Friday, August 19, 2011

Cougar

This is not a quaint little story about a mountain lion, or puma, or whatever the hell else you want to call the big cat stalking on mountains and other such terrain. So that must mean that we are going to be speaking of that horrid creation also known as a cradle-robber. You know what I'm talking about. Those women who are way past their prime and yet insist on going after men half their age. But this cougar is not your average cougar.

This cougar is a high school teacher. For a very long time, she taught at my school. Generations of students have been scarred by her. Also known as Ms. Williams, or Mrs. Jory, or perhaps any of the other last names from her various husbands, she goes out of her way to cause misery and strife for all who dare to enter her room.

Let us begin with how I met this woman. While I had had limited exposure to her due to my work on the literary magazine at our school, I didn't have a class with her until my junior year. Ms. Williams became the AP English Language and Composition teacher, the first one since anyone could remember the school opening. She'd never taught AP before, but she probably figured it would be pie.

We students had other plans. While she expected us to be diligent, intelligent, and basically perfect, we were nothing of the sort. Most of us were lazy, horrible procrastinators, and pretty much hated school. She didn't realize this until it was too late, and she couldn't renege on the position.

That first week, we all learned very quickly that while Ms. Williams liked to harp on about feminism, she was horribly sexist. Toward girls. The boys in her class received special treatment (at least at first). One boy, who pretty much copied one of my essays word for word, got a higher score than I did. He became her personal favourite, for which I pity him greatly. The only two girls in the class who got any sort of recognition were exactly the sort of students she expected the rest of us to be.

I clearly remember the only comment she wrote on my first essay in that class. "Ostentatious". Let's see. My paper was about King Arthur. In describing Mortimor, his scheming, horrid son, I used the term "filial perfidy". Apparently that was far too advanced for even Advanced Placement students, and I was told to "dumb down" my vocabulary. Right.

And yet. We haven't even gotten to her cougar-like tendancies. She absolutely adored touching the boys' shoulders, arms, and even faces. That poor boy who copied off me had to endure her caresses so much that I absolutely forgive him for being such an ass. Honestly, nothing terrified us more than the thought that she would come up behind us while we were writing and begin putting her long, clicky fingers on our backs.

Halfway through the year, we decided to do something about her. We became the most horrid students in the history of schooldom. Nothing was considered going too far. When she asked us what we thought of her (which she did fairly often, for whatever inane reason), we told her the truth. Or rather, one boy did for the rest of us. It came to the point where Ms. Williams was crying at least once a week.

Other students of hers from other classes voiced their concern that we were going too far. But they could afford mercy; they only had her for a semester. We had her for an entire year. So when Ms. Williams announced her retirement, we cheered. Loudly. Then our class clown brought a cardboard sword to class, and we took turns attacking each other. Thus ended the reign of the Cougar. Some say she it still teaching, but at another school. According to rumours, she isn't teaching English anymore. She's teaching French. I guess we ruined her.