Category Archives: Rant

#TBT: On Rest Areas

Standard

I originally ran this post back on November 10, 2010. I hope it’s held up well.

One of my good friends currently lives downstate from me a ways and I ride down to check on her every so often. One Friday in the spring, I asked Budge if we had anything planned for the next day; she told me no, so I got up early, went down to see my bud, found her doing well, and headed on back to the house.

Footage from my last endoscopy.

I had just left the main interstate for the spur leading towards home when the problems started. From well within my innards came The Burble. The Burble is the early warning sign meaning, in this case, last night’s spicy Italian meatballs had reached the end of their sojourn in the Wilderness and were ready to cross the river into the Promised Land.

Over time, I have learned The Burble is ignored at my peril. My body is being polite to me, but he doesn’t repeat himself often. The Burble is the reason I carry a roll of shop quality paper towels in my Element at all times. Even though I was a Boy Scout for only a scant three months, their motto — “Be Prepared” — left a deep and abiding impression upon me.

In fact, a one-way conversation with The Burble on an overnight trip to Camp Old Indian led to my enlistment in the Scouts being so preternaturally short. No one told me until we arrived said camp lacked indoor plumbing. All manner of numbers 1 and 2 would be addressed in the cozy confines of the various privies and outhouses scattered throughout the grounds. I was forced, at The Burble’s insistence, to venture — flashlight in hand — to one of these shanties where I encountered a dearth of bathroom tissue and a plethora of sable-hued eight-legged denizens with bright crimson bellies. As soon as the bus wheels stopped rolling in front of Gray Court Town Hall the next morning, I turned in my uniform.

But I digress.

By some degrees of trial and error, I have discerned The Burble gives about a ten minute or ten-mile heads up. As I had already passed the last exit with nice restaurants, gas stations, and — consequently — clean facilities, I was forced against my will upon the mercy of the SC Department of Transportation. Briefly, I had to resort to a Rest Area.

Any port in a storm, eh?

I don’t like rest areas. First of all, I’ve seen too many episodes of Criminal Minds and spent too much time watching true crime stories on the Investigation Discovery Channel. Pulling off the highway at a rest stop to me, especially as I was alone at the time, seemed an engraved invitation to become the next lead story on the Channel Four WYFF News at 6. I could already hear Mike Cogsdill reading the tagline, “A fat man was found strangled, butchered, and partially eaten in an upstate rest area this afternoon — a serial killer or rabid polar bear [too much Lost] is suspected in the brutal slaying.”

Unfortunately, serial killer and wild animals or not, The Burble would not be denied or gainsaid so off the road I eased.

As luck would have it, this particular outpost of indoor facilities was remarkably clean and block glass walls and windows let in copious amounts of cheerful noonday sunshine. My optimism was short-lived, however, as soon as I made the turn into the restroom stall area and discovered waiting for me the SECOND reason I despise rest areas — a gleaming row of four “standard sized” stainless steel restroom stalls with a single “special needs” stall on the end.

For the record, so-called standard sized stalls were designed before the standard sized human bottom had expanded to its present dimensions. All over the news and internet is the cry Americans are becoming more and more overweight and larger . . . public rest room designers apparently didn’t get the memo.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am in no way laying claim to a standard sized sitter downer. In point of fact, I cannot boast of a single standard sized body part of any real consequence. As I have reiterated in this blog before, I am NOT a small man. I was born 10 pounds and 5 ounces back in the day when such super-sized offspring were vastly rarer than they are today.

It’s safe to say I haven’t shrunk in the intervening years.

So, I began the onerous task of choosing a stall. Stall 4 was disgusting. Some people don’t know what a flush handle is. Stall 3 had a water leak seeping from the back of the toilet and soaking the floor. Stall 1 was out of T.P. Process of elimination pointed to Stall 2. So, I shoehorned my double-wide rear end and equally broad shoulders into the stainless coffin, placed my cell phone within reach on the floor, and, forcibly cock-eyed on the seat by the idiotic placement of the T.P. dispenser, proceeded with, to quote Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Taking care of business.”

Now those who know me are well-versed in my hatred of cell phones. To me they are invasions of my privacy and solitude and a general nuisance and if it were not for possible emergencies involving my family, I would throw mine into the nearest body of water. However, I always carry one into public restrooms with me to guard against the very real possibility of my becoming hopelessly lodged in the stall . At least with a phone near to hand, I can call *HP and order up some help. Wouldn’t you love to hear such a call go out on the radio? “Car 54, we have an obese man trapped in a rest room stall in the rest area at mile marker 13, please meet the EMTs there to begin extraction with the Jaws of Life.” Sure, I’d be the laughing-stock of the aforementioned 6 O’Clock News, but at least I wouldn’t have to wait there until I starved down enough to stand on my own and walk out.

But again, I digress.

Samuel L. Jackson Toilet Paper: It’s rough and it’s tough and it don’t take any crap off anybody.

So “my business” being a fait accompli after spending the better part of a half-hour wrestling with the roll of Samuel L. Jackson T.P.,  my posterior was adequately serviced, and I found I, in fact, wasn’t stuck this time and managed to rise, adjust my clothing, and leave the stall to wash my hands, return to my car, and go on my merry way having killed two birds with one stone to wit, taking my daily constitutional AND getting in my cardio for the day. It was an unusually simple affair all the way around.

Now, some of the more astute of you will no doubt ask me why I didn’t just avail myself of the much larger “special needs” stall and save myself time, trouble, and stress. The answer lies in my fatalistic viewpoint. I know with absolute certainty the moment I ever succumb to the spacious temptation of the “special needs” stall in all its roomy glory, a bus carrying the entire U.S. Army Paralympics Team will pull into the rest area and I will emerge from the SINGLE stall available to these heroes standing on my two wholly undamaged legs to face a group of our nation’s finest seated in stoic silence in their wheelchairs. NO THANK YOU! I have enough bad karma in my life without that little scene playing out.

Love ya’ll! Restock the T.P. and keep those feet clean!

Can’t Buy Me Class

Standard
https://i0.wp.com/2dopeboyz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/kanye-west-rolling-stone.jpg

You have got to be effing kidding me?

Somebody needs to say it and since it seems no one is jumping up and down going “Oh, oh, pick me, pick me!!” I guess I’ll say it . . .

Kanye West, sit down and SHUT THE $%&# UP!

