My abuse scarred me in many ways. It made me distrust authority. Mixing abuse of authority with a school setting became my personal ‘perfect storm’. I found it again in high school. 1968, the height of the war in Vietnam, was my senior year. My school invited a classmate’s father, who was in charge of the Veterans Administration, to address a school assembly. The topic was ‘our patriotic duty to support the war’, a war we all opposed.
Midway through the speech, I rushed the stage and grabbed his microphone. I did it on shear impulse, without a moment’s thought. I bellowed, “Do we want to hear any more of this shit?” My classmates’ reaction astonished me. The auditorium erupted in a thunderous ‘No!’ Then I shouted, “So let’s get the hell out of here.” And to a person they got up and fled the school. Fortunate for them, Bishop Ireton High allowed them to return the next day. Unfortunate for me, they threw me out.