- smart aleck
(bonus definition: smart aleck-an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness)
The silence in the empty classroom was grating. Occasionally it was interrupted by the light tapping of a pencil or the clearing of a throat as the attendant focused on her studies.
For Matthew, detention felt like a fate worse than death because of the solitude and stillness. Awaiting the wrath of his parents didn’t help much, either. He sat in his regular seat, swinging his legs, fully aware of what was coming next.
His mother was always shocked, his father always disappointed.
He wondered if they would give him an opportunity to explain how detention really wasn’t his fault this time.
When he had put the pet snake in the substitute’s chair, he had admitted to that willingly. The time he had pushed Mickie McCorbin down in the dirt and punched him in his face, he readily owned up to that poorly-thought-out idea.
But this… this was different. In fact, he wasn’t quite sure how it had all happened.
One minute Mr. Hadley was talking about brilliant men who achieved incredible heights in their careers and then he was yelling at Matthew. Mr. Hadley seemed to be likening Shakespeare to something of a deity.
“But he was hardly an example of what any man would want to become, though,” Matthew had commented, not realizing his simply-stated thoughts would be so upsetting. If anything, he thought everyone would appreciate how he was actually following along with the lesson for once.
Apparently insulting Shakespeare on Shakespeare’s birthday was unthinkable and unacceptable to Mr. Hadley.
“Excuse me?!” Mr. Hadley was reacting as if his mother had been insulted.
“William Shakespeare was the finest playwright this world has ever known,” Mr. Hadley huffed. “His work is renowned and above the insults of some wisenheimer who recently learned to read.”
Matthew didn’t understand his teacher’s condescending tone, but tried reasoning with the man. However, when Matthew mentioned Arthur Miller, Mr. Hadley lost it.
He was replaying the scenario in his mind when he heard the clacking of his mother’s heels stabbing the hallway floor as she approached the door. His father’s disappointed tone hummed perfectly in time with the sharp steps.
With a deep breath Matthew readied himself for the looks and comments. He plastered a big innocent smile on his face and sat up straight, trying to look angelic.
Maybe they’d let him explain first?
Matthew’s mother entered the room first, followed by his father. Based on the looks on their faces, it seemed like an explanation was the furthest thing from their minds. His shoulders slumped as he stood and made his way to the door, prepared for the onslaught.
*This post was inspired by Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, because they updated their webpage first.