Yesterday I was roped into being a chaperone for a 9th grade field trip (8 girls and 2 boys) to the Franklin Institute–it’s basically an over-sized museum that operates with the same intention as my old Houston students: “Please Touch” .
Anyway, this entry is about one boy in particular; since he’s a minor, we’ll call him………”Henry”.
“Henry” was weird right off the bat. He’s one of these kids that can’t keep still if his life depended on it. There he is running around the classroom yanking girls’ hair….there he is getting smacked on the other side of the room for touching a girl’s ass “by accident”….there is he teabagging the bus driver. And he giggles weirdly the whole time too, like fairies are tickling his junk from the inside.
“He’s nasty, mister” one of the girls forewarns me.
(Sidenote: It’s a warning I heed too, as she’s the same girl that later tells me: “I like to watch people get cut open. I want to be a teacher.” Which also reminds me, F-ck you, 9th grade staff for sticking me with the cast of Girl, Interrupted )
And on one level, I’m totally over this kid already; I’ve had plenty of “Henry”s over the years in other jobs. But on the other hand, “Henry” is most likely a crackbaby, or at least a chemically-infused gremlin sent by the Russians to cripple us from the inside, so there’s the entertainment value he was sure to provide.
So once we get there, “Henry” is all about the “Please Touch” policy. Yet there’s a curious pattern to “Henry”s choice of entertainment.
The Franklin Institute is the home of the Giant Human Heart; an over-sized model of a human heart that kids can walk through. Immensely popular exhibit*. But instead of heading to that, “Henry” races to the various gears and…..pumps…that are strewn about this museum floor. It’s lots of “see how gears work” kind of stuff.
But each time it’s the same thing: “Henry” frantically pulls on the levers and yanks the cranks much harder than necessary, each time putting his whole body into it. At one point, he runs into the giant human heart with some of the girls in our group, and after squeals emit from inside the heart once or twice along with a couple of “Henry!” he comes racing back out and works over the cranks, gears and pistons double time–it’s like he’s become John-f*cking-Henry all of a sudden.
Little beads of sweat are racing down his brow, his skinny body jerking all over the place, a greasy grin on his face…..I’m watching him race from station to station jerking these exhibits to pieces and it dawns on me:
“Henry” is a chronic masturbator.
I mean, what else could be going on with this kid?
The rest of the day, I watch “Henry” like I’m Dian Fossey (google her, kids)–his every move now fascinates and terrifies me.
During the IMAX film on white-water rafting, “Henry” is sitting closest to the screen, feet propped up with his thin frog legs pumping in the air whenever the raft crests another frothing wave on the rapids.
After the IMAX, “Henry” wants to go to the gift shop and I watch as he repeatedly pulls a pirate sword in and out of its scabbard like he’s sawing the f-cking thing in half.
And when we go to the aviation room, there’s “Henry” sitting high up in the life-sized model plane, sinking himself deep in the cockpit.
When the day is finally over, “Henry” and I end up walking out together down the museum steps. I ask him if he’s had a good time and he gives the world’s heaviest sigh and says, “Man mister, I’m beat.”
We both laugh for obviously different reasons.
Then “Henry” shakes my hand and says, “thanks for being our chaperone, mister and letting me be myself”, which makes me feel a little guilty about the feelings and even question blogging about him, until I remember what he just did.
He shook my hand.