Thursday, February 2, 2012

Messin' With Sasquatch

A couple of days a week, kids walk into my class and declare, "It smells like fruit in here." Which is not nearly as disturbing as some of the things they could say it smells like. Such as a monkey house where the primates smoke cigarettes and fart at will. But that's in the afternoon. The fruit-smellers appear just after my plan time. I generally roll my eyes in an exaggerated manner (not exactly a stretch), and say, "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't smell anything."

What I don't tell them is that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom enjoys, on a regular basis, a few Starbursts, the mid-morning snack of champions. You know. Starburst fruit chews. What they don't know won't hurt them. I'm careful to bury my wrappers deep in my personal deskside wastebasket. Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like I'm Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher, sneaking swigs of airline-bottle vodka from my bottom desk drawer.

Even crueler on the long list of Mrs. HM's transgressions against her charges was the great cracker crumb caper. It was many years ago. I imagine the statute of limitations has expired, so it's safe to discuss here in the blogosphere.

Perhaps some of you are old enough to remember the days when students did not hang around after school. There were no remedial programs, no open libraries, no killing time sitting in the cafeteria for two hours before athletic practice. There was a place for every student, and every student was in his place. Which was home. Or running sprints in the gym.

My teaching buddy, Mabel, and I enjoyed this quiet time in our brand-spankin'-new high school building, Newmentia. We used the empty halls for our exercise regime. It was ideal. Cool in Indian Summer, warm in winter, flat, dry, no wind, well-lighted. Mabel had figured out the mileage (a math teacher was she), and we walked two miles every day after school.

Mabel's plan time was 7th hour, so she was always ready ahead of me. I had to tie up loose ends after my last class, and was often still changing my socks and shoes when Mabel came to my end of the hall to collect me. I kept my walking gear in my cabinet, so I pulled out a chair next to it and changed my footwear right there. A couple of quick yanks on the shoestrings, and I was ready to join Mabel.

The chairs were dark blue hard plastic. My legs were white and scaly, due in part to lack of lotion, with the added bonus of a failing thyroid. When I removed my socks, a fine shower of skin particles fell onto the chair. If Mabel had not yet arrived, I dusted off the chair when I was done. If Mabel appeared abruptly, I forgot.

This was back in the days when I taught only the at-risk classes. I never had more than ten students in one section. Most often, nobody sat by the cabinet. They preferred the back of the room, or the area near the windows. But one girl made it a habit to sit in that very seat I used for changing socks and shoes. She was wound up one day about another issue, and threw her books down on her desk as she entered. "And if that's not bad enough, I have to come in here and sit where somebody keeps leaving their cracker crumbs!"

The answer to your question? Of course not.


Sioux said...

I wouldn't, either.

On the occasions when lunch (or breakfast) disagrees with me, and I become odoriferous, I walk quickly around the classroom, trying to leave as much distance between myself and the bomb I dropped. (I even sniff with a hint of disgust, as an added effect, and act like I'm looking around).

Yes, never admit anything.

Hillbilly Mom said...

As we all learned in A League of Their Own: A lady reveals nothing.