I try to be good to everyone. I try not to speak harshly about people I don’t know extremely well because I haven’t walked that proverbial mile in their shoes, but in this case, I’m making an exception due to overabundance of evidence of douchebaggeriness and all the evidence points out Kanye Omari West is without a doubt the biggest douchebag on the planet.

I don’t care if you think he is “talented.” I don’t care if you think he is a “musical genius.” I don’t care that he has more money than several small countries, has won over 20 Grammy Awards, and married the biggest skankapotamus in a FAMILY of skankopottomi since Paris Hilton. All his success, fame, and wealth have managed to prove is no amount of money can buy class, taste, or sophistication.

I will never have the man’s money or fame and I wouldn’t touch his wife with a ten foot pole, but I am proud I have one thing he with all his riches will never get — I HAVE RAISING! I don’t know what Kanye’s ex-Black Panther father and tenured professor mother taught him, but manners apparently never made it onto the syllabus. At least I know how to lose with as much grace as I win . . . of course, I’ve had a hell of a lot of practice, but still.

Mama, Daddy, both Papas, and both Grannys as well as several coaches and teachers over the years all taught me when you win you shake the other person’s hand and when you lose you do the same. You don’t barge into their moment of glory like an asshat to blather on about how much more you or Beyonce’ deserved this or that award. Three times this overgrown adolescent has stormed the stage of an awards show to interrupt the people legitimately getting the award in order to grab the spotlight and put forward his own version of life.

Somebody please give Baby a sucker or a binkie and explain to him life is like that.

The man spouts off whatever comes into his head regardless of how factual or farcical it may be. He has the audacity to call the sitting President of the United States a racist. Oh really, Kanye? Of course the son of a Black Panther couldn’t be just the tiniest bit racist, could he? Wouldn’t know a THING about that would he? Oh, and for the record, YES some black people are hugely racist. So are some Asians, South and North Americans, Europeans, Australians, and — if we could communicate with them — we’d probably find out some of the damn penguins on Antarctica are racist too. “Red and yellow, black and white; everyone’s a racist if the issue’s right.” When West didn’t get picked to open the 2007 VMA awards in favor of Britney Spears, he famously pouted, “Maybe my skin’s not right.” Sure, it’s all because you’re black, Kanye. The fact you’re also a raging asshole has nothing to do with it.

Long as I’m on the subject, it seems funny to me a man who seems to think everyone but him is racist has never barged in on an acceptance speech by a fellow black artist. Why is that? Are only WHITE artists not as good as Kanye West? Personally, I’d love to see him storm up on stage when someone like Tupac, DMX, Cypress Hill, or Biggie had been accepting an award. I’m thinking they wouldn’t have stood off to the side like timid little girls and let West spout his screed.

I don’t agree with too much President Obama says lately, but when he called Kanye a “jackass,” I had to send the POTUS a thank you card. Seriously, how big of a douchebag do you have to be to get called out on national media by the freaking PRESIDENT?

Also, I’m curious. What’s all the butt-hurtness over Beyonce’ not winning ten or twelve more awards anyway? If I was Jay-Z, I’d be getting a little tired hearing my wife’s name in the mouth of such a man as Kanye and if I was Kanye, Jay-Z would be one of the last people I’d want to piss off. What about Kim Skanadashian? Can’t she keep a better leash on her man? Isn’t she a little upset about him always gushing over another woman . . . c’mon, girl!

One last thing. It takes some serious hubris to pose on a magazine cover as the Son of God, and I can’t fathom the arrogance behind naming an album Yeezus and actually allowing people to all but worship oneself. Of course, this is a man who has stated on more than one occasion his line of work is just as dangerous as serving in a war or working as a police officer.

Oh, almost forgot, one MORE last thing. For all you MORONS who think Kanye “Waste” somehow “discovered” Paul McCartney, Sir McCartney has also won 21 Grammy awards AND an Oscar to boot. He won half of them before West was even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. Paul McCartney didn’t need Kanye West to make him famous, a small side band of his managed to do that for him quite well. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They’re known as The Beatles.

Just saying.

Always remember, even though I despise Kanye West, I love y’all, so keep those feet clean.

 

Tom Brady’s Balls Lie A-Mouldering in the Grave

Standard

https://i0.wp.com/suffolkvoice.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/54bfc2f009f97.image_-600x340.jpgMy mother tongue fails utterly and completely to provide me words to describe how tired I am of hearing about Tom Brady’s balls. I don’t care about Brady’s balls, Blount’s balls, or Belichick’s balls. I don’t care about any of the New England Patriot’s alleged soft balls.

I. Don’t. Care.

Unfortunately, I can’t turn on the radio or the television without some talking head giving some exhaustive explanation of whether or not the Patriots had soft balls and if so why and who is responsible for the whole unintentionally-fraught-with puerile-humor debacle now known as “Deflate-gate.”

De-freaking-flate-gate. Really?

For my foreign readers and those who — luckily — are heretofore blissfully unaware of what I’m ranting about, allow me to give a brief precis of this whole tawdry affair. A week ago yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots played a game of American football to determine which of the two would represent the American Football Conference in the upcoming Earth-rotational-pausing event known as Super Bowl XLIX (that’s 49 for those Roman-numerally challenged among us). During said game, a Colt defender intercepted a pass thrown by Tom “Golden Boy” Brady. The Colt defender pointed out to someone that the ball felt somewhat “flat” or “deflated.” The referees took possession of the dozen balls the Patriots had been using throughout the first half of play and determined — using a gauge, bare hands, or possibly chicken-blood-based voodoo, no one seems to know — that eleven of the balls were, indeed, underinflated by 1 to 1.5 psi less than the rules allow. Apparently, the Patriots were cheating.

Much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth followed.

Because of these flabby balls, I have endured a solid week of accusation and counter-accusation; blame laying and blame deflection; players defended and players used for speed bumps for the team bus. Saturday, I sat through a physics lecture by an NFL head coach. If you are looking for something to compare that to, imagine Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins teaming up for a series of revival services at the local Southern Baptist Church. Awkward, ridiculous, and out-of-field do not provide even a good beginning description of how horrible that interview was.

