I’m writing this during 4th period while Mrs. Carter is standing in front of the room
lecturing about the cotton gin. Abe got into some really big doo doo, and I mean a
really big pile. Everyone in class was nervous as we took our seats 1st period. For
some reason, this journal really means something to Mr. Byrd. All week he
mentioned it and told us how much it could change our lives by making us
understand ourselves better. So far, he hasn’t convinced me that it’s not anything
but a bunch of busy work. Why do something if no one even bothers to read it?
Anyways, as soon as the bell rang, Mr. Byrd told us to get out our journals. He
reminded us what he expected. It could be handwritten or typed, but it had to be
the proper length. Looking around the room, it appeared that most students like me
had written it out instead of typing it. I discovered it was easier to just jot things
down as they came to me. It would limit me if I had to wait until I got home to type
it. He also told us our picture had to be on the front. I’ve still never figured this one
out. He already knows who we are because he makes a point of greeting us at the
door and addressing us by name. He called me Reginald the first day, but after I
corrected him, he’s called me Reggie. He also reminded us that we were to put down
the number of words we’d written. I discovered it was easier if I added the words
and jotted them down lightly in the margin after writing several paragraphs. He told
us he didn’t care what we had written, as long as we had followed the guidelines
he’d set out. He said he’d have to just trust us that we responded to the prompt
questions since he wouldn’t read our answers.
Everything went well until...until he informed us that he was a speed reader. He said
he could read over 2000 words a minute. He said he could scan a page quickly and
tell if we were doing what he asked. He assured us he would not concentrate on
what we wrote, only that it appeared we had done what he requested. He then
dropped the bomb. He said he could tell if someone added something other than
their own words. Everyone immediately looked over at Abe. He had been bragging all
week about copying the story of Rapunzel into his journal. Then suddenly, Sarah
Innis started sobbing. When Mr. Byrd asked her what was wrong, she confessed
that she had done what Abe did. Abe’s face couldn’t have been any redder as he
slumped down in his seat. I think he wanted to cry too when Sarah informed Mr.
Byrd what they had done.
I did a stupid thing too. When he asked if anyone else had plagiarized other works, I
raised my hand. So did Elizabeth. My father always says that confession is good for
the soul, but when Mr. Byrd walked back and stood over me, I wasn’t too sure. My
voice cracked when I told him I copied three paragraphs from Little Red Riding Hood.
I could hear my classmates giggle around me. I quickly added that I hadn't counted
them as part of my journal. Elizabeth informed him she had only copied one page,
but she did include hers.
For the next 10 minutes, we had to endure a lecture on how much he was very
disappointed with our behavior. He reminded us that we were the top students of
our class and that he expected better from us than he did his ‘ordinary’ students,
as he put it. I guess he thought he was praising us, but all it did was reinforce in our
minds just how ‘unordinary’ we are. Then he handed down the sentence for our
rebellious behavior. Sarah started crying when he informed her and Abe that they
had to serve three nights of detention starting Monday after school. They had to
come in after school and complete their journal. They were not to write anything for
the first entry except what they wrote during detention. He excused Elizabeth and
me, but we didn’t get by with just a warning. He said he was going to call our
parents and inform them of what we had done. Elizabeth tried to plead with him
while I sat quietly and listened. I was hoping that she could talk him out of it, but Mr.
Byrd seems the kind of guy who, once his mind is made up about something, then
he won’t change it. So besides being embarrassed in front of all my peers, I have to
go home and face my parents and explain my wayward behavior.
Mr. Byrd gave us a writing assignment while he moved around the room and checked
our journals. Again, he promised he wouldn’t read them, but that we were to turn
the pages quickly for him to make sure we had completed the assignment. My hand
was shaking when he walked up beside me. I tentatively began turning the pages as
I held my breath. I just know he read my capitalized comments because twice he
tried to stifle a laugh. When I finished, he chuckled again, patted me on my back and
walked to the person behind me. I guess he was keeping his promise about not
reading what we wrote. I didn’t make it easy for him though, by inserting bold
statements that he could not help but read. Even after he started the lesson, he
looked back at me a few times and smiled. Okay. Mrs. Carter has finished lecturing.
Now she’s handing out an assignment. More later.
