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My Wife Cares Not for My Feelings

14 Feb

Lo, on this day of Valentine
When throngs of lovers overspend on plant-based products from Colombia

Oh, hell no.

Oh, hell no.


Which sadly are not coffee and thus have no real value to humans
I pay homage to my Spouse
But not in the way in which she would prefer
Because she cares not for my feelings
For if she did care one whit for me
She would seek now The Change.
And leave behind public school Teachery.

Oh, the embarrassment of admitting to the world!
That my wife sucks at the government teat in the pretense of educating children
Behold the farce!
What a joke played on the Innocent!
Mend your ways, Selfish Spouse
Give up your large salary and cozy work environment
Say no more to incompetence.
Go teach where real learning occurs
Get thee to a Charter School.

Heed not those who use statistics to show Charters receive less funding
Beware research showing Charter students do no better in The World
Believe the hype
Trust politicians who want to spend less
For their motives are not of the Ulterior Kind
They know more about education than you do
With haste, turn your back on poor teachering
Unite with those who promise excellent learning through Chartering
Transform America’s uneducated masses into learned waifs.

It is your Duty, Dear Spouse
Think of yourself no longer
Think of me and the poor children
You have been doing it wrong
You are a Failure
Charter School Teachering will transform you
And when your students bestow on you
Chocolate of various kinds on this Day of Tine’s Val
Save the candy for me.

 

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An open letter to my seamstress

10 Jul

Dear Chumkee,

We don’t know each other, but we have a lot in common. I just bought a new shirt at Stein Mart. Because you sew a ton of shirts every day, there’s a chance you made mine. Small world, huh?

All my apparel originates from exotic locales. When I visited a small South American city earlier this year, I had to buy a shirt because I had run out of clean clothes. There’s a saying in parts of America that women glow rather than sweat. Though I am not a woman, I was lit up like a nuclear power plant in full meltdown. I believed it easier and nearly as cheap to buy another shirt rather than launder the one I wore. Though I mistakenly asked in Spanish for a “ladies blouse,” I left the store with a man’s peach-striped short sleeve shirt fabricated from space-age material. The best part was the label, which indicated my new shirt was “Hecho en Colombia.” I bought local.

?

An inexpensive shirt with peach stripes.

LaDoradaBoughtShirt

Great place to buy a cheap shirt when you’re sweating buckets.

However, I cannot always afford to buy my clothing on location. That is why you’re so important to me. Because of children like you, I don’t have to visit the countries where my  apparel is produced. My clothes are shipped directly to the United States. Their final destination before purchase is just minutes from my house. They await me arrayed in colorful displays at Old Navy and TJ Maxx. My clothes are tailored to my exacting standards by masters of their trade, just like you, in far-off lands such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and a little country called “China.”

Although the cost of everything from housing to food has risen, it is paramount I pay no more for my clothes than I did thirty years ago. When I was in college and could barely afford to pay my monthly rent, I still wanted to look good. I did not realize it took more than nice clothes to accomplish this, but naiveté ain’t always a bad thing. I spent a high percentage of what we Americans call disposable income on clothes. My favorite buy was a pale yellow, 100% cotton pinpoint oxford with a button-down collar. I paid $30 for this versatile garment at the Mister Guy clothing store near campus. That’s where all the preppies shopped. A preppy is someone who dresses like he has a corncob stuck up his backside. I dressed this way in college.

Thirty dollars is a lot of money, am I right? I mean, that’s about half what you make in a month. So, just imagine what it was like way, way back in 1980 for a guy who made $4 an hour spinning Waylon Jennings records at a country bar. Not since I wore a lavender sweater shirt in seventh grade to drive the ladies wild did I so cherish an article of clothing. I looked forward to each laundry day so I could again wear that perfectly fitting beauty.

