Guest Blogger

Check out my guest post on Le Clown’s Black Box Warning’s Blog!

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Love, Love Me Do

Some of the best evenings of my childhood were spent with The Beatles when my parents were out. Once a month they had theater tickets and they would leave me to the charge of my two older brothers. After the requisite torture of the little sister, they would inevitably break out the Beatles’ albums.

My dad had a sweet 70′s stereo turntable, big bass woofers, and speakers on both ends of the living room. We kids weren’t allowed around the stereo system. But, what they didn’t know never did seem to hurt them.  Whenever they went out, Scott would bring out the latest Beatles albums and spin them on dad’s stereo.

We would jump around the living room, singing every word at the top of our lungs. Scott, ten years older than me, would pick me up and twirl me around the room, dipping me and tossing me over his shoulders. We danced and sang until we were read-faced, sweaty, and panting with big, huge grins on our faces.

Then there was the live music. Both the boys played guitar, and I used to sit at their door listening to them play Yesterday, harmonizing. If they were feeling especially generous, they would let me sit in their room to listen, but I only remember that happening about twice. Anyway, it smelled funny in there.

On pretty frequent occasions I got a private concert. Scott would bring the guitar into my room, sit on the edge of my bed and take requests.

It has been almost two and a half years since I officially lost Scott. I say officially because that was when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. But actually, I lost him many years before that when the schizophrenia took over his mind and twisted my sweet, kind brother into a paranoid, frightened and very angry man.

It’s still hard for me to listen to Beatles songs. After Scott got sick, I listened to them less and less. My brothers and I were grown up and had our separate lives. We saw each other infrequently, and I don’t think we ever as adults listened to one Beatles song while we were all together. For a long time when I would hear a song on the radio or in a store I would feel simultaneously a pang in my heart and an instant mood lift from all the happy memories.   A couple of years ago when my husband and I visited Las Vegas, the one and only show I had to see was Cirque’s Love.

Since Scott been gone, though, it’s hard for me to listen to a whole Beatles song without my eyes getting all drippy.  Sure, there are lots of good memories, but hearing those songs makes me feel like I’ve bumped a big gash that’s just now finally scabbed over. You know how when that happens to you, your eyes reflexively tear up? That’s what happens to me when I hear a Beatles song.

Those melodies will forever be the soundtrack of my childhood.

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Field of Dreams (Deferred)

Digging through a stack of clothes on my closet floor, I find the pink thermal underwear.  I put them on under a pair of particularly loose jeans.  The long-sleeved thermal T-shirt came next, on top of which I layered a short sleeved T and sweatshirt.  I grabbed a red scarf to tie around my neck for both fashion sense and extra warmth.  Sticking my travel mug under the Keurig for a cup of hot coffee to go, I gathered my winter coat, leather gloves and hat.  I would need these tonight.

It’s April 3rd in Northeastern Ohio.  It’s 37 degrees outside with a 15 mile an hour wind whipping over the frozen tundra of the Valley today.  At least the sun is shining, I think as I also grab my sunglasses and head out for the baseball field.

I go through a mental checklist in my head of items I should have remembered to stock in the concession stand, which I am in charge of for the season.  I think we’re good.  Plenty of hot chocolate and coffee tonight.

Tonight I’m going to watch Louie play for the JV baseball team.  Our team plays away, a Canton City school whose field is on a pretty rough side of town.  A mural of an old-time player, a ball and a glove are painted on the dugout with the words, “Over A Hundred Years Of Baseball at Cook Park.  1891-2007.”  I think about how much the field and the area has probably changed in that time period.

I can hardly imagine the field at the crossroads of two dirt paths, the horses which probably carried spectators and players alike tied to a tree or a fence post that is long gone.  I try to imagine what the field looked like in the 1950’s when my father-in-law played baseball there for SV.  Paved streets now, nearby factories puff white smoke from the chimneys, hard at work making steel or engine parts.  A train may have come through on the tracks that still lie next to the field while some poor pitcher was down in the count with the bases loaded.

