When I was 6 years old I was made King of my class. There was a coronation with a paper crown and kind words from the teacher. It was not explained why I had been made King [1], but I had engaged so rarely with the class that I couldn’t rule out some forgotten claim to a monarchy that had existed unnoticed around me. On some level it felt earned.

The only official duty that I can recall was ensuring that the other kids lined up in an orderly fashion when we had to leave the classroom. Additionally, I felt the gravity of the office required I mediate disputes between children, organize play time, and hear any grievances my subjects had with teachers or their parents. For someone who had barely spoken during my time as a commoner I proved a surprisingly charismatic leader. Instead of sitting in the coat closet reading books that I had stolen from other classes, I was in the thick of a cult of personality and aware of social status as an idea for the first time.

As usual I ate my lunch inside the cement tubes in the playground and then jumped the fence to wander around the vacant lot beside the school, until the bell rang. On my way back inside a group of classmates ran up, near frantic, and said “King, King…Jesse got hit with a rock and he is bleeding”. Yes, during my brief reign I was universally referred to by my title. I’m not sure if they knew my actual name. Jesse was the younger friend of the twins in my class, Tim and Brad, and he’d been pushed onto a rock by a third grader. Even then I realized I was over-stepping my authority, but the notion that they trusted me to make a thing right brought a part of me to life. I told Tim and Brad to gather everyone loyal to me, and got Moochi [2], and the girl I played superheroes with sometimes, to gather all of the stray rocks they could find.

I don’t know how far we would have gone if the yard duty teacher hadn’t intervened as soon as I tackled the 3rd grader from behind. The plan was for me to pin him down so the other kids could pelt him with rocks, but I honestly didn’t think I would succeed at my part…thus avoiding the brutal gang stoning that would follow. But I got him down somehow, and at least a few rocks hit him before the adults broke it up. In retrospect we were dangerously close to lord of the flies level savagery. I was stripped of my crown and school let out for the year. We moved that summer and I never again saw my loyal subjects, but that one strange day of imagined monarchy shaped the core of who I am more than anything before or since. I’ll leave it for others to decide if that’s a good thing.

[1] I learned much later that this happened for every student in my class on their birthday. I was oblivious enough at that age that I failed to notice the reign of ever other child, despite my birthday, June 25, occurring on the last day of school.

[2] His real name was something else and he was from Ecuador, maybe? I don’t know why I called him Moochi, but he was the only kid smaller than me and my closest friend at that point.


So I fought this albino once

Lessons from Tim the kindergarten Terrorist  





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