I realize lots of you have the same question: “If you hated hearing about it so much, why did you bother listening and watching it all?” My very simple answer is I DIDN’T HAVE A FREAKING CHOICE!

https://i0.wp.com/i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/150125124433-is-media-coverage-overinflating-deflategate-00005228-story-top.jpg

Ya freakin’ THINK?!?! The REAL Watergate didn’t get this much coverage.

This crap has been everywhere for a week. I expect ESPN to discuss something like this ad nauseum because, after all, they are a sports network so it’s kinda their job. I wasn’t even surprised when my local sports radio station opened last Monday morning with this story as lead. I was a little worried when it was STILL the lead story on Friday, but, again, it’s a sports station. However, I AM standing mouth agape at the amount and priority of coverage real life NEWS stations gave and are still giving this insanity. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have all run more than one sizable story about what is, at its core, ONLY A STUPID SPORTING EVENT!

How about this? Did anyone realize, in the midst of all the ballyhoo about balls, that the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the hand of the Doomsday Clock two minutes ahead so that it now sits at 11:57? That’s three minutes til Armageddon. The symbolic clock hasn’t been set this close to symbolic midnight since 1983 back when Ronnie Ray-gun was Hell-bent on winning the Cold War even if it meant we all went up in a red-white-and-blue mushroom cloud. Instead of reflection on what this says about our fragile world, Americans sat glued to talking head explanations of how a ball should feel in the quarterback’s hand.

What about coverage of the events leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz Death Camp? One would think marking the seventh decade since one of the most horrible dens of atrocity known to man was broken open for the world to see might garner extensive attention. Unfortunately, the poignant ceremonies leading up to the January 27 anniversary have all fallen under the shadow of a giant grey hoodie with the sleeves cut off.

A massive, once-in-a-century type storm is brewing in the northeast, right in the backyard of the “Deflate-gaters.” This storm has crept across the northern USA steadily gaining strength for a week now, but the only cold air people seem to care about is the air in those limp Patriot balls and volume upon volume of hot air is being released in the explanation.

In Syria, the Kurds won a major victory over ISIS militants. In the Ukraine, thirty people died and 130 fell injured by shellfire from Russian separatist militias. President Obama had high level talks with the Indian Prime Minister for the first time in the POTUS’ two terms in office. Ebola killed several more people in West Africa and Boko Haram attacked yet another city in Nigeria. Yet, in America, NONE of these stories garnered a FRACTION of the attention surrounding a dozen undersized balls on an American football field.

Why do we still wonder why the rest of the world thinks we’re idiots? We ignore massively important issues in politics, science, economics, etc, but flock like buzzards to a rotting carcass over an insignificant story surrounding a GAME. We turn our backs on events and movements of supreme importance, but we make sure everyone knows the status of Tom Brady’s balls.

This was a great country once and I think it is still the best on Earth, but our priorities are so out of whack I shudder to think what another few decades will bring.

#declineandfall

Love y’all and keep those feet clean, but PLEASE, in the name of all that’s holy, don’t mention Tom Brady’s balls to me again!

Howdy, I’m a Parasite!

Standard

chd_tick_engorgedFor most of my life, I’ve believed myself to be a person.  Apparently, I was wrong.

I’ve recently become privy to the fact that I am, instead of human, a parasite. Specifically, I am a life-draining, blood-sucking, economy wrecking, nation dooming species of parasite. Apparently, I became a parasite a few years ago when I started drawing Social Security Disability checks. According to various authorities on arthropodology, among them Conservative talk radio hosts (Rash Limburger springs to mind), some more strident members of the faction of the GOP ironically called the TEA Party, and certain friends and family members who are unaware of my source of income, I am a parasite and if me and my kind could be eradicated from the face of the Earth, this planet (or at least the portion occupied by the United States) would be a much healthier, safer, economically sounder, and altogether more wholesome place where the “American Dream” could flourish as Providence, the Founding Fathers, and John Boehner intended it to be.

To make my personal lowly state even worse, I know now that I’ve been in various stages of parasitism for years. In my larval stage, I was one of the hideous brood known as the “unemployed.” As such, I partook of life giving substances like SC Unemployment Insurance. I was even crass enough to draw unemployment for longer than the 26 weeks this tremendously progressive state allows people out of work to find another job. Yes, gentle readers, when my SCUI ran out, I latched on — leech that I am — to the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. I was lucky on that account. The exterminators up on Capital Hill have done yeoman’s work eradicating the parasites still clinging to EUC; I managed to metamorphize into my current form as a “disabled worker” before EUC dried up.

I hate it for all the now-hungry critters who were living so high on the hog on those massive $276 per week EUC payments. Lord knows I sure liked my payments so much more than I liked going to the job of my dreams every day as a school librarian (this is back when I was human, of course) and earning ten times that amount per month. It was nice to pare down and simplify life. People were really helpful too when they’d look away quickly before telling you they weren’t hiring. I REALLY enjoyed going on interviews 90 minutes from home just to be told the position was already filled. That was the highlight of my day!

I hope my fellow larval parasites manage to find a McJob before their nests get foreclosed on. If they are lucky, maybe they can take the advice on the old McDonald’s employee website and get TWO McJobs. Then they might actually be able to afford to choose whether or not to buy gas, food, or medicine. Who knows? With that kind of newly disposable income floating around, the country should be back on track in no time! Then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to pay the soldier parasites their full pensions for fighting our wars for us.

As for me, I love my life as a parasite. Nothing’s grander than staring out the window at a sunshiny day and only seeing rain. Yeah, I’m THAT kind of “disabled.” I’ve got one of those “conditions” no one can see so it probably doesn’t exist. After all, who’s ever heard of Borderline Personality Disorder or Severe Dysthymic Disorder or even the elusive Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Can’t see it; must not be real. Shoot, that’s a terrific argument. Atheists have been using it for YEARS!

Oh and the things people say to us parasites — trying to be helpful, of course. Things like, “with all that free time you have, you should do X, Y, or Z!” Sure thing! I’ll get right on that as soon as the anti-anxiety meds kick in so I can go out in public alone for about an hour. Have to make sure to take extra or get home before they wear off. People tend to get really uncomfortable when they see grown male parasites with tears streaming down their faces for no apparent reason trying to find a short checkout line so they can get through and hurry back to the nest.

