I was reminded last week of a lesson I should never have taught. It was the
greenhouse effect and how light rays are converted into heat while passing
through a layer of plastic or glass. It was the inclusion of how a particular plant, which thrives in a greenhouse, may have led me into trouble.
The class, for which I taught the lesson, was known as “The Lords of Education.” The term was appropriate because it described their arrogant and distasteful attitudes toward learning, the teaching profession, law abiding society members, punctuality, and armpit hygiene.
Their English teacher had never recovered upon seeing a young “Lordess” removed from her classroom in handcuffs and leg irons.
I taught that greenhouse lesson during the last class of a March afternoon. As usual, all fifteen of “The Lords” arrived late at my science laboratory. I told one that I would only sign his court document of attendance after the lesson was completed. That upset him and his two women-friends.
While mustering up some enthusiasm for the lesson, I thought it might be a good idea to mention one of their favorite subjects never taught in the curriculum. Marijuana. After all, I assured myself, that is a good example of a plant with fibrous roots and palmate leaves that are situated at the far end of a stiff green stalk. Wonderful reasoning, I assured myself while trying to get their attention above the roar of ghetto blasters and heavy discussions about who of their jailed comrades merited day parole.
Two thermometers lay on the front desk and one was covered with a sheet of clear plastic film. I looked at all and said, “Now class, come up to the front of the room and see how we get a higher temperature under a piece of plastic than without.”
Nobody moved. I should have stayed in bed.
I walked across the room and added, “Here we have a little greenhouse with a blooming geranium plant.” I glanced around. Magnificent Mimi, who had a strong interest in kickboxing, had her hand up and wanted to ask a question. I was momentarily speechless.
“Yes,” I uttered, trying not to appear like a stunned Sphinx.
“Ah, . ah .. Huh .. huh huh, do you think Marijuana would grow good in one
of them there things,” she asked.
“Certainly, Marijuana would thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.”
“Woops,” I said to myself, “that answer was not well worded.”
With smiling face and gleeful eyes, “Magnificent Mimi” leaped over her desk and onto MINE. Her shouts woke those that were half-sleeping. All radio receiving equipment went silent.
“This here geek has a new way to grow better pot,” she shouted.
Someone yelled “BONANZA.” With flying elbows, the scrambling bodies rushed to the front seats. Mimi grabbed a small “Lord” by his nose and flung him onto the floor… for attempting to pull her away from my desk and chair. She silenced a noisy “gum clacker” by pushing his wad deep into his throat.
“Now speak slow so’s I can copy,” she ordered and all the “Lords” copied notes and diagrams as if they belonged in a class destined for a university.
The library-style quiet endured one disruption when Albertus the Fink stole
a pen from Porph. Each promised the other many harms in their future gardening endeavors. Many cell phones alerted brothers and sisters of the greenhouse magic. One caller informed his mother that a greenhouse will double the “dream chemicals” by one hundred percent.
The end of class bell rang and as the happy and smiling “Lords” exited, I felt an arm around my waist and purring lips at my ear. “After I repair our old greenhouse,” said Foo Foo the Torch, “I want to ask you more questions. OK?”