Lesson learned by banging my head into things

baldMore than 20 years ago, I realized for the first time that the bald spot I saw on the security-camera monitor at the ATM in the bank lobby was atop of my head.

It was a startling and disappointing revelation. But in the years since then, that bald spot has obviously grown and I’ve learned there are really only two drawbacks to baldness:

  • Sunburn
  • The marks and scabs that are left — sometimes for days or weeks — when I smack my head into something.

And, frankly, the latter may be more the result of clumsiness or the fact that I’m sort of tall. It’s just that those marks and scabs are much more visible than they would be if I had a full head of hair.

I started to think about this Thursday after:

  • Blogging about learning in high school how to type.
  • Being asked about the mark that has been gracing my head since earlier in the week. And, no, I don’t even remember what I hit that put it there.

Somehow, those thoughts muddled together to present me as a 47-year-old with an opportunity to teach a lesson to the Chris Steinbach of 30 years ago. I am going to be deliberately vague about some of the details in order to hopefully not identify the teacher in this story. But if any of my former high school classmates or teachers read this, they will likely know about whom I am writing.

16As a Chariton High School underclassman, I remember sitting in the classroom of a man whose class didn’t interest me very much. To make it worse, the teacher — who would have been about the age then that  I am now — struck me as a bit on the old side. He was a bit conservative and, as I remember, kind of religious. I thought he was kind of weird. And, since I was 16, I knew everything.


My clearest memories of this man and his class have to do with:

  • Formaldehyde, which ought to give away his identity.
  • The day he threw an eraser across the room from the blackboard and hit a sleeping Greg Pellegrino in the head.
  • The day he came to class with a giant red mark on top of his bald head.

Of course, the smart-aleck 16-year-old Chris Steinbach snickered — and probably not just to himself — about the big hickey on top of this teacher’s head. That this teacher struck me as kind of old, conservative and a bit religious just made it even funnier to think of him having a life outside of school that might involve something even remotely close to having sex.

As I think about it and reread the above paragraph, it makes me realize what I jerk I was capable of being as a teenager. And how dumb I could be, too — especially as I look at the big red mark atop my bald 47-year-old head. It sure didn’t get there in the way I imagined a very similar red mark finding its way to the top of that teacher’s head.

For his sake, I hope I was right back then and that he didn’t just bang his head in the same spot where he had hit it many times before. Personal experience makes me think, however, that I’m probably right now and was very wrong back then.

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