I remember once passing his office during a lunch break and seeing him sitting alone, reading a book ... and smoking. He was a serious smoker, and back then a teacher could smoke in their own offices (or did I dream this?). I stopped and watched him read. He was totally wrapped up in whatever the story was.
He looked up, as if sensing I was there. When he saw me, he broke into a wide smile, took a drag, gave me a quick nod, then went back to his book. In that moment, the guy was cool. I knew it was all an act.
I sometimes wish I had knocked on his door that day and asked him what he was reading. I had heard rumors he was a former minister. Maybe it was the Bible -- but my guess he was reading Vonnegut or Bukowski. Something edgy but funny.