The day following the party at the Drive Inn Club, Principal Gardner was a surprise visitor at the Bartlett estate. He came at around 7 in the morning, and since it was a weekend, Charlie slept in, plus the fact that he had such a great time at the party last night.
When Charlie comes down to see what the principal wanted from him, Principal Gardner and his mom were already seated in the living room, waiting for him. Once Charlie sat down, Principal Gardner went straight to the point without so much of an introduction on why he was there. He said that Kip Crombwell overdosed on a handful of sedatives last night. Charlie was stunned. For the first time, he had no quick reply to what was being said. He simply asked if Kip was okay.
Principal Gardner says Kip is okay. He is at home, resting. He went on to say that Charlie might want to thank him later because he did not rat out on him. If anyone could prove it was Charlie, it would be a different story. His mother was beyond disbelief.
Charlie asks the principal what’s going to happen to him. The principal returned the question to Charlie. He wanted to know why Charlie did what he did. This time Charlie wanted to tell all, his side of the story-about how no one listens to those students. No one is helping them. So he felt like he had to do something for them. He was trying to justify what he did, although he knew deep inside that what he did was very wrong. He was given a lecture by the principal on how Charlie could give advice but not prescribe medication. You needed a license to do that.
Charlie then comes up clean and admits that he is happy with what he’s been doing. For the first time in his life, he felt welcome and accepted and appreciated at school. This never happened before. He is only 17 and popularity is pretty damn important to him at this stage in his life.
The principal gets back at him and says that there are more important things than being popular. Like what you do with that popularity. At this point Charlie did not have an answer. He didn’t have to give an answer. He knew that Principal Gardner was right. He ends his sermon to Charlie by telling him that what he does in this life ‘matters’.