Moon Stories – Fountain Of Wisdom

Don’t ask me about the title. Moon stories these will be and you’ll know what kind they are by the label. You can read Heavy Construction too. I think I’ll make a page for them.


Everyone knows what drinking fountains look like, or should. This is a story that starts with one much like the one pictured here. As you can see it’s not all that special and has just enough ‘stuff’ to qualify as a drinking fountain that you might find in an elementary school. The fountain of the title looked much like this _and_ was to be found in a school. It might still be there if you were interested in looking.

Still, it was an ordinary drinking fountain until one day at lunch when I happened to be standing in line to get my school lunch. To me it seemed like a long line but there were probably 100 kids or so in the line wrapped around the outside of the lunch room which doubled as theater. Nothing special should have happened that day at lunch but that drinking fountain changed my life forever. Now I’m not going to tell you that actually drinking from the fountain imbued into me some sort of wisdom. No. The wisdom, if I can call it that, was given to me for using the fountain the wrong way. A great many discoveries are made this way and some of them are good. I’m calling this one good.

So there I was standing in line, anticipation of 8 ounces of milk and something that was not a baloney sandwich when the guy in front of me went to get a drink of water from this fountain of wisdom. He probably grew up to be the class clown type, not because he drank funny, but because as he finished he thought it would be funny to splash me with some water. Even at 6 years old I was none too fond of this type of behavior. Anger leads to action and before I could voice my disapproval there were a few pushes. Not happy with the outcome I reached to the fountain and scraped my hand across the basin to splash him with considerably more water than he’d gotten on me. One would think that this would be victory but there was no time to celebrate because a teacher’s hands were milliseconds in reaching my wrists. I cannot tell you what words she used, only that she was not happy. Before I could contemplate the fact that this now all seemed to be my fault I was being told I was going to the principals office despite my protestation that I did not start the great lunchroom brawl.

When you’re 6 years old the principal ranks pretty damn high on the list of authority figures. Having to go see him was definitely a situation that called for regret and fear.

So there I sat in the principal’s office, waiting to be punished in some unknowable way. I was probably waiting for him to finish his lunch but who knows. It seemed many minutes of anticipatory terror for my 6 year old brain. Finally I got called into his office. I sat down stoically. I can’t remember everything but he basically gave me the ‘good cop’ routine. Probably because I looked like I was ready for the bad one. No matter what I had to say he was convinced that I was the problem and that I needed to learn to resolve my issues in non-violent ways. His words and body language let me know that I’d not be harmed but I’d have to listen to him tell me I was wrong no matter what. I settled for that given the alternatives I had dreamed up in my head. He seemed like a nice guy by the end of it, though completely lost on the plot of things. I was just relieved that he was only going to talk to me. The following days found me nervous at school. The water fountain ape did not stop with his picking.

Then about a week later we had a new principal. It turns out that Maryland had a thing or 80 against cheap booze and porn. If you were caught importing such into the state without paying state taxes it was a criminal offence. Guess where ‘good cop’ principal was? Yep, jail for the aforementioned offences. He’d managed to break both rules in one go. Of course, at just about the same time as he was breaking the law he was talking down at me and telling me that I need to learn to be better than others, that I need to obey the rules and not cause trouble.

I’m sure he was a fun guy … maybe

Where is the wisdom already?

That episode did change my life. I learned quite a few things all in one short charade. Authority is not given just to those that deserve it and will bear it well. Sometimes the crooks are in charge no matter how kind or law abiding they appear. Authority figures don’t really care what your problem is or what social justice issues you suffer. They are concerned about their own issues and those will always come before yours. At the drinking fountain I learned that it is not what you do but what people perceive that you do that is important. They will not take time to study the matter and come to a conclusion based on the evidence unless forced to upon penalty of contempt of court etc. I also learned that you can’t trust authority blindly because it is often enough wrong despite any good intentions. That boy taught me what all politicians know, what they buy their groceries with: If you can avoid being seen doing wrong the public will side with you. Justice, as precious as it is, is rarely meted out with accuracy. I also learned that it’s not always true but it’s worth betting that the best liar will always win.

I’m not a teacher or paediatric psychologist but I can guarantee you that children are learning life lessons from about the time that they can talk.

What did you learn in the first grade?




