This I Believe

Gordon - Shaker Heights, Ohio
Entered on September 6, 2007

There are only a handful of things I truly believe in life. One of which is to treat people the same way they treat you. During my time in high school, there was an irritating youth by the name of Zach. He was a tall, attention loving tuba player like myself, but with one large difference. Zach would go through the day spreading his negativity around the school. One day in science class he overheard me mention that my mother was Puerto Rican and my father Jewish.

“What kind of mix is that?” he said, while shaking the chair in front of him. “If you were a margarita mix you would be disgusting” he laughed.

“Well I guess it’s a good thing I’m not,” I yelled back. But of course, for Zach, this was not enough.

“Bi-racial scum” he chuckled.


“You heard me, scum” he said louder.

Clearly he was unaware, I thought, that I was bigger, faster, and stronger than he was. That the small freshman sitting between us was not enough to stop me from knocking him back to the ‘70s.

Sadly, he was more aware than I was, because as I stood up from my chair he stood up with me, and pointed behind me. I quickly turned my head. The teacher was staring, and giving me an angry look, certainly unaware of what he said.

“Sit down now Gordon…. NOW” the teacher yelled.

Only months away from graduation I sat back down, and watched Zach do the same. For the next few weeks in both my band class and science class he jeered “Bi-racial scum, that’s hilarious”.

Until one sweet day. It was the day in band that the directors chose the new section leader for each section of the marching band. Zach had been practicing for months to show off his “skills” to the directors. However there was a change of plans.

“This year, next year’s section leader will be chosen by the current leader”. The director said.

As I was the tuba section leader I smiled and walked into the storage room, where the tubas are held.

“Who want’s to try out to be section leader? ‘cause I’m the one you need to impress.”

A sophomore’s hand came up, and behind him, Zach’s hand slowly went up.

“Well, looks like you’re the section leader next year man” I said to the sophomore.

“Hey wait a minute dude, don’t we have tryouts?” Zach squealed.

“Yea we did…. And you failed” I said.

Zach cursed, and threatened to go to the directors, but he didn’t get the chance; The next day he was expelled for using a B-B gun in school.

I’m glad I did what I did, I’ve never been in the support of racism or ignorance, and in Zach’s case there was both. I believe people are responsible for their actions, and the effects of their actions. Even though Zach was unprepared for his just punishment that doesn’t mean he didn’t have it coming to him. Fairness is extremely important to me, and I believe judging someone based on their actions is an entirely reasonable thing to do.