We call the janitor at our school "Mr. Grumpface" ... and with good reason.
Seems that Mr. Grumpel has a permanent scowl etched upon his face. You know the look: an ugly frown. Mad-looking eyes. The look that says that he's mad at the whole world, and people'd best stay out of his way if they know what's good for them.
Ever since he's worked at our school, it seems that Mr. Grumpel has never smiled, no, not even once. I kinda feel sorry for him. I wonder why he seems to be so angry or sad. Even when we smile and say hello to him, Mr. Grumpel barely acknowledges us. He is in his own little world, it seems, and it seems that the only thing he cares about is fixing busted lights, leaky pipes, or blocked up toilets.
He does his job as a janitor very well. He is very good at what he does.
We've probably known Mr. Grumpel for the past two years, since I and my buddies were in fourth grade. (We're now in sixth, getting ready to move into the middle school zone next year.) He seems okay enough; it's just that he hardly says anything and it's like he's got a grudge against the whole world.
There's many speculations running around school, about why Mr. G. is the way he is. There's talk that his wife died of cancer after they were married about forty years. There's also talk that his job might be in jeopardy because the school board wants to give a younger, less experienced person Mr. G.'s job. In addition to that, they might pile more work on him because of "budget cutbacks"; the school can't afford to keep extra janitors.
It's really a mess.
It's no wonder that Mr. Grumpel is so grouchy-looking.
Maybe he has pain in his joints and it's all he can think about. I mean, some days he is so stiff he reminds us of the Tin Man from the "Wizard of Oz". He has a hard time trying to get around (or bending over) easily.
I can understand that. You see, my dad has arthritis real bad, and it sometimes causes him to get grouchy. I wouldn't doubt it one bit if Mr. Grumpel had it as well. I wonder if he has the kind that my dad has (rheumatoid, or something like that). It's probably what's wrong with Mr. Grumpel.
Well, last week we found out what a really nice guy Mr. G. really is. My best friend, Tom, got his hand stuck in a hole in a fence while he was trying to retrieve a lost ball that'd gone off of school property, and he couldn't get it out, no matter how hard he tried. Well, we were just about to call the fire department when Mr. Grumpel happened to come onto the scene. He quickly ran into his area, got a saw, and quickly sawed my friend's stuck hand free. It was over in less than ten minutes.
When Tom's hand was free, we all breathed a sigh of relief, and we thanked Mr. G. for helping us. He said, "No problem, but next time, watch where you stick yer hand; you might end up in more trouble than it's worth".
Lesson learned. And one sore hand for Tom as a reminder.
We found out then just how nice Mr. Grumpface really is. In fact, Mr. G. isn't really a grumpface at all. He's just a misunderstood man who's probably been through a lot in his life, but even though he looks mean, he's anything but. He's more like a gentle pussycat in lion's clothing. He's an okay guy, and he really helped us when we needed it the most.