I remember when…
Mrs. Garcia, my fifth grade teacher, would punish me with an order to “write lines.” Whether it was 100, 200, 500, or a thousand lines, and exactly what the script was to say, depended on the severity of the crime.
I do not remember what the lines said, how many pages they took up, and how often repetitive ink served as my punishment. I do know that it happen enough, enough for me to remember that in my past I had to write lines.
The details are lost on me though. This is fairly surprising considering the fact that if you do much of anything a thousand times you’d bet the farm that you would remember it. Then again, I can’t remember every time I have tied my converse.
Back to the punishment. I actually liked writing lines. Not because I enjoyed writing the same dull sentence over-and-over, but because of the complex engineering that went into completing the task. More lines, no problem. All you needed was more pens.
First step: line up two pens with their points on consecutive blue lines. Second: Rig a spacer between the pens to make sure the space between them was maintained as the ball points moved across the page. I recall a folded sliver of paper secured with a rubber band. Last: repeat to add a sufficient amount of pens to the contraption to cut the number of lines down to a reasonable level.
Of course, it probably took longer to construct the multi-pen instrument than it would have taken to write the damn lines. But it was fun and I felt like I was getting away with something. I look back on it, and I’m sure the teacher had a good laugh because the sentences would invariably fit into one line, no matter how long, and five consecutive lines would slant in exactly the same way. Not to mention, I’m fairly certain that the extra weight may have contributed to early-age on-set carpal tunnel syndrome.
I only wish the punishment was to write a hundred lines that started with “I remember,” and end with something different.