The students at Springdale High commonly referred to the school as the “Jungle,” because each day was a struggle for survival. While we didn’t have poisonous snakes or carnivorous animals that saw us as their next meal, we did have nutty teachers and nerdy students just waiting to pounce on your every mistake.
This morning, we had a substitute teacher in Homeroom, a young guy who looked like he hadn’t started shaving. He insisted we take turns reading aloud from a book of your choice. To check your pronunciation, he said, although he didn’t appear to be listening.
I was in the middle of reading The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman, a quirky story about a teenager who was “functionally invisible.” That is, nobody noticed him. When the sub called my name, I stood and…show more content… The subject was how to determine the volume and surface area of a sphere. Great. Maybe I could crunch some numbers on Willow’s soccer ball for extra credit.
Numbers Newman stood and shuffled to the whiteboard. His belly protruded over his waist and jiggled when he walked. His trademark suspenders held up baggy pants. He cleared his throat and said, “A Greek named Archimedes, who was born in 281 BC, developed the formulas we will be studying today.”
Although I tried to pay attention, I couldn’t stop thinking about my secret admirer. Of course, it could have been someone besides Shaun and Matt. But who?
The teacher picked up a dry erase marker and wrote, in capital letters, the word “LEVERS”. Facing the class, he asked, “Can anyone tell me what Archimedes was famous for saying? I’ll give you a hint: it had something to do with the word I wrote on the board.”
Two hands shot up: Brian “Brainiac” Williams’s and Shaun Roberson’s. Brainiac was captain of the school chess team and a member of Mensa, a club for obnoxiously smart people. Being the teacher’s pet, he got the nod.
“Yes, Brian.” Numbers Newman tugged at his suspenders with his thumbs, waiting for an