Back to School

With all the back to school commercials and specials going on it makes me think back to when I was in school. Without realizing it at the time, school helped make me the person I am today. I never thought I would say that when I was younger, but it’s true. It molded and guided me to the person I have become. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not talking about all the “studying” and “hard work”. I’m talking more about the day to day shenanigans which prepared me for a life of entertaining people. Also because of my general lack of concern for my overall safety and of those around me.

Gym Class:

Gym was always fun. I was athletic, I played sports, I could run forever and yet I still refused to participate in most activities. Because I was a strong athlete at my school, gym teachers initially thought I would be one of the good ones who would always step up to show a good example. Turned out I was more the one who would step up to show a bad example just because I thought it would be more beneficial to the overall feeling of the class. See, I knew I would be getting my exercise after school at soccer. So gym was more or less a time to wear ridiculous outfits from the 80’s I found at thrift stores and drive my gym teachers crazy. It has been scientifically proven that laughter extends life and burns calories. So when all of the fat kids who refused to participate would sit down in protest, I would step up to the plate. Sometimes I would break out in interpretive dance during badminton to express my deep emotional connection to the game. Other times I would swing like an ape from the climbing rope from side to side in the gym yelling to the gym teachers, “This monkey wants a banana!” I was doing my small part in making America healthier. You don’t want to run with the rest of us? No problem! I will make sure you at least have an entertaining class and burn a couple hundred calories. Obese America: You’re welcome.

English and Social Studies Classes:

My favorite classes in school were probably English and Social Studies. I mean out of the real classes obviously. Art and gym were clear winners overall, but out of the core subjects I’d go with English or Social Studies. English was always fun for me because I loved writing. Granted, I never actually wrote what they asked me to, but I loved it. Keep in mind I’m talking about elementary school right now. Also, it’s not like I totally disregarded the directions. For example if we had to do a book report on assigned reading: I would do a book report, but I would do it on a book I wanted to read. If the assigned reading was of no interest to me I deemed it beneath me. I had better things to read. So it would be a little confusing for the teacher when they would assign a book about climbing to the top of Mount Everest and my report was about Mia Hamm in her North Carolina Tarheel Days. I always did the assignment on time, but I would do it my way. If a teacher didn’t like the subject I chose I would eventually have to cave and do their report. But I wouldn’t go down without a fight. So when it was a typed report I would turn it in with the smallest possible font. This would then make the teacher ask for me to make it bigger and bring it back in. This would then make me go home and change it to the largest possible font. This then lead to a dangerously high blood pressure for every teacher I had.

I also loved Social Studies because I really like history, mainly American history. I also liked learning about the English because come on, who doesn’t love a British accent? So basically if you were an English speaking land, I liked you and your history. My bread and butter was when they would assign projects where they allowed creativity; when they would give you a list of different ways to present. My favorites were always dioramas or presenting a report as like a character from that time period. I would always give it a modern twist too though. So if I was giving a report on The Revolutionary War I would be Paul Revere telling everyone the British were coming, but instead of acting like I was riding in on a horse I would act like I was riding in on a motorcycle, or dancing to the Backstreet Boys. Or on the Civil War, instead of trying to free the slaves through battle we were trying to free the baby lions from the zoo through luring them out with enticing cheerleader moves and chants. This gave it a certain flair I thought.

Currently Holding Casting Calls:

I was 10 when I wrote my first movie. It was a “who-done-it” comedy taking place partially in a school and then back at an old haunted mansion. It was called “The Bomb Scare Killer” and I decided I needed to cast it immediately. Problem was; I just didn’t have the time. After school I always had soccer practice or was busy playing “Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen” with my best friend. The schedule of a 10 year old is exhausting. I was also working on my sketch comedy videos. They consisted of me and my two best friends basically looking like 10 year old crack heads wearing wigs with ADHD attempting Saturday Night Live. So with such a busy and fabulous lifestyle, it was hard to find time to cast my movie. I was in the cafeteria one day overseeing a trade between two kids of a peanut butter sandwich for a bag of chips. (I was kind of the food trading bookie in elementary school. Obviously you can see I was meant for big things at an early age. Very entrepreneurial.) That’s when it hit me. Our cafeteria was perfect for casting. It was one of those cafeteria’s that also had a stage on one end. I could have my choice of 300 tables to set up at and watch the auditions on the stage. So I got right to work and started spreading the word about auditions to friends and other students. Once they were scheduled they were advised to “need to go to the nurse’s office for a head ache” at that time and meet me in the cafeteria. I snuck out of class for my first audition and was feeling pretty damn good if I do say so. I set up with my script in the cafeteria and waited. But soon found my appointment had bailed. If you’re not willing to skip out on class for an audition, what good are you at life? I was disgusted, and was about to pack up everything when a hall monitor came in. I was all alone, sitting on 4 stacked chairs, (because I thought it looked more authoritative if I was up high) had scripts spread all over the table, a mini Harlem Globe Trotters megaphone for directing, was wearing a beret, had a mug of water which I pretended was coffee and a directors chop block. Granted, I was very good from a young age at talking my way out of situations but I didn’t see a way out of this one. So when the principal asked me what I was doing I simply tried to bargain. I offered her a role in the movie if she let me go with a warning. I found this to be an extremely kind offer. She was not the best looking and I am sure would have been very stiff in front of camera. I needed beautiful actors, not ugly failed college professors. As kind as I thought the offer was; shockingly she declined. I was also in a whole other world of trouble seeing as how I was in a school, casting a movie, called The Bomb Scare Killer. They seemed to frown upon that. So my directing career had to be put on a bit of a hold. While I was in trouble and not able to cast or do my sketch comedy I decided I should reflect on my actions as they had asked I do. They wanted me to think about what I had done and learn from it. Which I did. If I was going to shoot a movie at school it needed to be less risqué and not involve the words “bomb scare”. So I wrote a new movie about a group of upper middle class white kids in a rollerblading gang loosely based on my own life, of course. This later became a musical complete with dance numbers and a score full of nothing but Britney Spears songs. I never did get to film it though. It’s a shame, because as you can see from this brief description, it was obviously dripping in brilliance. It could have been our generation’s West Side Story.


If you are a former teacher of mine reading this, you don’t even need to say it. I’ll be the bigger person here and step up and just say what needs to be said to you…You are all very, very welcome.


Published by

Amy Maestri

Writer / actress / producer.

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