I have one of those kids this year whom it’s really hard to get mad at because: 1) He’s funny, and 2) He just can’t help it.

Really. When someone says something, and he reacts, you can almost see the marionette strings being yanked as he does one of those double-take head shakes like in the cartoons. He’s just thought of something to say…so out it comes. He has this almost stream of consciousness patter going sometimes, and it is as fascinating to watch and listen to as it is disruptive.

Today I called on him for an answer, partly because I wanted to yank his strings and bring him back to reality, and partly because I could see that he had the right answer on his sheet. So I thought it was win-win. No dice, cheese slice.

“Tyrell? How about number four?”

“Umm. Ok. I got this one. Let’s see…(pretends to peruse paper carefully; even pretending to put in a monacle or something, and scrunching up his face in¬†concentration and stroking his invisible goatee) Ok… That’s a compound sentence. That it is. Like a compound bow. Man, those things shoot far. I saw once…”

“D’oh! Tyrell. That’s a simple one. One subject doing two things. Simple sentence. And you had the right answer on your sheet. Why’d you change it?”

“Well, when you started explaining it about gluing simple sentences together, I started thinking about how my drawer in my desk is glued shut right now because my brother…”


“…and anyway when you started talking about that, I started thinking that I might be wrong… but then I might be right the first time, like you always say not to change your answer unless you’re positive that you’re changing it to the right answer…so I thought maybe, since I was thinking about that, that it might be ok to change it, and then I got confused, so I changed it. Anyway, so yeah.”

(That’s been another trend of late: the “so yeah.” Like, “I’m done, that’s all I got.”)

And all the while, he is wiggling on his knees in the seat, and he has a little rooster tail of hair in the back that just screams Buckwheat, and he has the facial expressions of a young Jim Carry, before he got annoying.

So you just sigh and laugh with everyone else and issue empty threats and get used to seeing him at break for detention.

Yesterday we were talking about that part of  The Giver where Lily talks about her theory of a parallel universe, where everyone has a twin. Of course there was the usual 7th grade type speculation. I brought up the fact that the idea of a doppelganger has been around for a long time in literature.

“They used to say that everyone has a double out there in the world somewhere, someone who is just like them, a twin like Lily’s talking about.”

Tyrell starts shaking his head and pursing his lips. Before I can call on him, he starts in.

“I would hate to have me hanging around… with all the annoying comments and talking all the time and won’t he just shut up…man that would be annoying to have me hanging around…”

“Tyrell, that’s very–”

“I would just have to say, ‘Get lost, Loser’ or something like that. Man, I hope that’s not true. That would be really annoying.”

“Tyrell, I am very proud of you. Not many people are that self-aware. And even fewer are willing to admit something like that. I think this is–”

“Are you going to check 600 words today? ‘Cause I got them. I think I got 734. Is that close enough for 750? Do I get extra credit ’cause I did more? I wrote about how psyched I am for my new motorcycle that I’m getting if I keep my grades up. What’s my grade?”