So, my cliff notes of 'The Day Mr. Bishop went Bat-Shit Crazy'.
It all started with crabs. Mr. Bishop went down to the Kenai docks one morning to pick up some yummy giant King Crabs. In the bottom of the holding tank were some octopus. They were lurking in the depths and would eventually be tossed out. Mr. B offered to take one home. He and his friends hauled off in their bulging garbage bags, crabs and an octopus. They feasted that night and the next morning Mr. B showed up for school. He had an idea someone, his biology teacher friend?, might like an octopus.
He arrived at school and found the place over run with fire trucks. I'm not sure on this part, but the new pool was being built and a fire had started. It was a busy morning with kids arriving and the halls full of folks. Mr. Bishop then decided his good friend, the school principal, might need a cheerful 8 legged companion. Because, why not?
He dropped by the office and dropped the writhing out of water cephalopod upon the unsuspecting, very busy man's desk. After laughter and surprise, Mr. Bishop then met (no one is quite sure what happened to the poor octopus) up with another teacher. The cross country coach, Mr. Ostreander. (I think I had someone else as my coach, but this experience happened a few years before I was in HS). Mr. O had a starter pistol in his hand and bless Mr. B's heart! He asked for the pistol and told Mr. O to start running. Mr. Bishop began shooting and yelling 'not with my wife!' Kids everywhere lined up against the lockers with wide eyes! The principal came over the loudspeaker telling everyone to remain calm, it was Mr. Bishop having fun.
As I read the original story and laughed, I thought about how different it is today. Our world is so full of fear and being safe. A fire near the school building would mean a delay if not a cancellation. Shooting would mean SWAT teams and a teacher fired and hauled off to jail. An octopus in a garbage bag would probably end up in an arrest as well. (SPCA and all) I'm so thankful I grew up in a safe environment. I am thankful my kids got to run around in the woods and play in places that were relatively safe (I didn't know til a few years ago that Strider had been shot at during nightly excursions in the Tillamook forest!).
Playing in rivers without supervision, riding my bike to go fishing whenever I wanted, rafting on a dubious pallet in a gravel pit pond, riding my bike down hills of ice, riding on snowmachines in the darkness, hiking 12 min to the bus stop, hanging out with friends while our parents partied, and knowing that the drunk next door would calm down eventually and we could go out to play again. These are memories that I will cherish forever.