The school was a palace. There was no other way to put it. Move over Taj Mahal, move over White House, move over Buckingham Palace. Meet The Lamone School for Boys.
I was awestruck. I was shocked. Bewildered. Amazed.
Whatever you want to call it. I could not believe what I saw. I was in another world, and it was mesmerizing. My eyes were glued to the school and would not budge. Even if someone told me that if I looked away, I would receive a Nobel Prize. I could not stop looking. My jaw dropped open to reveal enough steel braces to make another Transcontinental Railroad track. (I’m not kidding!)
Some of my pimples actually popped because my brain bulged out of my head. It could not take in the information my five senses were sending. The only sensible thought in my defunct mind was that there was NO WAY Lamone was a prison. Not unless the government made some real BIG changes to the justice system I did not know about.
Prison did not have a magnificent gate, made of authentic silver and gold, inscribed with the school motto in front:
Discite. Consequatur. Succedunt. Learn. Achieve. Succeed.
Behind the gate towered a brick building that could only be compared to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. A magnificent dome rested atop it, with a statue of Lamone’s mascot, a liger, on top (more on that later). Between the beautiful gate and the enormous building was a sprawling lawn of freshly cut grass, cut and watered to perfection. It almost looked fake. Then the lawn ended and met a gorgeous water fountain, laden with gold and impressive carvings of the school logo and the names of the school founders. The water inside the fountain was as blue as in the Caribbean, not a hint of dirt or grime inside. Beside the fountain was a perfectly polished statue of the school’s founder, Monsieur Andreas Lamone. Of course, inscribed in silver and gold letters.
I thought instinctively that if I were to somehow sell the bronze statue of Monsieur Lamone, the water fountain (without the water) and the statue atop the brick building, I could pay all four years of my tuition, no problem. And maybe even have enough left over to buy the best, most expensive acne cream around.
The entire school was spread over 300 acres of forest. Five classroom buildings with state-of-the art facilities rivaled some of the top universities. All with clear glass windows that were so clean I got the pleasure of seeing every one of my pimples in its reflection, from Jupiter-sized to Pluto, in high definition. Eight tennis courts. Two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Two! A full hockey rink with stadium seating. A full football stadium. Multiple soccer fields with grass clean enough to eat. A private ski hill equipped with fully functioning ski lifts. A full baseball stadium. An indoor gym, powered entirely by solar power, with a full length basketball court with stadium seating. A fitness center and workout room. A ping pong table and foosball table. Six squash courts (some sport I never heard of before then that looked like racquetball).
Five dormitory buildings with elevators and luxury accommodations that could only be compared to a hotel: custom-made carpeting throughout with the Lamone logo, a liger (an animal that is half-lion, half-tiger), office chairs with desks in all the double rooms where one could sit in so comfortably and never get back up (even to go the bathroom), and a common room with couches one could also sit in so comfortably and never get back up. Beds with brand-new sheets as soft as silk and emblazoned with the Lamone logo. Heck, everything was so tidy and clean that it looked brand-new. I wanted to jump into bed just to wake myself up, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
As I said, I wanted to faint. From happiness.
Life Lesson #4: Always keep your eyes open and pay attention. (If someone had actually told me that I could look away from Lamone and receive the Nobel Prize, I wouldn’t have done that. Because I was not paying attention.)