100 Things About Me #130

Continued From: "100 Things About Me #129," part of the "Back to School" sequence

Faculty in the Dark
There was no audio-visual club at Fernbank Elementary.

I didn't let that stop me. I offered to manage the school's educational films and projection equipment. The librarian was hesitant to allow a child to force his way into her domain.

"What? And give up show business?" she wailed, palming her bouffant.

"S-H-H-H-H-H-H!" I stage-whispered, finger to lips. "Library."

Embarrassed, see listened to me. I outlined how I could make her job easier. She agreed, palming a box of Dewey decimals.

I already had professional credentials, training as a projectionist in the nearby Emory Theatre. At 12, I knew more about the clackety 16mm Bell and Howell Filmosound Projectors than anyone in the school, which tickled me and befuddled and irritated staff, which tickled me extra.

This was the era preceding videocassettes and DVDs, so the movies arrived on celluloid. I delivered the multitude of film cannisters to the correct rooms each day and made certain the movies were in the return mail on schedule.

The State Board of Education insisted the films be sent back to them "tails out," allowing their handling procedures to be conducted in a sensible manner. A few teachers ignored the policy and the boldly marked instructions on the materials. After their final showings, they rewound the reels to the beginning.

Mmm, nope. Sorry. Unprofessional.

I hunted down the offenders and saw to it that they complied to the rule. I made the errant adults run the films through the projector again in order to properly wind the footage to the end. There were several occasions where teachers had to stay late after work, as a single reel could take up to an hour to go through the machine.

Although I was polite and stunningly boylike, several teachers were hostile to me.

The nicer ones I rewarded by sharing technical tricks to finish the chore in a speedier manner, or I'd do the task for them. Be kind and Mike would un-rewind.

I was a learning lesson for those teachers and me, too. I learned the strengths of knowledge and being righteous and how to apply them to jerks -- and win!

Hee hee.

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Photo credits: film cans: Lorelei, Creative Commons license | 16mm: mconnors
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