The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Chapter 2 Summary
Give My Regards to Clark, Poindexter
In this chapter, Kenny gives us the lay of the land for Clark Elementary School.
Larry Dunn is the king of Kindergarten to fourth grade. He's king because he's bigger, stronger, and older than everyone else on account of flunking two or three grades.
If Larry is king, then Byron is a god. He's in sixth grade and is also older than everyone because he flunked at least once.
Buphead is Byron's best friend and fellow juvenile delinquent. What did you expect with a name like Buphead?
Kenny thinks that being related to the god of Clark Elementary ought to make him "a prince or a real strong angel," but he's just another "fourth-grade punk" (2.4). However, there are a few benefits to being related to Byron.
Kenny tells us there are two things that ought to get him teased a lot more than he is.
First, he's real smart. Like so smart that his teachers parade him around to the older classes so he can show off his mad reading skills.
Kenny expects to be reamed for this on the playground, but it turns out Byron is sort of proud of him, so nobody really bothers Kenny about being smart.
Second, Kenny has a lazy eye, which means that one of his eyes is always kind of crossed. Byron helps Kenny figure out how to look at people sideways so his lazy eye is less noticeable and he doesn't get teased as much.
Kenny tells us the teasing is only really bad on the bus on days when Byron cuts school. On those days, as Kenny boards the bus, Byron says, "Give my regards to Clark, Poindexter" (Poindexter = nerd. Advanced Name-Calling 101).
Then one day, everything changes when two new kids get on the bus.
Kenny starts telling us about Sunday school and how God sends a personal saver to protect everyone. Feeling confused? Us too.
Then Kenny explains that the older new boy with torn clothes and raggedy shoes is his personal saver. How? Well, Kenny thinks the new kid will be easier to make fun of, so if everyone's teasing the new kid, they won't be teasing Kenny as much.
And he's right. Larry Dunn and the others jump all over the new kids until the bus driver pushes them both into Kenny's seat.
Kenny just looks at them sideways and doesn't say anything.