Okay, I’m back in my room. Mr. Byrd called Dad at his office at the university and
told him about my transgression. I had to endure an hour long lecture on how I
could be dismissed from college for plagiarism. He had to discuss in great detail how
he removed three graduate students because they used other writers’ works
without citing the source. Sometimes I wish he was like other fathers and just
scream at me and get it over with. He started to insist that he would read over my
journal to make sure I didn’t make the same error again. I had to plead with him not
to. I told him the journal was supposed to be really personal, and that even Mr. Byrd
wasn’t going to read it. I think for the first time in my life, I stood up to Dad. It even
surprised him as well as me. I told him he couldn’t read it. If he insisted on doing so,
then I would refuse to write the journal and that I would take a failing grade instead.
After carefully studying me for a minute, he agreed not to read it. However, he said
if Mr. Byrd informed him that I was plagiarizing again, then either he or my mother
would. I quickly accepted his offer before he changed his mind. Now I’m doomed for
the next fifteen weeks to put in a good effort on this stupid thing. At least it took
over 1200 words to tell about this, so I guess something good happened. I’m tired
now, so I think I’ll wait until something exciting happens to write about. It’s Friday
night, so I don’t think that is going to happen.
WHERE DID WEBSTER LOOK UP THE DEFINITIONS
WHEN HE WROTE THE DICTIONARY?
It’s me and it’s Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how I get involved in these things.
Abe called a little while ago and wanted to know if I would go to the movies tonight
with Sarah, Stephanie and him. I would have told him no, but he called the house
instead of my cell phone and my mother answered. He asked her if it would be all
right, and she told him I could go. So I really didn’t have an excuse for not going
I like Abe. He’s a good friend in class, but we rarely see each other outside of school.
He’s Jewish and he spends a lot of time at his synagogue. He invited me to his bar
mitzvah when he turned 13. I thought it was pretty interesting to get a lot of gifts
and it wasn’t even Christmas. When he informed me he got a lot of money from his
relatives, I went home and asked Dad if I could convert to Judaism.
Anyway, when he called I had to agree to go with them to the movies. If it had just
been Abe, I probably wouldn’t have minded. But Sarah and Stephanie were going.
It’s no secret that Abe has had a crush on Sarah since the fifth grade. They were
caught kissing in the hallway last year between classes. Cory came out of the
restroom and saw Abe pressing Sarah against the lockers as he forced his tongue
down her throat. That was how Cory described it in class later.
I know I’m going to be stuck entertaining Stephanie all evening. I like her and all, but
sometimes I think she wants to be just more than friends with me. I’m only fifteen.
I’m not in the market for a girlfriend right now. If she tries to do anything more than
just watch the movie, I’m going to make sure that Abe gets paid back- big time.
Hold on. Mom just came into the room. Okay, I’m back.
Wait a minute. I just read what I wrote. This is so stupid. Now I’m acting like I am
really talking to someone. I guess it helps me deal better writing this stupid journal.
I’m really talking to myself, but that means I’m a little crazy. If I pretend I’m talking
to someone else, then I can express myself better, I guess. I’ll just have to see if it
Anyway, Mom gave me a polo shirt she bought at the outlet mall last week. She said
it was in a bag and she forgot to give it to me. It’s red. I like red. I know it seems
weird, but I feel different when I wear red. Black and grey depress me. Blue and
green are all right, but there’s something about red. If you look in my closet, half my
shirts are red. There I go again, pretending someone is going to look in my closet. I
wonder if Mr. Byrd’s main objective is to make all of us crazy by the time this
assignment is finished in four months. He’ll probably collect the journals and show
them to a psychologist and then have us committed to an asylum. Although, I
probably don’t need this journal as evidence of my insanity. I do well enough without
I gotta go for now. I need to take a shower and get dressed before Abe picks me
up. He turned 16 two months ago and his dad already bought him a car. I have to
start working on Dad so he’ll let me get my permit. If I mess up again, then I may
have to wait until I’m 18. It’s worthless to ask Mom. She always checks with my
father first before making any kind of a decision. I think they read a child rearing
book when I was born that warned them about me trying to play one parent against
the other. I learned at a very young age that it was futile to even try. I’ll be back
later and talk about my fun night out. Yeah, sure.
IF YOU EVER HAVE A GOOD IDEA IT WILL
BE BEGINNER’S LUCK
Okay, I’m back. It’s Sunday afternoon. I was too upset to write anything last night.
Like I feared, the night at the movies turned into the Terror at the Cinema Plaza.
