I did NOT call you a rat. I merely said you look like one. And I stand by that opinion.”

I spent the day in and out of the office. My mom was called in and we had to have a meeting about my poor decision making.

Mom stood by me. She said what I did was stupid (and it was) but I did it on my own time, didn’t name the teacher, and since there is this thing called freedom of speech, there was little the school could do.

And she was right. I did get D-Hall for mouthing off to Master splinter in class, but they couldn ‘t punish me for the radio stunt.

Master Splinter continued to punish me all year long (I love it when adults act like children. You know, I was 15. I was stupid. She was the adult. She should have risen above her hurt pride and set an example. But no.) She accused me of cheating once (which didn’t happen and even the counselor agreed it appeared that she was trying to get me back) and she gave me my first unearned C on a report card.

I will say that even though the stunt I pulled was EPIC on the scale of dumbassness, I believe that whole incident really helped shape me into the person I am today:

Oppositional.

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