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August 21

When we use the environment, we must do so carefully.  Otherwise, we can cause damage which will be hard to correct. 

Georgia, by Elmer D. Williams


Dear Dixie,

Not five minutes into class, while I’m pontificating about something to do with the fascinating history of Georgia, Levon jumps up out of his desk and runs to the door that leads outside to the sidewalk and the driveway in front of the school.  He looked at me and I looked back at him and I knew exactly what was going on.  I was real proud of him for remembering our cheese fire drill. 

He goes out the door and it still hasn’t registered with the rest of the class until he shuts the door and cuts the cheese so loud outside we can hear it in the classroom.  Plus, there are windows in the door and windows along the wall and we can see his facial expression which is real distinctive to this type of hygienic activity.  Plus, he’s holding on to the side of the building as if he’s bracing himself for an atomic bomb. 

Debbie about fainted and everybody else starts laughing so hard they sucked all the air out of the building. 

Levon comes back in not knowing we heard his barking hurricane.

I’m figuring it’ll take them until college to calm down. 

They finally get to taking their weekly quiz and the room is all quiet and all of a sudden Elmo takes a big block of fresh cheese and cuts it wide open. 

Here’s an educator's rule of thumb: no one cuts the cheese this loudly unless it’s an accident, so now the classroom of amped-up, amped-out eighth graders on a Friday looks more like ten blind-drunk monkeys in a boxing match without a bell or a referee.

I’ve about had it by now so I trot to my desk in the back of the room and grab out of the bottom file draw my can of Air Wick “Fresh Waters Aquamarina.”  I trot back up to the front of the classroom while they’re still going goo-gaw and press the button and start moving that can right to left and left to right at their heads … and let me tell you, the white spray from this brand new, super charged-up can of room deodorant comes flying out ten feet and makes a hissing noise like a NASA space shuttle on takeoff. 

Dixie, I kid you not, two kids jump out of their seats and onto the carpet face first as if a SWAT team just busted through the ceiling on ropes.  Everybody is having a conniption fit.  Debbie’s into cardiac arrest by this point—she’s bugging her eyes out and squeezing her neck with both hands and baring her teeth—and I swear to God if Lurlene had walked by just then and looked through the door she’d have to be carried out of the building on a stretcher.  On oxygen.

By the way, this is my honors class.