Saturday, April 21, 2012

You Know You're Old When . . .


MOM WARNING: If you are offended by the use of the “f word”, Mom, DO NOT READ!

I had many other titles for this blog in mind, but they involved using the “f word”. This becomes a problem for a few reasons: 1) I am not a big user of the “f word”. It sounds ridiculous coming out of my mouth, but there are times when nothing else will suffice. 2) I have a lot of ex-students that read my blog, although, many of them are high school age or older and I am sure they have used the “f word” many more times than I and some, perhaps, daily; I still don’t think they would want to know that their fifth grade teacher that they loved and revered (yep, I have an ego) actually uses the “f word”. Many students think their teachers sleep at school and never go to the bathroom, let alone use the “f word.” 3) My mother hates the “f word”! I once got slapped for using the word ‘frigging’, as in, I can’t get this frigging thing open. When asked why I was slapped I was told for using a bad word and I replied ‘frigging’ isn’t a bad word and then my mother explained to me that that wasn’t what I was thinking! She said I was thinking the “f word”. (I hate it when my mother is always right.) I remember, one day, I explained to my mother that in order for her to get over her deep-seeded hatred of the “f word” that we needed to spend the entire day placing the “f word” in front of just about every word we spoke. We never “effing” laughed so “effing” hard in our “effing” lives using the “effing f word” for the entire “effing” day. We “effing laughed until the “effing” pee was running down our “effing” legs. Thus, was born the “effing” mantra of the “effing” Sistahhood, “Stop, or I am going to “effing” pee!” OOPS! I digress! If I write about the other titles I had chosen for this blog and I use $%&# instead of the actual “f word”, my mother will be mad at me for what I was thinking. So, no matter what, I am $%&#ing screwed.

What the $%&#! Original title number 1: Where the $%&# Did I Put That and How Could I Possibly Forget My $%&#ing Social Security Number? How many pairs of reading glasses can one have strewn throughout the house? And when will I find the pair I am looking for? I use my Social Security Number daily! I need to know the last four digits of that number for EVERYTHING. A year or so ago 9I don't remeber the exact date.) I forgot my $%&#ing Social Security Number. I am still feeling the trauma of that memory loss to this day. I needed the last four digits to get into a site at work. I had to call Human Resources and ask for help, but they wouldn’t give me the four digits over the phone. I felt like a complete ass. I am sure the reader is asking, “Don’t you have your Social Security card in your wallet?” No, I don’t because if someone stole my wallet, they would have my all-important $%&#ing Social Security Number. I panicked and I was sure that was the beginning of $%&#ing alzheimers.

I called Janet in tears, “Janet, I forgot my $%&#ing Social Security Number. What am I going to do?”

“Don’t you have your Social Security card in your wallet?” she asked. (Janet happens to have her original Social Security card from the age of two.)

“No, I don’t because if someone stole my wallet, they would have my all-important $%&#ing Social Security Number,” I replied with a continued sense of panic.

“First, calm down. Then breath and think, da, da, da – da, da – da, da, da, da,” she said calmly.

“Okay, da, da, da – da, da – da, da, da, da. I got it! DA, DA, DA – DA, DA – DA, DA, DA, DA! Janet, am I going to have to be put in a home?”

“No, I promised I would never do that and I keep my promises!”

Every day when I wake up, I recite my $%&#ing Social Security Number, but I still can’t find my $%&#ing glasses.

Original title number 2: When Did Going to Bed Become More $%&#ing Important Than Drinking and Dancing? I remember when (yep, that is what all old people start their stories with) I could stay up all night drinking and dancing and not just on the weekends. I could stay up until the bars closed, run home, sleep for a couple of hours, get ready for work, and teach school with no problem. Then one day the words, “I can’t it’s a school night,” came rolling out of my mouth. I don’t remember when it happened because I am too $%&#ing old and I can’t remember a $%&#ing thing. And now if given the choice, I will choose going to bed over drinking, dancing, or eating. Yes, I said EATING!

Notice I said I would rather go to bed than anything else instead of I’d rather go to SLEEP over anything else which leads to original title number 3: Why the $%&# Can’t I go to Sleep? Oh, I go to bed because I am old and I would rather do that over anything, yes, I mean ANYTHING! But when I go to bed I don’t sleep unless I am watching something really important that I don’t want to miss on T.V. I will fall asleep immediately and sleep for the duration of that program and then I am wide awake for the rest of the night. Although, I have found that my best ideas come to me at 2:21 a.m., yep, not 2:30, not 2:15, but 2:21 a.m. At 2:21 a.m. I get great ideas for lessons or smart-ass comebacks. They are the greatest ideas ever. The only problem is I can’t $%&#ing remember them in the morning.

