Blog number 9
(You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet)
Several different songs remind me of Grade-5 but for this particular story I will use Bachman Turner Overdrive as a touchstone.
Many of their hits were all over the radio waves in 1975, and one song my friends and me liked was You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, which was released in 1974.
1975 often reminds me of my Grade 5 teacher, Mr. Kozier.
Mr. Kozier was a bodybuilder when bodybuilding was in its infancy.
I remember one time a kid in our class, he was a good friend and the goaltender on our hockey team, mouthed off to Mr. Kozier.
Mr. Kozier held my friend by the collar of his shirt and held him straight out at a 90-degree angle and carried him all the way to the office while my friend tried to punch and kick him, hitting nothing but air.
This same friend didn’t have what would be called the ideal upbringing. He only lived a couple doors down from me and we liked to visit there. It was one of several homes on our street that was party central for kids on Friday and Saturday night.
I remember one weeknight the SWAT team had to surround his house during a serious domestic dispute involving firearms. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.
It sounds sort of foolish but his older brother was the best foosball player in my neighborhood, and where I came from being the best foosball player made you a minor god. In Ogden there were good foosball players, there were excellent foosball players, and then there was my friend’s brother. He was almost at the professional level. Actually, there was a professional who would sometimes visit my neighborhood and he was even better than my friend’s brother. 10 or 20 people would gather around the foosball table at our local arcade to watch them compete.
I’m still a pretty good foosball player and would suggest only half seriously that I might be one of the best foosball players in the Maritimes. Anybody who thinks they can beat me – bring it on.
Anyway, back to Mr. Kozier.
Thanks to Mr. Kozier I know my times tables forward and backwards. Anything from 1x1 to 12x12 is locked in my memory.
Anybody who acted up in Mr. Kozier’s class would have to write out the times tables. Depending on how bad you were you’d have to write out one, two, three, or more times tables. There was a group of us who always had to do times tables but nobody had to do more than Mike.
One time Mr. Kozier and Mike got in a battle of wills. Mr. Kozier said, “one more word out of you and you'll get ten more.”
Mike said, “Go ahead.”
They kept arguing back and forth and it wasn’t long before Mike had about 100 times tables written up beside his name on the blackboard. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. 10 times tables was bad enough, but 100 was like nothing else before in the history of times tables. It was monumental.
Anyway, Mike was a great guy but a bit of a rebel. One time he punched his Grade 6 teacher in the face and gave him a bleeding nose. I think he was suspended for a few days, or maybe weeks, for that infraction.
One thing I did to make my times table life easier was to dig my crumpled times tables out of the garbage, take them home and iron them flat, and then resubmit them. Mr. Kozier eventually caught on to my deception and started putting a red check mark on everybody’s times tables before he threw them into the garbage.
I remember one time I wrote the times tables out as small as I could on a tiny little piece of paper and handed them in. Mr. Kozier had to get a magnifying glass to make sure they were all there.
My classmates and me used to race to see who could write the times tables the fastest.
It all came down to writing speed. I would have to give the edge to Harold. Not only was he the fastest times table writer; he was also the best athlete among us. Truth be told, there were a lot of people in my class who would destroy me in times table speed competitions. I never had fast penmanship.
Anyway, back to Mr. Kozier.
One day he told us that if we got caught chewing gum in class that we would have to put our gum in a box and take out somebody else’s gum and chew it.
Believe it or not, I think I actually had to do it more than once. You figure after one infraction that I’d get the message.
But nothing beat what my friend who survived the SWAT team incident did.
He came into class chewing a huge wad of gum, probably Bazooka bubble gum, and when Mr. Kozier told him to put it in the box he pulled out a massive wad of gum with potato chips mixed into the gum and put it in the box. There were usually about five pieces of gum in the box but the chip-filled piece of gum was the most gruesome, filthy piece of gum in the history of mankind. It goes without saying that the potato filled piece of gum sat there untouched all year long.
Mr. Kozier wasn’t all bad.
He worked out at the gym with players from the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders, and about once a year he would bring them in for a weightlifting competition. That was kind of cool.
He also had a running class where a bunch of us would come to school early in the morning and work on our running skills. It was a tough slog. Never before, or since, do I remember getting pains in my side like I did when running in Mr. Kozier’s running class.
Looking back I realize he had the running class so we would burn off energy before class started.
We were in Grade 5 and we competed against the Grade 6 class in long distance running.
I did pretty good. I usually came in about eight out of 25 runners, beating many of the Grade 6 runners. There were a few Grade 6 students who sort of pushed me around every now and again that I would have loved to have beat but, unfortunately, I never did.
Anyway, here’s a bunch of Good Ol’ Boys from Winnipeg singing You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.