Abe picked Sarah up first, and I sat in the car while he went inside to get her. I
thought they would be right out, but I waited for almost 25 minutes. When they did
come out, Abe’s shirt was out, and his face was really flushed. I think they had been
doing some heavy petting. From the look on his face, they may have done even
more. When he got in the car, he gave me this really pleading look, like please don’t
ask me why it took so long. Then Sarah just stood outside the passenger’s side and
stared down at me. I guess she wanted to sit in front with Abe. So I got out and
got in the back. Next we picked up Stephanie. I wanted to wait in the car, but Abe
insisted I go get her. Her father answered the door and stared at me like I was some
sort of pervert who wanted to do unmentionable things to his daughter. I was
relieved when Stephanie showed up, kissed her father on the cheek and led me
When she got in the car, she was wearing a sweater. As soon as Abe pulled away,
she took it off and revealed a very low cut blouse. It didn’t leave much to the
imagination what was hidden underneath. Of course, Sarah thought it looked good
on her, and she wanted to know where she bought it. As we rode to the mall, I kept
looking out the window even though Stephanie tried to get me to talk to her. Every
time I looked at her, my eyes drifted to the two mounds pressed tightly together.
They looked like a baby’s butt.
We got a bite to eat at the mall food court. They wanted to get Chinese, but I hate
Chinese food. It gives me diarrhea an hour after eating it. Of course, I could not tell
them that. So I ordered pork fried rice and an egg roll knowing that it would soon
make me sick. Mom gave me money to buy Stephanie’s dinner. She got Mongolian
chicken and crab rangoons. She offered me one, but I declined. That’s all I needed
was one more thing I would have to pass later. We mostly talked about Mr. Byrd.
Abe and Sarah were still upset that he gave them three nights of detention for filling
their journal with stories. Abe was still determined to find someway around having to
write in the journal. I guess he hates it as much as I do.
The movie started at 8:00. We saw some boring vampire movie. Abe and Sarah sat
down beside us, but minutes before the movie began, they got up and headed to
the back of the theater and left me alone with Stephanie. She kept turning around
to see what they were doing. Several times she started giggling. I didn’t care to
look. I had already formed some nasty image in my mind.
Okay. Now comes the really bad part. About half way into the movie, Stephanie put
her head on my shoulder. I was kind of weirded out by that, but I didn’t say
anything. I just thought that maybe she was tired. But then she took my hand and
placed it on her breast! I quickly removed it and gave her one of the most surprised
I asked her what she was doing. It was loud enough for the people around us to
hear. She got all mad and went to the back to join Abe and Sarah. I was left alone
to watch the rest of the movie by myself. When it was over, Abe took me home
first. No one spoke to me, and Stephanie didn’t even look at me when I said
goodbye to her. Okay.
I’ll be back. I have to mow the yard before Dad does. I’m working on my permit. I
need to finish this because it’s really important to me. I just hope no one reads it.
YOU'RE SO STUPID THAT YOU GOT FIRED FROM
THE M & M COMPANY FOR THROWING AWAY ALL THE W'S
Okay, I’m back. It’s Monday night. I needed some time to think about what I said
about saying something is really important to me. When Mr. Byrd announced that
we had to write a journal, it was the thing that immediately popped into my head. I
knew when he said we had to write down our deepest feelings and emotions, it
would emerge. But I’m not ready yet. Maybe tomorrow.
Today at lunch was awkward. I’ve eaten with Abe, Sarah and Stephanie at the same
table since third grade. Others join us, but it’s always the four of us. We usually talk
school stuff since none of us really ever have a life outside of school. Abe and Sarah
I think are trying to change that. After thinking about it all weekend, I came to the
conclusion that they probably talked Stephanie into seducing me so we could engage
in some sort of wild sexual orgy. Okay, okay. I know I went too far with that one.
However, I still think they hoped that the four of us could become two couples. I
guess their plan didn’t work. Now they are ignoring me. Ignoring me! I sat at the
table for thirty minutes while they talked. Not once did they ask me anything. I tried
to join their conversation a couple of times, but Abe rudely cut me off. Some friend
he is. He gets all mad because Stephanie gets all mad because I wouldn’t feel her up
in the theater. I guess Sarah’s mad because Abe and Stephanie are mad. I haven’t
decided yet if I’m going to sit at the same table with them tomorrow. The only thing
I’m afraid of is that they may not want me to. Then what do I do? Eat alone?
