My English teacher in 7th and 8th grades was John Grady, a passionate and gifted teacher who liked my classmates and I so much that he, with a couple other teachers, actually followed them to be able to teach them in high school (I took off for Loomis Chaffee). Mr. Grady did not, to my memory, teach us much about English--I didn't really learn to write good papers until my sophomore year of high school, but we spent an entire week learning the Greek alphabet just to show us that we could--he was much more concerned that we think, about something, anything, as long as we used our reason and got the idea that thinking about things is both useful and fun. He made us write every day, for five minutes, in big 3-ring binders that we kept over the years, which only he read. We didn't have to write anything coherent or interesting; if we wanted to spend five minutes writing about what a stupid exercise it was, we could, but we had to write. I remember a few select things I wrote, and how my writing changed over time...but anyway.

In 7th grade, in a "classroom" partitioned off the auditorium, Mr. Grady was trying to tell us something about conditioning and how different people view the world differently. He said,

Imagine you have two puppies. Every day you go to one puppy and give it a hug. Then you go to the other puppy and kick it. After a few months, if you go to try and hug the second puppy, it will give you a strange look, as if to say, "What the hell? Where's my kick?".
It's funny, the details you remember. The school tried opening a school store. I think the combs were twenty-five cents. I'm pretty sure that's the comb I have in my bathroom right now (remarkably unused).

I'm starting to think I've generally been kicked by people for most of my life, and now nicer people are trying to hug me and I get all freaked out and say "Where's my kick?".

Aikido was a bit of ego boost, for a change.