Saturday, March 28, 2009

Notes for something solid later on the weirdness of high school teaching.

Best kids bored, best kids hand up all the time, go to work early let the lonely kids hang out, talk with lonely kids about all lonely things male and female: AC/DC, terrorists, why they can’t like gay people, World of Warcraft, why they still watch Pokemon, their dad has an earring and bought them doughnuts, House. Bells ring, see plastic bags, sandwiches, kids who drive can buy coffee, kids who hate coffee and other kids, girls who smile all the time and get tans, boys with sideburns, boys with great expensive t-shirts, kids who can juggle, kids who have a nickname they like, new kids are they cute, is he cute, is he hot, who is a slut, who farted, who farted, oh! Kid overtly proud of kid who isn’t his friend, the latter’s sexual prowess is worth missing all of what any class may offer, all the same all day, rap, rap, does anyone have any questions answered four times of ten with do we have to do this? Actual joy, total involvement and loss of awareness, good adult revelatory conversation, you are fun, you are my second favorite teacher, math, science, English, rugby, short boys and short girls who date huge people, boring, bored, asleep, can’t wake up and keep drifting off, snore, drool, stare, get away with sleeping or eating ot texting or leaving early, getting away with everything, breast jokes, kids who are picked on by one teacher, picked on by all teachers, recommended for several scholarships, great writing, nice job, good try, well done, kids who know that the word challenge is two kinds of lie, girls who have backpacks brick-hard full of stuff, skinny puffy-headed loser kids with bad eyes for loving, hurt lidded eyes for looking at anyone’s worst intentions, chronic illnesses and dying parents, fires blowing through houses in the summer, donation of 3 cans, crush, talking, can you talk to her for me, why not, oral sex, oral sex jokes, actual wit and kids with real original humor and fine writing who will go into the Army, bad shoes everyone can make fun of, same shirt same shirt same pants today, bad socks, best looking, sexiest, best couple, biggest flirt, best kids and nonreaders too texting all their friends all day, kids who say ghetto, boys who say listen to this song, jokes, watz up, grounded, car taken away, rear-ended, ACL pooped: season over. Good laugh, smile, bad posture, whiteboard, dry dry-erase markers brushing pale letters, it’s too cold, it’s hot, dress code, new shoes, new shoes, state, going to state. Ring embarassed, ring bell, ring too long, cloudy ideas ring bell, I was just stretching, can you tell her to give me my phone back, knock, ring, ring bell I don’t know these people, wigs, medication, on his medication, antidepressants, Tourette’s jokes, peanut-head jokes, slut jokes, Jew jokes, all funny, favorite shows, boys who love male teachers and male power, the NCAA, girls who want to be photographers whose parents won’t allow it, kids who can fix cars and wash horses and dishes, good drivers, bad driver jokes, best quarterback, talking like black people, he is black, that’s why he can say that, no one knows who my favorite people are, ring bell, can we go early, getting away with it, received superiors at state, college-bound, the facts about federal student aid, holding the door for the person coming in behind you, being too patient, the girl who never talked in class, the girl who died, the boy who died, tattoos, late assignments grandmother is in the hospital, all the grandfathers, essays about grandfathers, handwriting problems, essays with doodles, rewriting, second draft, careful, apostrophe guessing, justification, ahead of everyone else, in the smart class, in the dumb class, gay, white, mixed, Puerto Rican, starters, ninth-grade varsity boys, colleges looking at you, combines, meds, stepmom dating, meds, no girls wear short hair, girls who play guitar in bands, girl singers in bands, two bands, somehow kids enjoy ska still, shoplifting, money for gas, boys who want to help with the computer, kids who have lots of pencils and paper and are willing to share, boys who never take off their backpacks, she’s 18, your mom jokes, mom slut jokes, whining, police lights, my Glock, surprise ending for my essay, good opening lines, girls who finally understand, boys who nod sleepily, porn jokes, marijuana jokes, boys who will laugh at the idea of yoga or vegetables or feminism, at which everyone laughs, or San Francisco or jazz or any president, Family Guy t-shirts on kids with big hairy heads and lunch trays, five chicken fingers and chocolate milk all day, chili sloppy joes I love it, gay jokes, tight pants jokes, practice, no practice, no breakfast.

Friday, March 27, 2009

If you are a person who refuses to learn how to pronounce non-Anglo-Saxon last names, maybe the public schools need you as a teacher or administrator. The best strategy for reading aloud a Greek or Thai or Czech or Japanese or even Spanish last name is to mumble the first syllable and then loudly and in good spirits give up, as if this frustration makes you something other than a dickhead.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

There’s Some Fish and Critters Worth Leaving Alone

Four years ago, when I was out of work and my brain was alive, I wanted to start sending comics stories to a magazine or something. They would be little pieces about weird interactions between animal business and human business. One was going to be about how Duke Ellington was obsessed with myna birds, for example. Then another was about the scary idea I found in David Quammen's Monster of God, from R. Ehrenfeld’s article “The Last Extinction”--that in roughly 100 years no majestic or unusual land animals will exist in the wild; that the only things around will be "weedy," hardy little animals like possums, squirrels, rats, and sparrows. This below is the only piece I finished writing, but I never drew pictures:
Here is Eugene Marais, who for three years at the turn of the last century lived in a troop of chacma baboons and killed himself before he finished writing the book about it. He was a journalist and lawyer and Afrikaner resistance poet and Boer War gun-runner too, but I think he’s mainly remembered for his ground-breaking work in ethology and evolutionary science, most of which was stolen from him by Maurice “Total Dirtball” Maeterlinck. He loved termites and baboons. And he injected morphine for like 40 years.
Marais left his Pretoria law practice in nineteen-oh-something and went out in the bush with a friend to study baboons. (This friend and his fate are mysterious. Marais: “An untimely death cut short his work.”) It was a darkly perfect moment for amateur babooning: all the Afrikaner farmers had been killed or imprisoned by the occupying British, and for a decade or so the chacmas enjoyed a rare rifle- and snare-free existence. The book Marais almost completed is called The Soul of the Ape. My favorite chapters are “Addiction and Depression”, and “Disturbances of the Sexual Sense.” You ought to read the book yourself.

First Post

I started this blog more than a year ago, in November 2007, when Frankie was eight months old and everybody in our house was sick.

Then I never went back because I was writing dumb and I never had time to stop and write. But I am trying once more!

Today, then: I cleaned the house and mopped ferociously and listened to bluejays and hawks scream in the yard and felt proud of Frankie four or five times. She was naked all day for some diaper rash relief. We walked up Rattlesnake Creek and she kept repeating what I’d told her: “Raccoon wash his hands in creek.” She also pooped in the yard without our knowing.