How much would the field have changed by the late 1980s when The Doc played?  The fence in the outfield, from the looks of it, is the same one over which he hit at least one home run.  The lights?  I should ask him if they were there when he played or if they’re a twenty-first century addition.

As I neared the field I noticed the homes, paint peeling and porches sagging wearily.  The roads are full of pot holes, and sidewalks are cracked and weedy.  The buildings surrounding the fields are empty now, windows boarded up with graffiti decorating the plywood.  Weeds and grass have overtaken the tracks no train has probably warmed in years.  The few trees that stand around the field have yet to bud, so they stand stark and naked in the cold afternoon.

Our team of twelve brings with it over twenty spectators:  parents, siblings, grandparents, friends of the players.  The opposing team has no fans when the first pitch is thrown.   Their nine players take the field and while they are warming up it becomes quickly evident that it will be a long evening as the pitcher struggles to lob the ball over the plate anywhere near the strike zone.

Two hours later the score is 24-0 in our favor.  The temperature has probably dropped at least five degrees, but there’s no concession stand for hot chocolate or coffee.  The opposing team, now with a hand full of people watching, battles on.  It’s painful for us all to watch.  Nobody likes to see such a lopsided contest.

Looking around, I realize that this game, this field, this situation is nothing more than a microcosm of America.  We live in a very lopsided country.  Even in the Valley, where 70% of our students are on free and reduced lunch programs, how much more opportunities and support do our kids have than these city kids?  The city they live in, once thriving, has been left abandoned as local companies have shipped their jobs overseas to see higher profits, and what’s been left are those without skill or education or opportunity to move on.  Over a hundred years ago, this was a place where the American Dream could likely have been realized by hard-working folks.  Today, how much more difficult it must be for people here to overcome the odds in order to achieve the modestly comfortable life my kids will expect to live some day.

I think of what this field has seen in its history, and it makes me a little bit sad.  While the game is the same, the world is so different.  We tend to believe that “change” and “progress” is always for the better, but I had to wonder about that last night when I got in my car and locked my door to head home.

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Tales From the Teacher’s Lounge: The Cock Strikes Again

On Monday I had to drive to Cleveland for a Dr’s appointment.  I drove two hours (through Akron in rush hour traffic) up there and an hour and a half back for a 10 minute appointment.  Seriously.  Ten minutes.

I had to take the whole day off since the appointment was at like 10:30, which usually makes me really happy.

But, this Monday I missed a landmark day.  There was another cock in the building.  This time it wasn’t a colored cock, it was a white one.  I hear it was much smaller than the colored one, but I guess nobody was surprised about that.

I found out when Lou texted me at lunch:  Mom, Farm Girl brought a white peacock to school.

Me:  Shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lou:  No for real.  (Then he included the little emji for a chicken)

Me:  Get a pic.  Stat.

Lou:  What is stat?

Me:  Now.  Get the photo now.  By the way, you sent me an emji of a chicken.  Are you sure it’s a peacock and not a chicken?

Lou: Why did you say stat?  What does that even mean?  And it looks like a giant chicken.

Me:  Get the pic and send it to me.

Lou:   How do I do that?

Me:  We didn’t get you an iPhone for nothing, boy.  Ask her to pose for one.  She’ll love it!

I immediately text Jeandayfriday next.

Me:  WTF?   Another Cock in the House????

Jeanday:  Oh yes she did!  This one is white.  She gave it a bath.

And then Jeanday does what any true friend would do.  She sends me the photo.   For about an entire two minutes I contemplate leaving Sam’s club immediately and driving to school so I can see this big (although not as big as the colored) white cock in all it’s glory.  Perhaps, since the cock is clean, I will even touch it and see if it’s as silky smooth as Jeanday said the colored cock was.  I, of course, did not touch the colored cock.  It’s not that I’m racist or anything, but I usually don’t go around stroking strange cocks.

I decided that picking up another case of toilet paper was more pressing than seeing the cock in person, so I just waited until I got to school on Tuesday to get the scoop.

It was reported to me that, once again, she took the cock on parade around the building to make sure everyone could admire it.  But this time she waited until it had had its bath.  An unidentified male science teacher reported walking in on her blow drying the beast with her hair dryer to ensure she didn’t get her clothes wet while she carried the thing around the building.  (I just want to make it clear she carries the thing around, lest you conjur an image of a peacock on a leash, which would be both ridiculous and fallacious.)

