The ABCs of Freelance Writing: A is for Abapical

kids at schoolabapical adj., away from or opposite of the apex

Otherwise referred to as rock-freakin’-bottom.

It was one of life’s low points that actually propelled me into my freelance writing career. Some years ago I was the attendance secretary at a nearby elementary school, the daytime home of more than 700 Indianapolis children in grades K through 6. It was a horrible, miserable, thankless job.

The teachers were cranky and verbally abusive. (I’m not saying their crankiness wasn’t justified, just that I resented being their punching bag.)

The principals didn’t seem to mind at all that the children awaiting discipline sat down on a bench directly in front of my desk. And so they would leave them there to chatter or cause trouble for whole eternities.

The parents were largely uninvolved, and the ones that were involved weren’t so much there for their children as they were there to make my life a living hell. It was my fault her son got detention and there was no one home to meet her kindergartner when the bus dropped her off. It was also my fault that his daughter’s skirt was too short, and how dare I make him turn off Judge Judy and walk half a block to school to bring in an article of clothing that actually covered his daughter’s 11-year-old butt cheeks.

I cried. Literally. Went to the ladies’ room and crammed sheets of scratchy, institutional, single-ply toilet paper into my leaky eyeballs.

But you know what? Thanks for the miserable year, parents, children, and co-workers. Had it not been for you, I might’ve been so comfortable that I would have never gone back to college and landed here, happy, doing things I love.

A is also for agathism.


“ABCs of…” idea nicked from Paul at Aurora Walking Vacation. Follow along with future posts to learn some new words and, you know, be entertained.

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0 thoughts on “The ABCs of Freelance Writing: A is for Abapical

  1. Chris says:

    Very nice. Not your miseries, mind you, but the way you used them to claw your way up and out. Makes me wish I was teaching class these days so I could hail your shining example. Be proud of how far you’ve come and never forget what that was like staring at that clock and waiting for that bell.

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