So, to all you hardworking humans out there, this parasite would like to apologize. I’m sorry for slurping up your tax money, ruining the future of the country, and generally just dashing all your dreams. I promise I’ll try hard not to flaunt my overly extravagant lifestyle in your faces as I drive by in my old truck on the way home to my singlewide trailer-nest. Who knows? Maybe some day I’ll even work up the courage to step in front of a bus or something and there’ll be one less blood-sucking mouth for everyone and Congress to worry about.Freshly pressed

For the rest of y’all, I really do love y’all. You keep me going. So keep those feet clean and watch were you step, we parasites are everywhere.

Behind Every Great Fortune . . .

Standard

logo@2xHonore de Balzac once remarked, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” I would like to appropriate his comment in a paraphrase to state “Behind at least one growing fortune likes a great hypocrisy.” Anyone who knows me for long will discover at some point in our relationship I hate three things above all others — cabbage, the New York Yankees, and hypocrisy. I would rather deal with a pathological liar than a hypocrite because at least with a liar, you know what you’ve got. I realize I’ve often been cited as having no filter for my opinions, but I prefer to look at it as letting everyone know where I stand. The reason for this particular rant against hypocrisy has its roots in a “direct sales” party Budge attended just before school was out.

I love direct sales parties. Where else can you make rent money by guilting your friends and your friends’ friends into buying overpriced stuff they will never use while they are under the sway of a glass or two of Bi-Lo wine and surfeit of those little cream filled chocolate eclair poofs from Costco? Personally, I’m a Pampered Chef junkie. I have the ice cream scoop, apple corer, a set of utensils, and a sweet, lime green santoku knife. With direct sales, you know you’re getting huckstered, but that’s okay because you’re going to do the same thing to this same group of people at your next “party.”

Still, I cannot abide hypocrisy and to me the worst form of hypocrisy is that which strives to make money or any other form of gain through the use of reference to the Bible, Jesus, God, or any other type of religious iconography. The company which has attracted my ire most recently for this egregious profiteering is Thirty-One.  Oh, let the hue and cry begin. How can I come down on such a wholesome group? Why, the very name “Thirty-One” is a reference to Proverbs 31; a Bible passage which outlines the graces and superlatives of the ideal woman. However, as the son of a real Proverbs 31 woman and the husband of another, I take offense at Thirty-One’s hypocrisy that appears on the little tags inside every piece of Thirty-One merchandise  which say “Made In China.”

Here is the email I sent the customer service department of Thirty-One after discovering all of the items Budge had bought said Made In China:

Dear Thirty-One:

My wife brought home her recently purchased order of Thirty-One product today and as I was looking over her goods, I found to my great dismay that each item was labeled “Made in China.” I hope an organization like yours, which purports to be founded on “Christian ideals and principles” and mentions the name of God several times in your material would have a legitimate reason for purchasing your products wholesale from the greatest persecutor of Christians since Domitian ruled Rome. Child labor, slave labor, human rights violations by the score AND unyielding persecution and outright murder of Christians are daily facts of life in China yet you do business with them. Please, I beg you, spare me the tired saw of “well, it’s the only way we can AFFORD to sell at the price we do,” because the minute you say that, you are out of the realm of God and into the realm of Mammon.

I don’t have an issue with your company if you want to make money. Making money in all throughout the Scriptures and is a linchpin in the passage of Proverbs the company is named for, but I have serious issues with your company if you are using God like so many politicians today — as a marketing tool — all the while filling the coffers of an avowedly atheistic regime, I don’t mind entrepreneurship but I detest hypocrisy in all it’s forms. Dealing with China is as much a deal with the devil as the nefarious bargain Faust struck himself in Goethe’s masterwork.

There is no reason your textile based products cannot be made in America. Certainly the costs would triple, if not more, but again, I must ask whom do you serve? God or Mammon? I will also grant you this nation of ours is fallen far, far from the “Light Upon A Hill” some of our Puritan forebears wished it to be — if indeed it ever really was — but so far, our government does not openly or covertly execute Christians as “enemies of the state” and that is an extremely important distinction.

Perhaps you buy your items from a wholeseller and didn’t know of the origin of the goods, in which case I would think you are poor businesspeople, but at least not hypocrites. Now you know where the textiles originate so the question remains — what are you going to do about it? Are you going to keep treating with a godless and atheistic nation that persecutes people just for naming the name of Christ — whom you claim to serve — or will you buy your goods from somewhere Christians are free to worship as they choose. It doesn’t even have to be the USA, but it certainly mustn’t be the People’s Republic of China.

For the record, I am not a particularly enthusiastic Bible thumper. I am a political liberal, so don’t get the wrong idea, please.

I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
Shannon Wham

I sent this email June 1st. I haven’t written anything about it because I wanted the company to have time to explain itself. So far, a month later, all I have received is the following email:

Hello Shannon,

Thank you for contacting Thirty-One Gifts’ Consultant Support! We appreciate your concern about our products. I have forwarded your concerns onto our management department, and they will be reviewing them as soon as they can. Thank you again!

Please contact us again if you have any further questions.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you,

Alycia
Thirty-One Gifts
Consultant Support Representative

I don’t have an axe to grind with Thirty-One. They are trying to make money and let other people have a piece of the pie too. What I have a problem with is they passing themselves off as a wonderfully Christian organization while at the same time buying their goods from China.

Folks, I said what I had to say in the email, but not to put too fine a point on it by way of summary they KILL CHRISTIANS IN CHINA! The government has a very sanitized state run church and its members are generally viewed with suspicion, but to be a member of an underground house church is a death sentence. Knowing this, how can a “Christian Company” with a name taken directly from the Bible have dealings with these people?

Maybe you can answer me in the comments.

Until then, love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Immigration Hypocrisy Makes Me Sick

Standard

Silence is deafening, isn’t it?

I can tolerate all manner of offensive behavior without much protest, but three things will consistently anger me beyond my ability to remain silent. They are, in no certain order, lying, abuse of animals, old people, or children, and bald-faced hypocrisy. From what I keep reading in the news day after day, I firmly believe many politicians and American citizens are out-and-out hypocrites on the subject of illegal immigration.

