One month ago, I was the happiest kid in the world. Every Thursday from 5:30 to 5:45 I left my crumbling, underfunded elementary school to go to my Nautical Flag Class run by the nonprofit Flags for the Future. The experience was ethereal, as a group of worldly, handsome, seafaring 18-year-olds taught me the beauty and power of nautical flags. At first, I was skeptical of two seniors from Greenwich coming to the other side of the tracks out of the “goodness of their hearts,” but I was quickly assured that all they wanted was to empower a new generation of communicative sailors.
They were so generous to let me take home my very own gin pennant so I could practice signaling. I started my services small and locally based within my class. Suddenly the fifth-grade melatonin lords had competition –– kids were now spending their lunch money to hear my knowledge of maritime flags instead. I was on the rise to power and causing real mayhem along the way, like when I signaled to a third grader that his runaway hamster was going to be the victim of a gang shootout. At first, I thought flagging was a frivolous hobby for out-of-touch, well-traveled 0.1-percenters, but I now see that the seniors were right; it would really get me out of the trenches.
Not even my masterful flag etiquette could have shown me what would happen next though — Flags for the Future was terminated. The day the Senior Leaders came in with smiles on their faces, I didn’t even need signal flags to tell me that this meant something terrible was about to happen. One was wearing a Princeton sweatshirt and the other a Yale hat when they shattered my heart and said this would be our last session. They didn’t even let me keep the gin pennant. Without them, it looks like my future has been reduced to middle school Flintstone Gummy-dealing and lottery tickets.