Mr. Bottner - US Government
(Ep 71 - "Day One")
This was high school!
Buenos dias. My name is Mr. Bottner.
So! Here are the rules...
Roman numeral "I" - Rules
Numero uno. At eight-twenty-five the doors are locked - no one gets in...no one gets out. Numero dos. Due to an inner ear injury sustained at the...Pusan beach-head, we shall all refrain from making any sudden noises in the 2,000 kilocycle range. That means...do not - I repeat do not rip the paper from spiral notebooks. Comprende?
Now! Can anyone tell me the name of this country's "living document"? Anyone? No one? Grutner!
Good job. Callio!
Ah...I'm not sure.
Huh. Perfect. Carpazon!
Uh, that's "Carpazian", sir.
What did you say?
Uh, it's...not important.
The answer to the question...is the Constitution. And speaking of the Constitution, this might be a good time to tell you about meeting the 39th Vice-president of the United states - Spiro T. Agnew. I was one of only nine-hundred teachers selected to have lunch at the White House. The real White House.
And there you had it. It was pretty obvious the man who was teaching us about freedom was nothing but a petty dictator. For the next five months, we would be held hostage - while this guy strutted and preened, and perpetrated his little power-plays. And told, and retold, his crowning life-achievement - meeting Spiro T. Agnew.
And then! During dessert, which included a generous portion of cherries jubilee, the Vice-president himself...came over to my table. Shook...my hand. And do you know what he said, huh?
Of course, we didn't. But it seemed some sort of response was called for here.
"I can't believe I ate the whole thing?"
And maybe right then I should have known - I was a dead man.
Alright, mes amigos. This is "study hall". What you do in here is study - that means you don't talk, you don't doodle, you keep your faces in your books. So, here are Bottner's Rules. Numero uno.
Arnold. You have something to say?
Oh, come on. Share it with the class. I'm sure it's pretty amusing - you being such a...funny guy. Come on, Arnold, don't you think you're funny?
No, not really...
Oh, sure you are...you're a regular Jose Jimenez. I'm sure the rest of the class wouldn't mind...waiting...even if we have to stay after school to listen to your joke. I'm sure it'll be worth it.
(Mr. Bottner is returning papers in class.)
Pathetic...fair...adequate...putrid... Arnold! You're gonna have to do yours over. Passable...marginal...
Wait a minute, wait a minute.
You have a comment?
Why do I have to do mine over again?
I'm glad you asked me that question. I can't read your writing. Your margins are off. And you didn't put the date in the upper righthand corner. Bottner's Rules.
But I spent all night on this report.
Now that's funny.
(In the hallway.)
Look, Stuart, don't you get it? We're not friends. Just because you sat behind me in the fourth grade doesn't mean we're friends - we weren't even friends then! So why don't you get someone else to hang around with, OK? 'Cause I can't take it any more! Do you hear me?
And so it came down to this. I had acted like an idiot, blown up at the wrong guy...and now, my only hope was that my government teacher was dead.
(In class. Mr. Bottner angrily enters and drops his bag on the desk.)
Alright. Here's the deal - I just had to walk five blocks out of my way because some substitute chorale director parked her Pinto in my spot! Comprende!
Upon further consideration, though, death didn't seem half good enough.
Therefore, I suggest you open your notebooks, and write me..oh, let's say...five hundred words on the meaning of property rights, in the U.S. Constitution - just for fun. And no talking. Especially you, Arnold.
Me?! Look, I never said any -
Ah-ah-ah...I said no talking. Sorry, buddy. You're on detention - the whole...week. Let's move it, amigos!
And I don't know, maybe it was all that talk about the Constitution. In any event, at that moment, I made up my mind. It was time for a declaration of independence of my own.
(Kevin tears a page from his notebook.)
Who did that? It was you Arnold, wasn't it?
But sitting there, holding that paper , I just didn't care anymore. If I was alone, fine - I'd go it alone.
(Stuart tears a page from his notebook.)
Only suddenly - I wasn't.
(Others start ripping pages from their notebooks. Mr. Bottner goes wacky.)
Maybe it was futile, maybe not. It really didn't matter. For that one moment, we found a common voice - a common bond, against a common enemy. And for that moment, it was a sweet victory.
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