An agreeable memory

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Facebook is an amazing thing. It allows people to reconnect with almost anyone they’ve ever come into contact with: classmates, neighbors, colleagues from old jobs, and lots of other variations that I can’t think of right now. People who had previously disappeared into the mists of time can reappear in an instant, in the form of a friend request.

Such a person recently sent me a friend request, and I was happy to accept the request. The request brought to mind a recollection of him, and some other classmates from long ago, and I wanted to type it out, in the hope that he–and some of the other long-ago classmates of ours–would remember it, too.

The story happened thirty years ago, at an all-boys high school that no longer exists, or at least not as an all-boys school. We were sophomores at the time, and were having a discussion in religion class one day. Somebody in the class said something  perfectly reasonable, and so the next student to speak prefaced his remarks by agreeing with the previous speaker. He also delivered a profoundly reasonable statement, so much so that the next speaker felt compelled to agree with the previous two speakers. And so it went on, for another handful of speakers around the room.

The final stroke of our remarkable run of agreement came when the teacher–who we knew as Brother Vince–called on who is now my newest Facebook friend. And he played the part perfectly, prefacing his remarks with “I agree with..” and then pausing to find the list he had written down of all the previous speakers, all of whom had been in perfect agreement with the previous speakers. After affirming his agreement, the comment that he made–which must have been just as agreeable as everyone else’s had been–finally got the good Brother’s attention.

He was, as I remember it, a pretty easygoing guy. We certainly were testing his limits on that day, though. Rather than calling on another would-be speaker, he announced to the class that the next person who agreed with anyone would earn themselves a detention.

If the story ended there, perhaps I wouldn’t remember it as vividly as I do. But before anyone could digest the threat that was being made, another student chimed in with “I agree!” and the room exploded into laughter. I hope that the teacher thought it was as funny as we all did, but I’ve honestly blocked that part out of my memory. I’ll say that he did, and wait to see if any of my classmates have a different recollection of these events.

Anyway, this memory was far too long and involved for a Facebook comment, or for a direct message. One of the reasons I enjoy writing my own blog is that it gives me a platform for stretching out and telling a story like this. Hopefully he–and anyone else who happens upon this–enjoyed it, too.

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