Mr. Orcini

13 Nov

from October 20, 2007

As teachers, we have a great responsibility. We have been given a sacred trust, the handling of young minds. We have been charged with the education of future generations. It is truly an awesome task. We have a great opportunity to enlighten and mold the youth of America, but many teachers also have great capacity to instill fear and loathing in their charges. Teachers also have the ability to instill fear.

One man who tried, but failed, to instill fear was the swaggering buffoon named Mr. Orcini of Mark Twain Junior high School.

Ah, Mark Twain, my old alma mater. Home to science teachers with colorful nicknames like “Rocky Slabhead” and social studies teachers who taught ancient Babylonian on the side and had rabbinical aspirations. They were an odd bunch. But as anyone who spent any time in a school knows, the oddest teachers are usually gym teachers. I once had a gym teacher who dropped his pants and walked around in his boxers on the first day to show us that there was no shame in the human body. You should have seen him run behind the bleachers when a female student walked in. (I wonder if he managed to keep his job?) And then there was ORCINI.

Mr. Orcini was quite a sight. He usually dressed in shiny and very tight Mafia suits, like the ones you see on Henry and Jimmy in Goodfellas. His shirt was usually unbuttoned to his fly and he had enough gold chains around his neck to kill a lesser man. He had slick black hair and a thin mustache. Ever see The Adventures of Robin Hood? Think of him as what Errol Flynn would look like if he took elephant steroids and strode around like Mussolini. This guy had muscles and he wanted everyone to know it. He looked like he had gone to the gas station and used the air hose to inflate himself. All he needed was “bad Italian stereotype” stamped on his forehead.

(My favorite Orcini story actually took place years after I graduated. I was on a bus and it couldn’t pull out of a stop because of a double parked car. The bus driver honked and the car’s driver came out of a store- it was Mr. Orcini. I didn’t hear his words, but he yelled at the driver and shook his fist at the bus. Not the driver, the bus. He actually threatened to punch the bus!)

He was a figure of , well, not fear, not exactly. I think if anything, we harbored a secret desire to see him fly off into a steroid rage. But on someone else. No one wanted to be the one he unloaded on. One time me and my friends were fooling around in the gym. This included chasing around Peter Bosco with a basketball. Orcini of course yelled at us in a deep phony voice, but I claimed that we were just playing basketball. The only thing that kept Orcini from lumbering over and bellowing some more was the fact that I took the basketball and made the shot from across the court. (It may have been the only basket I made in high school.)

On another occasion (or maybe the same one) he bellowed in disbelief about how we, with all the gym equipment around us, were playing with a door. And Bosco had to explain to him why he tied his shoes to the balance beam. (Orcini, in  a deep deliberate voice- “You tied your shoes to a balance beam?”) For some reason, I can’t imagine why, Bosco had the totally outrageous and implausible idea that me and Marc just might, you know, might possibly take his shoes and, I don’t know, throw them out the window or something. Really, me?

As a teacher now, I reflect back on Mr. Orcini and wonder, what the fuck was his problem? He walked around like he owned the world, and acted like a third rate Mafia leg-breaker, which he might have been. He seemed to get off on intimidating junior high school kids and I wonder how he felt about junior high school girls, if you know what I mean. He was mean and cruel and he knew it.

I may have been a little nasty to certain people in my life, but at least I never had a nasty life. I just wonder where he is now. I bet either in jail or dead.

————————————————————————–

NOTE TO MR. ORCINI.

First off, I have to be honest- I’m not sure if your name is spelled “Orcini” or “Orsini” and I really don’t care. I went with the former because it begins with “Orc” and both sums up your personality and makes a nice Lord of the Rings reference.

Secondly, everything I have written here is true. If you try to sue me, send your goons after me, or lumber over and bellow at me, I’ll start making up some even worse stuff.

And thirdly, if you still insist on being a pain in my ass, I’ll simply claim that “Mr. Orcini” is a fictional creation, like Santa Claus and moderate Iranians. After all, who would believe any of this is true?

—————————————————————————

NOTE TO MY READERS.

All of this is true.

I know that I claim that a lot of stuff I write is true, but this is truly true. (What, you really thought that one of my ancestors was “that sailing Scottish Jew?”)

8 Responses to “Mr. Orcini”

  1. keyan williams June 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    This is so funny. I went to Mark Twain also and I remember him well. The funny thing is. I remember walking by Mark Twain many years later (over 10 yrs later) when school was letting out. I HEAR this bellowing voice saying “Williams”! I turned around and it’s Orcini. I think he’s was wearing the same suite lol. Here was definitely memorable.

    Thanks for the stories, they definitely made some funny memories surfaced.

    Kind regards
    KW

    Like

    • bmj2k June 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

      Thank you for the nice words. I’m sure he was wearing the same suit. His style never left 1977.

      Like

  2. Jo January 4, 2016 at 2:06 am #

    Mr. Orsini committed suicide a few years back after battling terminal cancer.

    Like

  3. Kari March 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

    I remember Mr. Orsini. He would ruin lunchtime every day by bellowing into his microphone and telling stories about E Company, his platoon.

    Like

  4. Diamond March 16, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    I remember Mr Orsini. My understanding I could be wrong is that he won Mr. America 1957 . I went to Mark Twain junior high school I remember him the deep voice I was one of his monitors. Used to always say in a deep voice He would state your last name and say come over here. What is amazing I don’t remember any other person except him. Yes he was quite an Actor but he Was a motivator all right

    Like

    • bmj2k March 16, 2018 at 9:07 pm #

      According to wikipedia Mr. America 1957 was Ron Lacy.

      Like

  5. Michael Bronowitz September 4, 2019 at 2:14 pm #

    You’ll be glad to know Richard Orsini committed suicide several years ago.
    I remember him a bit differently. He looked exactly as you describe him and he did bellow in a deep voice. I never found him to be cruel though. Yes he was strict, yes he was stern. He tried to intimidate in his demeanor. But if you got past the layers he was a good man. I’m just sorry you never knew that side of him. Maybe, or evidently he didn’t show that to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bmj2k September 4, 2019 at 10:38 pm #

      I am not glad at all.

      Like

Leave a Reply to Kari Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: