In the 10th grade, my Pre-Cal teacher, Mr. Peebles, issued us a challenge. We had all completely bombed a test and, since tests were 90 percent of our grade, he decided to offer up a chance to get some extra credit. The rules were simple: come up with a question about Saved by the Bell that he could not answer. Only questions having to do within the realm of the show were acceptable, therefore no bullshit questions like “What was the name of the actor who played the nerd Screech took Tori Spelling away from?” (Jeffrey Asch). Being the competitive person that I am, I decided that I didn’t want to win for the extra credit. I wanted to crush Peebles.
Peebles was one of those teachers who taught you by forcing you to grow up and take responsibility for the work you did. Or don’t do, as was the case with me. He was also a bit of a jerk who knew which buttons to push in order to make you work, but somehow keep you motivated instead of making you want to quit. He could joke around with you and insult you and yet, you came out of it feeling like you were smarter. However, I don’t like cocky people, so my goal was to make sure I brought him down off of his high horse.
I grew up watching Saved By the Bell. The only reason I would wake up before 10 on a Saturday morning was to watch. (Ok, maybe I also got up to watch Power Rangers. Whatever…Tommy was hot….and still is based on the images I found on Google…) So, when Peebles brought up the challenge, I reached into the farthest corners of my brain to pull up that useless knowledge taking up space I should have been using for Pre-Cal.
We had one class period to come up with our question. We were not allowed to check the Internet or go home and do research on our stash of videos. With 20 minutes left in class, we all started asking our questions. As he worked his way around the room, I realized that there really wasn’t any question Peebles couldn’t answer.
Who were the original cast members? (Zack, Mr. Belding, Lisa, Screech)
Where did they live when the show originally started? (INdianappolis, Indiana) What was the name of the all girl group Lisa, Kelly and Jessie formed? (Hot Sundae)
What was the name of Tori Spelling’s character? (Violet Bickerstaff)
None of these even made Peebles hesitate. I was the last one to go and I smiled my most vicious smile. “What was the name of Jessie’s stepbrother?”
“Umm…Hang on.” He was sweating. “I know this.” More sweat and now a bit of a nervous shake. “I….don’t…know?” Yeah. I stumped him.
Here’s the problem though: I also stumped myself. He never said anything about having to actually know the answer! I left class feeling horrible. I had done the impossible in stumping the self-proclaimed King of Saved By the Bell trivia, but I had lost on a non-verbalized technicality.
Two classes later, it was still bugging me. I was in Spanish and should have been focusing on how to conjugate verbs, but all I could think about was the name of Jessie’s brother. I was deep in thought when the door opened. I was Peebles. He didn’t say anything, just walked up to the white board, wrote “Eric” and walked back out. Needless to say, I still wasn’t focusing on the correct conjugation of “trabajar.”
Now, almost 10 years later, I am back to thinking about this story. Why? Jimmy Fallon is trying to get the class back together. Only two more cast members need to confirm and those of us who are Bayside Tigers at heart will have our dreams come true. Now if only Jimmy Fallon would reunite the original Power Rangers…plus Tommy.