On the very first day of my tenth grade at a new school, I was sitting in a large hall attending the ceremony of starting the new school year. Officials were giving one hollow speech after another, kids were crammed together and bored to death, while teachers were anxiously watching for any sign of disorder.
On stage was a tall man with receding hairline, face puffed with self-importance, manner dignified in a self-conscious sort of way. Presently he was announcing in a solemn, modulated voice that a political big shot was going to do us the honor of making a couple of drumbeats to start off the new school year.
This announcer was going to be my history teacher as I would soon discover. For now, I was horribly shocked by the expression on his face. It has abject obsequiousness for the big shot, and it has overblown pomposity for the rest of us. Never before had I caught sight of such ugliness.
And so, unbeknown to him, before I even sat in his class, that teacher had taught me a big lesson, which was never growing up to be like him.