Thomas glanced at the picture. It showed the face of a shrewd ragamuffin. He observed that the average age for criminality was steadily lowering.
“She looks like a wholesome girl,” the mother said.
“Wholesome people don’t pass bad checks,” Thomas said.
“You don’t know what you’d do in a pinch.”
“I wouldn’t pass a bad check,” Thomas said.
“I think,” his mother said, “I’ll take her a little box of candy.”
—“The Comforts of Home,” by Flannery O’Connor
So we’re weary. I guess we are because that’s all the teachers talk about now and all we usually talk about is food. Boy, I’m tired, we say to each other. Howabout you?
That time of the year!
You get tired in May!
I’m done trying to fix kids!
I told ’em … no more babysitting!
Whatcha doing this summer!
Have no idea!
We’re so creative. I launched my Cherokee language plan of apocalyptic mischief earlier in the week before I got the Friday weariness thing which is just an added-on weariness to the already-established soul-deep weariness that starts in August. I got all the eighth graders in a tizzy and then I decided why not expand the fun and mystery of learning new and wonderful things to my seventh graders in the mid-afternoon study hall.
I swear I’ve been secretly learning how to speak Cherokee from this booklet and CD I got at the New Echota visitor center back in January. I also announced that if they can find out through diligent and intelligent research what the phrase means, which is a perfectly appropriate phrase to say to you at that moment, in any language, then I’ll give you unlimited and unbridled access to The Globe of Happiness for the rest of the school year. It was time for apocalyptic measures. I’m that weary.
Well, you nailed it, Dixie. You would have thought that an announcement was made that a werewolf was in the building because they all started looking at each other and over at The Globe of Happiness and then back at me and some turned red, then purple, and some were gasping for oxygen and some were jumping up and down on their toes and a whole bunch of other weird and gangly and akimbo things.
Exactly. No one believed me. Or they believed me and couldn’t decide what to do next because the news was so unnerving that they started twitching.
But my challenge was sincere. Like them, too, I needed something fun and fattening to snap me out of my weariness.
All week, when I handed them their point sheet from my desk in the front, I’ve said … do no da go hv i. All dang week, when I handed them their point sheet from my desk in the front, I’ve said …do no da go hv i … pronounced, doh-noh-dah-goh-huh-ee.
They are so completely freaked out.
They are so compelled to know this answer and eat enormous amounts of confections for free that they are following me into the faculty toilet … down the hall … out to my truck. Here are their offerings so far this week, which are cute and quaint and quick-witted, but wroooooong:
- See ya later?
- Have a nice day?
- Smell ya later?
- Eat some candy?
- Hail the chicken?
I say the Cherokee phrase to each victim as I hand them their point sheet and they’re all listening carefully. Some are writing it down and showing it to me. Some are close to having it down phonetically. Some aren’t. Some are asking me to write it down for them and also asking, with a please, to direct them to a web site from which they can translate it.
I’m pleased to say the inventory of The Globe of Happiness has been meager because many good questions and answers to questions and discussion items have been lately offered up … and then there are my colleagues who help themselves to its contents and they, as far as I know, haven’t won the contest. So after three days I’m figuring we’re getting close to someone banging on the door of the faculty toilet with both fists, screaming … UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!
I went by the highway 9 Publix on my way to school today and bought $70 worth of candy and crammed it all in The Globe of Happiness before class started. My bet’s on Spike. He’s giving me vibes like no one else. What he’s been writing down and showing me. Certain questions he’s been asking. The steady, confident look in his beady elf eyes as I say the words in Cherokee … dripping in chocolate and caramel and chewy nougat and sugary slime and sourness.
Seventy dollars’ worth of teacher’s supplies. The government of America allows me to deduct a portion of my costs of teacher’s supplies on my income taxes so I’ll file away the receipt. Like Lurlene would pay for something that would incite children with the lifetime desire to learn and ask good questions and answer a few questions and offer up good discussion items.
The woman stole my chicken. I’ll give her some Ex-Lax and tell her it’s Godiva.
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