The Box of Candy

I cringe every time I see a box of chocolate covered nuts. This aversion dates from my days teaching high school.

My special education students were integrated into a “regular education” U.S. History class. These five teenagers were labeled as Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED), but a more precise description would be “exceedingly oppositional and lazy.” This type of student is not well received in our public schools, not by faculty or administration. That the history teacher had been willing to allow five of my students into his senior class at all was a semi-miracle, since the school did not force any of the regular education teachers to take any sort of special education students unless the parents had won a lawsuit.  This discrimination strongly affected my students. Even though many of them had above average intelligence, they had a well-deserved reputation of being disruptive.

Nevertheless, the five were in, and things were going as well as could be expected. In fact, that particular period, the “normal” students were proving to be quite a handful and mine were not standing out much. Indeed, half the class wasn’t turning in work so when my students didn’t finish their assignments, they weren’t the exception. I was just holding my breath, hoping to make it to the end of the semester without having one of them kicked out for some outlandish stunt. That would get around to all the other teachers and afterward, none of them would be willing to take my students.

That’s when I screwed up. During the last holiday break I’d gone to Hawaii and purchased some chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I don’t eat those so I hadn’t opened any of the packages. Two I mailed away as gifts and the rest I kept for future gifting.

The History teacher loved chocolates. He’d eat them before or after class. Toward the end of the semester I decided to thank the History teacher by giving him a box of the macadamia nuts. I left the box in his school mailbox, not wanting to hand them out when kids could see it. I still had two boxes left so I decided to see if a teacher friend wanted them and she took one.

A few days later, my friend alerted me. She said, “Did you know those chocolates are way past their time? I had to throw them out!” When I got home I opened the last package of the bunch and found out that the chocolate coating was almost gray with age! I nearly died of shame!

The history teacher never thanked me for the candy and from then on, whenever he saw me he gave me a funny look. Every time I had to see him in person it was a torture! Yet, as far as I know my students did not suffer from my mistake, so things could have been much worse.

I suppose if that teacher ever finds out I’ve written a murder mystery he might suspect I was experimenting on him for future plot lines!

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~ by mickeyhoffman on June 2, 2009.

10 Responses to “The Box of Candy”

  1. That is hysterical! I mean it isn’t, but it is. It’s not as if you did this on purpose, but of course, now that you have written a mystery you are not above suspicion.

    Still smiling…

    Brenda M. (wag)

  2. Embarrassment, the source of many a wish for a do-over. Did those you sent to other people cause any problems?

    • That is an interesting question. My mother-in-law got one but she just said “Thanks” so either she threw it out without opening it, or the chocolates were okay or (the most likely) she figured it was another homicidal attempt/gift from her dearest daughter-in-law.

  3. I agree with Brenda, this made me snicker. Oh, goodness, this is the kind of thing that happens to me… all the time. Funny, funny- especially the part about writing a murder mystery. Thanks!

  4. Hahaha, oh my. That was funny, I do apologize for laughing at your ‘torture’. A very entertaining read!

  5. I was wondering why you didn’t buy the history teacher another box of chocolates and give it to him/her with a note of explanation. But then it’s easy to see the obvious solution when you’re not involved – that’s the whole point, isn’t it?! I really felt for you as I read it.

    • This happened at the very end of the semester and the schedule changed for the exams so I didn’t see him again. Since I had already decided not to go back to that school the next year, I just let it slide. I should have tried to make it right because it still bothers me.

  6. You mean I’m not supposed to eat the chocolates that are turning gray? Now you tell me! 😉

    Nice piece, Mickey. This was a hoot.

    At least you meant well.
    ~jon

  7. Hey, Mickey…where did you grow up? I knew a boy a hundred years ago named Mickey…i grew up in Justice, Ill.

  8. […] Mickey Hoffman […]

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