Another male staff member reported that he spent the day actively seeking out Farm Girl for conversations in which he refused to break eye contact with her and look at or acknowledge the peacock.  He was taught in his educational theory classes that sometimes you don’t want to reward attention-seeking behavior.  In my opinion, that’s a good strategy.  I guess it was a blessing I wasn’t here after all.




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Tales From the Teacher’s Lounge: Cock in the House

I’m preparing my lesson plans for next week during our morning half-hour planning time.  Minding my own business, you know, working.  At work.

I hear Farm Girl’s voice and from the top of my glasses see her sauntering toward mine and Jeandayfriday’s door.  I duck my head down deeper into the textbook, hoping that she does not walk in my door.  It’s Friday and I’m not in the mood.

I hear Jeanday take in a deep breath and utter “WOW!”  So I have to look.  In my doorway, I see this:


It’s a cock.  A peacock to be exact.  In school.  Jeanday can’t resist this Farm Girl event.  It’s been awhile since we had one, so she starts:

“That’s a magnificent (pea)cock!  It’s soooooo pretty!”

She begins stroking its feathers.  “Oooh, it feels so good.  It’s soft.”

Another staff member, from the middle school, steps into my room shaking her head.  “Is this for real, man?”  She asks me.  I can only shake my head.  “This is why I could never work in the high school.  Weird stuff happens up here.  Really weird stuff.”

All I can say is, “yep.”

Staff members begin to congregate outside my door, incredulous looks on their faces.

Farm Girl warns, “I hope he doesn’t start flying around.  You should have seen him when I brought him in.  He went flying all over (she says those two words in a sing-song voice) the classroom.  Had a hard time catching him.”  I secretly begin hoping the thing takes flight throughout the school.  Students are about to be released from the cafeteria, and it would be hilarious to watch peacock and students dodge one another down the narrow hallways.

Meanwhile, Jeanday has taken out her camera to shoot the auspicious moment.  And she continues to intermittently stroke the cock,  urging the others, “you have to feel this.  Touch it.”

She hollers in my room, “Come out here and feel this.  You have to touch it.”

“Nope.  No I don’t.”  I call back.

“Come on….how often do you get a chance to feel something like this?”

I decide The Doc will never believe this.  I snap a quick photo with my phone and text him.  Seconds later he replies “Is that real?   If so, WTF???”

I’m mid reply to him when I hear, “Oh my God, it just pooped all over the floor!”  From one of our older female staffers.  Her voice is a mixture of surprise and disgust.

“Oops.”  Farm Girl says, staring at the pile of peacock crap on the white linoleum.

Jeanday recognizes immediately that Farm Girl is very much a nature girl, a nature lover.  If it’s natural, it must be good.  She’s concerned about what that might mean for the poop pile and remarks, “You HAVE to clean that up,”  in the most sweet, non threating voice that I, in a million years, could never muster in this situation.   She saves the day (of course!)  “I’ve got some paper towels in my room.  Go get them.”  She sweetly orders Farm Girl.

“That would be great.”  Farm  Girl replies.  “We haven’t potty trained him yet.”

How exactly do you potty train a peacock?  I might have to check on since they have the answer to about everything else important I need to know.

In the mean time, Farm Girl decides to pick up the cock and parade it around the building after the first period class has begun, sure that EVERY student and teacher is absolutely as fascinated with her cock as she is.  We are not fascinated with her cock.  Her cock annoys us.

Ironically, two weeks ago Farm Girl sent out a panicy email to the entire staff.  She is concerned about the Sophomores who will be taking their state standardized tests in a few weeks and how unprepared they are (at least in Science.)  She includes a call to action – a staff meeting to determine what course of action we should take.  Here was my suggestion:  start teaching at the beginning of the year and stick to the curriculum.

Nevertheless, we have instituted “review sessions” and dangled the carrot of a day out of school to sophomores who attend four of these sessions.  Incidentally I was scheduled to teach one of these Wednesday morning.  Nobody attended.

