I used to look up to Matt Fox, a kid who was in the same special education program named “Family Focus” that I was in back in the 1980s. I can’t remember why I did. Maybe it was because he seemed like a cool kid to me, especially when he was in my class. Looking back, I cannot help but wonder if I did not misplace my admiration because of a certain thing he did to me one day.
One day each week towards the end of my time at Family Focus, my class had to march over to another classroom where special activities took place, one of these being playing a game. For those it was either a choice of The Ungame or (if memory serves me right) Uno. I was not a big fan of the former in those days. I found the questions I might have to answer to be too probing and, in turn, putting me at risk of having to reveal embarrassing personal details. With the inevitable outcome of me dreading each time they would march my class down the hall to the classroom they held special activities in like playing that game. Frequently while struggling across the game with my more enthusiastic classmates, I would break down in tears.
As I have written before about this special ed program, displays of emotion like bursting into tears was apt to bring punishments down on my shoulders.
Each game day we would be asked what we wanted to play. When everybody else but me once voted on The Ungame, tears came. Afterward, the lady in charge asked me what my tears were about. “I was crying for joy,” I replied in an attempt to brazen it out thanks to having learned the phrase from an episode of “The Pound Puppies” cartoon series.
Then Matt gave me a look that said you’re lying! and blabbed to the lady that I had not been crying for joy but because I was upset. I got a “reminder” for that from the lady, the first of their three-tiered disciplinary steps there with the other two being a “check mark” followed by the dreaded “time out.” However, all I harvested from my tears the day Matt tattled on me was that “reminder.”
I kept looking up to Matt in spite of that. I even gave him a drawing the day he left the program.
Now, however, I think my admiration was misplaced. Because while Matt was cool, he also sucked-up to the adults in charge by being a goody two-shoes and a tattle tale worthy of the award pictured above.