Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dante's Way Worse Inferno, Part I

Anybody who teaches can tell you that the last few weeks of school are h-e-double pencils for teachers. For substitute teachers, those last weeks are worse still. Make it eighth grade—that pubescent purgatory, the most dreaded of all ages experienced by humanity—and you have a recipe for sheer teaching torture.

Last week I descended into such madness. It was at my favorite middle school, even, but I realized something was up when I saw extra security guards posted at the entrances. Apparently there had been a “cyber-threat.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with public school terminology, “cyber-threat” usually means somebody started a rumor on Facebook about how somebody else threatened to blow the dumb school to kingdom come…and parental panic ensued.

In MY day (yes, I know) when somebody threatened to blow up school, we all got a fire drill while somebody—my guess would be the custodian—looked around to see if there was a giant package marked “bomb” sitting around anywhere. We got to go out just long enough to see how nice it was outside (and to give the teachers and some of the naughtier kids--and maybe the cutstodian himself--an extra cig break), and then we had to go back in again. But in MY day, no one had yet freaked out in a school and committed mass murder.

So these days, after the police and fire department and bomb sniffing dogs and school board and administrators have all gone in and checked things out, we go in with extra security.

I actually worked extra security once. I was basically a not-so-glorified hall monitor who also had to patrol all the girls’ bathrooms to check for threatening graffiti. No kidding. But this time, they had hired real security guards with uniforms and everything. They were old guys who looked like they’d retired from meter reading, but the uniforms were a nice touch.

(To Be Continued)....

“I like saw your phone? And I was like, ‘that’s a really small phone.’” ~Overheard from 12 year old girl

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