And the final crowning significance of the Cock in the House incident is that this week our building is hosting a French Film crew who is shooting a documentary on American Public Education.

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Make It Count!

7.8 seconds is not a lot of time.  I can’t Name That Tune in 7.8 seconds.  I’m pretty sure I can’t sign my name legibly in that amount of time.  It would take me longer to fix myself a cup of coffee.  I can’t write a blog post or grade an essay in 7.8 seconds, even if it sometimes seems like that’s all the time I’ve taken.  7.8 seconds is not enough time to vacuum the floor,  unload the dishwasher, or decide what to wear.  Basically, it’s not enough time to do anything with any kind of significance whatsoever.

At least that’s what I thought until last night.

Louie plays basketball. All 5’4 of him.  (Have I ever mentioned he’s darling?  He is.  He would die if he knew I called him ‘darling,’ but I guess that would be good punishment for finding my blog!)  Anyway, he’s a freshman in high school, and 5’4 is pretty short for a basketball player, so he’s got the cards stacked against him a bit.

He never lets that discourage him.  He practices constantly for this:  high school basketball.  This is The Big Show.  He knows that every time he steps out on that court now he’s  putting it all out there in the hopes that, if he does well enough in his high school career, he can break a record (it’s the assists record he’s after).  He wants his name etched on the boards hanging outside the gym forever – or at least until the next guy comes along.

Usually freshmen play on the freshmen team.  But, the stars aligned in the Universe for him this year.  A family of three basketball-playing boys moved out of the district, leaving the Varsity team in dire straights.  There would be a chance, if he worked really hard, he could get himself a spot on the JV team.  And work, he did.  If he wasn’t swinging a baseball bat this summer, he was bouncing a basketball or shooting foul shots.  Last New Year’s Eve we had to drag him in the house at 1:30 am.  He was determined to shoot 100 foul shots in a row without missing.

After tryouts this year, Louie not only landed himself a spot as the starting point guard on JV, but he also got the honor of dressing for the Varsity game.

He brought home the uniform and tried it on for us.  The shooting shirt was a Men’s size large (he gets what’s left; he’s a freshman).  The shirt hangs down to his knees.  (But he looks darling in it.)  On the way to the school, he sat in the passenger’s seat wringing his hands.

“You nervous, bud?”  I ask him.

“Yeah, kinda.”

“You know you probably won’t get in, right?  You’ve got two other upperclassmen playing the same position ahead of you.  Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to play.  It’s an honor to dress.” I reminded him.

“I know.  I’m nervous and excited all at the same time.  I mean, if I go in it will be because the game doesn’t matter anymore.  Either we will be up by a ton or losing.  If I get in, I’m just gonna go hard.  Make it count, if I can,”  he tells me.

It was a close game for four quarters.  Everyone on the bench had been rotated in and out during most of the game, everyone except Louie.  It was okay, though.  Every time a teammate came to the bench, Lou clapped him on the back.  He would yell for his team, pumping his fist and clapping when we would regain a lead.  He’s a team player.  He got that it wasn’t his time to go in.

With 7.8 seconds left, our team up by 16 points, the coach sat down the starters and cleared the bench.  Lou was finally getting his chance.  The opposing team was inbounding the ball and Lou was on their point guard.  The guard dribbled toward half court and Lou did a stutter step to the side, reaching in.  He got a hand on the ball and sent it bouncing away from their guard out of bounds.  Our ball.  In two seconds the game was over.

There was no change of score or buzzer-beating shot to win the game, but in 7.8 seconds that kid forced a turnover.  He made something happen.  It wasn’t a big difference, but it was something.

In a time when everyone (including me) wants instant gratification and an immediate reward for hard work, it would be easy to be discouraged or frustrated to spend nearly an entire basketball game on the bench, to be the only guy still sitting there, not having broken a sweat all night, one minute left in the game.  I would’ve been.

But not Lou.  He didn’t care.  When he got that tug on his jersey to hit the floor with seconds left in the game, his face lit up.  He wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass him by, even if it was just a little one.

