Chapter 21: Morning Wood – Part I

A-Dorm was where people went to better themselves. It was where the inmates were housed who were attending classes. There is an entire TDCJ education program dedicated to bettering the lives of those who wish to choose it. I chose it. It was a vocational class- computer maintenance. Since I had prior skills in making small electronic devices, I figured it would be a cinch.

It was a joke.

The curriculum was excellent. Starting with NIDA Trainers, and working our way to the A+ certification.
What made it a joke was the teacher, Mike Wood. Wood was a self- proclaimed Viet-Nam vet. It was found out that he actually spent his tour of duty in Germany fixing PRC-77 radios in a shed. He had minimal skills as a computer or electronic tech, referring to the book to answer general questions, and refusing to answer any question not directly related to the test.

He would have us take “Speed Tests.” we would have to disassemble and reassemble a pc as fast as we could. Sometimes this would bring about disastrous results. Amazing things happen when a panicky student inserts an LED connector into a jumper and boots the computer.

At the beginning of each class, Wood would write some inspirational smarm on his chalkboard, usually some nugget of wisdom by Zig Ziglar.

We would have to copy the nugget, then “expound” about it, writing a spontaneous essay about the virtues of whatever pearl of wisdom he saw fit to regurgitate to us. He would pick one two of us to read the expounding aloud, then would he would expound on his own, praising Zig until he ran out of steam.
Wood said that it was his way of instilling into us a love for public speaking. Personally, I thought that it was his way of killing fifteen minutes of class time while he woke up.

It was the first time he called upon me to read, that Wood and I achieved true hatred for each other. It was this inspirational bit about work being the most important thing in a man’s life. So I wrote a piece about communism. It was a joke, I was never called upon to read at that point. He was furious. He pursed his lips and turned beet red. A vein appeared on his forehead. His glasses actually fogged.

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