But the idyllic days of my relationship with that magnificent example of American textile craftsmanship were short-lived. A college roommate, whom I am too classy to identify here, shot off a bottle rocket which landed in my laundry basket. When the gunpowder cloud cleared, I discovered my beloved button-down had been assassinated with extreme prejudice. It had burn holes everywhere. The period for mourning my precious shirt was made worse when my roommate, who never amounted to anything, replaced it with a cheap polyester knockoff. He paid a few dollars for it at a discount department store that is, for good reason, no longer in business. I believe the replacement shirt was designed for a pregnant woman. Its sleeves were too short, and it came with enough belly room to hide a Toyota subcompact. I tried to give away the shirt to Goodwill, but they rejected it because they could not forensically identify the material’s composition.

I know you’re busy sewing belt loops on a pair of skinny jeans, so I’ll get to the point of this letter. I’m writing to thank you. Today, my $30 yellow shirt would cost three times as much if clothing costs followed inflation. But I don’t have to pay $90 for nice shirts in 2015. I mean, if I did, you would probably be paid a lot more, right? That’s crazy talk. Instead, I can still buy a decent shirt for $30 or $40, just like I did 35 years ago. It means so much to me that highly trained artisans like you, some as old as ten or eleven, spend long hours each day making sure I have cheap clothing to wear. To you and all the other seamstresses and seamsters out there, I tip my cap. (A cap you may have sewn, by the way.)

If it were not for you, I would not be able to pay less than the price of a tank of gas for a Polo knit. So, I now honor you for your hard work. And I hereby acknowledge and celebrate all my tailors by location, if not by name, with this quick rundown of shirt labels in my closet:

  • Bangladesh (6 shirts)
  • Sri Lanka (5)
  • China (5)
  • Mauritius (3)
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Nicaragua
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand

I appreciate you, Chumkee. When you take your five-minute lunch break at your sewing machine to eat a little chaat, you may wonder who is wearing the shirts you’re paid $68 a month to make. Now you know. You make me look good. And best of all, I still have plenty of money to buy an iced Swiss mocha with skim milk once a week without worrying I will go broke. You are my hero. Now get back to seaming so I can feed my cheap clothing addicition. I would like something in pale yellow.

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My wife is a lazy liar

6 Jun

It’s the last day of school for my lazy, lying wife. She says teachers still have to go to work, but that can’t be right. Teachers only work when the kids are at school. I wish she would come clean and admit she is not really a teacher.  School starts around 9:00 and dismisses at 3:45.  She leaves the house before seven each morning, and it’s only a fifteen or twenty minute drive to the “school” where she “teaches.” She comes home around six or six-thirty in the evening. Sometimes later. What is she doing with all the extra time?

6:57 a.m. and the bag lady leaves the house. Looking for an OTB parlor that opens early.

6:57 a.m. and the bag lady leaves the house. Looking for an OTB parlor that opens early.

When she gets home, I make sure dinner awaits the slacker. It’s a wonder she doesn’t demand I spoon-feed her. After dinner, she works on “lesson plans” and “grades papers.”  The way she describes it, the school district’s grade report system is so convoluted and labyrinthine that it must have been designed by Ernő Rubik. I am not fooled. I believe these “papers” she is working on are actually Racing Forms. I also believe she is a terrible gambler, which explains why we are not rich.

About ten or eleven at night, she comes to bed and pretends to be exhausted. She acts as though teaching 24 kids, some with significant emotional problems, is more challenging than having a real job. Who does she think she’s kidding? If she really is a teacher, how hard can it be to mark second grade homework? Does she have to look up the correct answer to 4 x 5 each time she grades a math assignment?

Hmm. This looks suspiciously like the lazy liar at the race track.

Hmm. This looks suspiciously like the lazy liar at the race track.

Because she’s so lazy, my wife rarely does “school work” on Saturdays, but she always spends part of Sundays pretending to do it. I see through her little act. She doesn’t want to do any real work on Sundays, like taking walks and going on bike rides with her fantastic husband. What a loser. If she likes to play the ponies, she should admit it. I would still love her, more or less.

