Show and Tell

by Troy Manning


In my fourth-grade year, during Show-and-Tell, my teacher told me I needed to do more showing than telling, and then showed me what she meant.

“This is your mouth,” she said, pointing to it.

Without a mirror, I immediately experienced technical difficulties.

“Those are words,” she said as she gestured toward the word-wall. “Melinda, would you please get me the words ‘Power’, ‘Governor’, ‘Order’, and ‘Janitor’?”

Melinda, the teacher’s pet, did as she was told. Teacher placed the word Power in front and held it above our heads.

“Now, Samson, if you wanted to show us power, would you hold up the word like this?”

My name was really Samuel, but I was astute enough to know what she was getting at. “No,” I replied.

“No?” she asked as though somehow surprised. “What would you do?”

I rose and yanked the words from her hand and tore them to shreds. Then I sprinkled them over my classmates.

“That’s right,” said Teacher.

I walked over to the word-wall and began tearing it down.

“Yes, yes!” exclaimed Teacher.

My classmates joined me and together we showed the words what was what. Even Teacher fell upon them and tore away for all she was worth.

We demolished the Days of the Week and the Months of the Year. We shredded Clothes and tore out Teeth and Hair. We dumped Desks, and cracked Pencils and Rulers and all of their Horses and all of their Men. This continued into lunch as we sauced Apples and tossed Salads and stapled Peanut Butter-and-Jelly to the wall.

How long all this went on before we were aware of Principal’s presence, it was difficult to say. He surveyed the room where Teacher lay in tatters and her Pet had met with better days. We knew without a word what he was thinking, as it showed all over his face. And we figured if we were going to put it all back together again and see the fifth grade, we’d best begin with Janitor.


Copyright © 2011 by Troy Manning

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