The English Pilgrims and Jamestown colonists got off the boat in modern-day Massachusetts and Virginia, respectively, and they would have died to a man if not for the grace of God and the kindness of the native Indians of their regions. How they repaid God’s grace is a matter of debate, but how they thanked the Indians is a matter of historical record. Smallpox infected blankets, lies upon lies, and blatant disregard for Indian culture and natural rights. Down south, the Spaniards were much more direct. A conquistador would simply ask “Do you have gold? Good, we will take it all. Thank you. Now, you are our slaves, carry your, I mean, my gold to the ship.” Then, a wonderfully pious priest would ask, “Do you believe in God? Who is that? He isn’t the real god. Convert and we’ll let you live or cling to your stupid backward ways and we’ll torture you until you convert then kill you so you can go straight to Heaven.”

That was just the 16th Century.

Deemed savages because they didn’t understand or practice ownership of land and didn’t worship the Christian’s God, by that name anyway, they were worthy of extermination. The cry of the public was “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” By the 21st Century, Indians controlled less than 1% of the continent they once stewarded and tended. Well, folk, karma is a bitch. If the Hindu reference bothers you, then how about a Christian reference from the Apostle Paul in Galatians, “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.” That’s where the hypocrisy begins.

We took this land by force in the fervent belief that it was our Destiny and now some of us are pissed off people from all over the world, but mostly from Mexico, want a piece of the pie. We stole the whole cupboard and pantry and we grudge others the crumbs. Our ancestors set out in rickety ships to “find a better life” and they brave burning deserts with no water to do what? “Find a better life.” What made our ancestors so right and the new “illegals” so wrong?

People want to say, “Well, if they want to come here they should go about it ‘the right way.”” Why? Why exactly should they follow any of our laws and customs? We didn’t follow any native laws or customs to take what we wanted from them? Why do we howl so loudly now that what went around has come around? People want to say, “but that was different.” How was it different, exactly? Because they were brown instead of white? Because they weren’t “cultured?” That doesn’t fly.

It’s “different” because THEY AREN’T US.

The big argument people love to use is “They’re taking all our jobs!” Really? Just exactly what jobs are these people stealing? When is the last time you saw an illegal looking Latino individual (whatever that means) working a job you would want to have? Let’s see, landscaping? I’m sure hundreds of good strong Americans are just lined up to fill all the landscaping jobs once we deport the illegal Hispanics. I mean, who among us doesn’t want to spread truckloads of mulch, cut grass, and dig irrigation trenches in 100 degree heat?

The fact is, the only jobs the vast majority of so-called illegals are filling are the jobs business owners can’t fill with anyone else. I have an acquaintance who owns his own full service car wash. It’s not pleasant work. Wiping off cars on a slab of concrete in blazing heat and freezing cold with dampness all around is my picture of misery. He’s in his 33rd year of business. According to him, the first twenty years he filled his lines with college students home for the summer or high school dropouts learning a hard lesson.  The last ten years, though, he can’t get the college students or the dropouts. The work is “too hard.”

So, he fills all his positions with Hispanics and adores them. Both men and women are always neat, clean, prompt, and hard-working. He doesn’t have to do nearly as much supervision as he once did because all his workers are a community. They live together, eat together, and go to and from work together. They police themselves, and as he puts it, “They push a lot of cars through and make me a lot of money.”

Speaking of them being “together,” I have listened to so many good Christian people make fun of some Hispanics because they pack three and four families into a single wide trailer or a ridiculous number of them ride in a single car. Okay, riddle me this then all you stand up comedians, what kind of life and living conditions are these people LEAVING where being packed up like sardines, surviving off whatever they can get in cash, and generally being looked down upon by the people they serve is BETTER? If how they have to live here is BETTER, what in the name of all that’s holy are they getting away from?

The bottom line is this country was founded on the idea you could come here with nothing, work your fingers to the bone for a long time, and eventually “have something”. It’s called The American Dream. Why are we, a country of rebels and entrepreneurs, so incensed at a newer, hungrier wave of people coming in to grab a share of the pie? At least, we can be relatively certain they don’t plan to exterminate us as we did those who were here before us.

Something to think about. Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

 

Popping Purple Vein Wednesday

Standard

After visiting two supermarkets this morning, I’ve decided to take a momentary break from my explanation of why I still believe in God to make some observations on goings on around me. First of all, did any of you know that Americans celebrate a holiday called “Thanksgiving”  on the fourth Thursday of November? EVERY November? Did you know this Federal holiday tradition dates back to George Washington? Did you know the fourth Thursday in November date was set in 1863 by President Lincoln and when FDR moved it a week earlier in 1939 and 1940 the country almost split again over such a foolish move?

If you knew any of these tidbits of information, you are much farther ahead of the curve than the three quarters of a million people crowded into Publix and Bi-Lo supermarkets on Fairview Road in Simpsonville this morning. From the way the grocery shoppers were treating each other and the personnel of the grocery stores, it seems they thought the holiday was several months away. I was so curious about the state of confusion I stopped in the middle of the Bi-Lo baking goods aisle and pulled up my calendar on my phone. Apparently I was right because November 22, 2012 appeared in bright red signifying a major holiday. Just to be sure, I used my calendar function to check the last several years and — sure enough — Thursday, November 24, 2011 AND Thursday, November 25, 2010 both had red outlines. I wanted to be absolutely certain this trend would continue, however, so I thumbed ahead and I can say with unflagging authority November 28, 2013; November 27, 2014; and November 26, 2015 are all outlined in red and have “Thanksgiving Day” in small font in the box for those days — all of which happen to be the fourth Thursdays of November in their respective years.

Of course the fact I undertook this small research project right in the middle of the aisle of the store containing flour, sugar, packaged nuts, and canned pumpkin almost caused a riot. Several sweet looking blue-haired elderly ladies bumped into me quite forcefully and purposefully with their buggies.

(Important Sidebar Information: I don’t like to act overly sectional in my writing, but I am somewhat proud of my Southern heritage — screwed up as it is — and I am especially sensitive about our accents and vernacular. Now having said that, in the South, we put groceries in a BUGGY, not a SHOPPING CART and if you don’t like it, well, bless your Yankee hearts you are in luck because Interstates 75, 85, and 95 all head north back to the Mason-Dixon Line so get thee hence and you won’t have to endure us poor benighted Dixie-dwellers. Just don’t come crying back when you are freezing your nether bits off  because they are covered in snow.)

