The town council representative in our little census tract may see himself as a budding Winston Churchill, but I liken him to Steve Melman, the Window Monitor when I was in the fourth grade.
See, Steve lobbied hard and long for a position no one else wanted because he saw it as a stepping stone. He dreamed big dreams. The biggest dream -- Home Room Proctor.
The role of window monitor required using a long stick with a hook to gently tease the transoms open, or closed, depending on classroom consensus. But within a week, things got weird. Steve started calling himself “Monitor Melman.” Worse, he neglected his duties. The classroom was either too hot or too cold. In his lust for power, Steve decided windows paled next to –- Courtesy Monitor. Though no such thing existed, he decided to create the position and to that end, he started keeping notes. Who was late from recess? Who whispered in class? Who told dirty jokes? In an effort to gather popular opinion to his side, he promised something called a Citizenship Award.
Steve brought a Polaroid Swinger to class. His friend, Monitor Jensen (ball and bats), took the pictures as Steve handed out Tootsie Rolls to a thoroughly surprised Tina Sills, the first weekly good citizen. The pictures appeared on the bulletin board without teacher’s permission. We suspected Jensen, but lacked the proof.
The first to complain about Steve was Jim Stark, Chalkboard and Eraser Monitor. (Yes, it was a man’s world.) He gathered a few of us, the 4th grade athletes, including Kent Russell. We all agreed -- Steve could take all the notes he wanted in the privacy of his own home, but his job at school was to open windows, and, of course, close them. “Besides,” said Kent. “Next thing you know we’ll have to call him Venerable.” Though none of us knew what that meant, we nodded sagely. As our Book Monitor, we trusted Kent when it came to vocabulary words and spelling.
Our ducks in a row, we approached Terry Emery, 4th grade Home Room Proctor and major hunk.
When Steve Melman sensed his reign of terror might be in jeopardy, he jumped all protocol and complained directly to our teacher Mrs. Clapp, and our principal Mr. Jessup. Playing fast and loose with timeline and events, Melman thought he sealed his case with a shocking accusation: Terry Emery had called him “Doo-doo head” while on the german dodgeball court.
It promised to be a bloodbath. Investigations, suspended privileges. Although Steve admitted nothing, he did cry, and somehow that brought the whole political machine to a screaming halt.
Well, that’s the whole story really. After some advertures of his own, the town council window monitor for our little census tract has apparently filed a series of complaints -- either pre emptive or retaliatory -- against our council proctor. Included in the complaints, allegations of “Doo-doo head” (or something similar), being bandied about within closed and sacred chambers.
Damn, we get Watergate, or birdbath gate, or thimblegate, when all we wanted were a couple of stop signs and a speed bump. And it’s a pity; I had such high hopes. Of all the town council monitors, at least ours knew how to dress.