East Greenwich High School Spectrum, May 1990

Mr. Behan Retires

by Andrew Shearer

As the seniors leave this year, so will Mr. Behan, the illustrious physics teacher who is retiring in June. Due to his rambling nature, substanceful interviews proved difficult, so here is the best I could do:

Q: The obvious question: How long have you been teaching here?

A: About 30 years… How many principals is that? Let me see… one, uh, two—

Q: [Meanwhile, the interviewer suspects this length of time is incorrect, since Mr. Behan had previously informed the interviewer that he was only 21.]

A: —five, um, six... About six principals, and almost that many superintendents. I’d better not say too much more about that—just about everything I say would make someone mad.

Q: Do you have any children?

A: Yes, Louise and Katherine.

Q: Pity. You could have named one of them “Human.”

Q: [at this point Brett Hopp interrupts to ask Mr. Behan’s age in Jupiter-years. Eighteen minutes are spent by Mr. Behan while looking up the various periods of rotation of the planets and drawing the appropriate diagrams on the board. Meanwhile, the interviewer tries to think of some question to make this article more interesting.] What is your middle name?

A: [Mr. Behan ducks this question twice. This may be part of a secret past and is being duly investigated by the Spectrum.]

Q: What are you thinking of doing after the school year ends?

A: I’ll have a good nap for a year or two, maybe do some goose-watching. [At this point, Mr. Behan, without a word, takes the interviewer’s pen, leaving the interviewer with a rather useless empty pen cap, and begins to derive formulas for planetary motion on the back of a lab report. The discussion shifts for half an hour to computer repair, exploding flour-filled paint cans, exploding whales, Dave Barry, and bogus news articles. With a “Thank you for your time,” the interviewer leaves. The period of rotation of Jupiter is 11.86 years.]