Sometimes the younger generation is forced to learn life’s lessons the hard way. Even David, who performed so well scholastically in elementary and junior high school that he eventually skipped two grades, had the chutzpah to express his opinion on paper about one of his teachers.
Being a clever cartoonist requires skillful drawing, a lively sense of humor, and sardonic wit. David had these qualities in excess, but his teacher wasn’t amused:
When I was in the fourth grade, I used to bring home straight A’s on my report card. Students were graded with three marks in those days: one for the basics like reading, spelling and arithmetic, and then a mark for conduct, and lastly, a mark for effort.
Well, it happened that for the first time in three or four years, I brought home a report card with two A’s and a B+. The B+ was in conduct, and my father was very upset.
It all happened because I had begun to draw, and I drew an unflattering caricature of my teacher.
As punishment, David’s teacher made him sit in front of the class on a high stool and announced with pedagogical severity that this was the consequence of ill-advised creativity:
I was nine or ten-years-old, and when I showed my father my report card, I remember him asking, “Why? What happened?” Normally, most parents would have been happy with A, B+, A. But my father was very upset because he had been accustomed to seeing three A’s all the time.
His standards were very rigorous. He wasn’t a cruel man by any means, but he was an exacting man, and he made it clear to us that we were all expected to live up to fairly high standards, and that education was important.
David brought his grade back up the following term. He may have drawn other caustic cartoons of teachers over the years, but he confessed that the report card experience taught him to be a little more guarded about leaving his caricatures unattended.
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