Friday, March 26, 2004

Water and Destruction

Nun, the Egyptian God of Water and Chaos, has delivered me from teaching today. I think he and Kali were hanging out last night trying to figure out what gift to give to the world this morning. Luckily, their dastardly deed focused on giving some educators a break. Teachers down every corridor sang hallelujiahs praising the remarkable rupture of the school's water main this morning.

So thank you, water gods, no students for me today. I must go grade papers before getting out of this dark classroom to go enjoy the Glendale Hot Air Balloon Fest!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

My Best Day

For Bell Work the other day, I asked my students to write about their best day. I asked them to describe the sights, sounds, textures, smells and feelings associated with this experience.

My student Jorge, who usually thinks about his assignments and sucks on his pencil for quite some time before digging in, began writing immediately.

As I wound my way around my room, I looked over shoulders and read scrawled lines about birthdays, 8th grade graduation ceremonies, and days when friends came through at tough times. I wanted to see what Jorge was writing since he looked so intent on his purpose.

He didn't even look up when I took a seat next to him. The first few lines of his short paragraph read:

My best day is today. I got up in a good mood this morning. I don't know what is going to happen today, so that is why today is my best day.

I smiled and Jorge looked up. I asked him to describe his feelings about today to me.

"It feels like hope."

If I had done my own assignment, I would have written about the day I graduated from college. I smelled misty rain and tasted palpable joy. I felt fading youth and sensed responsibility like a monsoon on the horizon. I finally knew myself.

In that moment, I exuded hope. Just as Jorge did today. And I believe I like his answer so much more than my own.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Controversies, Clichés and Contrition: pondering public pronouncements

My mother is the picture of grace. She is bright, balanced, giving and wrote the handbook of good manners. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In my case, the cliché is wrong.

I’m not graceful. I speak my mind and air dirty laundry. Most of the time, I’m transcendent enough to direct criticisms and witticisms at my own blunders. But I’ve also watched as others made life choices that completely confounded me. And in response, I relentlessly delivered scathing verdicts like a renegade Supreme Court judge. In the land where cruel and unusual punishment is banned, I enjoyed turning some thumbscrews and pouring salt into open wounds. Who doesn’t enjoy a good public hanging?

In a perfect world, that would be a ridiculous, rhetorical question. But, that cliché my mom first taught me – “the pen is mightier than the sword” – rings true. Read any newspaper for current political slanders. Open a tabloid for fresh gossip. Check the internet for the latest misleading headline.

On a much smaller scale, my mother believes that my “PDA” is misplaced. No, I don’t condone “Public Displays of Affection” as acceptable in polite society. For some reason, media blood courses through my veins and I find joy in “Public Disclosure of the Audacious.”

I’ve done this before and I’ve admitted transgression. My mom is so poised – she has yet to tell me that I’m a complete ass. But my penchant for storytelling has earned me another aptly applied cliché from my astute mom: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Keep writing the slams, keep reaping the snubs.

After all is said and done, commentary is just interpretation and people can’t be pegged by a lone pen. Upon consideration, I think the cliché that is most applicable to a writer’s life is, “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” Maybe the real chore lies in figuring out if lugging around four feet of shiny steel for a lifetime is worth the story at the end.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Time Zones

Rarely is the question it too early for beer?

I mean, really. What is the appropriate time to start drinking beer? Back when I owned OnSite Plumbing, ten o'clock in the morning was acceptable. That was a portent of things to come...

But I grew and changed and became more respectable (really). And I found that once one becomes a responsible adult, the question usually becomes, "When is it too early for a martini?"

I know the answer to that question. It's never too early for a martini. In fact, it should be martini time, all the time. Unless it's margarita time, which for those of you who are curious runs between 4:00pm and 9:00pm. After that it is tequila time. This is usually followed by floor time.

Anyway, I've never found an acceptable answer to when it's too early to start imbibing one's daily allowance of carbo-licious goodness. If anyone knows the answer, I'll be by the pool contemplating this question with a Michelob light in my hand.

About Me

Stupidly self-centered for over 3 decades!