And again I point out that I have still never been “Freshly Pressed”. I really just think that the good folks at WordPress just don’t like me. But that’s OK, the tens of thousands of people who’ve viewed these pages in the past year DO like me (or at least the vaunted spectacle that is my life). I’m not broken up over it, I promise. *weeping*
All this could have been mine at the crack of dawn...
I woke up with every good intention of hitting the gym at 6AM. Hey, I’m taking this thing hard core. I’ve even got a running log on my iPhone of all the days I’ve been to the gym since I started. It’s my way of tracking my progress. Tumbled out of bed and I stumbled to the kitchen. Poured myself a cup of… coffee. You were expecting the rest of Dolly’s song? I don’t lift. I sat down to watch Tim and Lauren and before I knew it my wife was nudging me saying “It’s 7:00.” Crud. That meant I had exactly ten minutes to jump in the shower, shave, get dressed, grab something of substance to eat, and hope the car didn’t need defrosting before driving the 35 minutes to work. Oh well, it’s a Friday and around my job Friday is spelled E-A-S-Y. Today, however, that would prove to be W-R-O-N-G. Man, I even had my gym bag packed and everything…
The book and its author. CS Lewis, workin' the pipe.
Upon arriving at work (looking quite sharp for a man who had been so rushed) I remembered I had promised my kids a quiz on The Screwtape Letters. Five minutes later I was on my way to the copy room to run off 120 quizzes not sure whether the kids would freak because they weren’t really paying attention or laugh at how easy these questions were. I don’t teach first period so I had about 80 minutes to play around with. I did the following in no particular order: went to the cafeteria for coffee, went out for a smoke, made a PowerPoint, went back for more coffee, met with some students about missing work, grabbed some more coffee, and used the bathroom. That’s a lot of coffee but I’m a teacher. It’s what we do.
During my first class, I was treated to two “shadow” visitors. Shadows are potential students who visit the school to get a feel for it before deciding to enroll. Had to come to my “most energetic” class. Afterward, I reached out to the admissions director and apologized for the fact that these two young ladies might not want to ever step foot on our campus again.
During the next period I moderated a study hall. It probably would have been less painful if I had been impaled on a Bic pen. In the middle of study hall I had a lunch break so I stopped by my classroom to straighten up and get ready for the final class of the day. I looked across the hall and noticed the principal sitting at the desk of the woman who teaches across from me. This could only mean one thing — observations! My heart began to race. I hate being observed. Funny, I am essentially “observed” every day by scores of the most critical teenagers and yet if someone asks to come and watch me teach I freak out.
Better yet, why don't you just come watch me while I work...
And as I returned to my classroom for the start of fourth period I realized that my fears were not unfounded as my principal stepped in and asked “Mind if I observe?” What was I going to say? No? The problem is that, being the last class of a very long week I kind of had an idea that I wanted to let it be a relaxing, easy-going class. I had things planned but wasn’t really intending on sticking to everything on the lesson plan like a hawk. I began to pray in my head that the Spirit give me something to speak about. I knew that if I got started I could just talk her into a torpor. And sure enough, the kids, desirous of that same easy-going class as I was, sat up straight, paid attention, did their assignments, asked germane questions, and were even in flawlessly perfect uniform as I patched together the greatest retelling of the life of St. Scholastica ever told! Build a good relationship with your students and they’ll have your back when it counts.
On her way out, the principal left a long, handwritten note on my desk. It contained not a single recommendation and was concluded with the words “Great class!” I couldn’t believe it. At some point they’re going to see me for the fraud I am. Until then, I guess I’ll keep teaching.
Later on at home Karla and I took the kittens to mass. They’re getting so much better at behaving in the small daily mass chapel at the parish, given all the neat things there to distract them. It helps that Rita fell asleep on the way and slept in my arms throughout the liturgy. Approaching the priest for Communion, I made a profound bow. The nice man with the strong Roscommon lilt held aloft the host and said: “The Body of Christ.” I replied: “Amen” and received Our Lord. Fr. reached down to my son, signed him on his forehead and said “God bless you, young man.” My son then reached right back up, signed the priest on his forehead and said “God bless you too!”
Took me all day but I finally made it.
After dinner it was Daddy’s favorite time of day — bath time! They’re just so cute in the tub. Then, finally, I was able to “hit the gym!” Once again I was just about the only one there. This time, though, there were two older women being given a tour by one of the trainers. What was cool was that, half-way through he began simply to point at me and tell them things like “You want to bend just like he is” or “See what he’s doing? That’s the right form.” Wow. At least I know I’m getting it right.
It's time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight!
Finally (you’ve been so patient) I came home and put my son to bed. He asked me to tell him a story about when I was a little boy and used to watch The Muppets. Essentially, that is the story. He just likes to hear me say it. He, too, likes Kermit, Fozzy, and Piggy. Tonight he asked for a few other stories and I obliged. He asked me to sing him his song; which tonight turns out to be Meet the Mets. As I finished he asked me to sing Rita’s song; which tonight turns out to be Taio Cruz’s Dynamite. Mommy’s song was next. Apparently this is where I find myself lying in his bed in a dark room humming the theme to Dallas. I told him how we’d have to get up early to go to mass and asked if he liked going with me to mass every day. He said yes. Then, the Catholic in me couldn’t resist asking although I know he’s too young to really grasp the question… “Benny, do you think you’d like to be a priest one day?” He looked at me. “Yeah.” Interesting. “I mean NO!” “Oh,” I said in reply. “OK.” He looked right into my eyes as his own were effortlessly falling closed. “I want to be a daddy like you.”
Could my life be any better?
PS: The “shadows” apparently loved my class and want to be part of the school next year.