I know at least one harried looking woman with a buggy full of Dixie Crystal and LibbyLibbyLibby Pumpkin Puree claimed my parents had, in fact, NOT been married at the time of my birth while another mom left off screaming frustrated obscenities at her three rambunctious offspring long enough to scream frustrated obscenities at me. She not only claimed I was descended from the genus Canis, but that I had untoward carnal knowledge of my female parent. Normally I would have given her a piece of my mind before soundly thrashing any adult male accompanying her for espousing such base slurs upon my character, but something of a maniacal glint in her eyes coupled with the way she was gripping  a family sized can of Hanover Cut Green Beans made me think she might possibly have some murderous intent in her heart  as well as the wherewithal to carry it out, so I let the moment — and her buggy of hellions — pass without incident. Discretion is, after all, the better part of valor.

This was by no means an isolated incident. I saw displays of outright “buggy-rage” in both stores I went into. In Publix, two women appeared destined to come to blows over the last box of 10X Dominos Confectioners Sugar in the store. While they were loudly discussing the merits of each others hair styles, weight, and clothes choices, I took the opportunity to actually slip behind them and take the aforementioned last box of powdery white goodness and beat a hasty retreat before the two amazonian brawlers noticed the object of their forthcoming gladiatorial contest had mysteriously disappeared!

Now I realize I was just as guilty of procrastination as everyone else in the stores and I actually have less of an excuse since I have much more time available to shop. Still, why get so angry and stressed out because YOU waited until the last minute to try to find an unbroken dozen eggs the day before one of the “egg-heaviest” holidays in the year? It’s not the little girl behind the register’s fault that you won’t stand up to your mother-in-law and refuse to make six pecan pies when she just called and asked you at 8:00 AM the day before Thanksgiving, just like she does every year. The Publix manager can’t help it that you are too much of a control freak to let your daughters and daughters-in-law help cook Thanksgiving dinner so you drive yourself to exhaustion for two days and then bite everyone’s head off at the meal before complaining bitterly that “no one wants to help me!”

The moral of the story is, it’s Thanksgiving. You knew it was coming so stop! Just stop! Quit trying to make everything perfect and just enjoy the family or friends you get to share the day and the meal with. Stop getting purple in the face and letting “that vein” pop out on your forehead over the 2 package limit on Philadelphia brand cream cheese. It could always be so much worse. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, folk. Today isn’t too soon to start practicing being thankful!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean and belts loosened!

Potter Penner is Pretentious Prig

Standard

I should begin with some disclosure. I resisted the force of nature that is the Harry Potter franchise for a very long time. Then one Thanksgiving weekend, a bout of bronchitis laid me low and scouring the bookshelf for something to while away the sick hours produced nothing of interest for me. Finally, with gentle cajoling by Budge and great trepidation on my Tolkien adoring part, I began to peruse Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Two hours after reading, “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” I went straightway into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and two hours from thence barreled headlong from, “And together they walked back through the gateway to the muggle world,” directly to “Harry Potter was a very unusual boy in many ways.”  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by virtue of being somewhat longer, took three hours and when I saw what a tome Harry Potter and the Goblet of Firewas, I decided to stop for the night. Of course, at that point it was 2:00 AM and I was a bit sleepy. Once I tackled Year Four at Hogwarts the next day, I had caught up with the rest of the literate world.

Not a bad body of work. It’s not The Lord of the Rings, but then, what is?

I will admit to being impressed enough by the epic saga of Harry’s struggle against Tom Riddle that I agreed to accompany Budge to the June 21, 2003 midnight release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the Barnes and Noble on Haywood Road. We got in line at 7:00 PM and to my extreme dismay found ourselves directly behind the Superintendent of Greenville County Schools and the district’s school board chairperson. Normally that wouldn’t have been such a bad way to spend nearly six hours, but being as I had a nice long letter printed on impeccably tasteful cream-colored cotton paper stationery with a beautiful four-color rendition of the school district’s seal on the masthead, these two people’s signatures on the bottom, and the whys and wherefores of my termination from teaching sandwiched between, it was a skosh awkward. Good breeding and 300 mg of Effexor CR kept me out of jail and off the news that night, but once the three of us made eye contact, it is safe to say the store’s overworked A/C units became rather redundant.

Whether or not said unhappy confluence of proximity figured subconsciously in my decision to read no further in such a delectable series, I cannot say, but read no further I did. I skimmed and scanned OotP, ignored Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince entirely, and skipped directly to the culminating battle scene of Book Seven during a Scholastic Book Fair my second year as a librarian. Still, I was and remain thoroughly impressed with the series and the world Harry, Ron, and Hermione inhabit.

J.K. Rowling and the Snarky Half-Smile
“Why yes, I am filthy rich, yes you can adore me.”

However, I loathe and despise J.K. Rowling with every fiber of my being. To offer a family friendly paraphrase of one of my dear friend’s favorite expressions of contempt, I wouldn’t spit water in her mouth if her teeth were on fire.

My great acrimony towards Dame Rowling has nothing to do with her work. I think she’s a rather fine author, at least insofar as Harry’s adventures go. As a person, I think she is on par with Madame DeFarge, Annie Wilkes, and Imelda Marcos. See, Rowling is a huge success story any way you want to measure success . . . with money. She is currently holding down position #1140 on Forbes Magazine’s list of BILLIONAIRES.  Screw the whole “1% crap” the Occupy Wall Street crowd is crowing about; this chick is a member of the 0.000001%. She is currently the only billionaire author IN HISTORY. You read that right, JK Rowling has made more money off her books than Willie Shakespeare. She has more money than the entire GDP of twenty countries COMBINED. Put another way, the woman could straight up BUY Djibouti and get change.

Okay, so it’s small, but still, the woman could buy a COUNTRY.

Now I don’t abhor the woman just because she’s rich; I abhor the woman because she has totally forgotten where she came from and here in the South a person can commit no greater transgression than this. She was dirt poor, living on the UK’s welfare system, busted-flat-in-Baton-Rouge-waitin’-on-a-train-Janice-Joplin style when she got a great idea for a series of books while — literally — waiting on a train, types out the first one on a secondhand manual TYPEWRITER in a cheap coffee shop in a rundown section of  Edinburgh, a publishing house president’s eight-year-old little girl loves the first chapter, so daddy orders the book printed and the rest, as the man said, is history. That’s GRAND!

