When I was in high school, I had a teacher like Anton for advanced algebra.
He was a man with plenty of stories. I remember him opening class with plenty of bizarre anecdotes, but time has destroyed most recants. I specifically remember him opening with a story about how lightning traveled through the electrical wiring to zap a man he knew. He was watching television, and the bolt traveled that path to him. In hindsight, he may have actually calculated it, but the possible purpose of such openers was to reinforce the awe or possible fear in those he taught, to bring them in to proper frame of focus. It worked for me.
Mr. B's punishments were far less catastrophic, but he ensured his students would pay attention, be silent, and ultimately, be in line for his alpha nature.
Mr. B had occasional challengers, through smart-aleck games that became identified. Those people almost always were given detention, at least, upon identification, through consequence, and upon further missteps with the teacher. Very few navigated this particular attention without such consequence.
I was a frightened freshman lad, in over my head in some classes. In particular, advanced algebra was slightly over my head. Mr. B's final grade for my work was in the neighborhood of a borderline. He had me down for a B, or a B-minus, so I was in the clear enough to find an exemption from his final exam. Almost the entire class was also in the same boat.
I had never challenged this man, knowingly, until he approached me near the final day of class. It turned out that I had
I had missed class in my freshman year enough to invoke a danger of taking his final exam.
Without warning, he explained to me that I was liable to take his exam, if he so chose. Then, he brought out a quarter from his pants pocket, and without further explanation, he flipped it, coin spinning round and round, and he caught the coin and slapped his other palm over the coin.
"Well, Heads, or Tails, Mr. sauce1977
I believe I wondered, at that moment, just what he meant, but the gambling man in me blurted, "Tails."
He revealed the coin as showing heads.
I was to take his final exam, along with one other unlucky soul.
It was later in my high school years that this other person who took the exam, this peer of mine, would be in the very same car with me for driver's education. We were on our first day of driving, and this peer managed to unwillingly be involved in a most frightening accident at a busy intersection.
An elderly couple, desperately seeking McDonald's from across the street, merged through a pile of left-turn lane cars and managed to place itself right in the middle of the car's path with no time to stop. We came to a t-bone halt.
We were all okay, and our car was driveable, but I was most frightened as the final person to drive that evening. I remember driving 10 mph under the speed limit, lurching, weaving, panicking at every stop light, and, ultimately, forgetting to apply the brake and instead hitting the gas when I reached my destination of my mother's driveway.
Had the instructor not happened to have her own set of brakes on the passenger side, I would have finished off the car's fate with the junkyard, as it seemed destined to merge with the sturdy brick front porch corner.
Since those days, I have come to realize just how close I am to having witnessed a more merciful set of chance and fate, to date.