Boys Come With Noise

Boys come with noise.  I think they’re born with noise.  Truck noise, car noise, military noise, forced body noise…Noise.

My brother is a great example of boys who come with noise.  Since the time he was able to hold a toy car, he emitted car noise.  He graduated to truck noise, tank noise, military noise, baseball noise, and eventually body noise.  Boys come with noise.

My brother spent his summers in a vacant lot across the street playing  World War II with one of his buddies.  With their army helmets, toy guns, and other military accouterments, they made a lot of noise. As long as the Battle of the Bulge could be heard from the vacant lot, Mom didn’t worry. She only worried when the noise stopped.  Then she knew that they were both up to no good.

Noisy boys enjoy tormenting quiet girls.  First hand experience there – in seventh grade.  I attended a Catholic elementary school that boasted 2,000 children.  Fifty kids jammed into each class. Fifty kids make a lot of noise.

To make it worse, we had a noise grade – conduct.  There were two sides of the report card — the academic side and the behavior side.  My parents cared more about the behavior side than the academic side.  Mom and Dad expected an A in conduct all the time – no excuses.  In order to achieve an A in conduct, you absolutely couldn’t talk – or not get caught talking.  I didn’t talk much… so I brought home the A.  I didn’t have many friends, but I got the A in conduct, and my parents were happy.  Until seventh grade, when the A was definitely jeopardized by three noisy boys.

In seventh grade, one of the few lay teachers in the school, Miss Williams, ruled over us with an iron pointer.  A good teacher with a scary reputation, Miss Williams didn’t tolerate noise. She also believed in team work, so  she organized our desks in groups of four which formed a square.  We were forced to work with each other whether we liked  each other or not.  Around January, Miss Williams decided that I would be a good influence on three of the noisiest boys in the class.  I was the only girl at a table of four.  Condemned to sit next to jungle-noise boy, airplane-noise boy, and farting-noise boy, I experienced Dante’s version of seventh grade hell. Understanding my misery, Miss Williams provided me with  two super powers.  She gave me permission to  smack them with a ruler, and grade all their homework.  I had the power, but the boys had the noise. Every time I suffered through unremitting boy noise, I thoroughly graded all of their homework and marked every misplaced comma wrong – effectively plunging their efforts from respectable As and  Bs to mediocre Cs, and devastating Ds and Fs.   They hated me, and I hated them.

At one point, jungle boy aggravated me so much I actually picked up my ruler and smacked his desk, but when Williams came around and asked me if he was talking I lied through my teeth.  I am not a rat.

At our 25th class reunion, I ran into jungle boy.  We had both grown up some.  He no longer made jungle noises, and I eased up on being a quiet nit-picker.  It turned out that his conduct grade actually improved that year because of me.   I reminded him that I lied for him.  He reminded me I almost smacked him with a ruler.  I told him he deserved it.  Then we laughed.  He bought the next drink.

What would the world be without noisy boys?


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