McKinley High School. In the unremarkable town of Lima, Ohio, it was just as ordinary and atypical as everything else. Lumbering jocks guffawed their way through class, aided by coaches desperate to keep them from failing so they could go on to lose another football game; cheerleaders sashayed down the halls like they owned the place, which they pretty much did; and everyone else was just sort of there, moving through classes silently, as their teachers all had far too many personal issues to adequately teach.

It was the last place I would have expected myself to end up, but at least it was predictable. Good enough for my golden years, even if a bit bland.

At McKinley, I wasn't really a teacher. I was in charge of the band, a group of isolated loner rejects who were content to teach themselves music. I only taught the golden rule: "Shut up and play." The most exciting thing that usually happened in afterschool band meetings was someone breaking a string, and if it was one of the insipid, entitled members I would have to fix it. And during the school day, I had to supervise the room to protect it from vandalism, which was always a threat, and the kids timidly walked in during their free periods as though they were expecting a goddamn invitation. But on a whole, I had begrudgingly grown accustomed to the band kids, mainly because they were quiet and didn't require much social interaction. Hell, I barely knew all their names, and they knew me only as "Brad the piano guy."

What can I say? I had a soft spot for piano. Sometimes I'd play melodies for the band kids, or play along with them. For a bunch of kids who probably feared a conversation more than they would an axe murderer, they came together when playing songs quite well.

Yes, everything was fine until the band and I collided with the glee club and Will Schuester.