I’ve read that people who had many servants, or in ancient Rome had slaves, considered them of so little import that they would say or do anything in front of them.

I understand this mindset.

If I sit very quietly and fade behind my desk, my students will say pretty much anything within my  hearing.

Yesterday two girls were in my room and one was relating  her less than satisfactory relationship to her friend in excruciating detail. I wanted to yell ” HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”  but I knew that like deer, any loud noise would startle them and they would run.

Sometimes though, I want them to run and they just won’t. Like when two shared the fact that their favorite couple activity was to pop the zits on their boyfriend/girlfriend’s back.



Pause to absorb this information.  Not even the three letter S word.   What ever happened to dinner and a movie?

And then the little tidbit that one girl’s boyfriend picks her nose. You know  how when parents mention physical affection and the kids put their fingers in their ears and start screaming LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!   That was me.

Results on the conversation about whether they would date or marry a porn star- coming soon.

things to do with a banana

A number of seniors hang out in my room during lunch.  Yesterday they invented a game called peel slap.  You flip a water bottle in the air. It has to land upright. If not you get slapped with a banana peel.

They asked me to play.  I asked who planned to slap me in the face with a banana peel if I lost.

No one volunteered.

They went through 3 bananas in 40 minutes.

They formulated 9 rules.

  1. Thou shalt be a gentleman.  (slap respectfully)
  2.  Thou shalt not avoid the slap.  If the slap is avoided, the slap shall be personal. (the inside of the peel is used.)
  3.  If one lands said bottle, others must land it.  If thy bottle does not land, thou shalt be slapped.
  4. If one lands and another rebuttles, that rebuttler shall be absolved.
  5. If one lands and all others land, the original lander shall be slapped by all.
  6. After a round of slaps, the flippers rotate.
  7.  If thy peel is more brown than yellow, thy peel shall be replaced.
  8.  Thou shalt only wipe upon a face that is personal.
  9.  A double avoidance shall incur a smear.

Why is there a pig in your classroom?

This is Ueller bay. He is in my classroom and he lights up.


Kids walk in and ask ” Why is there a pig in your room?”

Me: ” Why not?”

The German teacher has a tiger striped duck in his room. The Roman helmet is from when we stole him. It. Whatever. No one questions HIM.

tiger striped wooden duck with roman helmet

Eventually I felt compelled to explain to someone.

“I wanted to buy a giant inflatable sock monkey Santa for my friend and tie it to her roof. But they were sold out at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, hardware stores, the Christmas tree store, everywhere. So I settled for a winged pig and a light up cow with a seasons greetings sign. I put it on her porch, lit them up and ran away.”

The following year she drove over to my house in the dead of 7 p.m. and put it on my porch. I had no choice but to return it to her front lawn and stake it there with a large sign announcing her heartless abandonment.

She brought it into school. I put it in the French teachers room and there it had a home for 3 months until one day I found him sitting at my desk along with the witches broom I left on her desk one day with a note saying ” you forgot your ride home.”

I finished. One girl looked at me and said, ” Whatever happened to buying someone an Itunes gift card?”

woefully illiterate in zombie survival


Me: I took an archery lesson and I wasn’t even pathetic

Daughter:The archery will help you during the zombie apocalypse

Me: What, you can double kill dead people?

Her: You are woefully illiterate in zombie survival

Me: Ummm..this is true. But I haven’t had any practice. Have you?

Her: yes, and while there is variation in what it takes, it is generally a disruption of the brain signal. you have to get them in the head. I mean, I haven’t had practice braining zombies. But I pay attention to what I would need to know should it come to that.

Me: I believe one of the fundamental definitions of being dead is having no brain signal.

(Here my husband, who is evidently conversant in zombie lore, AND eavesdropping, informs me that there is reactivation of the brain.

Her: well, the reanimation of a corpse and relevant motor skills would tend to make me think there is some brain function going on.

Me: So they aren’t the undead. They’re the sort of but not quite dead.

Her: Depends on the lore. But yeah.

( At this point it occurs to me that I am  having a serious and critical conversation about zombies)

Her: You’re the one taking archery lessons. That seems the most likely scenario for it to come in handy.

Me: I’m glad we had this bonding moment over zombies

Her: Either that or if you accidentally travel 200 years back in time.

Me: There’s always shooting seagulls.

Her: That’s illegal. ( this from a person who had a much used card in her jeans during her college years that read: what to do when you’re arrested for protesting with Carmelite nuns)

Me: So is calling a lawyer a daffydowndilly. And as I recall, you were an accessory to a seagull death with a firearm. You see me saying ” Criminal!” ( for further explanation see Lock and Load: a story of gun control in this blog)

Her: I thought that was an urban legend. Although I suppose that could sound very naughty to an 18th century ear.

Me: it was the 16th century.

Her: And that (seagull murder) crushed me. I don’t want you to live with the burden I bear from that tragic and terrible death.

Me: I think I could live with it. They bear no resemblance to Bambi. Besides, once they steal your spicy Thai seafood wrap there is no mercy.

All this talk about zombies made me think of the French teacher. An interesting segue, I know.

Me: Checked into inflatable zombies. I’m always thinking of you.

Frenchie:  you have too much time on your hands

Me: I make time for the unimportant things in life.

Frenchie: I’m glad I’m high on your list

Me: I found one about 40 ft tall but it would take up half the parking lot.Giant Zombie

Frenchie: Administrators would be pissed. They don’t have a sense of humor.

Me: Be interesting to fill it with helium and tie it to your car.

I quickly tire of the French teacher and return to my kid.

Me: I’ll try and get a zombie blow up doll for your visit next week. It will be waiting for you on a seat in the bathroom around 2 a.m. Drink lots of beer.

Her: Well, that is an incentive to visit like nothing I’ve ever heard.

Me: I can do house calls too.

There she is…….Miss Carson Avenue

I grew on on the Aisle , not normally capitalized, which was two adjoining piers stretching out over the bay with boathouses, (storage for small boats) built on them.

When  tenants came down from Philadelphia for the summer they moved out their boats and moved in beer and beds.  The border between the two , a clothesline with a bench beneath made out of  splintery two by fours was decorated with Christmas lights.  Beer parties nightly. One of the events the aisle hosted was the Miss Carson Avenue contest.

My aunt, many many many years ago established this contest, which lasted almost 50 years.  It was a Cannery row, Popeye knockoff of Miss America. Contestants , usually ages 3 to 13, paraded up and down the boathouses on the wooden pier in bathing suits, in costumes, and had to have a talent.

Back in the day,  one of the tenants of the boathouses, who was somewhat lacking in couth, taped corks to the nipples of 4 year oldand dressed her up as a mermaid. I remember this only because I was scarred by it. Personally, I refused to ever participate in this, much to my aunt’s dismay.

One year I was coerced into entering my daughter into this. She bravely and self confidently sailed down the aisle and produced her talent: telling a ghost story.  “In a dark dark forest, there was a dark dark house. In the dark dark house there was a dark dark room. In the dark dark room there was a dark dark closet. And in the dark dark closet…..(dramatic pause) THERE WAS A GHOST.” She was crowned Miss Carson Avenue. It even made it into the newspaper. With photos. Not to diminish my child’s victory,  but there were only 3 other contestants.

My first cousin once removed, (I have a lot of cousins) , Elizabeth,  made the mistake of telling me that she wowed the crowds one year with her rendition of  “Take me out to the ballgame.” In checking Press archives, I realized that the 1995 winner was another cousin. I can’t let this go.  Three Miss Carson Avenues in one family? Are we inbred or what?

My aunt was heartbroken when no one offered to pick up the banner and carry on the tradition.


Couldn’t find my phone at work the other day, so I asked one of the French teachers to call my phone. She said, “Oh, you left it in the workroom.”  I have no desk in the workroom and hence no reason to leave it there, but I’m absent minded, so I went and got it.

An hour later I think I hear the lowing of a cow.  I look around. Nothing. Then at 1:45  I unmistakably hear the insistent lowing of a cow that needs to be milked.

I find it in my handbag. My phone is mooing.

The next day once again my phone moos at 1:45.  I check the alarm. Not only is it set to moo every day at 1:45,  it was also set to moo every morning at 3:45 a.m.