So, does she become a philanthropist doling out large scoops of this nuveau riche cabbage to folks in the same shape as she was? No. Instead, she becomes a raging witch slapping everyone in sight with a plethora of lawsuits aimed at “protecting her brand.” She has sued everyone from bookstores that “leaked” parts or all of her novels before their official release dates to one of her biggest fans because the guy wanted to publish an exhaustive encyclopedia of all things Harry Potter. She’s worked tirelessly to shut down any “unofficial” fan websites that might draw traffic from her proprietary Mugglenet.com. I imagine if she, by some miracle, stumbles onto this little blog she’ll want to sue me. Good luck with that, sister. Two words: Blood, Turnip. In short, she became wildly successful and now seems terrified someone is going to get some milk from her cash cow! So freaking what?! Is $1.2 BILLION not enough money for you, Jo? I don’t particularly like rich people just on principle, but I reserve my greatest execration for rich people who are jerks.

Now Her Royal Knickers-In-A-Knot has decided to publish a book for ADULTS. Oh, shouldn’t we all just fall down at her feet in thankfulness? So you apparently LOVE money, you have created a universe and characters people will nearly kill to get more of, you could sell rocks if you wrote alohamora on them, but you want to abandon Harry and Company to scratch some creative itch? Let’s see how that works out for you, toots. Before you start on the second non-Harry-centric work of your career though, you might want to Google up a cat named Chris Gaines and see where “creative risks” got him.

In a roundabout way, we have J.K. Rowling to thank for this.

In the end though, I could forgive Rowling her peckishness with her adoring fans. I could even overlook her vast riches — provided I could find a ladder tall enough. What I cannot, nay WILL not forget nor absolve is the fact that — because of her phenomenal success — J.K. Rowling inspired another woman to think that she too could write engaging, creative fiction and craft beloved characters who will take their places beside Frodo and Sam, the Pevensie children, and Dorothy and Toto in the hallowed halls of masterful fantasy literature and because of that inspiration, we have Stephanie Meyer and her wooden female protagonist and those freaking sparkling vampires. That is a crime no lover of good writing could ever accept apology for.

Thanks for that, Jo. Stupid sparkling vampires. I’m sure Ron would say “Bloody hell!”

And to all of you, take care and keep your feet clean! Love always.

So Much for THAT Idea

Standard

Tool #1 for writing the great American novel.

People have been asking me when I was going to write a book ever since I was in junior high school. Some of them claim I have a way with words perfectly suited to a novel while others who have heard me tell stories throughout the years say I need to get them written down.

Well, for various reasons, I haven’t spit out the Great American Novel yet. I primarily blame the fact that I no longer drink liquor to excess as the main cause of my creative dearth. As anyone who has studied American Literature — AFTER the Puritans, of course — can attest, to be a famous American author, one should be consistently somewhere between two sheets in the wind and completely knee-walking drunk to do any work of substantial literary merit. Myriads of American Novelists from Edgar Allan “the Raven” Poe all the way to Mr. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas himself, Hunter S. Thompson all sought their inspiration in the cups or other, even more potent doorways to alternate realities. Faulkner to Fitzgerald, Kerouac to Capote, with Tennessee Williams, Raymond Chandler, and my fellow South Carolina boy Pat Conroy thrown in for good measure — all red nosed lushes of the highest order and more than one dead of complications from alcohol well before their creative genius was fully spent. Yes, alcohol and drugs it seems are the keys to unlock creativity in American men of letters, and who am I to gainsay arguably the most famously alcoholic American novelist, Papa Hemingway, who gave the sagacious advice, “Write drunk; edit sober.”

and Tool 2 for writing the great American novel.

However, since I prefer a happy marriage to fame and fortune and walking upright hangover free to lying on the bathroom floor with an ice pack, a glass of ginger ale, and a heart full of the-morning-after regret, I have been a teetotaler for nearly twenty years. Understand please, I have no quarrel with the fruit of the vine, the clear nectar of the potato and agave, or the golden honey of the oaken barrels; in fact, once upon another lifetime, I made good acquaintance with Messrs. Jim Beam, Jose’ Cuervo, and the Lynchburg Legend himself, Jack Daniels. I’m afraid, however, that we all got along far too well and the good gentlemen simply didn’t know when to leave and I hadn’t the heart to throw them out. We have long since parted company, however and since I’ve no desire to tempt fate or further trash my liver, I willingly choose to forgo the traditional lubricant of the creative gears of the American novelist.

Of course, the other — and more reasonable reason — I have yet to grace the Amazon hot 100 (or some such list currently topped by the pornographic 50 Shades trilogy) is much simpler. Writing a book is hard — extremely hard. It takes great focus and discipline and I am woefully lacking in both. Still, riding down the road last week, a great idea for a novel struck me hard. I’d just watched the “Spear of Destiny” episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded the night before on the History Channel and the Lance of Longinus had been poking my mind ever since.

He’s the guy with the spear.

For those who don’t know, the nickel tour of the legend of Longinus goes something like this. According to church tradition, Longinus was the name of the Roman soldier who stabbed Christ in the side with a lance while Jesus was hanging on the Cross. From there, further traditions variously have Longinus’ blinded eye being healed by a drop of Christ’s blood or his being cursed by Christ to walk the earth (a la the Wandering Jew) until the Second Coming.

I adore history from all periods and I’m not picky. I enjoy social and political history just as much as military history. So I thought, “why not write a novel about the adventures of Longius after his contact with Christ on the Cross.” I would take the tradition of him being doomed to wander the world and walk him through time on a series of adventures. I even figured I could make a series out of the idea and have Longinus — usually going by some pseudonym — participate in wars and events from 33 AD all the way to the present day. I tell you truthfully, I was excited and pumped up about this project. It seemed like just the thing to keep my mind off the present difficulties I’m having in multiple areas and maybe, if someone besides Budge, liked the initial book enough, I could contribute a little more to the family income.

I was all ready to get the first novel going. I was going to have Longinus as a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. He’d get what would be a mortal wound on any other man, but since he’s cursed, he’d recover in the body bag and cut his way out, terrifying the poor morgue worker in the process. Then Longinus would befriend the worker and start telling his story.

I was READY TO GO!

Then I sat down to do some research. With one Google search on Longinus, my entire project collapsed like an over-risen cake in a 7.5 earthquake. The very first entry on the search results page just wadded my whole idea up and tossed it in the wastebasket as if it were a piece of junk mail or a late credit card payment notice. Someone else had the same flash of insight I did and started a series called Casca: The Eternal Mercenary. In 1979. It’s up to 37 books now. So who, pray tell, was the author who crushed my dreams? This guy

Well, crap.

