Angry penguins shut me up tight in the second semester of Fourth Grade. I had spent the first semester in a special program for advanced readers. It was an open classroom. I loved the freedom. The teacher said, “Se already know you can read so do whatever you feel like doing.”

My father said I was becoming opinionated and outspoken, and he wasn’t having any of it. Right into Catholic School I went. The nuns had explicit permission to hit me. He wanted me shut up.

They delivered with a vengeance. These penguins are genuinely pissed off people. Or so it seemed to me. They beat me up daily until they had worn me down and I surrendered.

I didn’t start talking again until I was 23. Effing penguins!

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