A Second Grader’s Very Bad Day

I was subbing for a second grade class a few weeks ago and had just finished reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It’s a terrific book that was turned into a fun movie recently. As you might expect by the title, it’s about a little boy whose day started out bad and continued to get worse.4b333f8f9d98dbe92818ebcc367c6471.1500

As is customary. the class was gathered on the carpet as I was reading. When I finished the book I asked them if anyone ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and if they wanted to share their experience with the class. Well, they’re second graders so naturally they believe their lives are scattered with drama.

So I began to hear all kinds of stories. One little boy explained to me in great detail about how his dog ate his face. When I asked him how that was possible since his face seemed fine, he looked at me like I had six eyes, shook his head and calmly said, “well, it growed back since then.”
Others had similar, though less dramatic stories of things their siblings did to them, goldfish dying, bicycle accidents, stitches, a pet snake that escaped and a birthday cake that didn’t have the right frosting.

Then there was a little boy we’ll call Johnny.

Thankfully, Johnny was the last to go and at the back of the carpet. He was also the most animated. Johnny jumped up when it was his turn and started speaking quickly but clearly.
The worst day I ever had was when me and my family went to Sesame Place and my penis burned the whole day.” As he said the words he proceeded to grab himself between his legs and hop from side to side.

I know you’ve all had those moments in life when you hear or see something you didn’t expect  and your initial reaction is to stare with your mouth open.

That was me. It’s during those crazy moments when you’re grateful for small blessings, like the fact that Johnny was using the proper terminology.

When I finally slapped myself into the here and now and realized what was happening, I thanked him for telling us about his experience and tried to get him to sit down. But Johnny wasn’t having any of it. He kept on hopping from side to side as he held himself saying, “but you don’t understand, it reeeeaaaally buuuurrrrnnned,”

So if you ever think you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, just imagine how little Johnny felt that day in Sesame Place.

Or, you could think of me watching Johnny with seventeen other second graders and their individual reactions to his story.

Either way, your day should improve very quickly.


41 thoughts on “A Second Grader’s Very Bad Day

  1. vanbytheriver

    Poor Johnny! Puts all the other drama in perspective. Love that you sub in elementary school. I always took the middle and high school sub jobs. The little ones were sweet, but I preferred the sassy older kids, for some reason ??? Have a great weekend, George. Sweet post.


    1. George Post author

      I enjoy second through fifth grades and occasionally a first grade class. Kindergarden wears me out..:) too many hormones for me in 7-8th grades though I may try it one day just for fun. I laughed at your sassy preference..:)
      Have a nice weekend, Van.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sportsattitudes

    Well… that does qualify as a terrible, horrible, etc. day. Honestly honesty may not always be the best policy…but it can for sure provide for some never-forget moments…like this one.


  3. DailyMusings

    my reaction as I read was OMG what is George thinking at this moment??!! TMI moments are bound to happen in those lower grades. On a similar note, one of my 1st graders had an accident last week, he had gone to the bathroom dry but came back all wet, when I asked what happened his response “I shot too low” I was stunned and laughing at the same timr


  4. Diana Taglianetti (Jaye Capobiano's sister-in-law)

    George, I have not had a good laugh since my boss, mentor and friend passed away December 3. I kept this blog in my “in box” for future reading. Thank you for your blogs and humor. This really made my day. Take care and Merry Christmas.


    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Diana. I’m sorry for your loss and pray for his family and those who loved him. I’m glad this made you laugh…:). Have a great Christmas.



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