  1. First grade, ah.
    I remember that giving the pretty girl my packet of chips every day made her like me quite a lot.
    Still works.

  2. I love the titles…. :)! “At the drinking fountain I learned that it is not what you do but what people perceive that you do that is important”….yep, I agree…perception is the key and i completely agree that the best liars will always win. Oh, and yes, kids are learning lessons from the time they can talk or before that. That is why 3 year olds throw tantrums with their moms and not with their dads because at that age they have already learned who to manipulate, who will fall victim to their cries and who will call bullshit.

    Ummmm….as for what lesson did I learn in 1st grade…I learned that no matter how pretty i was or I was taught to believe that I was, some guys,will just like the other girl, who in your opinion is not worthy…by the way, I was pretty and smart ….best in the class….but yet, he still liked the uglier, dumber girl. Needless to say, my first grade year was tragic….lol….oh, and it was the one and only year that I was put in a religious school….I memorized a million verses from the bible…I was only in first grade, so maybe that’s why I was only taught the G-rated chapters. Genesis being the first of course. Even at 6 years old or 7, that made no sense to me. I had a lot of questions about this God creating everything in 7 days. I learned you don’t question religious people because they never answer your question with something that logically makes sense to you. I told the teacher that I didn’t understand her explanation as to why Eve ate the damn apple if god created her. Why did he even put something to tempt her, that sounded crazy and in my 7 year old mind, I just didn’t get it. My mom would never put something in front of me to tempt me, is how I saw it.

    First grade also taught me a fire drill…. :)….find the nearest exit!..

    I’m enjoying these moon stories!

    • I’m glad that you like them. It is awesome to know others knew the bible was bullshit even at 6 years old.

      Those life lessons, I did not know they were important then. It turns out they were very important. They made me who me is. For me, that girl in first grade was Susan Sexton, blessed be her name. I have no idea what became of her, but she too had an effect on my life that has lasted a lifetime… but that is another story.

      • Well, at 6 I probably only knew to start questioning because I was put in a school that focused more on religious morals than reading. And, I have always been someone who is curious, I’ve always questioned things, even if just to myself and not aloud :).

        These first grade crushes always last us a lifetime. I think it’s either our first disappointment or our first conquest. Obviously for me, it was disappointment :). But, I did teach me that we were always in competition and that someone was always better than us no matter how great we are. And why is that? Because at the end that is also based on perception and likes. The perception how the other person sees us which doesn’t always translate to our version.
        Imagine, I learned there was always a better girl out there no matter how pretty or I was..that sucks!
        But hey, weren’t you the one who told me that I had no problem knowing how to be a woman, it was everything else that I had a problem with?
        Although, I was never told the everything else part….at least Kevin from first grade got me on some path :).

  3. Don’t jump on, or headbutt, thumbtacks

  4. 1st grade-I learned not to do situps with a dress. 😉 Not the greatest of memories.
    I do love the thoughts in your post MAL. It has become so obvious to me, as you mention, that how you are perceived by other people can really be just about all your are today, at least in the eyes of society. Take away society and who you are is, well, who you are. But as we walk amongst people and their peers, however they denote us is EXACTLY who we are. If I want to be “labeled” or viewed as something I can and will act that way. That is why I find being conscious such a vital part of how we should live because we are constantly being watched…and I’m not talking about ^that guy. 😉
    LOVE this one!!

    ~slave bri

    • You strive to be what you are and find it difficult. To be who you are means ignoring what others or society thinks. We are not what they think but what we feel. It’s hard to understand that

    • We are the lie that we want to be, and everyone else is the lie that they want to be. To have someone that does not lie is our goal most of the time. What a sham that makes of life

      • Haha…I am smiling ear to ear from your comment. Man, do you just get it.

    • preacherontheweb
    • June 8th, 2015

    I learned self preservation in the first grade. Pretty much as you did.

    Good One, enjoyed it

    • Scottie
    • June 10th, 2015

    for me a slight kid with parents who made a point to get on the good side of the principal ( after being charged with child abuse at the last school I attended } I was in deep trouble to even attract his attention..when I did he had my parents permission to hurt..and several times he did. I learned not to respect authority but to fear them. Hugs

  5. I will have to work up another one soon. Just visited my parents on the 4th so I should manage it well. Hope you are well.

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