Yep, Mr. “100 men we’ll test today, Ballad of the Green Berets” himself — Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler, Green Beret, Vietnam War hero, songwriter, top 40 artist, and — apparently — author of the first 22 books of the series I had just planned to write. I knew about SSgt. Sadler. His Ballad of the Green Berets is one of my favorite songs from the ’60s. I just had no idea he’d written a book — or 22 — about the character I wanted to bring to life. The series has continued, written by other authors chosen by his estate, since Sadler’s untimely and suspicious death in 1988. It’s up to 37 now. Number 38 is coming out in 2013.

Wellup, so much for THAT idea!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

On the Origins of a Vile Institution

Standard

Gloria Steinem famously quipped, “The truth will set you free . . . but first, it will piss you off.” Hopefully, this will stir some emotions in any of my former colleagues who may still read me from time to time. I’m saying what you can’t so print this out and leave where the “right people” can find it. Because, my teacher and librarian friends, TADA! It’s back to school time and that can only mean one thing — days of MEETINGS and, even worse, INSERVICES!!

Never a good sign of productivity ahead.

Probably the most hideous part of any year for a teacher is the “Read the Handbook” Meeting on the first or maybe the second day of school. If you’ve ever taught, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s where the principal gathers everyone together in — usually — the library and serves stale doughnuts and OJ or weak coffee. After a little small talk, he or she says, “We’ve revised some policy this summer so if you’ll open your handbooks . . .” and three hours of droning monotone, the verbal equivalent to the Chinese water torture, begins. Geological ages later when everyone is finally released to get rid of the coffee or OJ borrowed earlier, the only policy change is tennis shoes are now allowed on Fridays with “school spirit related” t-shirts — but still no jeans.

Have principals never heard of this wonderful invention called EMAIL? Anyway, no one really cares about the morning meeting because they are all headed in a mad dash to the two or three restaurants to grab a bite of lunch with their respective cliques so they can get back for a “very important and informative inservice” that will last the rest of the day and most of tomorrow.

Beginning of the year INSERVICES! You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. In my 15 years of mediocre teaching, I dreaded BOY inservices and meeting worse than a proctological exam. At least the doctor gives you a little “magic pill” to reduce the pain and degradation of the experience.

So, for the last few years since I “retired” from teaching, I’ve tried to trace the source of these instruments of the devil and I’ve finally found out enough to publish my findings. I hope you help me pass the truth along so others can be as pissed of as we are at the monumental wasting of our time.

Typical BOY meeting

First, we have to consider the birth of the inservice. I’ve concluded from my research that inservices are born out of desperation and/or greed. Some teacher struggling along somewhere puts together a unit or tries a made up classroom management system and — glory be, Jehovah — the dad-blasted thing actually works! It works so well a couple of other teachers on her hall try the idea and, OMG! It works for them as well. This is about the time someone says to the original teacher, “You know, this is SO brilliant! You should write a book or make a DVD lecture series so other teachers all over the world can share in this Red-Sea-parting level miracle of pedagogical genius.” So the teacher does just that very thing and six months to a year later, voila! A brand new educational “idea” is born and marketed as “the next great new thing.”

I was and remain cynically skeptical of any educational “new thing.” I desperately want to see these places where all this amazing teaching and learning takes place. If you dig around long enough, you find the majority of these authors have something in common — their schools aren’t anything like yours. They’ll pitch their goods to “poor” schools because their program was developed “the deep inner city.” Well, technically that’s a true statement but they leave out the part where the school is actually a magnet school or a charter school or something other than a real, live tough as nails inner city school.

Still, all these books would remain on the shelves of professional libraries everywhere for brand new teachers struggling to buy with those first meager paychecks hoping to catch lightning in a bottle if it were not for the second member of this dastardly duo — principals, ap’s, or vp’s. The school or district administration finds these programs and that’s when the trouble starts.

See, here’s the thing about administrators in the majority of schools most people don’t like to talk about — they couldn’t teach. I know of exceptions, but they are exceptions. For the most part, the average assistant principal is a former teacher who was really just not very good in the classroom. Usually, they know this fact about themselves but by the time they get it figured out, it’s four years, a mortgage, a car payment, and a kid or two down the road. They have neither the time nor the money to pursue another career which would need a totally different degree so they scrimp and sacrifice for three semesters and two summers to get their principal’s certificate.

Okay, great for them. I admire them for staying some course, but here’s the problem — once they leave the classroom, they almost immediately forget what it was like being a teacher. To make matters worse, if said AP is good enough at “butts, buses, and books,” he or she is probably going to get a school of her own to run. By this time, you have a person eight to ten years out of the classroom (where they pretty much sucked anyway) but they are making decisions affecting what every teacher in the building is doing!

I once swore I’d never use a lolcatz in my blog, but sometimes you just take what they give you!

In a worse case scenario, you have an ex-coach who’s a likeable enough guy but he majored in PE twenty years ago and will gladly talk your ear off about being the backup running back on his high school’s state championship team or about walking on to the Clemson University football program and he actually got in a game in the 4th quarter of a rout and TACKLED someone! Now this guy, who knows much more about whistles than literature, gets word from the district he has to provide X number of hours of inservice for his teachers. So he picks something based on what he saw at a conference or a seminar somewhere. The package was awesome and the presentation was slick and, after all, IT WORKED FOR THEM!! So, we’ll bring everyone in for coffee and doughnuts and drag them eye-rolling and head-shaking through HOURS of what might be an excellent program — IF our school was LIKE THEIRS!!

So there you have it in a nutshell — you have to sit through hours of BOY inservice totally irrelevant to your teaching situation while the whole time you are dying a little inside because “Meet the Teacher” night is two days away and yesterday was the first day you could get into your classroom because the waxing and painting crews from the district ran two weeks behind this summer! You have nothing run off that you need and your room is a mess, but your AP found this “great” program at HIS conference or seminar and showed it to the REST of the administration . . .

So here you are . . . miserable, tuned out, and desperately wanting to get your desk in order so you can be ready to do your JOB on Wednesday when the children (anyone remember THEM?) come back.

Folks, you have my sympathy. Know that, as always, I love y’all.

Keep those feet clean and good luck.