“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
— Abraham Lincoln
The Hot Chocolate Caper
Upon clocking in at school yesterday, Diane, the office manager said,
“Hi Terry, I made hot chocolate for all the teachers. Please help yourself to some.”
“Thanks. I’ll get some a little later.” My hands were full, but I had to bring my class to the library later and I planned to get my cup of hot chocolate then.
At 9:30, as my students worked on the library computers, I slipped out, grabbed a cup of hot chocolate in the office and took it back to the library with me.
I took a sip out of my cup.
Yuck! This tastes like hot brown dishwater!
“What do you think about this so-called hot chocolate?” I asked the librarian.
“It’s ghastly. I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot barge pole,” she replied.
Then, the librarian left to run some errands.
Since there was no sink in the library, I set the vile concoction inside of a trash can in front of librarian’s desk. There was a plastic bag lining the trash can.
A few minutes later, a couple of other teachers wandered into the library and started chatting.
One of the teachers looked in the trash can.
“Oh my God, someone put a full cup of hot chocolate in the trash can,” she gasped loudly.
My face flushed.
I opened my mouth to admit to my crime, but before I could say a word, the teacher reached into the trash can and removed the cup of hot chocolate.
“This is unacceptable. Who would do such a thing?” she asked with a frown.
It was too late to confess. From the tone of her voice, I realized that the teacher would not be happy until someone did jail time for this heinous crime.
I turned and walked to the other side of the library.
I was ready for the teacher to look me in the eye and ask in a creaky witch-like voice, “What do you know about this?”
Fortunately, she didn’t ask that question and I soon took my students out of the library and back to safety of the classroom.
I felt guilty for not coming forward with the truth, but I was in a Kobayashi Maru (no win) scenario that would baffle even Captain James T. Kirk.
I now think that teacher is out to get me, waiting for me to slip up. As I pass down the hallways of school, even if I don’t see her, my back tingles as I feel her evil gaze upon me.
As every politicians knows, the cover up is always worse than the crime. Next time, I will just confess to my error and let the chips fall where they may.
These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.
Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.