I can say that I regularly look at my time – ten minutes here or there, even an hour or two, and feel like I can’t accomplish anything in that time.  But now I realize that in letting these little moments slip away, I’m missing opportunities.  It doesn’t take much time to write someone an encouraging note or drop a card in the mail.  It doesn’t take all that much time to execute one little act of kindness like holding open a door or letting someone with only two items check out before me at the store.  But I don’t often grab hold of those opportunities.

I think I will take advantage of an opportunity today, though, when I see one.  Last night a 15 year old kid and 7.8 seconds of hustle reminded me that every second counts.

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Silencing the Valley Voice

My son found out about my blog.  I was afraid this was going to happen eventually, and the day is here.  Now I don’t know what to do.

The little sneak was listening in on my conversation with one of my best friends.  She and I only catch up a couple of times a year.  For some reason the 21st century seems to have passed us by in our method of communicating with one another.  We could text and email, but we don’t.  We just talk on the phone for an hour or more like we did when we were in high school.

Anyway, last week we had one of our bi-yearly conversations.  As you can imagine they go on for quite some time and recount all of the most interesting aspects of our lives.  My blog is one of the most interesting aspects of mine (sad, I know), so I thought I’d tell her about it.  Plus, it would give her a little window into the life I live here in the Valley, which is very different from hers in the suburbs of D.C.  Plus, she knows my family so she’ll think my blogs about them are a hoot.  I always like a friendly audience.

So today there was a debacle in school involving Farm Girl, electricity, and an Interviention Specialists’ trip to the hospital.  I was looking for details about the incident because I could smell a really great “Tales From the Teacher’s Lounge” blog in the works.

So the boy pops his head in my classroom at lunch and tells me his buddy’s got the skinny.
“Awesome,”  I remark running out of the room, “I feel a blog coming on.”

And then he ruined it.

“I know about your blog.”

“I know you know about my blog.”

“No, mom.  I KNOW about your blog.  I know your name.  I heard you telling your friend about it.”

“Listen here you little punk,”  I begin, “if you tell ANYBODY where to find my blog, I will literally kill you.  You got that?”

“Yeah,”  he said laughing.  So much for the menacing, mob-style fear I was trying to induce.

I’m now left with a serious dilemma.   Having the people I work with know about my blog will take all the fun (and content) out of my blogging!   What’s a blogger to do?   If I have to be nice all the time, what’s left to say?

Topic ideas, anyone?

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Tales From the Teacher’s Lounge: Farm Girl and the Gun Wound

Last week I was lamenting the dangers of being in the teaching profession what with the intruder drills, fire drills, paralyzing stench of body odor…you know.  However, this week I have to say that I’m glad I’m a teacher instead of a farmer.  From what I hear tell, farming can be much more dangerous.

Farm girl’s poor hubby has been the recent victim of two pretty terrible farming-related accidents, both involving his lower extremities.  In the fall he was working on cutting down a tree in their back 40.  There was a mishap with the chainsaw and he had a pretty bad wound to the knee area.  Farm Girl was a little miffed that he had to have the accident in the full view of their daughter.

“I told him he was lucky he didn’t die.  Because if he did, I told him ‘If you wouldda died, I would have killed you when I got up to heaven for dying in front of our baby.”

I thought there was some missing logic in that statement, but I’ve also been known to tell my own kids, “if you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Yesterday he was the victim of another mishap.  We were all in department meetings when a voice on the loudspeaker paged her, asking her to call home.  Word spread like wildfire, like word is apt to do in a small town high school, even among the adults – Farm Girl’s husband has shot himself!

It wasn’t funny.  It wasn’t funny at all…until we heard the story.  It’s a little funny.

While hunting in the woods early yesterday morning, he spotted her:  the perfect doe.  Christmas dinner on four legs.  He crouched down to hide himself, set up a good shot.

It was a worn pair of muck boots with little tread, an older rifle, shoddy safety, loose trigger.  A perfect storm, a disaster waiting to happen.  When you think about it, it would have been more amazing if it hadn’t happened.

