sipping on

an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

and beginning

to wax nostalgic

for the old high school days


I learned a lot

about Russian history

and Father Gregory Rasputin

from a 9th grade

social studies teacher

obsessed with Russian history


he taught us

Ivan the Great

Ivan the Terrible

& Kinky Cathy—

Catherine the Great


he sponsored

an Ivan the Terrible

torture contest

which I, of course, won


I’ve long since renounced

human cruelty

around the same time

I renounced

the Catholic Church


(the two seem

to go hand in hand)


this guy was a trip

and pretty much

everyone in class

called him Uncle Chuck


I remember a couple years


working third shift

as a busboy

at a local diner

and he came in 3 AM

for some breakfast


he was approaching

a state of drunkenness

and I said “Hello”

but knowing

to keep this a secret


hey, it was Saturday night

on his own time


but school boards

don’t always see it that way


but in his defense

I have to say

I retained more knowledge

from his class

than just about

any other class I had


I guess that

should count

for something

School is supposed

to prepare kids for life


I wasn’t old enough

that night at the diner

but tonight I raise

my beer glass in a toast,

Uncle Chuck,

for a job well done.




Author's Notes/Comments: 

fond memories of my 9th grade social studies teacher

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