Regular readers of my rantings know that I derive a deep and abiding sense of joy from my work. Teaching in a public school is easily one of the top 5 things I do between 7:30 am and 5 pm on weekdays. In fact I’m sure that my colleagues will agree that the satisfaction one gets from doing this job is all the reward we need or even want. Yes it’s true that I also get a paycheck, but I feel almost embarassed to take it to the bank and show it to the teller.

Those of you who know my joy can understand the predicament that I found myself in today. I discovered this morning that I was to attend a “Volunteer’s Luncheon” in my honor as a public “thank you” for working extra hours running the scoreboard at basketball games. Naturally I refused to go as I simply can’t stand to be the center of attention, but these people weren’t going to let me off that easily and they actually sent someone down to my room (where I was blissfully grading papers) with a plate of food.

I suppose that a person of higher moral standards would have refused even this blatant pandering, but I have always remained at heart a Fat Kid. It was as I was working my feverish way through this oriental-themed plate that I noticed the fortune cookie.

Most people look forward to opening their fortune cookies because they get messages that are vague and oddly reassuring; e.g. “Your fortunes will unwind before you like the open road.” I have come to dread fortune cookies, however. I have never opened one that didn’t foretell some doom or set in motion a 4,000 year old curse. The low point in my fortune cookie adventures was a little slip of paper in Times New Roman font that said, “RW, you suck.”

As I sat there gnawing absently on my plastic fork (it still tasted faintly of soy sauce), I contemplated not opening the fortune cookie. Did I really want to subject myself to even more abuse today? In the end, however, the promise of that sweet, airy morsel of goodness was my downfall and I cracked it open.

The cookie was as good as advertised and I thoroughly enjoyed it. With trembling and greasy fingers I unrolled the fortune and read, “Thank you for all you do at WCHS.” It seemed that the universe was determined to torture me today and shine a light on the fact that I am a regular paragon of virtue. This is all highly embarassing, but I suppose that I should learn to take it in stride. Perhaps the world does need heroes after all.


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