My So-Called Life
The Substitute

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The Substitute

Turns out Mr. Colcord drives a rather sporty little red convertible. Nope, his "struggle for freedom" is nothing like a mid-life crisis. Not at all. He pulls up in front of Chase Place and Angela climbs onto the curb without looking back. Brian happens to be riding his bike along the sidewalk at the same moment, and he regards her suspiciously. She tries to ignore him, but he stops his bike directly in his path and asks, "So, is there, like, anyone's car you won't get into?" Zing! Looks like Brian's playing Minnesota Fats in a remake of The Zing! Angela snots something sarcastic about living her life to annoy him, and Brian tells her to shut up, adding, "I mean, he's old -- he's a teacher!" Angela giggles, "What -- you think I, like, did something with him?" Brian stumbles, "I don't know! How do I know?" Angela says that he's demented, and views everything in terms of sex, and recaps the last scene for Brian. Brian quietly reminds her, "I have a right not to like him." After a moment, she pensively allows, "That's true. You do." She goes into the house. Brian shakes his head.

Inside Chase Place, Graham and Patty are sorting through many, many boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the dining-room table. Angela picks up a box and heads for the couch. I heard that. Patty asks if she's okay, and Angela mumbles, "Pretty much." She mopily sits down on the sofa and her parents appear and flank her. Graham leans over her and gently says, "You know what this really boils down to, sweetheart? Every fight is not worth fighting." Patty agrees, "It's just part of growing up." Graham tells Angela that sometimes, "you have to compromise." Patty corrects him, "Well, no one should have to compromise their [sic] principles, but if you never learn to compromise at all...." Graham drones on that compromise is "part of life -- it's part of marriage. I mean, your mother and I compromise all the time." "And you can't win every fight," Patty concludes. "You just have to pick your battles." Angela mumbles acquiescently that she knows they're right. Damn, I wish I had some Girl Scout cookies right now.

In class the next day, a woman who looks a lot like Rosemary Clooney -- and not the young Rosemary Clooney, either, if you know what I'm saying -- is reading, "'And the oak tree looks down on us still.' Beautiful. Concise, excellent grammar, impeccable punctuation. It is a little difficult to read, of course, with this footprint. [She holds out the paper for the class to see.] It should probably be re-typed. Still, notice how the author...." She drones on as Rayanne and Rickie peer into the doorway. Rickie says he had this woman as a substitute once, and that Mr. Colcord was cool. Rayanne agrees that he was. They book. Back in class, Ms. Clooney asks which of the students is Angela Chase. No one responds. Brian looks at Sharon. Sharon looks away.

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My So-Called Life

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