In the moment after he knelt down, the boots slipped from underneath him, his arm jarred at an angle which pointed the gun directly at his foot.  At the moment his butt hit the leaves, the safety popped off and his finger bumped the trigger.  Bye bye baby toe.

Farm Girl was in the building this morning.

“How’s the hubby?”  I ask her as she’s grabbing her lesson plans off the copy machine.

“He’s ok.”  She tells me.  “Kind of depressed.  He feels stupid for shooting himself in the foot, literally.”

“Yeah.”  I surpressed a giggle.  It is kind of funny when you use an expression all the time and then it actually comes true.  Except the expression “someone could lose an eye that way,”  because The Doc has seen that happen, and that one’s definiely NOT funny.  But, shooting yourself in the foot?  You can live without a baby toe, so it’s ok to laugh a little.

“But that’s not the worst part,”  she tells me.  “There had to be an invesigation because there was a gunshot wound.  They had to come out and look at the hole in the ground.  And they questioned me and had to verify that I was at work when it happened.”

Holy crap, I think.  You can become a suspect in an attempt to murder case because someone you’re married to shoots HIMSELF?  America.

“Wow….”  I begin.

“Yeah,”  she goes on, “And the same investigator came out yesterday that was there when he got hurt with the chainsaw, so he was like, ‘Ma’am you’ve got to quit trying to kill your husband,’.”

This has the makings of a really bad lifetime movie or a John Grisham novel, I think.

“And…” she continued, “they have to attribute the gunshot to SOMETHING.  They called it ‘fatigue,’ so he was cited with a first-degree misdemeanor.”

“Wait a minute,”  I can’t believe this great country I live in.   “It can’t be called an ‘accident’?”  I ask.

“Not when a gun is fired,”  she says.

“So he shoots off his toe AND gets charged with a crime?”   I’m amazed.  “You would think shooting off your own toe would be punishment enough.”

“Yeah.”  She says.

“How are the kids taking it?”  I ask, hoping none of them had to witness this particular debacle.

“Well, the middle told her dad, ‘I’m glad you’re okay, but I’m sad we can’t play this little piggie anymore.  Wee Wee Wee got blown away.”

Oh sweetheart, Wee Wee Wee is not the only one blown away by this.  Not by a long shot. (Pun intended)



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Child Porn on a Shopping Bag

So I went shopping on Black Friday.  I know, I know.  I swore that I was Just Sayin’ No to the usually crowded, smelly, sweaty experience that characterizes the Black Friday crowds, but it couldn’t be helped.

Jay got a dry socket from his ever-so-fun wisdom tooth extraction of the week before Thanksgiving.  Murphy’s law demands that if you have wisdom teeth extracted before a holiday whose sole purpose is eating that you must, indeed, develop a dry socket on said holiday.  Who is my son to break such a law of the universe?

So the surgeon wanted to see him first thing in the morning to fix it.  Great, I’m thinking.  Black Friday traffic.  Mobs.  It’s going to be a disaster.  Then, to top it off, the Doc asked me to stop and Lowes and buy some twine.  Really?  I’m thinking.  Twine?   Today?  But I’m a good wife, so I smiled and said, “no problem, honey.”

As I coasted off the exit, I noticed that the shopping area was eerily quiet.  Like any normal day’s traffic.  As if in some kind of magical dream we were in and out of the surgeon’s office and parked about four spaces from the front door of Lowes.  Could this even be possible?  Black Friday deals without the crowds?   The Hallelujah Chorus rang through my ears.

I got on the phone and in no time had planned to hook up with my sister-in-law who was, conveniently, on her way to Lowes.  It was meant to be.

But, alas, all of this is merely a digression.  What I really need to talk about is the child porn on the shopping bag.

At the mall (where I generally never shop), my sister-in-law suggested we go into Hollister to look for clothes for our teenaged boys.  Normally I would avoid that place like the plague.  First of all, the entrance looks like a secret cave.  You can’t actually see into the store from the outside.  The windows are dark and decorated with some crazy jungle palm stuff.

