And then there are the Story Problems. Like if 12 kids try out for League A but they dip down to borrow 3, how many kids will they need to bring up from League B? Answer: Sweetie, Idon'tgiveashit.
Even yesterday, on my birthday, I was subjected to baseball talk and baseball emails. It's enough to make a girl want to go back to work full-time just to escape the madness.
So I will. In one month I'll take over the classroom duties for a high school English teacher until the end of the school year. How's that for keeping things interesting around here?
Today I read a little story on Facebook about how Halloween totally freaked out some Ethiopians visiting Duluth, Minnesota. This reminded me of a night many years ago when I was a new high school English teacher ...
It was the night of the first home football game of the year. Autumn was biting on the edges of September, crisping the air. The new teachers were bustled through a tailgating experience in the parking lot before their mentors guided them into the bleachers. We were eager to engage in this hallowed tradition, many of us wearing new sweatshirts emblazoned with the school's name and mascot. Our initiation rites into school culture were almost complete.
It's always an orientation the first time one enters the high school football arena. Where do visitors sit? Where do parents sit? Where is the student section? Does the band have reserved seating? We climbed the metal bleachers and settled in for a few hours of excitement beneath the Friday night lights.
The band began to play, brassy and loud and thumping. A cheering squad positioned themselves on the track between the bleachers and the grass, rustling their pom poms and yelling. The team jogged across the field to take a knee beneath a towering goal post and the coaching staff stood behind them with clipboards and playbooks. I grinned and glanced back at my mentor--here we go!
Led by the band the entire student body and most of the parents launched into the school song, hailing the heroes of the gridiron and loyal sons and fighting for the orange and black. I didn't know the words, but the tune was familiar.
Suddenly a figure appeared on the far end of the football field. Large and looming, white hood and robe undulating, it picked up speed. A horse--a real horse--galloping across the length of the football field and on its back was a person draped from head to toe in white sheets. Horror masked my face and my blood froze in my veins. Was everyone else seeing what I was seeing? The band still played, the fans burst into cheers and I looked over at the other new teachers whose shocked expressions mirrored my own.
The ghost rider paused for a moment in the far end zone and raised their fist in a salute to the roaring crowd. Football players banged their helmets with their fists and raced to the sideline. The horse and rider reared around and disappeared into the parking lot.
What the hell was that? Will they start burning crosses on the turf next?
The mentors were doubled over with laughter. I always love this part every year, one of them said. The looks on your faces. It's awful isn't it?
What sort of people use the KKK as their mascot? All of the new teachers were appalled. Our educator sensibilities had been carefully molded by professors who'd taught us to be politically correct and sensitive. We'd all read textbooks stressing the significance of race and disability and gender and equality and our own biases had been called out over and over again in class conversations about why we need to teach Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich instead of Nathaniel Hawthorne and William Shakespeare and the other dead white men. In short, were stunned by the spectacle.
They don't even make the connection--they're the Ghosts.
And nobody thinks the white hood is maybe over the top? Pushing the envelope? Blatantly offensive?
The mentors shook their heads. Northern Wisconsin, so removed from brutal history that they never question, never even make any association with their mascot and lynch mobs.
|Actual galloping ghost statue erected in front of the high school a few years after I quit teaching there to raise Team Testosterone.|