If We Could Only Correct the Past

If We Could Only Correct the Past

Yeah. . . We all have those kinds of F-up moments. Here is mine.

One day, when I was studying for a Spanish test at Saint Thomas, the recollection of a comical, yet tragic and unfortunate event occurred when I assisted class in high school:

7:30 am . . . the first bell rang. Class had begun. We were in Social Studies with Mrs. Smith; seated from her desk, Mrs. Smith greeted us –Good morning class, how was your weekend?

I responded –It was better than the happiness of a five year old on Christmas Day waiting to open Santa’s presents wrapped in marvelous and shining green paper, multiplied by winning the Powerball, because the Timberwolves won an important game and were favored in the NBA playoffs.

Cody simply amended –Yeah Mrs. Smith. . . It might be the first time the Wolves close in on a NBA Final.

Mrs. Smith grasped the class’s attention -That’s sufficient Sports Center talk. Let’s return to Social Studies and, in particular, World War II. We are going to make a general timeline of the topic of today. Then, we are going to watch a video that chronologically summarizes WWII.

The only vibrations, which filled the classroom, were the sounds of the overhead projector fan and the explanations of Mrs. Smith. –Hitler and his troops invaded Poland. . .The Holocaust began. . .Normandy, France. . .Pearl Harbor. . .The A-bomb. . .

The room was so quiet that you could hear the graphite pencils churning on our college ruled notebook paper. . . Opps. . . My pencil tip broke off, which smeared my WWII timeline. Like any student, I ripped out the failed timeline and crumbled it into a ball. Then, I started a new timeline.

Later, Andy, my best friend, had crumbled a similar piece of paper, for he had also smeared his timeline.

We finished and colored the timeline. Mrs. Smith concluded –Well class that’s the theory and timeline of WWII; now, lets turn our eyes to the television screen and observe the tragic and unfortunate praxis of Second World War. . .

As Mrs. Smith turned her back on the class to turn on the television and start the DVD, I took advantage and shot my mock-basketball across the room into the garbage basketball hoop that was by the door. . .

Swoosh. The crowd was on fire. Three points for the Timberwolves. The class roared. Mrs. Smith turned around again –What in heavens is all of this commotion coming from?
Cody responded -We are imitating the Wolves victory from last night. The victory still has us on tip-toes.

Mrs. Smith mediated the situation –Class, class, that’s enough Top Ten Plays; let’s pay close attention (like Charles Darwin observed the Galapagos Islands) to this history lesson.

The video started: D-day, heavy artillery, enormous casualties, racial discrimination, violence, starvation, the Holocaust, millions of murders, world conflicts, Pearl Harbor. . . When the movie clip arrived to Oppenheimer and his special project, we heard a “knock, knock.” Mrs. Smith answered the door. It was a ninth grader who had to make-up a test from a day she was absent. Mrs. Smith left the room to start the student on her test.

It was my moment. I told Andy to give me his crumbled ball. – Andy, dude, hook me up with your paper ball; I’m going to be two for two in this game.
He complied. The class went silent just like the last ten seconds of the Wolves game from the night before. I balanced my elbows, equilibrated my body, and followed through. The ball left my hands rotating through the air; when it had covered three quarters of the distance to the garbage basketball hoop, Mrs. Smith opened up the door. She entered. It was too late. There was no turning back. As the A-bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima simultaneously exploded on the DVD, Mrs. Smith entered the classroom, and the paper basketball struck her in the face. . .

If We Could Only Correct the Past


Wayzata, United States

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