The hat : a short story of a tragedy

This did not happen to me but to a fellow teacher. It was a really bad day and it was caused by an argument over a hat.

To protect the innocent I have changed the names to John and George. John entered the class as a transfer student from a move he made with his mother to the state of Florida. He was seated next to George. At first they became friends. Then there was a hint of jealousy.

John came from some money and George did not. They started to bicker. John always had the upper hand in money. John was always well liked. Maybe because he had money. George came from a home where they just scrapped by.

They started to argue and the teacher, a new one, should have seen it. But the teacher did not or maybe choose not to.

One day John came in with a hat. You are not allowed to wear it in school but he put it in his belt band. It looked silly but it was a rather expensive hat. He did not want to put it up for he feared it would be stolen. He would have been better off leaving it home.

George said some choice words. I believe something to the effect that the hat made John look like a sissy. Then John countered with something about George’s mother. That was the climax. George took his number two pencil and stuck it into John’s eye. Chaos ensued.

Pandemonium reigned. An ambulance was called. Since George was underage he got off. He went to an alternative school. John was put in the hospital where he lost his eye. He ended up being home schooled.

Two children who had a single incident which affected their lives. And it was all over a hat.

If you find this credulous look at the killings of wearing the wrong colors, or signing the wrong sign or walking into the wrong neighborhood. Wear the Jersey of the opposite team in a game and get the stuffing kicked out of you. Dumb and silly but with severe consequences. Is this our culture?

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