I’m going to bed. It’s only 9:35, but I’m tired of thinking about things. Maybe I will
write more tomorrow. So far I only have about 3000 words. Besides, it’s only
Monday and I still haven’t even answered the prompt question. So I should be all
I DO WHATEVER MY RICE KRISPIES TELL ME TO DO
Okay, I’m back. I can’t sleep. It’s almost 4 in the morning and I haven’t slept one
minute. This is something I gotta do now. If I don’t I’ll chicken out again. I’m in big
doo doo if Mr. Byrd sees this, so I’m gonna write it small. I’m gay. There I said it. And
since I’m using an ink pen to write this stupid journal, I can’t change it. I guess I
could scratch it out until I leave an ugly hole in my paper, but since I got up the
nerve to write it, I’m going to leave it there. Now maybe I can go back to bed and
get some sleep. I’ll try and explain things tomorrow when I’m not too tired.
DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU?
Okay. I’m back. I’m in American literature. I’m supposed to be reading an excerpt
from Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, but I’m so mad right now I had to take
out this stupid journal and write down what happened at lunch. If I suddenly stop,
it’s because Mrs. Griffin is walking around the room and I may have to pretend I’m
reading. They asked me not to eat with them at lunch! When I sat down, Sarah
‘suggested’ that I may not be welcomed at ‘their’ table and I should eat somewhere
else. ‘Their’ table. She said ‘their’ table. The same table that was ‘our’ table just last
week. I wanted to say something mean and nasty, but I could not think of anything
appropriate to say at that moment. Since then, a million things have jumped into my
mind that I could have said, but didn’t. Anyway, I moved to a table where some of
my other classmates sit. They gave me a weird look when I sat down, but no one
said anything. I guess I really didn’t give them a chance to because I was too mad to
look at anyone.
Tomorrow after I’ve calmed down, I may just tell the others that they are mad at me
because I wouldn’t touch Stephanie’s breast when she forced my hand on it. Wait.
That doesn’t sound right, does it? That would only make them wonder why I was
making a big deal out of it. A guy is supposed to WANT to feel up a girl, right? He’s
supposed to make the first move, not complain when the girl does it first. So now I
have more things to worry about, as if I didn’t already have enough problems. I’ll
write more later. Mrs. Griffin keeps watching me as I sneak sentences into this
stupid thing. Only 1500 more words to go. I counted them when she wasn’t looking.
Add seven more words. No make that eleven. Fifteen. This is getting to be stupid.
Okay, I’m back. I’m starting to get addicted to this stupid journal. I still think this is
Mr. Byrd’s attempt to drive us crazy. I had a ton of homework tonight, but I kept
looking at this and wanting to write things down. It’s almost 10:30 and I’m tired
because I didn’t get much sleep. I'm tired, so sue me. Okay. Let me explain
something I wrote last night. It’s the reason I’m so tired now. I’m going to put it
down now while I really don’t care if someone sees it. I’m gay. Okay?
I’M GAY I’M GAY I’M GAY I’M GAY
I don’t care if Mr. Byrd does see it as he speed reads through my journal. In fact, I
hope he does read it and says something. Then I’m going to get Dad to hire a
lawyer and sue him. I’d hire Abe’s father, but since Abe isn’t talking to me anymore I
guess I can’t.
Reggie’s big secret is now down in writing. It’s the one thing I wanted to avoid
writing about, but after yesterday, I don’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel up
Stephanie in the theater because I’m gay. I’ve always been gay. I’ve never denied it
to myself, but I have kept it hidden from others. I don’t know why though. I’m not
ashamed of being gay. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted feeling the way I do. I just
don’t think it’s anyone’s business. I’m not doing anything with anyone, so what
does it matter? Being gay is a part of who I am, just like my dark hair and blue eyes.
No one asks guys in my class if they are straight, so why do they need to know I’m
gay? I’ll someday let those that need to know, know. I’m sure someday I’ll come out
to my parents, and probably my grandmother. They may want to know. But why
does everyone else have to know? Abe doesn’t wear a sign around his neck telling
people he’s straight. Then why do I have to wear a rainbow pendant around my
neck to announce that I’m gay? Okay. I’m tired and it’s almost 11. I don’t feel like
thinking anymore. I hate this stupid journal. It’s making me think too much. More
I COULD HAVE EATEN ALPHA-BITS
AND POOPED OUT A BETTER JOURNAL
Okay. I’m back. It’s Thursday night, and Mr. Byrd is going to check our journals in
the morning. I was going to just leave it the way it is, but I’m about a 1000 words
short. I thought about cheating and putting down the wrong number, but Mr. Byrd
is pretty smart. I guess because he’s young, he remembers all the things he did
to avoid assignments. It’s a lot easier to fool an old teacher than it is a young one.
