Morris was a likable kid and a lousy student. The latter part was a double problem for me because I was also his basketball coach. Since he was always goofing off and rarely paying attention, coupled with the fact that I had to stay on him if I had any hope of him being eligible, Morris got the famed front-center chair in the classroom.
Afros were popular among the school's African-American students at this time. The kids liked to wear hair picks stuck into their hair, but this was prohibited by the dress code. However, many of the students also would keep their pencil sticking halfway into their Afro. I'm not sure if this was for style, convenience, or both.
This didn't really matter for Morris since he rarely, if ever, had a writing utensil. Most days he would ask to borrow a pencil before he'd even verified that he didn't have one. I didn't let students go back to their lockers during class time, so a loaner was usually the outcome.
One Monday, Morris grabbed his front and center seat and predictably asked to borrow a pencil. As I looked down to give him the standard teacher lecture about coming to class prepared, I noticed something.
"Morris, you have four pencils in your hair dude."
They were not sticking out for easy access, rather completely embedded in his hair. Morris legitimately seemed to be unaware of their existence, making me shudder thinking how long they had been there.
Guess how many of those four pencils he had when he returned Tuesday? :)