Look at the new lunchbox I got for Christmas! I’m super-excited because maybe now I won’t look like such a loser at school.
That's right, I’m back at school. It’s like one of those horrible dreams where you forgot to take a test, so you have to go back to your old classroom and pass the exam retroactively or they’ll render your very expensive college diploma null and void. And so you wedge yourself into one of those old-fashioned desks with the ink wells and the attached chairs, even though they totally had pencils and separate furniture back when you were a kid, and all the 10-year-olds in the classroom point and laugh because you’re old and too fat to fit behind the desk, and it’s the wrong school anyway and it’s almost test time, so you attempt to sprint down the street in the direction of your old high school, which now bears a striking resemblance to a place you used to work, but your legs won’t move correctly and you keep falling down stairs. Over and over you get up and attempt to run as fast as you can, but stairs keep appearing and you keep hurtling down them, prom dress tucked into your underwear, old-fashioned desk still girdled around your waist.
Just kidding, I didn’t go back to school to take any tests—I went back to give the tests. It’s true! I now hold the esteemed position of on-call substitute teacher for an MCAS-challenged school district. My specialty is run-on sentences. And sentence fragments. Can you believe that the public schools would let someone like me teach our nation’s children? Me neither. Such is the state of education in this country.
Since I started back in September, it has been a very enlightening experience. Let’s just say that I have my good days and I have my bad days. The good days are marked by an incredible sense of well-being and purpose, like the euphoria you feel at the end of every single inspirational teacher movie ever made (Dead Poets Society, Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, etc.). Other days? Well, other days the janitor arrives in the late afternoon to find me spackled to the white board in a hardened, partially soggy papier-mâché body cast of spitballs. The only things visible are my dead eyes. Sometimes the janitor makes me watch him sweep up the disaster of a classroom before he scrapes me down, because, apparently, my day hasn’t been bad enough.
But I am excited about my new lunch bag. Lunch is my favorite part of the school day, for it is then that I may enjoy my hastily cobbled-together, room- temperature leftovers undisturbed, after I’ve had a chance to gingerly remove the thumbtacks from my asshole.
Those tacks are mine now. Take that!