I threw a paper plane across the classroom.
I pleaded with the teacher, “Please, please, please, I promise—I promise to dear life!—I will never ever do it again!”
I was 11 years old and I threw a paper plane across the classroom. So big deal. Like I had committed the worst crime in the world.
It landed on the math teacher’s desk just as he came back into the classroom.
“Who threw this plane?” he asked.
I froze, but I knew I had to own up before my friends turned on me. So I said, “I did, sir.”
“Come up here.” And when I did, he said, “I want you to bring this back tomorrow, signed by a parent.”
He didn’t know my situation. My mother had just died, my older sister was staying with an aunt, and my father was a real bastard. Tough. Mean. Angry. Angry that he had to raise a kid all by himself. He cursed at me all the time, called me stupid, a goddamned dope, and smacked me across the face over and over.
So I pleaded with the teacher, “Please, please, please don’t make me get thi…