Another chapter of FAIL – Joostberns Style

To continue my memories of FAIL, I thought I would share a story that involves a teacher of mine from high school. As I’ve stated in previous posts almost every lesson I have learned has been the hard way and this one is no exception. In high school I had a teacher named Mr. Joostberns and he taught several classes but the two I had with him were Government and History. Joostberns was an interesting and unique teacher. When the bell rang he would leave us with a final thought. Those included, “Smoke ’em if you got ’em”, “Don’t eat spinach in the wind”, and “Never tug on Superman’s cape”. He even taught us how to remember the directions on a compass by having us memorize “Never Eat Soggy Waffles”.

As you can see this was a teacher that marched to the beat of his own drum. I could go on and on about stories that happened in his class but this one concerns me. When I was in his Government class I was bored. I couldn’t take all the lectures and video’s on bills in Congress and it just stunk for me. So instead of simply dropping the class I decided to skip out every now and then. I enjoyed my time out of Joostberns class and my now and then turned into more and more until one day when I got home early from school.

*Ring, ring*


“Hi this is Duane Joostberns, I’m looking for the parents of Rich Martinez.”

I was screwed! My joy time was over and instead of skipping class here and there it was now all the time.

“Um..yes this is his dad”, I answered awkwardly. For anyone who has ever heard my father and I speak you know that we sound similar and especially over the phone so I went for it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen right?

“Well hey there Richard. It’s been a long time hasn’t it?”

“It has Mr. Joostberns, how have you been?”

“I’ve been pretty good Richard. I’m calling because your son has been missing a lot of my class and I don’t want him to fail.”

“Really!? I can’t believe that.”

“Yeah well don’t be too hard on him. I think he’ll come around I just don’t want him to mess up in class.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he hears it from me and this is going to stop. Thanks for calling.”

“It’s no problem Richard. Thanks again.”

“No, thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

That was the conversation I had with my teacher playing the part of my father. I have to admit I did a pretty good job too. I had made it a point to go to every class and stop my fool hijinks but it was too late. When I finally got back on track it was time for parent teacher conferences. The conferences were a big deal to my parents and even though I was older they always made my ass accompany them. I thought I was going with my mom but my parents had already decided that my mom would go with my younger siblings and my father would come with me. I was sweating and nervous in general but nothing could prepare me for what came next.

I had spoken to every teacher and I was doing good in every conference but the last teacher was Mr. Joostberns. I had completely forgotten about the phone call and he greeted us as we sat down.

“Hello Rich.”

“Hi Mr. Joostberns.”

“How’s it going Richard?”

“Pretty good and you?”

“I’m doing great and it was great talking to you last time on the phone.”

I froze. The sweat began to explode from my body and I wanted to run. There was nothing I could do or say to get out of this and I simply held my breath waiting to wake up but this was not a dream. My arms went numb and I prayed for a heart attack or a natural disaster but nothing happened. I was dead.

“What phone call Mr. Joostberns?”

Joostberns looked puzzled, “Um..the phone call where we spoke about Rich’s troubles in my class?”

My dad’s awkward smile turned into something horrifying and I wanted to rip my face off. He slowly turned his head to me and gave me a version of LOD (Look of Discipline; read previous post) that I will never forget. I call it the Alice in Wonderland version of LOD. I could see in his face that he wanted to shove whatever made Alice small down my throat so that he could stomp on me.

“So I spoke with Mr. Joostberns huh?”

My dad stared me down and I began to shake.

“Uh…no…Mr. Joostberns you spoke to me not my dad.”

I hung my head in shame since I was caught and my dad told me to go wait for him out in the hallway while he spoke to Mr. Joostberns. In the beginning I thought I was awesome and that I had gotten away with it but man was I wrong. In the end I was grounded from everything. If I wanted to have a movement I had to use a punch card to show that I was in there and the time stamp. With that I was only allowed a specific amount of TP. Well…it wasn’t that bad but it sure as hell felt like it. I learned another lesson the hard way and the next time I was presented with a possible moment of FAIL, I made sure there wasn’t a parent teacher conference scheduled. Have a good one everyone!


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