I work at a real job, and I don’t go to nearly as many “meetings” as my wife does. Many of her meetings, she says, are focused on discussing test results, new testing procedures, testing tests, test testing, tester testing, and test testing testers. Occasionally, she says, these meeting diverge into other topics such as testing evaluations. Some meetings allegedly occur during school hours when my wife should be “teaching.” These meetings are dreamed up by highly-paid, redundant administrators who have clandestine responsibilities no one can figure out. At the end of these meetings, it is determined that “teachers” at my wife’s school are not spending enough time teaching.

This is too illogical to be true. That’s why I know my wife is lying.

My lazy, lying wife can’t get enough of meetings. This is why she is lucky to be a “person of color.”  She is often called on to represent the “school staff” on “committees” that need some “diversity.” As a consequence, she stays late at “school” to discuss issues other than “school work” or tasks directly related to “teaching.” If a person has such an easy job, she should not complain about attending lengthy meetings to discuss the latest tester testing results.

Last night, my wife came home from school after 10:30 p.m. What? Is she teaching night school now?

She should be thankful she does not have a real job. In my job, which is real and has been known to require multiple hours of work on some days, I go into the supply room and load up any time I’m running short of pens and paper. If my company told me to buy my own supplies, I would laugh and tell them to piss off. This is the way it works at a real job. But my wife spends hundreds of dollars each school year buying “supplies.” How many backpacks and calculators does one woman need? She says they are for students who can’t afford them, but really? These students are like her customers. I don’t buy supplies for my customers. That would be silly.

What a liar my wife is.

This summer, the school district that allegedly employs my lying wife is renovating the school building where she claims to teach. The district has required all the “teachers” to pack up everything in their classrooms and store it for the summer. The school district is providing some storage, as long as the contents can survive a couple of months in a container as hot as a vinyl car seat  in Hell’s parking lot. But anything that could become damaged by the heat is the responsibility of the “teachers.” Seriously, what employer would ask its employees to provide their own storage when they renovate work space? I saw a transaction in our bank account for “Storage Facility.” I believe this is the name of a four-year-old gelding that finished out of the money in the seventh race last Thursday at Churchill Downs.

Here’s the final proof that that my lazy wife is a big liar: Despite all the so-called hassles she puts up with at her “school,” my wife talks about her students like they are her own children. A week from now, she will lament how much she misses “her kids” during the summer. Even the ones who “take things without permission,” and the ones who “stretch the truth” despite overwhelming evidence otherwise.

Okay, perhaps my wife is not a lazy liar. Perhaps she is just crazy.

(Teachers: Here’s a parent who appreciates you.)

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P.S. Happy Anniversary to the big liar, who will probably stay at “school” late tonight.

Encouraging Ignorance and Suffocating Nuance since 1995

17 Oct

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. –-Hanlon’s Razor

If you know anything about the Steubenville rape case, you don’t need me to rehash it here. If you are unfamiliar with it, welcome back to Earth. How was your space flight? Like most people, I followed the case only superficially, but I formed my opinion anyway, and I was glad to see convictions in the case. It bothered me none that mud stuck to the town of Steubenville. It became synonymous with small-town culture that values its high school athletes above much else. I found it amusing that the hacker group Anonymous got involved by hacking personal information on some of those involved.

Now another case, with a few similarities, has grabbed the national and international media’s attention in Maryville, Missouri. I’m sure many in Steubenville are keeping their fingers crossed that Maryville will take their inauspicious mantle. I won’t outline or debate the facts of the Maryville case here – thousands of other imbeciles with no knowledge of the situation have that covered. However, this situation hits a little closer to home. My brother and his wife live there. My sister was born there. Two grandparents, many aunts and uncles, both parents and all my siblings graduated from the state university there. Even so, when I read the story early Sunday morning on the Kansas City Star’s web site, a small part of me thought, You deserve what’s coming Maryville. You brought this on by failing to push for prosecution. I had spent ten minutes or so reading a news story, and I believed I had enough information to draw a conclusion. That put me in the company of millions of other fools.

