The children had just come in from recess and I had settled them down for a delightful showing of "The Emperor's New Groove" when I felt a tug on my pant leg.
"Mr. Cheeseboy... I'm - gah! - choking - GAH!"
"Fregley" - as I shall refer to him henceforth - is a bit of a lurp. Gangly and awkward, he is exactly like one of those boys you see in children's movies; the geeky, trouble maker with bad teeth, red hair and freckles. This kid was Fregley before being Fregley was cool.
I grabbed Fregley by the arm and pulled him over to the garbage can. Pulling a kid to the garbage can is a teacher's first natural instinct, no matter the situation. A child could be bitten by a shark at recess and the first thing a teacher would do is say, "Quick, get that boy next to the garbage can! Pronto!"
Fregley bent over the garbage can and continued to choke, gag and slobber. A bright blue stream of spittle stretched from his mouth to the plastic garbage can lining. My first thought was that the boy was vomiting; you see he had a long, sordid history with the vomit. However, it quickly became clear that vomiting was only a secondary problem.
As Fregley continued to chunk, slobber and cry, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Surprisingly, standing by the garbage can was not working! Its sacred powers had no affect upon the boy.
I quickly transformed my hands into hook-hands, slid them under Fregley's armpits and carried him out of the classroom, a stream of blue drool dragging behind, gently landing upon the heads of the other first grade students sitting on the floor.
Of course, the first thing I did when I got Fregley to the office was stand him next to a garbage can. I reasoned that something was clearly wrong with my garbage can. As he gurgled and slurped over that office trash can, my Boy Scout first aid training began to kick in.
In the Boy Scouts, you are told to pound a choking person on the back, or at least that's how I remember it because it was a very long time ago. I didn't feel that the situation had reached the point of back pounding, so I lightly patted him on the back like he was an old lady wearing a barbed wire bra.
This did not work.
It finally occurred to me that the back patting was pointless. I mean, I am not a total idiot, just 83% idiot. Fregley seemed to be able to speak and breath, but I felt that it was my duty to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. (Dr. Heimlich invented this maneuver in 1953 by accident while he gave his wife a stomach massage while she chewed on a bucket of chicken wings.)
Fortunately, just as I was about to wrap my arms around the scrawny hacker, his gag reflux finally set in and he vomited out the lifesaver that had lodged in his throat.
Fregley looked relieved.
I looked relieveder. (More relieved)
Fregley wasn't going to die, but he could care less about not dying.
Fregley was reaching into the garbage can. What was he doing?!
Fregley was searching for something.
"Gross, Fregley! What are you doing?!", I screamed.
"I am looking for my lifesaver, Mr. Cheeseboy. I wanted to finish it."
*This is a 100% true story, but Fregley was not in my class. I did not let him find the lifesaver.