Teachers like Mr. Byrd have already played the game.
I don’t know what I want to write. I’m not in the mood to write anything, but I have
to. This weeks prompt is stupid. He writes it on the board at the end of the period
on Friday after he’s checked our journals. We don’t have to discuss it, but he
encourages us to do it. This week’s prompt is: If you could be anyone other than
yourself, living or dead, who would it be.
I’ve thought a lot about it this week, but my mind has drawn a blank. When I think
of someone, then I do a little research and find out that their life wasn’t all that
great. Many either suffered while they were alive, or suffered a tragic death. And
almost all of them, once you get past what made them famous, were disappointing
in some way. History is kind to most people. I guess we want heroes so badly that
we sometimes overlook their imperfections. So I really don’t have anyone I’d rather
be. I guess everyone’s life is hard in one way or another. Even though there isn’t
much to me, I still like being me. I guess I really don’t want to be anybody else. I’m
only 15 going on 16. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. Who knows, maybe
someday in the future another teacher will ask his or her class to write about
someone they would like to be. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone said they’d like to be
Okay. I’m 800 words short still, so I have to write something else. Give me a minute
and let me read what I’ve written so far. Okay. I’m back. One of the things Mr. Byrd
suggested that we write about is what we want to do with our life. I’m pretty sure
he’ll have a prompt later on which will deal with this in more depth. Right now, I
really don’t know what I want to be. I know I’m smart enough to be anything I want
to be. Dad and Mom want me to major in medicine or law. Dad has even hinted that
he’d be proud of me if I got a doctorate degree like him and taught in a major
university. But I don’t know if that is what I really want to do with my life.
Sometimes I just get tired of studying all the time. Sometimes I will see a baseball
game on television and think those guys have it made. They get paid for doing
something they enjoy doing. Dad’s proud of what he does, but I’m not sure he has
fun doing it. I know Mom doesn’t. She’s a dedicated teacher and all, but she looks
forward to her summer vacations. If she enjoys what’s she’s doing, would she need
several months to recharge her batteries, as she says.
So all I know is I want to do something that is fun 24/7. When I leave whatever I’m
doing for the day, I want to be able to look forward to doing it again the next. I
guess any job can offer that if you’re happy doing whatever it is. It can be the
grocery store clerk who likes meeting people and goes out of her way to be friendly.
Or it can be the plumber who feels a sense of accomplishment after he stops a leak
in someone’s basement and gets an enthusiastic handshake by the homeowner. I’m
not saying I want to be a grocery store clerk or a plumber, but I want to be happy
doing whatever it is. Dad wants me to do something where I’ll make a lot of money.
He says I’m too smart to live a poor life. But I watch the news and I read stories on
the internet. Money doesn’t buy happiness. In fact, it seems at times to make some
people’s lives miserable. So I’m not going to place a high priority on making a lot of
money. I just want to be happy. Is that asking too much of life?
Okay. I’m 300 words short, but I’m going to turn this in and hope that Mr. Byrd
cuts me some slack. I’m tired and I’ve really put a lot into this entry. I really, really
hope no one ever reads it. I’ll be in big doo doo if they do.
Okay, I’m back. I know I said I was finished with this entry, but I had an epiphany
when I awoke this morning. I’m on the bus writing this, so if my handwriting looks
jerky, that’s the reason. So now my epiphany: I want to be a writer. Cool, huh? I
like to read and write. I could be free to express myself, and no one would have to
read what I write if they don’t like it. I’ve read numerous books that I thought
weren’t really all that good, and I feel I could write better. So maybe that is what
I’ll be in life. After all, Dad is a writer. I think he’ll understand once I explain it to him.
However, I’ve heard him rant and rave about how much writing is a thankless
profession. He thinks writers receive little respect for the hard hours they put into
what they do. So I may have trouble convincing him. Maybe I’ll just tell him I’m going
to major in English in college. I can hear him now asking me just what I plan to do
with a degree in English. I’ll think of something. Maybe I can be a journalist. Wouldn’
t that be ironic? I started out hating writing this stupid journal, but maybe it will help
me better understand what I want to do with my life. Oh, cripes! Now I sound like
Mr. Byrd. Maybe I’ll be an English teacher someday and make my students keep a
journal. Now that would be ironic.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS,
BUT I BET IT'S HARD TO PRONOUNCE.
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