Original title number 4) At Exactly What $%&#ing Moment Did I Get So $%&#ing Old? (A Girl Needs to Know!) I need to know exactly when I got those lines around my lips that make me look like I have been smoking since I was two years old. I need to know exactly when having a bowel movement and making sure not peeing one’s pants when laughing became a top priority. I need to know exactly when my baby soft skin became dried fruit leather. I need to know exactly when I decided it would be easier to go to Costco and buy the eighteen pack of reading glasses and spread them strategically around the house instead of spending hours looking for the cute, fashionable pair in the adorable carrying-case. (Hell, I need to know exactly when I bought the cute, fashionable pair in the adorable carrying-case.)  And I need to know the exact, precise moment that my ample, voluptuous, well-placed, forward-facing breasts became two flat team pennants that I need to use a roller shade device to gently roll them up and place them in my always-pointing-to-my-toes-stretched-out-straps bra. A girl just needs to $%&#ing know!

I apologize, if I have offended anyone young or old. No, I don’t! You young thangs just better stop laughing because this shit is going to happen to you. To the old people I have offended, don’t worry you won’t remember reading this in a couple hours. Let’s face it, sometimes in certain situations certain words are necessary. I am having a problem facing the fact that I am fucking old. OOPS, sorry, Mom! (Slap me Wednesday when I come for dinner.)

Paco’s Perspective

Sometimes one must stoop to the level of a chicken and say, “Cluck you!”

The Flip Side

Hey, Flip is an “f word”. I flipping hate it when those flipping lizards go into their flipping hidey-holes. 
This is flipping fun!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Wonder

Wonder is a book written by R. J. Palacio. This is my faaaaaavorite book. No really. It is. I’m not kidding! (This is my mantra every time I start to read a book to a class. After about the third book the students say it with me.) Wonder is a story about an ordinary fifth grader, August, with an extraordinary disability. He has been home schooled and his parents decide it is time for him to attend school so that he will be ready to face the world.

The author R. J. Palacio writes a one-page lead that would capture any reader. The first chapter is called Ordinary. On the first page a boy describes how he is an ordinary boy that likes to do ordinary things. In the first paragraph he lists the ordinary things that he likes to do. Then he says, “I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.” I think this would capture the attention of even the most reluctant reader. The boy continues to describe his feelings when people give him that “try-not-to-stare” stare. He describes his somewhat over protective family and how they see him as extraordinary. The last line of the first page the boy formally introduces himself, “My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking it’s probably worse.”

As I read the first page of this amazing book I imagined a group of students, sitting on the floor in front of me, leaning farther forward with every sentence, mouths agape, and eyes wide with anticipation. Of course that last line is where I would stop because I love to hear students scream, “No! Don’t stop!”

The book follows August’s tumultuous journey attending a school for the first time. It is a heart-wrenching story that causes one to cry relentlessly throughout the book. It makes one want root for the underdog, feel for the forgotten older sister, and beat the shit out of the bully. It reminds me of the book Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. They both have the theme of everybody deserves kindness.

Wonder is a story that is written from the point of view of different characters: August, his older sister, Via, and Jack Will, the school jock that becomes August’s friend.

As I read this book it made me reflect again on how I treat people and how I see others treat people. I find myself always being in a hurry and when I see someone I give that expected courteous smile, and say those expected words, “Hi, how are you?” not stopping to hear how that person is, hurrying off to my next destination. When Janet and I come home everyday the family is very kind about asking, “How was your day?” but Janet and I always answer the same way. She says, “Great, wonderful, terrific!” and I respond, “Fine and dandy, Andy!” We say this even when it hasn’t been a great-wonderful-terrific-fine-and-dandy-Andy day. And I wonder why?  Why does one ask, “How are you?” when one really doesn’t want to know. And why do I say, “Fine and dandy, Andy!” when I really am not fine and dandy. It is difficult to decide when one asks, “Hi, how are you?” if they really want to know how you are. I wonder . . . . .

I have had a difficult time this past month at work and I have worked very hard to keep people from knowing how I really feel. I wonder what would happen if someone asked, “How are you?” and I actually told one how I was. I wonder what would happen if I said, “Hi, how are you?” and I actually stopped, made eye contact, and waited for an answer other than, “Fine and you?”

I wonder . . . . . . .

Paco’s Perspective

Okay, okay, I get your drift. “Flip, how are you?” Okay, I give, I can’t do it because I really don’t care.

The Flip Side

Do you think the lizards and prairie dogs want me to ask them how they are before I chase them or after I catch them?