[Note to new fathers: It is worth learning to change diapers so that you will be qualified to “watch the baby.” This is a foolproof excuse to be left alone to sit on your butt and avoid all your chores. When your baby becomes mobile, block off the TV room, pick up anything dangerous, and catch up on your DVR list. It’s perfect!]
While I was “watching the baby,” I happened across a rerun of Dawson’s Creek. Please don’t lie to yourself and protest that you never watched the show, it’s just us, ok? Be honest. Anyway, as I watched the unfolding love pentagon that was a recurring theme of the show, I realized that I owed someone a punch in the mouth.
I had been tricked into believing that somewhere out there were emotionally developed and highly articulate high school students. Now it’s true that we didn’t have any of those at my high school, but then again I grew up in western PA where the gene pool was more of a puddle and our vision of sophistication was using a spoon to stir your coffee, so I didn’t really expect much. When I moved here to North Carolina and within two towns of the show’s filming, I thought that surely this is where I could work with students such as I had come to know and really, you know, like. Surely here I would be able to guide students through the difficult metaphysical questions concerning free will, existence, and the perfect party juice.
Sadly, after 8 years of carefully studying the student body for evidence of deep-seated angst stemming from the eternal existential questions of the ages, I have to conclude that those people simply do not exist in public high schools. I am not to be treated to an articulate argument describing the arbitrariness of our dress code, or an impassioned speech that poetically explains the disconnect between their world and mine. No, after 8 years I’ve concluded that the best I can hope for is, “MayI use the restroom?” and “If you make me type this paper, I won’t have time to edit my Facebook page!”