My tenth grade year was characterized by the consumption of drugs and an obsession with The Monkees. The latter was so intense that it often alienated people; my best friend dumped me after becoming too sick of them to stand listening to me anymore. Other friends took less extreme measures, telling me to shut my cakehole on a regular basis.
My Spanish teacher that year and I were sort of buddies. We talked a lot—before and after class and whenever she had lunch duty—and she seemed genuinely interested in me and what I was interested in (even if she was a bit cheeky). Therefore, she heard a lot about The Monkees. After a while, she got pretty sick of them too, and half-jokingly banned them from our talks (the half being to spare my feelings, I’ve always suspected).
For that class I often brought in Spanish-related things I could find, mostly in the form of videos and music. Upon discovering a Spanish folk song The Monkees recorded, “Riu Chiu”, released on Rhino’s “Missing Links Volume 2”, I brought it up to her. “That’s nice,” she said, “but no way I’m playing The Monkees in my class.” I bugged her repeatedly but she didn’t cave.
I snuck it in on an unlabeled cassette of other Spanish music. When the fabled song came on, I braced myself, knowing she would recognize it somehow, turn it off immediately, and give me shit.
But she didn’t. On the contrary, she said, “Wow, this is nice.” I almost laughed out loud when I heard that.
After class, I revealed to her the truth about “Riu Chiu”, laughing all the while. I showed her the “Missing Links Volume 2” cassette I had, showing her the listing. “You tricked me, you little sneak!” “Yeah, and you liked it!”
She grabbed the cassette out of my hand and tossed it over her shoulder with a bit more strength than what one normally uses when tossing something over one’s shoulder. The cassette landed on the floor ten feet down the corridor. And exploded.
It was an old, shabby, hand-made cassette anyway, and that was apparently all it could take. The plastic casing split in two and the tape itself popped out, and continued its travels down the corridor, unraveling all the way.
We both gasped. She laughed a little, in spite of herself. I ran to the cassette, screaming about the humanity, oh the humanity, gathering up the little bits of it.
Of course she felt awful about it. She covered it up with her usual sarcasm and flippancy: “You shouldn’t have tricked me, woman.” She offered to replace it. No need, I said; it was just a copy of the CD. She seemed satisfied, and quickly shed her guilt.
But my Spanish teacher never again tossed a cassette over her shoulder.