250px-Nodaway-courthouseWhen the the national media got hold of the story like a Rottweiler grabbing a shank bone, I read a few more media reports, which were mostly re-hashes of the Star story, as well as an earlier series by KCUR, a KC public radio station. I rarely view reader comments online because I tend to lose faith in human intelligence when I do. I did not have to read far before recurring themes emerged. Words like “inbred” appeared liberally. The sheriff of the town was tritely labeled as Barney Fife.

Here’s a comment from a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reader:  “There’s just something about the NW corner of Missouri. The people there have no concern for what is lawful.” There’s a broad-brush statement that deserves one in response: Everyone who submits ill-informed comments on news web sites is a certified jackass.

From the Los Angeles Times, a common comment: “What a bunch of freaking HICKS.”

No, they’re not hicks, though some may be brighter than others. They’re just regular people like everyone else. Good ones, bad ones, and mostly in-between ones. People who make mistakes just like the rest of us. No better, no worse.

I texted my brother, Jeff, a Maryville resident: “Let me know how it feels to live in the new Steubenville.”

So far, he’s taking it well. That’s in part because he does not own a TV, being a hick and all, and he has not seen coverage from CNN et al.  He said one of the largest employers in town, a customer of his construction business, shut down its computer system after Anonymous hacked another manufacturer. These companies are not the sheriff’s office, the prosecutor, or anyone connected to the story. They are companies employing hundreds of people, some of them likely unaware of the story before this week.

I began to realize how the actions, or inaction, of a few people can impact so many others.

Maryville is a good place, but not unique. Jeff says, “A lot of people here think this is a special town, but it’s no better or worse than anyplace else.”  Jeff should know. He lived for several years in Africa before settling in Maryville, and he has traveled internationally many times. I guess that makes him a well-traveled hick, contradictory as that may seem. He’s right, though. Don’t we think our communities are something special, as if other places have a higher percentage of nuts, lowlifes and buffoons? We believe we would act differently —better, of course — in crises. Just watch the next time there’s a catastrophe such as a tornado or earthquake. You’ll see a quote like this: “We’ll get back on our feet. People here in (town/city name) are tough, resilient.” As if people elsewhere were not.

If we live in a high population area, we assume our rural neighbors are ill-educated hillbillies. I am the only one of my parents and four siblings who lives in a city. Yet, I am the least educated of the bunch with my piddly bachelor’s degree. My parents live in a town of about 200 people. My sister lives in the country. My younger brother lives in a town of about 1,000 people. They drive trucks and go to church. They also listen to NPR, hold a range of views on social issues and worry about the cost of gas just like everyone else. Because they choose to live in rural areas, however, they are considered ignorant hillbillies who would, of course, let injustice reign in their communities because they know no better. (Disclaimer: I don’t equate education with intelligence; some of the highest-degreed individuals I’ve met are some of the dumbest. The converse is also true.)

Rural folks don’t get a free pass either. They can be just as guilty the other way. For example, I’ve heard several times how lucky a country resident is to live some place where they don’t have to deal with violence on a daily basis, as though we in urban areas can’t step out our front doors without ducking shots or feeling the crunch of used syringes beneath our Topsiders.

I suppose we have always been ignorant about our fellow humans, but the Internet brings it to the fore more readily. The Web delivers more information daily than we can consume in our lives, but it also allows us to demonstrate how little we know, particularly about each other.

We would like to think if we found ourselves in the same situation as Maryville at the time of the crime/incident, we would have reacted differently. We would have, by God, stood up and made sure the cops and the prosecutor did their jobs, even if we did not know all the facts or have any other direct involvement in the case. No, we wouldn’t. We don’t realize that Maryville is just like us.  No better, no worse, just human.