One of the things that makes me a successful teacher is that in my first year of employment I had all of my feelings removed. This is a common procedure for teachers and you can always point to the newbies who haven’t yet saved up enough money to get it done. These freshmen educators are invariably found curled up under their desks and muttering under their breath that they can’t possibly be real children; they must be demons sent to torment good people.
While widely regarded as a survival technique, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps the surgical removal of our feelings isn’t proving to be a slight detriment to certain other aspects of our lives. Of course I’m talking about dealing with stupid people that we encounter away from the school.
I had two such encounters yesterday afternoon and I have to say that I was simply shocked at my response. In fact, I spent quite a bit of time last night wondering what had gone so horribly wrong.
The first incident occurred on my bicycle ride home. I was in the middle of a perfectly legal right hand turn when some idiot jumps a red light and tries to mow me down in the middle of the street for no apparent reason. I managed to veer away from him before anything tragic happened and he sped away.
The second incident occurred after I had arrived at the house and was taking my Faithful Hound out for a walk. An elderly man was getting his mail and as Winston and I approached him, he started yelling and flailing wildly about himself screaming, “Keep that mutt away from me! Control your dog!”
What was disturbing about these two incidents wasn’t that they happened, but my complete lack of a response to them. In both cases I said absolutely nothing and felt not even the slightest twinge outrage or humor. I can remember distinctly when I have felt it incumbent upon me to dole out scathing sarcasm or derisive mockery to people far less deserving than those two folks from yesterday, and yet; nothing.
Perhaps this explains the teaching communities’ utter lack of response to the proposed state and local budgets. Our feelings are so deadened from years of IEP meetings, testing accommodations, helicopter parents, and Fearless Leaders that even when it matters all we can muster is an “eh.”
I suggest to you, my colleagues, friends, and complete strangers, that we tackle this problem head on. The one time-honored cure for a complete lack of emotion has always been a remarkably simple one… Beer. I suggest that we hearken back to the last period in our lives when we were really fired up about the injustice of it all and determined to waste our time bitching about it; college. So let’s get together and dust off the kegerator and get well and truly hammered.
At this point I’m not even worried about what kind of a drunk you are, we’ll take them all; the loud, giggly, angry, apologetic, maudlin, or passed out. I’m sure that we can all agree that some of our best decisions were made under the influence and if that’s not what these budgets need then I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about! Some people might even argue that these budget proposals only make sense while you’re intoxicated, and I plan on testing that theory out tonight so I’ll let you know.
I think that this program needs a catchy title. How about “Keg Stands for Kids” or “State Taste Testing”? You all work on it and get back to me.