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Kids coming back for seconds
One fun thing about teaching sixth grade in a middle school is that I’ve taught nearly everyone in the building. The eighth grade teachers get to know a sixth or seventh grader here and there, but every person at our school either currently is or once was a sixth grader. We see them grow up and evolve for two more years, and some even continue to talk to us.
The last day of sixth grade, I tell the kids that if they want, today our business is concluded. Many make that choice. I remind them too much of who they were in sixth grade, and now they’re older and don’t want that kid stuff. People I had a great time with in sixth grade forget who I am in seventh, and it makes sense developmentally but still makes me a little sad. The ones who like you because you’re The Teacher shift that gaze to the new title holder, and the heart aches.
But plenty stay in touch. Half a dozen seventh graders come into my room every morning to draw Peppa Pig and answer the question of the day. Along with an eighth grader who did that all last year. My eighth grade crew of sticker demanders end their day rifling through my desk. Kids in line for seventh grade science across the hall enter with my sixth grade class, and I tell them not to be late but let them play. One eighth grader delights in calling me by the wrong name daily, so I mispronounce her name right back. I like when our champions return and pine for their middle school salad days. They’re always welcome.
The Urban Blah
Back in 2009-11 I collaborated with the brilliant Vee to make a webcomic that failed to become syndicated across the globe. I am pro-recycling.
I went back through the email chain and found this started because Vee started drawing the two in costumes to make herself laugh, and it made me laugh, too. I eventually wrote words with the intention of this being future costume ideas. I should point out that the Real Life Wife would actually be Quint, given how often she does that “You all know me” speech. I pitched Annie Hall and Oates, and Vee’s first attempt was also great:
But this was ripped from the headlines like an episode of Law & Order, and I sent a photo of when we rocked this costume.
Sad to say that was my actual hair at the time, but a fake mustache. All the nerdy boys were crushed out on the Awesome Wife, and the Mr. Kotter dig came from an actual party-goer. I also got Gene Shalit.
Plus, Vee has a substack, you should subscribe!
Jam of the Week
I don’t know how I stumbled across the 2016 album High Plains from Ghost Box Orchestra, but that’s what I’ve been listening to lately. Thunderous doomed shoegaze, the darker side of my usual recipe. I remember liking their first album, so I checked out all their entire output and it’s all my kind of noise. Start anywhere.
My Back Pages
From my blog Surgical Strikes, a fake news post entitled “REPORT: Same-sex unions threatening tradition of bigotry,” June 6, 2006:
A new study had revealed that recent laws allowing same-sex marriage are threatening the grand American tradition of bigotry and hatred. If marriage continues to go undefended, homosexuals could be viewed as human beings by 2010… with unknown effects.
“It’s a slippery slope,” explained Sgt. Gary Pepper, a marriage defense contractor. “We’ve seen this before with segregation. First you let them vote, next they want to use the same bathrooms, and pretty soon you’ve got Flavor Flav nailing white chicks on his own VH1 show, followed closely by the apocalypse. We have to put our foot down before our children start to view homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle by members of the human race.”
Completely unrelatedly, I was reminiscing about Flavor of Love this weekend, which remains the only Bachelorish dating show I’ve watched. It was excellent.
Pepper went to to say that the United States was founded on principles that have since fallen by the wayside. He hopes we can return to a simpler time when Americans could safely kill and enslave those different from themselves.
“Whether it was slaughtering Indians, enslaving Africans, or forbidding women from voting, America was built on a long tradition of heinous oppression,” said Pepper. “We don’t want to kill the [homosexuals] or make them pick cotton or anything. But we could if we wanted to.”
It seems subtelty was not a weapon in my comedy arsenal at the time.
Across America, undefended marriages are crumbling and families are being destroyed.
“How am I supposed to teach my kids to hate [homosexuals] if the government signs off on their love and fidelity?” asked one Massachusetts man. “It sends a dangerous message of tolerance. Yesterday I caught my kid listening to The Lion King soundtrack by Elton John, and then he went out and robbed a convenience store!
I despised the verbiage of the Defense of Marriage Act, as if people have to defend their marriages from others’ marriages that could be injurious. I liked the idea of actively playing defense on your marriage.
Many Christians cite biblical verses forbidding homosexuality as a legitimizing rationale for their naked bigotry and fear of the unknown, but renowned carpenter Jesus Christ wasn’t convinced.
“Right, right, right,” said J.C. “It also forbids eating pork, sowing a field with mixed seeds, and wearing clothes made of different materials. So where’s the anti-bacon amendment to the Constitution? Basically the bible says ‘be nice to each other,’ and the rest is filler. Plus, bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good.”
John Travolta could not be reached for comment.
Ah, the selectivity of the evangelicals. Republicans drove turnout in the 2004 election with a slew of anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives, and when the GOP cracked 50% (the only time since the ’80s) I felt betrayed by my country. Didn’t feel that way again until 2016, and it was way worse. I prefer those 2020, 2008, or 1992 moments.
And another thing
There’s no neighborhood decorating contest this year, but following The Neighborhood Insurrection (skeletons climbing the fence to storm a backdrop of the Capitol) and the Community Ghoulden (playing off the garden next door), this year we’re tipping our caps to the screen actors, auto workers, CAMBRIDGE TEACHERS, and others still embroiled in union fights. Plus nuff respect to train folk, teamsters, writers, and other who’ve already settled their contracts. The skeletons are joining your picket line. Cost of this display: $0.
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