The inside of the store is characterized by darkness and pulsating music – the atmosphere of a nightclub jammed with clothes.  While the concept sounds like fun, for a forty-year-old mom with waning eyesight, it is not fun.  I had to walk sweatshirts across the store to find one of the two spotlights that were actually on and hold it underneath to try to find the correct size….repeatedly because, again, of that damn Murphy and his law that says if you’re looking for a specific size you will look at every item of clothing on the table before you find it, especially if you’re in a venue with poor lighting.

After I finally get my purchases and walk out of the store, I took a look at the shopping bag.  To my horror I see a picture of the naked torso of what I would call a boy.  The kid is (maybe) eighteen years old.  He looks like the same age as a couple of the kids who sit in my classroom.  He’s looking at the camera with a pensive, sexy, come-hitherish look.

“Holy crap!”  I say to my sister-in-law.  “Look at this kid.  He’s wearing no shirt.”

I suddenly feel like my 85 year old aunt Myrna.  But I also can’t help feeling uncomfortable looking at the image of this barely legal boy on my shopping bag.

“Is this a picture of a child?”  I ask my sister-in-law.

“Well….” she starts, “I guess he’s SOMEBODY’S child.”

“Do you call your students ‘children’?”  I ask her.

“They prefer young adults,”  she says.

“Would you get in trouble for having a picture of one of your students posed like this?”  I ask her.

“He’s got to be 18.”  She reassures me.  Still, I can’t help but feel like an old letch carrying this bag around the mall.

I hate to think of myself as an old prude, but I can’t help but feel like there’s a giant disconnect here.  We are a society that takes a very serious stand on what we call “child pornography.”  We warn our young people that if they send naked (or semi-naked) pictures of themselves to each other on their phones or forward said pictures to friends that they can be prosecuted for distributing child porn.  Then, we allow a major corporation to plaster pictures like these on their catalogues and shopping bags.  While the kid may be 18, 19, 20, whatever, he certainly looks like he’s barely of age.

But here’s the bigger question…why is this kid naked?  Doesn’t your store sell CLOTHES?  Shouldn’t he be wearing those if that’s whay you’re selling?  Or couldn’t he find anything he liked?

If that’s the case, why the heck am I shopping there?  I think that’s the biggest question of them all.


Posted in Family, Humor, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just sayin’ No

This Black Friday season I’m just sayin’ no.  Every year it seems I succomb to the pressure of the retailers.  I say to myself “I am NOT getting up at an ungodly hour (or staying up all night long) to go buy stuff.”  And yet….

There’s the circular with all those pretty colors.  And there’s the low, low prices plastered all over the place.  There’s the competition factor:   Will I be the one customer lucky enough to snag that one laptop selling for $99.99?  I know I probably won’t be, but I feel as if I must try.  I recall that adreneline rush and feeling of triumph while I was holding the last of the $50 guitar hero sets a few years back.  The feeling.  It’s like a drug, man.

There’s the fear of the unknown.   What if I miss out on a really good sale?  There may be no more pajama bottoms left when I go to find them for my family!  Then what?   I will be cursing my decision to stay tucked in my warm bed.  Who knows what kinds of bargains are out there?   What things do I NEED that I will be passing up because I don’t wish to stand in long lines in the freezing cold?

Then, I also recall the feeling of utter shame as I stand in the checkout line, sometimes for nearly an hour, just to have the privelage to give “the man” some of my hard-earned money?   Shouldn’t he be a-knocking at my door?  What IS this madness?

And this madness is no longer relegated to the day after Thanksgiving.  Now the sales are starting earlier and earlier.  It used to be 6am.  Then 4.  Now we’re talking Midnight or even Thanksgiving evening.  It’s madness, I tell you!   I can’t eat turkey leftovers in line at Kohls….or can I?

No.  This year I will stand strong.  I will not succumb to the scare tactics and bandwagon appeals of the retail world.  In fact, maybe this year I will boycott the whole holiday gift-giving circus altogether.  I think there’s an orange in my fridge that I can throw in my kids’ tube socks.  That made Laura Ingalls happy, didn’t it?

So I urge you to stand strong with me, people.  Say no to the madness, the pressure, they hype.  Get back to the true meaning of the holiday.  Cuz if y’all do then I will be sure to get that laptop!

Posted in Humor, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments