Tuesday, January 23, 2007

glad you didn't

i laugh a lot at work. middle school kids are riotously funny, and not in the unintentional way that little kids are. they're at an age where they're beginning to develop adult personalities. they're starting to really get irony. they have a terrific sense of the absurd, of the weird.

of course they're also testing boundaries. it's their job to push limits. it's our job to keep them safe. i have to step in frequently and quash inappropriate language and sometimes subject. i'm pretty inflexible on that point. the kids are always shocked to learn that i have music on my ipod that would not be suitable for class. the classroom, i keep telling them, is a polite environment.

one day a long time ago a bunch of eight grade boys were talking in a corner and i heard one say "well, that's a lot of titties first thing in the morning." and i was about to step in when i saw another boy lean in. "yeah," he said, "but how many of them are milkin' head?"

welcome to dairy country.

about the same time we had this one eighth grade kid who was having trouble with the standard middle school discipline. he got up in the mornings and did a man's work, went to school and then in the afternoons he went home and did a man's work at a man's wages. he was having some trouble with being treated during the day like a boy.

and because he was making a man's wages but had no housing costs, he was making buckets of money. i asked him what he planned to do with it all. "i'm going to put it away and buy myself a house and a car", he said. i said i thought it was admirable. "a lot of young guys can't see past beer and pizza", i said.

"oh, don't make fun of them things", he said. "us men, we like beer and pizza."

sweet kid. i wonder where he is now; i hope he's well. i hope he has that house and that car. i hope he's happy.

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