Writer’s Workshop: Sucker Punched

5.) Write a post inspired by the word: punched.

I remember thinking maybe I had been too hard on Mr. Quisenberry. He was a hippy English teacher who really wanted us kids to have the freedom to make our own choices. I think he wanted to be “the cool teacher”. He wanted to make his own rules, he wanted to be relaxed in his teaching methods and he wanted to inspire us.

I started hating him when during one particular lesson he went off on a tangent about how we control our own fate. Mind over matter. He thought humans have the capability of avoiding disease and/or curing their diseases with positive thinking and probably all natural remedies. I don’t remember how long his lecture went on, just that it made me angry. Because what I heard him saying was that if my Dad had wanted to live badly enough…he would have. Plain and simple. So he just gave up I suppose?

I despised Mr. Quisenberry. My best friend, who’s mother was undergoing chemo for breast cancer, felt the same way. We have often talked about how irresponsible he was as an educator to spew off his personal beliefs without thinking about his students own experiences. What did his belief about the power of the human mind to overcome disease have anything to do with To Kill A Mockingbird?

I carried angry feelings for this man.

Years later I was working as a student teacher at another high school in the district. It was my last requirement before finally achieving my own teaching degree. One day the teacher I was assisting was taking sick leave and I was informed I would have a substitute teacher to oversee me for the afternoon.

I walked into the room and my heart sunk to find Mr. Quisenberry leaning back in a chair with his feet kicked up on a desk. Immediately I felt flushed because all be damned if this wasn’t some kind of massive test. Why him? How? Of all the possible substitutes. I MEAN SERIOUSLY!

I decided it was a test. Perhaps Jesus himself had a hand in creating this reunion so that I could come to peace with Mr. Quisenberry and let go of my angry feelings for him.

“Bouska!! How ARE you!?!” He was very nice.

We talked about life, what made me decide to teach, how did he become a substitute. Maybe I had misjudged him. Maybe he had changed. Maybe I had misconstrued what he had said all those years ago that made me so angry.

And then he said, “Oh maaaaan, I was there at school the day of your brother’s accident!!”

And I tensed up.

He was referring to the day my brother was sucker punched in the head with a pair of brass knuckles. There’s a reason you haven’t heard the details of that story yet and it’s because it still riddles me with anger. My brother is 6’9″ and the punch caused him to fall head first onto the parking lot pavement. Did he bounce off a car on the way down? The details were never clear to me. He nearly died. My little sister saw the whole thing and I hear the way she dropped her bag and screamed and ran to him was straight from a Lifetime movie.

He was rushed to the ICU. All of us were called from our respective locations and raced to the hospital to find out what was going on. The doctors prepared us to possibly lose him. They prepared us to for a brother who might come out of a coma with the brain capacity of a 5 year old. We had to wait, none of us slept, all of us were crying around the clock and all of us had migraines.

I knew my brother was going to be okay when, as I held his hand in a very loving manner, he looked at me…and then wriggled and contorted his hand out of my grasp. Did he also flip me off? It’s possible. His recovery was slow and tedious and has had lasting affects on his brain. The “accident” Mr. Quisenberry so candidly referred to, nearly tore my family apart. The “accident” nearly killed my brother.

At the time, my step-dad was severely weak from his own fight with cancer and had strict orders to rest around the clock. The stress of the “accident” took precious days…weeks…perhaps months off of my step-dad’s life.

And here was Mr. Quisenberry talking about it like “oh man, remember that?? Sooo messed up right?”

Caught off guard, I smiled but saw red.

“No offense or anything, but your brother…he could really dish out a lot of crap.” he said.

It’s true. My brother was probably not super respectful of authority figures. Maybe he walked down the hall with a bull horn announcing the days lunch menu when your class was in session. Okay he DID do that. He’s a jokester. He has a big mouth. He can be a complete smart ass and he definitely wasn’t afraid to call other kids out or even stir things up.

“I don’t mean to insinuate that he had it coming...but he kind of had it coming!” he laughed.

Kind of had it coming?

Kind of had it coming?

I still carry angry feelings for that man.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A smell that makes you think of your mother.
2.) Share a recipe that everyone in your family loves.
3.) 8 things you said to your kids this week that maybe other parents did not say to their kids.
4.) Who was the last person to call you…what did they want this time?
5.) Write a post inspired by the word: punched.


  1. says

    And you didn’t punch him??? OMG how could someone say that??? So sorry about your brother. No one deserves that. No one!

  2. says

    Yeah, Mr. Q. And I would have had words, if not prolonged fisticuffs, over his general douchebaggery. This guy is a complete jerk. I admire your restraint in not drop kicking his head through the goalposts of the local football field.

  3. says

    You should’ve barfed on his lap. You know by accident. There’s something about being barfed on by another grown up that changes you.

  4. says

    And the Douchebag of the Year award goes to……. Mr. Q!

    I am in awe of you Kat. The self-restraint you showed is absolutely heroic! I probably would have pointed out what an ass he is and then run out of the room bawling

  5. says

    What a jackass! What did you do or say after his inconsiderate comment? Either way, I am glad your brother made it through and hope he is still a jokester. He sounds like a blast. M

  6. says

    Wow. I don’t know that I could have stayed in the room with him after that. That is incredibly insensitive. Sounds like his character. :(

  7. says

    I am still utterly amazed at the insensitivity of some people. What, was this guy raised by wolves? Actually, no. If he were, he wouldn’t be such an ass. Shame on him. I’m so happy to hear your brother survived. What a story. Geez. Gave me chills.

  8. says

    Mr. Q was seriously a jerk. I had a neighbor by that name while growing up, I wonder…
    What got to me the most about reading your post was your brother. I lost my brother in a car accident when he was 18 years old, quite suddenly and shockingly. I can only imagine the turmoil you all must have suffered with the news you might possibly lose him.
    Mr. Q…major jerk.

  9. says

    It sounds like Mr. Quisenberry probably had some major anger issues – that explains why he took it out on his students by passive-aggressively belittling their experiences.

    Or he’s just a jerk. Yeah, that.

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with this man’s insensitive and offensive attacks on your family not once, but twice in your lifetime. xo

  10. says

    No doubt you carry angry feelings toward this man! That was so insensitive. So uncalled for. He’s a REAL JERK! I hope you never have the misfortune of ever meeting up with him again. Twice was too much. I hope everything is all right with your brother.

  11. says

    My gosh…first I am so sorry your brother had to go through that as well as you and your family. Head injuries are very scary. I can’t even imagine the roller coaster you were on.

    Some people are just dipsh*&s and this teacher would be the king of them. I applaud you for not punching him right between the eyes. I do believe in karma and I do believe that dipsh*&s like Mr. Quisenberry get that karma train pulling up to their door eventually.