Bethany: Part Three
If Bethany was the embodiment of an authentically good person, then Sammy Rosenfeld was our schools greatest living example of a fake one. Sammy was the kind of guy the grown ups are always pointing out to his peers as a model citizen, the school boy gold standard that they can only aspire to, but who is known by these same peers to be, in fact, a cruel, manipulative sociopath. The enthusiastic face Bethany showed the powers that be was the same one everybody saw, but Sammy’s mask of good cheer fell as soon as Headmaster Blew or Coach Grandiloquent turned their backs, his innocent grin twisting into an evil, self-satisfied leer. Of course you have to wonder how deceived they really were – like trustees in a prison, it can be quite useful to have a privileged member of the general population who is committed to the status quo and willing to use methods that could never be officially condoned to maintain it.
In the amoral world of High School, cruelty and sadism aren’t necessarily considered negative qualities, especially when they’re exhibited by a varsity football player, and Sammy was considered popular, a serial cheerleader deflowerer, the guiding light of a pack of cronies who shared his predilection for tormenting the weak and different. Most of the remaining students respected him, but, unlike the general sentiment toward Bethany, it was a respect born of fear rather than admiration.
Maybe because the teachers were always advancing his candidacy, Sammy had been class president since the distant days of first grade, all through Junior and Middle School, his position seeming permanent. Permanent, that is, until I appeared on the scene as a freshman in the Senior School.